The road to the Badminton Mitsubishi Cup: the best laid plans never quite go as expected

  • So we made it to the Badminton Mitsubishi Cup! After all the panic after Kelsall Horse Trials about Sara (Donner Sara B) jumping left, the problem once again was with me. The farrier and the physio both gave Sara a clean bill of health, however all of the towing of my suitcase around London had not done my back any favours and it appears that I was putting all my weight in my left stirrup on take off.

    This week has been very frantic getting everything packed to go, I think we have everything bar the kitchen sink, and enough to Prosecco to drown a small army. I already had my number — 310 — so I knew that our dressage would be on the Tuesday (yesterday). Last year I did all three phases on the Wednesday and it was fairly hectic so I was hoping it would be more chilled out this year (so far so good).

    We had aimed to leave home at 1pm on Monday to get down here for about 4pm, but the best laid plans never quite go as expected and the washing machine decided to break halfway through my final load of laundry I wanted to bring with me. This resulted in turning the utility room into a swimming pool and my clothes being washed in the horse washing machine. I get the feeling I will be pulling horse hair out of my polo shirt all week.

    We finally made it here about 6pm and my two friends who are grooming for me were not far behind. Sara settled in to her stable really well and much to my relief tucked into her tea with gusto. Last year she wouldn’t eat and I was really worried about a repeat performance. The lorry is parked on a bit of a slope, which is making keeping the kettle on the stove quite entertaining.

    Continued below…

    We have now done our dressage test. It was OK, but we had a little stumble in the trot and broke slightly early in the canter. The important thing is we stayed in the arena. I have walked the cross-country course and it is running the other way round to last year and there are some really interesting questions. I am just about to leave for a course walk with Yogi Breisner. Wish me luck!
    Love Carrie (and Sara)

    Read the full Badminton preview in Horse & Hound magazine, out now and don’t miss our 25-page Badminton report, on sale Thursday 11 May, including expert opinion from Oliver Townend, Mark Todd and Peter Storr

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