Bexs Salt, joint owner of Flora Harris' event horse Bayano, reports back from a bitterly disappointing trip to Aachen, which has meant the combination will no longer head to the European Championships at Blair Castle
Well, it has certainly been a week of two halves. We set off for Aachen in high spirits, only for it to end with such disappointment. And the end of our journey to the European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle.
It really was not our event. Flora’s dressage on Barney (Bayano) was smart for 44 but not his best, with a few uncharacteristic mistakes, however still some great marks on his sheet.
Showjumping later that day was over an up to size track and was cunningly designed in a big arena to lull riders into getting time faults. Barney jumped well but without his usual flamboyance just rolling one pole but more frustrating for everyone were the additional time faults dropping us down the leaderboard.
And then to the cross-country (pictured) where things didn’t really go to plan. Flora felt that Barney did not ever get going feeling empty from the start. At the combination at fence 16ab, which claimed many a scalp, Barney ran out, followed by another glance off at a later combination, which marked the end of the road.
Over the past days, the selectors have made the tough decision that given Barney’s form at Aachen he won’t be going to the Europeans.
Clearly this is devastating news, no more so than for Flora and her team.
Barney is completely sound, however we are now looking in detail at any reason why he and Flora may not have been able to compete at their best. He’s sunning his hooves in the paddock this week before we make a plan
He is only nine-years-old and while everyone is feeling despondent at the moment, the reality is he is a truly classy horse and Flora has more than proved she can ride him to greatness. I know they will both be back soon and in the meantime, Flora has four at Bicton Horse Trials this weekend, including my other horse CrossBoyne.
As we all know, horses give you the biggest highs and the biggest lows — but for now I would to wish the entire squad the best of luck at Blair. Bring home some medals!