The Blair-bound blog — my first one-star: rubbing shoulders with big names

  • Hi everyone,

    So our first full day here (Wednesday) at Blair Castle International Horse Trials is over. Apart from a brief spell of rain in the early hours of yesterday morning, the sun came out and the weather was glorious.

    Feu and I went for a ride yesterday morning and we were out for 45 minutes. He was quite fresh so after a few trips up the gallop, he settled into some flatwork and worked through most of the elements of our test. In the test we have counter canter half circles, which he has always struggled with. Yesterday morning he’d clearly slept well and was showing off his counter canter to everyone. All of the other riders here are so welcoming and it’s so easy to find someone to ride with — all very sociable.

    Seeing as he’d had a long journey up here, I was keen not to ride him before the trot-up. So I headed over to start getting him ready and plait him at 1.15pm for the trot-up, which started at 2.30pm. Feu is a very tidy boy in the stable and so we didn’t have to worry too much about scrubbing his legs to get him clean, even though they are white. We also took some time trying out a new quarter mark stencil which we made. Unfortunately they didn’t stay in place and so I ended up doing a check board, which still looked lovely.

    With Feu looking all smart, it was time for me to get ready. Last year spectating at Burghley we bought a beautiful tweed jacket from Laurie & Jules. Paired with white jeans and my brown boots, I hope we looked smart!

    Feu and I at the trot-up

    Everyone here at Blair is incredibly helpful and kind, and having found out that this is our first time competing at a CCI (three-day) event, they have been freely offering up advice and helpful comments. The trot-up was an interesting experience for us. Numbers are called in batches and you head through the horse walk into a holding arena. Once there, it is full of people walking and trotting up their horses so that they are ready. You are then called into the main arena in order and you walk around the arena to the far end. From here, the trot-up commences. It was truly a really lovely experience to witness first-hand, after only seeing the trot-ups done at Badminton and Burghley.

    Feu was impeccably behaved in the trot-up but got quite fired up when we walked into the arena, but he managed to contain himself for the moment it mattered. We passed!

    The drinks party

    During the day we also managed to have a wander around the shopping village which had just opened, as our terrier puppy, Arlo is feeling the cold up here in Scotland and so we bought him a Newmarket fleece to keep him warm.

    Continues below…

    Last night we went up to the castle for the drinks reception, which had a lovely atmosphere and it was really nice to be among some big names too. I get the feeling from speaking to various people, that once you come to Blair, you seem to come back again and again as it’s such a lovely event.

    Today will be a day of schooling Feu for his dressage tomorrow morning and I will let you know how our day pans out.


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