Badminton first-timer’s blog: prep runs and a double celebration

  • Well, we’re another step closer to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials!

    Miley (Absolut Opposition) is feeling sensational and completed a fantastic prep run at South of England Horse Trials on Sunday (12 April).

    It was a brilliant opportunity to run through the four-star dressage test, which we’ll be doing at Badminton. Although he had one showjump down due to over exuberance, he jumped superbly and has really matured in this phase (pictured top). He then came out of the start box thinking he was at Aintree for the Grand National, but soon settled and felt absolutely top class around the cross-country.

    Nana Miley SoE2

    Miley in the dressage at South of England

    As South of England is a relatively local event, it was really lovely that we had the full team of owners there. With three horses competing in the afternoon, there wasn’t much time for picnics but it was still all very jolly, especially as all horses came home with rosettes.

    The sixth horse in our team, who I haven’t yet introduced to you, is a beautiful mare called Litchfield Perdita (Perdy). She is owned by Anita Fergusson-Cuninghame and is distinctive for having four white legs with black Dalmatian spots on.

    I was heavily pregnant when Anita phoned me to ask if I’d ride Perdy so it was at a time I was least expecting to gain a new horse. However, they are both a very welcome and valued addition to our happy team. We had great fun jumping clear around two two-star’s last year and with placings at her first two events this year, we’re looking forward to another exciting season.

    Nana Miley SoE3

    Miley on the cross-country at South of England

    Channelling my inner domestic goddess

    This week along with our normal horsey stuff, I have to attempt a domestic goddess role and find the time for baking! A birthday cake to be precise as my son Toby will be two on Friday (we actually share the same birthday!).

    We then head to Belton Horse Trials in Lincolnshire for the advanced class with Miley, Abs (Abbeylara Prince) and Ollie (Uwald) this weekend. This will the final prep run for Miley and many other horses due to compete at Badminton.

    I actually haven’t been to Belton for 21 years since doing my first intermediate there when I was 15 — I remember thinking it was massive and didn’t complete so seem to have held a grudge against it ever since and not ventured back!

    I am assured, however, that it is a fabulous event so am really looking forward to it. It will also be nice to catch up with my sister and her family, who we’ll be staying and stabling with nearby.

    Nana Miley hacking

    Enjoying a great view hacking out at home

    Although juggling the balance of being a mummy, wife and earning a living means my 24 hours are sometimes stretched, today I looked out across the fields to happy healthy horses and took a moment to reflect on just how incredibly lucky I am to be able to pursue this passion. I really can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing!


    Nana Miley turned out

    Miley enjoying the sun at home

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