The road to the Badminton Mitsubishi Cup: slacky feet to snappy feet and a painful dismount

  • The weather was miserable most of last week, so I didn’t manage to get out and about on Sara (Donner Sara B) during the week. However my friend David Llewellyn was popping over to drop off the prize I won at Kelsall (1) last year (yes, the people at Zebra products were very good to still let me claim it nearly a year late!). David also happens to be a grid master and I cheekily asked him if he would give a grid work lesson while he was there. Despite having been teaching in the rain most of the day, he agreed. David had Sara popping down a grid with nimble feet by the end — I am determined to turn her from slacky feet to snappy feet!

    The plan on Saturday had been to go showjumping (more work on those snappy feet), but it was the first day of sunshine that we had had in a while so I took the opportunity for a long hack. I think that Sara was less pleased when I made her trot nearly 800m uphill! Having said that, I think even Sara enjoyed the view from the top.

    We took an alternative route down and apparently storm Doris had been up to her tricks and there was a tree across the path. Sara and I had to go off piste! As we wove through the trees, Sara was very good but unfortunately I did not duck quick enough and ended up being beaten up by a tree (I only suffered a slight swollen eye).

    On the Sunday, the weather was back to its former rainy glory and as we didn’t go showjumping on Saturday, we headed to Kelsall Hill for clear round arena eventing over the 1m track and to have a run up the gallops.

    Sara and I (far right) on the gallops

    It did not start well. As I was reversing the lorry at home to leave, concentrating so hard to not hit the small pile of fence posts with the front of the lorry, I hit the stable block with the back of it. The gutter is now at a new jaunty angle and there is yet another dint in the horsebox.

    Continued below…

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    Sara warmed up nicely and barely touched a pole. We were the last of the day to head into the arena and it was really calm and relaxed. Sara started off really well, giving all the fences lots of air (I was feeling really proud that the snappy feet were coming along). As we came to fence five however, she caught sight of a flying pole (as the warm-up was being dismantled). She slammed on the breaks on but unfortunately I did not! I landed square on the top of my head. I’m not going to lie IT REALLY HURT and Sara just gave me a look of bewilderment as to why I was on the floor. I got back and finished the round — at least she didn’t tap a pole.

    We finished with a few runs up the gallops. Some friends were also training so I joined them as Sara goes much better in company. I think that a few days off to recover might be in order, and I need to get a new hat.

    Love Carrie (and Sara)

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