You could have forgiven Tania Grantham if she ever felt like perhaps competing at the NAF Five Star British Dressage Winter Championships at Hartpury (13 April) just wasn’t meant to be.
Her 11-year-old gelding, Samarino, with whom she was contesting the Petplan prix st georges area festival final, has a rare skin condition, that just a week before the championships, prevented Tania from riding him.
“I can’t pronounce or spell the skin problem he has, but it’s basically a bacterial infection in his saddle area that sometimes comes out in spots where there is heat and friction — it’s not ideal!” explains Tania.
For two days last week ‘Sam’ couldn’t be ridden in preparation for the finals.
“On Monday, some sensitive spots came up underneath where both a saddle and roller would go. I wasn’t about to ride him bareback!” she laughs. “So I just had to lunge him without anything on his back. Thankfully by the end of last week, the spots had cleared up and I could ride him again, but it wasn’t perfect preparation.”
But Tania’s bumpy road to Hartpury didn’t stop there. Having left her base near Guildford at midday with Sam who “isn’t the best traveller”, her horsebox broke down six miles from the championships.
“We had been travelling for three-and-a-half hours and suddenly I couldn’t get my lorry to go,” says Tania. “We sat on the roadside for two hours waiting for vehicle recovery to arrive, but unfortunately he could only get the horsebox going in first gear. So I drove the final six miles to Hartpury in first gear with the mechanic sitting behind me — sorry to anyone we held up!”
Tania finally arrived at Hartpury at 6pm.
“I’m so grateful to everyone that helped us out,” says Tania who went on to score a personal best score in the prix st georges with Sam for a score of 67.85% for fourth place.
For a full report from the British Dressage winter championships and the Area Festival final — as well as news, views and expert comment — pick up a copy of Horse & Hound magazine next Thursday (20 April).