I tried to enjoy the dressage as much as possible at Badminton, but that was quite hard when Al was waving his feet at the judges before I had even started!
Thankfully he calmed down and the judges were really kind and gave me an extra few second before ringing the bell.
This gave me enough time to canter around on the other rein, and compose myself before cantering up the centre line.
Under the circumstances I was very satisfied with my test and thrilled with my mark of 54.2. There were some mistakes though, so there’s still room for improvement.
I felt I had arrived big time when after my test I was sent straight to the media tent to be interviewed by the Horse & Hound team and I signed my 1st autograph.
After my test I walked the course for the 3rd time — this time with Gill Watson and another first-timer Harry Dzenis.
It gave me confidence to hear Gill’s advice which confirmed my already chosen routes.
It is a big and bold course which needs to be positively ridden and attacked from the word go.
Then it was a quick change and onto the drinks reception at Badminton House, which was quite an experience. This was followed by the bar at the lake — there seemed to be more competitors down there and a great party atmosphere.
Today (Friday) I will be giving Al a canter and a jump and he will be led out to grass a couple of times. I will be wheeling the course and might venture out to the shops as well.
My next update will be after tomorrow’s cross-country so wish me luck!
Don’t miss the full 24-page report on Badminton in next week’s Horse & Hound magazine (15 May 2014)