David Britnell’s Badminton first-timer blog: quite literally packing the kitchen sink

This week has whizzed by in a haze of teaching (sorry, coaching is the PC word for it, though a lot of what I do is actually teaching), competing, riding and early nights. I am so lucky that I LOVE my job. There has also been more social media work than I usually do and that’s been fun. BETA asked me to support their safety week, so I have happily got involved with that.

Continuity (Brad) managed to win his advanced medium warm up dressage test with 66% despite my satnav issues in extended canter and the pirouettes. The day before, while jumping a foxhunter track, I had a not-so-confident day riding but a review discussion with mum (and inside my own head too), topped up with a magic lesson yesterday morning with John Whinnett has put all that to bed. I MUST focus ALL THE TIME on the process when I am showjumping, not on the result. Brad just needs me to be the best I can be and not to worry!

Dressage warm-up stretch

To get the dressage test straight in my head without overworking Brad, the youngsters have stepped up to play through the pattern, and I have been singing aloud the bits they can’t yet do. Mind you, leg-yield is more or less the same as half-pass, right?

I need to visit the trade stands at Badminton for a number of things on Wednesday. I have my first horse inspection outfit to pick up from Timothy Foxx and shirts and shoes to borrow from other kind exhibitors. Brad’s cross-country snaffle is starting to wear so that needs replacing, the show shirts I ordered have not arrived and thanks to Louis’ acrobatics cross-country schooling yesterday I also need to have my Point 2 canister replaced! No, I didn’t fall off, quite… but he took exception to a jump on a steep slope #newexperiences.

So, yesterday was all about tack cleaning and packing the lorry ready to set off for Badminton when the vet has been in early today to vaccinate Anton. Brad’s feeds are all made up in bags with supplements and salts included. I plan to feed four times a day if I can as he is not a big eater. It will be fascinating to see how things work in the stables at Badminton. The other horses are all out in the field so dad will manage them morning and evening and will join us for cross-country day on Saturday.

Badders Britnell the Bear

Thank you to everyone for the good luck cards, messages and emails. We have been very touched by the support and best wishes.

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Brad getting involved with BETA’s safety week

Mum and I keep looking at each other, grinning and saying: “We’re going to Badminton!” So if you spot me walking around with a childish grin on my face or being daft, that’s not because I don’t know we are there to do a job. I am also going to enjoy every moment and relish it! And I will be 100% professional in the saddle. You can count on that.

David

Don’t miss H&H’s Badminton preview issue, including cross-country course walk with world champion Ros Canter (out 25 April), and our form guide issue with details of every horse and rider competing (out 2 May).

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