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Will Rawlin’s Badminton first-timer blog: a lesson learnt

It seemed a bit surreal that the season had started again and on Thursday last week when my alarm went off at 3.30am so that we could head off to Twesledown. V.I.P Vinnie (my Badminton ride) and The Partner were in the open intermediate, with a planned schooling run and getting rid of any excitement.

Considering all the rain that we have had, the course to walk really wasn’t too bad for what I wanted to achieve. Unfortunately, the weather we had that day was not what was forecast and the rain was relentless. This made for not much fun for anyone; riders, organisers, grooms and horses! It was a case of getting the job done and both my horses did just that.

The Partner was up first and I was pleased at how relaxed he was in the warm-up, as he is one to get tense and anxious. In the test he didn’t do anything obviously wrong but was a little tense, which wasn’t helped by the cross-country tannoy starting as he went up the centre line! He was one of the first to showjump and jumped a mega round, making it feel very easy (see video below).

V.I.P Vinnie was well-behaved for him in the warm-up. He can be one for throwing all sorts of shapes and getting over-excited the first time out. His test was good enough but nothing to write home about. Again, he jumped a super clear round in the showjumping, but sadly for both it was as far as the competition went. Tweseldown had to abandon all further competition, which was really gutting for all involved.

I had been in two minds whether to run cross-country or not. Both horses have another run in a couple of weeks and I eventually decided to withdraw. Having done this, I spoke to someone I really respect and they were running their Badminton horses — this made me doubt my decision. Having thought about this since, I realise it is important to make your own decisions. No one else has your horses, rides like you, or has your training programme, so stick to your gut instinct and be content with your decision! Luckily for me, on this occasion I didn’t have to make the decision. Lesson Learnt!

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Training seems so much easier now we have lighter mornings and evenings. The sunny days certainly lift everyone’s moods and suddenly the drudge of winter doesn’t seem so bad! Let’s hope we now have some sunny, dry competitions and a happy spring.

Will

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