I am really excited to introduce my blog as we prepare for the 2016 Badminton Horse Trials Mitshubishi Cup.
I thought that I would start with a little bit about us. Sara (Donner Sara B) has owned me for nearly six years. I first laid eyes on her at a dressage demo, from prelim to grand prix that a friend of mine was doing. Sara was the prelim horse, and it was love at first sight.
I spent the next six months begging for a ride on the beautiful black mare until one day my friend said that she was going to have to sell her. The next day I was able to try her and the rest, as they say, is history.
Despite being nine-years-old when I bought her five years ago, Sara had spent most of her life in a field and knew less than most four-year-olds. She had never seen a cross-country fence and had only ever been over a few poles.
I work full time as an environmental consultant and have to juggle working full-time and riding. This became even more of a juggling act last year when I was sent to work abroad coming home for just four weeks at a time. However this really did help me focus on which competitions I wanted to attend as the chances were I would not be around the next weekend if I missed one.
Sara and I picked up our first top three finish and first regional final ticket at Cumwinton Horse Trials in August 2014 (it seems like such a long time ago now). In 2015 we managed to secure a few finishes in the ribbons but that second regional final ticket was always just out of reach until my first BE90 win at Hutton-in-the-Forest where we managed to lead from start to finish.
Regional final planning could commence, however work commitments meant that I have to miss the two closest competitions (Bold Heath and Solihull). The only two I could enter were Brooksby and Bishop Burton.
Brooksby was first up, we topped the leaderboard after the dressage and a clear showjumping meant we maintained our position. However a “William Fox-Pitt moment” (where he forgot the course at Burghley last year) across country saw us nearly miss a fence out that we had to go back for and we incurred four time-penalties. This saw us finish second. I’m not ashamed to say that when a friend gave me a hug of congratulations I nearly cried. This meant that we had to withdraw from Bishop Burton but not until I had called the BE office just to double check that I would qualify in second.
Sara is my horse of a lifetime and the journey that we have been on together has been a rollercoaster but getting to Badminton is the biggest riding highlight of my life and I am looking forward to sharing the next couple of months of our journey with you.
Carrie (and Sara)