At the end of my blog last week, I was just off to take part in a charity event organised by Helen West at Bicton Arena, in aid of the Injured Jockey’s Fund’s Oaksey House. It was a great evening, but sadly the weather was not very kind and we got heavily rained on.
This didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits though and it was very competitive. The eventing team of Althea Bleekman, Janou (Nui) Bleekman, Aaron Millar and Tim Rogers were the eventual winners and hopefully we raised a good amount for a very worthwhile cause in the process.
The jockeys did a good job on unknown horses. The most stylish had to be Jerry McGrath who was very lucky to have been allowed to ride Laura Collett’s Noble Bestman (aka SuperSteve). He seemed to tune him up nicely for Laura as she went on to win the Open Intermediate at Wellington the following day, quite an astonishing comeback from Laura following her terrible fall 7 weeks earlier.
I headed to Wellington on Monday for the intermediate with Leo (Soltair Justice) and the advanced with Kitkat (Another Breakfast). It was my first visit to the event and I will definitely be returning — the courses were beautifully designed by Eric Winter and the whole event had a great friendly atmosphere.
Leo did a good test with a few little mistakes to score 35 and then we had a much better showjumping round to just have one unlucky rail down. He gave me a fantastic ride across country, making it feel very easy, although I only took him steady meaning we missed out on a placing. He is off to another intermediate run at Keysoe this weekend and seems to be heading in the right direction for his first CIC** at Gatcombe after that.
Kitkat, is having a bit of a mini crisis at the moment and sadly things didn’t go to plan again cross-country, so it’s right back to the drawing board in the hope we can get to the bottom of things and get back on track before the end of the season. He is very talented but a quirky horse. When things aren’t going right he seems to fall apart a bit so we just need to regroup and get our trust back in each other again. Plans are on hold for him at the minute while we have a rethink and work out what is going wrong.
I am off to Ireland for 3 days, with 2 of my brothers, George and Jamie, to go shopping for some hunters. We have a great contact, Mike McDonagh (whose son represented Ireland at this year’s showjumping Pony Europeans in Arezzo), and who is very kindly having us to stay. Hopefully we will have a successful trip!
I want to wish the senior GB eventing team the best of luck for this weekend at the Europeans in Malmo. Also an extra special mention and big good luck has to go to my great friend Althea (Alfie) Bleekman who is making her senior team debut for the Netherlands. I’m sure it will be a great weekend of eventing and I just hope everyone comes home safe and sound, plus the GB team can wrestle the gold medal back off the Germans!