Annie Joppe’s endurance blog: We’re off to see The Queen

  • WE ARE GOING TO WINDSOR! Yes, we made it through the ballot and have an entry in the one-star. I love Royal Windsor, having done the two-star competition twice now. It is a magical ride around Windsor Great Park and trotting up in front of the Queen is great but somewhat nerve-wracking!

    Both my previous experiences of Royal Windsor have been with Dilmun, the first being so frustrating when we made an error of course, which we corrected, but were only awarded a completion which meant missing out on the awards’ ceremony and presentation of the prizes by the Queen.

    The second occasion, two years’ ago, was somewhat different. After a good start and steadier second loop we were out on the third loop near the vetgate when we were attacked. Yes, attacked! A rather large Canadian goose masquerading as Concorde, flew at us from a distance of about 50 metres and attempted to swerve at the last minute (I think it lost its nerve when it saw Dilmun’s ferocious face), glanced off my head and Dilmun’s shoulder and fell to the ground. It soon rallied. Dilmun and I zoomed into the vetgate but unfortunately Dil’s pulse was one beat too high so we were out — I BLAME THAT GOOSE!

    Dil molesting someone else’s crew

    This time I am taking Fantom. The plan initially was to take Dilmun again but, after having done a 15km canter session on our local cross-country course, Dil really wasn’t enjoying himself. I took his pulse immediately afterwards and it was in the low 80’s which in itself isn’t too bad as it had gone down below the obligatory 65 bpm (beats per minute) after another five minutes, but was not really a positive sign of how his fitness was coming on.

    The following day I took Fantom and did exactly the same training and he was bright and keen and his pulse was almost 20 bpm less on coming to a standstill. A no-brainer. If Dilmun isn’t happy to do the canter work, he won’t be prepared properly for Windsor where he will have to canter all the way round.

    Fantom has to complete an 80km race for the selectors so we will go around Windsor aiming for a good completion. Dilmun has the consolation prize in that today he went to a local ride to do a lesser distance. This time the aim was for Dilmun to complete the ride faster than he did a few weeks’ ago in Dorset.

    It was another magical day, riding through the bluebell woods and alongside the River Camel. Dilmun had a ball! He really comes alive in competition and cantered for a good part of the ride, finishing at a really good speed for the terrain and a final pulse of 37 bpm. Happy days, Dil is now aimed at the inter-regional championships at Cirencester Park in July, although he may have another little outing before then.

    Chiara’s hock is taking a little longer to heal than I would have liked with the wound being in a rather awkward place and the scab breaking off before it has completely healed. However she has been in light work, a concept she simply doesn’t understand, and things are ticking over. I plan for her to make her international debut with a one-star at King’s Forest at the beginning of July (again probably with a little outing beforehand).

    Continued below…

    Several more ‘magic hands’ sessions has kept me functioning and I have changed my mode of cardio vascular training to riding my husband’s mountain bike as fast as I can up the hills. This is a bit of a hoot at I haven’t cycled for many years and am a bit wobbly but I think this could definitely be a short-term answer to my personal fitness issue and it has to be a lot more interesting than swimming!

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