Simon Grieve’s eventing blog: I don’t want to get off this rollercoaster

  • The eventing season at this stage is like a continuous rollercoaster. You’ve finished the first few loop the loops of the ride, your body is feeling the pinch a little, but the next twist is bound to be even better so there’s no way you want to get off now in case you miss a really good bit, plus the end is usually the most exciting.

    It’s non-stop, busy, rewarding, exhausting, infuriating, elating, exhilarating, humbling and really exciting in equal measure. I’ve been a little quiet on the blog front but it’s almost like we have electrified seats in our house as being so busy, sitting down happens so rarely, which means putting finger to keyboard hasn’t been easy, so apologies.

    I had a super trip to Barbury with Splash (Drumbilla Metro) jumping double clear in the CIC3* and Joss (Trevidden) also double clear in the CIC2* (pictured top). Both horses are soon to step up to the next level so it was good to feel them both so confident.

    It was definitely an upgrade from the previous weekend when I ended up falling in a trakhener at Eland Lodge and not completing on another horse either.

    I’ve fallen in the trakhener at Eland three times now, so I might take the hint that it’s not my lucky event. It’s a lovely venue, but I’m not sure I’ll be rushing back any time soon with that kind of track record! The weekend wasn’t a complete flop though, as it was the day after I’d ridden five horses at Great Witchingham where Freddie (Mr Fahrenheit) stormed round his first one-star and Vinnie (The Rutman) his first intermediate.

    The following week I got completely lost getting to Upton House. Mid-week events are quite often a nightmare with traffic and the exit off the M40 was closed, so time was marching on. I think I was going grey and doing a fair bit of sweating as the sat nav tried to take us down yet another weight restricted road (three point turns aren’t fun on country lanes in a 26 tonne truck). But thankfully we did get there in time for Buzz (How Bazaar), Mac (Machardo) and Ed (Edison) to do their thing. This was despite plenty of shouting “I know!” and “oh shut up!” at the irritatingly calm sat nav lady telling me in her dulcet tone to “turn around when possible”….yet again!

    Mac was the star of the day picking up a lower placing and double clear and Ed jumped amazingly but steadily round the intermediate. Our brakes seemed to malfunction after fence four and so a slightly white knuckle ride ensued, but he is such a great jumper and I didn’t let him get away from me, so we were fine, but keeping the handbrake well and truly on didn’t lend itself to a speedy time. I think it improved my guns though!

    Trying to get Mac to look alert for his cross-country at Aston-le-Walls with his owner Jo Williams

    Trying to get Mac to look alert for his cross-country at Aston-le-Walls with his owner Jo Williams

    The following weekend I got really hot in the sun at Solihull unaffiliated one-day event. Having to literally peel my shirt off at the end of the day was made worthwhile, as Bob (Wish He Was Yours) won his class, and Humphrey (Peaceful Warrior) his. Humphrey is a lovely homebred horse owned by Nicky Chandler and has a fan club that comes wherever he goes which is really lovely! My mum’s four-year-old Bertie (Bonhunt Bertie) did his first one-day event and led the 80 after the dressage, but I took him steady in the jumping as there’s no rush. He’s such a sweet boy and I’m really enjoying him. He will contest a BE four-year-old class soon.

    Splash in the three-star at Barbury

    Splash in the three-star at Barbury with Willberry Wonder Pony strapped to me

    Next was Aston-le-Walls where we had seven horses running. King (Traveller Royale) jumped a convincing double clear inside the time to finish fourth in the open intermediate and Vinnie the same for third in the standard intermediate — he is so quirky, but so classy. I changed Ed’s brakes and it was terribly satisfying to come into fence two feeling him tank at it, take a pull and have him so much more responsive. It meant that I could kick on a bit to finish fifth in his intermediate section with another double clear.

    Eight years ago I groomed for my great friend Phoebe Buckley at Burghley, where riding Polly Taylor’s amazing Frostie (Little Tiger, who incidentally I backed as a three-year-old with Val Gingell), they won the best mare prize. That prize was an embryo transfer. Who’d have thought that eight years on I would ride that embryo transfer round his first intermediate — Freddie stormed round, it was a very special moment.

    Continued below…

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    Talking of Burghley, we have entered King and Splash, so it’s all systems go here at team Grieve, but in the meantime we have seven events to go to, so I’ll do my best to keep you updated. I hope you’re enjoying your summer as much as we are.


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