Danielle Dunn’s Badminton first-timer blog: it’s almost time!

  • Hi everyone!

    There’s less than two weeks to go now and the 2017 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials will already be under way. The excitement really mounted this week as the Badminton drawn order was broadcast live for the first time — a very exciting and dramatic way to announce the order — I thought it was great. I was drawn out as number 71 so Friday dressage it is folks! I didn’t have a particular preference with my dressage day but I have to say I thought being a first-timer I would probably be on the Thursday, so to have Friday dressage is fantastic.

    Although one likes to think that the marking is fair over the two days, the statistics do normally show that the dressage scores are slightly higher (better) on the Friday. What an experience, it’s absolutely spine tingling to think of myself and superstar Zo (Zocarla BLH) strutting around in that incredible main arena.

    This past week has been busy, busy, busy (what’s new?!).

    After a wonderful evening at the Willberry does Badminton preview evening we left for Burnham Market Horse Trials in Norfolk. It took us five-and-a-half hours to get there…we did however stop at a truck stop en-route to run across to Sainsbury’s and do a food shop as we had just ran out of time beforehand. Typical us! We did get some funny looks from the truckers. I’m not sure if that was because we were women or had wheeled a trolley load of food to the truck.

    Although Burnham Market was technically a one-day event for the classes my three horses were running in, when you are there from Wednesday to Saturday night it certainly does become a long one-day-event!

    Zocarla did the dressage and showjumping in the advanced. We had planned not to run her cross-country as she is on form and we just didn’t want to risk anything at this stage. She was on fire all week and is definitely up for a challenge. She’s waiting for it; these horses are unbelievably clever.

    I used a double bridle on Grandslam (pictured top at Burnham Market) for the first time which worked well as I had much more control and we produced a much improved test in the CIC3*. He did a personal best dressage of 53.9 and a double clear to finish 14th out of 101 in a very high class field. It was a fab result for our first three-star together where we were one of only three competitors to finish on our dressage score. This has gained us our qualifications for Bramham CCI3* in June where we will contest the under-25 British championships.

    Polar Fox did a super test for his stage of training and a fantastic double clear inside the time finishing in 18th place out of 100 starters in the CIC2*. I was delighted with him in all three phases, he will now train at home until after Badminton then ramp up again for the CCI2* at Tattersalls in Ireland.

    Continued below…

    After Burnham the horses had a day in the field enjoying the sunshine on what was a gorgeous Easter Sunday. I was also very lucky to get my first bit of downtime in what seemed like forever with my great friend, Hen, spending a day on the beach in Polzeath. Believe it or not it was actually surprisingly sunny and warm! It wasn’t quite like going in the sea in Australia though, and you wouldn’t catch me in there for too long.

    Hen is not only a true friend she is fantastic at coming to events and helps me out. So she will be my main side-chick Badminton week, keeping everything on track including making sure me and Zo are as calm as possible!

    This week is all about keeping the show on the road and fine tuning that dressage test as much as we can. It’s seriously not long to go now, next time I am writing it will almost be time. Have a good week everyone.


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