Badminton first-timer’s blog: dressage done and I’m over the moon [VIDEO]

  • Anyone that’s been reading my blogs up till now will have already gauged how incredibly proud I am of Miley (Absolut Opposition). Well that pride swelled even more while I was doing my dressage test at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials this morning!

    I am absolutely over the moon with how he went — he stayed relaxed and focused throughout his test. The couple of little wobbles we had were totally understandable for a 10-year-old horse doing his first four-star. As I’ve been focused on what we’re doing, I’m not overly aware of everyone else’s performances, but I’m hoping that our score of 51 is respectable enough.

    Nana Dalton (GBR) riding Absolut Opposition during the Dressage phase of The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials at Badminton in Gloucestershire, UK; on 7th May 2015

    As kids, if we couldn’t make it to Badminton to watch, we’d be sat glued to the TV. I remember being blown away by a horse called Yardlands Summer Song because of his boldness and accuracy jumping the straight route through a Luckington Lane crossing when no-one else did that day.

    He was by Fleetwater Opposition and it lodged in my mind that if ever I were to breed a horse, this is what I’d be after. Years later when my original advanced horse broke down two weeks before she was due to compete at Burghley, as heartbroken as I was, I knew exactly which stallion to go to.

    I remember driving back from John Johnston’s stud near Southampton with a container of semen on the back seat of my car day dreaming that this might turn in to my ‘Badminton horse’. Eleven months later, my first ever foal was born and she was pure perfection. She still is perfection, just pint sized… she never grew over 14 hands!!

    When Rosie decided to breed from her beautiful mare, she wanted a small one just like mine and so again used Fleetwater Opposition. The difference was that this time, as Miley’s name suggests, when he was born his legs went on for miles! As a two-year-old it was obvious that Miley was going to be bigger than Rosie originally wanted and so she decided to sell him, which is when Katie and I stepped in.

    Miley may not be Valegro in the dressage arena, or Big Star in the show jumping, but I wouldn’t swap him for any other horse cross-country. He has those same qualities that I glimpsed that day as a child and have more recently enjoyed watching in another Fleetwater Opposition-sired horse, the late great Opposition Buzz.

    I love his ability, accuracy and athletism. He is big, bold and brave. He is clever and courageous (if a bit cocky!)… I could go on, but bottom line is that I trust him implicitly and he trusts me.

    I don’t for one second underestimate the challenge ahead and of course anything could go wrong at any jump or at any time, but I simply can’t wait to tackle tomorrow’s cross-country with a true friend and equally willing partner.

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