What a fantastic Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials we have just witnessed. What a result for William Fox Pitt and what a horse the gorgeous stallion Chilli Morning is proving himself to be. How exciting for British breeding to have him as a breeding stallion.
William proved himself yet again to be the very best of the Brits and his showjumping round was a masterclass in how to act under such immense pressure. I know he has had years of practice, but the relief and emotion he showed afterwards just proves how much it meant.
Lots of the cross-country rounds on Saturday were a joy to watch but most notably; Izzy Taylor on both rides, Oliver Townend and the world class Armada and of course the overnight leader Andrew Nicholson, along with rising star Gemma Tattersall and the cross-country machine Arctic Soul. He would definitely be my pick to ride around any four-star course as being a full thoroughbred he made it all look so effortless with his rangy gallop. Gemma looked like she loved every minute of it.
Schooling the youngsters
As I was cross-country schooling five babies in the torrential rain, I was pondering whether one of them might be good enough to get there in a few years time. Who knows, but it’s nice to have a daydream every now and then!
We did get quite close one year with Bankon Louie, who was on the waitlist, but I am even more determined than ever to make my debut there in the next few years, horse power permitting.
We have been pretty busy over the past couple of weeks as I’ve got lots of babies in for schooling, plus doing a bit of pre-training with a homebred four-year-old, who will go back into training with Harry (my brother) in the autumn. I have also taken on one of Harry’s racehorses to retrain into an eventer. He is a gorgeous big black horse by Presenting and so far he is showing a great attitude to his new role in life. The way he is progressing I hope to have him out eventing later on in the summer.
Lady Venetia Hardy’s Max (Maximus Meridius II) was at Hambleden doing his second intermediate and only our second event together. We did a much improved test from Portman to score 30.2, thanks to a great lesson with Hannah Biggs a couple of days before. Rider error showjumping meant we picked up four faults, but a fabulous cross-country round picking up some time faults was good enough to leave us in fourth.
It was a really big tough course that caused plenty of problems so we were all thrilled with how he coped with it. He was then out six days later at Withington, again in the intermediate. Another improved dressage test for 28.2, a silly pole showjumping but he gave me a fantastic ride cross-country feeling really confident.
He is such a lovely genuine horse and I am really grateful to the Hardys for letting me ride him while regular jockey Alice Montgomery is mending. She will be back riding sooner than later though so I am making the most of him while I can!
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Exciting times ahead
We went down to Bicton on Sunday with two first-timers for the unaffiliated intro; five-year-old Effie owned by Nick Engert, and six-year-old Bailey. Both behaved impeccably and I couldn’t have asked for more of them at their first event. Bailey won on his dressage score of 26 and Effie was ninth after a 32 dressage and double clear. Exciting times ahead.
I have also had a visit from my fantastic sponsors, Phillip Ireland from Unicorn Saddlery, to fit a new dressage saddle to Archie (Arise Cavalier), pictured modelling it, so I am feeling very spoilt as, I hope, is he!