Did you hear the cheering and whooping after our dressage test at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials yesterday (3 May)? Brad and I certainly did and it matched my feelings of joy and elation as I left the arena after my test!
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I have never felt so ecstatic near a dressage arena. What a time to pull off our best ever work in an arena, excluding just two pesky flying-changes — my fault of course. Brad was incredibly rideable but I did not ask him for sufficient engagement and sit into either of those two messed changes. I haven’t listened to the commentary yet but I understand Pammy Hutton said he was “rude” in the second one when he bucked. Not really — he had no height to the canter to do as I asked. We have only been doing changes together for three years and I learned them as I taught him so they are not yet ‘just another transition’ when I don’t ride them well enough. But enough about what went wrong!
He was light, responsive, trying hard and as I was in my bubble I had time to plan each movement and ride each step. I am proud to have ridden well and so glad that I made my mum, my home ‘eyes on the ground’ so thrilled with and for us. We scored 34, which puts us in equal 35th place after the dressage.
The crowd from home, owners, clients, friends, Pony Clubbers and other riders, and I went on an impromptu course walk for a couple of hours and they kept swapping armbands (which competitors are given so that they can access the course itself) to get up to touch the fences and walk the lines. That was a great way to say thank you for the support. Many will be cheering us on today just as they did at Blenheim.
I did several interviews in the afternoon including one to camera for the Pony Club. This was in front of Badminton house with Brad in hand. He forgave us for getting him out of bed!
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Find out how David and Brad have been preparing for their dressage
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Our second ever five-star track awaits us today at 2.46pm. I am now going direct all the way. I will cycle round it early and then keep an eye of proceedings for a while before going back to the lorry for an hours sleep before I ride.
Pick up this week’s magazine (dated 2 May) for the full H&H Badminton form guide and check back to the H&H website for the latest from the cross-country action