The text message read: “Very regrettably competition at Oasby (1) on Thursday 10 March has been abandoned. A decision regarding Friday 11 March will be made by 12 noon tomorrow.”
To be honest I was expecting it. With the amount of rain we’d had I would have been surprised if Oasby wasn’t under water and although the three horses I was supposed to be taking had been prepped work wise, they hadn’t been plaited or bathed as abandonment seemed inevitable.
I was really hopeful that the Friday would run and when we got the green light it was a bit of a relief.
I had King (Traveller Royale), Splash (Drumbilla Metro) and Bozzie (Cornacrew) running in the intermediate and open intermediate sections and was very much looking forward to a trip around the Oasby turf.
As it turned out, Friday was a beautiful day and the ground was outstanding considering the weather just a few hours previously.
All three horses did nice dressage tests and jumped double clear. King finished third, Splash fourth and Bozzie had a jolly round for a fair few time faults but really enjoyed himself. It was lovely going round with my trusty old pal and then the other two younger ones afterwards.
On the Sunday we made the pilgrimage to Poplar Park Horse Trials in Suffolk where the organisers had very kindly accepted a couple of late entries after Oasby’s first day cancellation.
Poplar is a long way from home for us, but it was worth the trip with Vinnie (The Rutman) and Freddie (Mr Fahrenheit III) doing super tests for where they’re at with their education. They scored 27 and 31 respectively and then jumped beautiful but steady double clears in the open novice. I’m very excited about these two; they’re so much fun, although Vinnie has a very complex character to manage. They say the quirky ones are the most talented and he’s definitely a case in point.
It was fantastic to see some great old friends at Poplar. I started my working life there at Debbie and Patrick Edmundson’s yard and it certainly felt like going home.
The following week, I had some cross-country schooling to fit in before an assault on Lincolnshire Horse Trials.
Wally was a little shell shocked by the whole occasion and I ended up retiring with a spot of homework to do. May however, in her first BE100, did a 27 dressage one down showjumping and a lovely clear across country. She’s a lovely girl just like her owner, my good friend Carrie Dewes.
Day two, and we trucked to Stafford, a lovely event alongside the showground.
Lily (Gallifords Orchid) was a little green, but completed her first BE90 and Chunky (Up and Over) owned by showjumper Holly Gillott jumped a lovely double clear in the BE100 for fifth. It’s always a relief jumping a clear showjumping round on a horse owned by such a top showjumper…no pressure, Simon!
The next day we were on the road again to Lincoln with Splash in the advanced intermediate (pictured). He really is a little star, pinging round for a super double clear and to finish in third place. I’m absolutely thrilled for his owner Merna Merrett and we were in good company being beaten by top riders Izzy Taylor and the deserving winner Kitty King.
We are only just into the third week of the season and have been eventing seven days of it. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to ride such super horses and do what I love so consistently.
I’ve just entered Badminton with Boz (I really hope my boy gets in) and sometimes I have to pinch myself as having a yard of such super horses is what I always dreamed of and now it’s a reality.
A Suffolk friend from the early days (15 years ago!) looked at my new lorry, then me sitting on the gorgeous Vinnie and said: “Look how far you’ve come!” It gave me goosebumps and reminded me how lucky I am, but equally how much work and sacrifice has gone into getting here. There’s so much to look forward to and loads still to improve on, so I’ll keep at it and maybe, if I try hard enough, there’ll be an equal amount of improvement in the next 15 years.