Organisation has never been my strong point, but I think I must be getting better. Mainly because the last few weeks have been manic, but we have ended up at five venues, with all twelve runners on the right days, with the required equipment at the correct time which I think is pretty good going (it also has a lot to do with the help I get at home, so thank you guys).
We went to Aston-le-Walls first, where Bozzie (Cornacrew, pictured) had a spin round the advanced and really enjoyed himself. He’s so jolly at the moment and simply loves his job, which in turn makes me love mine. It’s not often that I find myself laughing going round an advanced course, and going “Whee!” over jumps, but I do with him. He’s such a special horse and it’s brilliant that he’s having so much fun, as he owes us nothing!
He is swimming twice a week at present in addition to galloping, to get him up to fitness for the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in a few weeks time.
He runs at Somerford next, and then will hopefully be all set for the big “B”! Fingers crossed, as he loves it there.
A friend who came to watch said within ear shot of Chatty: “You know what, you could win this after that dressage and clear round jumping.”
Chatty replied across country with: “Not so fast sunshine, I decide if we’re going to win, and it’s not today,” as she jammed on the anchors between fence three and four. She’s frustrating, but brilliant on her day.
The following weekend we went to compete in the Express Eventing competition at the CLA Game Fair. What great fun. Dressage to music (which we did to a James Bond compilation), condensed cross-country over corners, skinnies and angles in the main arena, followed by an enormous showjumping track.
Chatty was back on form finishing ninth and we had a super day with great atmosphere and a lovely organising committee. Keep it up team!
Back to the day job the following week, where King (Traveller Royale) and Splash (Drumbilla Metro) headed to the intermediate championship at Gatcombe. This is a fantastic venue with serious courses and amazing scenery.
Both boys tried really hard. Our dressage let us down a little but both completed well enough, with Splash especially making it all feel remarkably easy in both jumping phases. He is a seriously class horse. Lucky Simon to be riding him! I was very concerned to hear of Andrew Nicholson’s fall at the final fence, and I have everything crossed that he makes a full recovery. Get well soon, Andrew.
Two days later we were off again to Smiths Lawn in Windsor Great Park. Leaving at 3.30am was not a popular decision, and returning at 10pm ensured a particularly long day, but it was well worth it with Ed winning the novice and Freddie (Mr Fahrenheit III) finishing second in his BE100 class. The other three all went really well, and I so very nearly made it five double clears out of five, but my last ride, Hugo glanced off at a skinny, probably just after I had thought to myself “this could be my fifth double clear out of five today!” Horses are so good at putting you in your place aren’t they?
So another busy day at home followed, with Bozzie going to the gallops early to avoid the heat, and then I was off again to Aston-le-Walls, where Rocky (Generoso) contested his first intermediate and tried exceptionally hard to pull of a seventh placing despite rolling an unlucky pole in the showjumping. He’s such a lovely chap, and is sadly on the market but would make someone a cracking partner in crime.
I travelled on from Aston to see my wonderful friend Amy and her lovely husband Stuart’s newborn son, Rupert in Swindon Hospital for the first time. It’s great to be able to do something friend related that doesn’t involve a horse.
What we as event riders do is all consuming, I haven’t had a day off from riding in at least 25 weeks. I wouldn’t have it any other way, I love it, but those riders close to us have to put up with a lot.
Reading Lucie McNichol’s article on why she is giving up struck a chord with me. There needs to be a balance, which I don’t think I have found yet, but at the moment, in my head if I’m not striving to be better every hour of every day, then I don’t deserve to be successful. I’m lucky and grateful that I have a partner, friends and family who understand and support me in that.
With thirteen horses running at different venues next week I shall keep striving, and I’ll have plenty to keep you updated with in the next instalment. So until next time.