Hartpury CDI (16-19 July) was my first senior international. I was hopeful that I’d do well with Abira in the small tour and I was pleased with his results — it gave me a real confidence boost before the Europeans (4–9 August).
I got the only eight in the class from judge Stephen Clarke for submission, which has been rare for Abira in the past. You know you do some tests and you’re just not sure how it looked or what mark you might get? But with that one I knew because he felt spot on. As I was getting towards the end of the test I just kept thinking, ‘stay calm, just five movements to go, don’t mess it up’.
In the big tour my marks weren’t so good, but to be getting around 61% with lots of mistakes isn’t bad. The judge’s comment was ‘your horse likes doing many one-tempis’! Ollie put them in all over the place, down the long-side, in the extended canter, all sorts. He’s not experienced that kind of atmosphere for over two years and maybe I should have done a bit more test practise at home beforehand. That was the first time I’d ridden him without a stick in the arena, too.
Then it was straight to Hickstead. I had planned to ride Nemo while I was at Hartpury, going back and forth to home, but it turned out to be impossible. So he’d had three days off before Hickstead but still managed nearly 68% in the team class with a safe solid test. In the individual test he was cheeky, but I got him back for the freestyle and he managed 71%.
We collected out team kit for the Euros including red, white and blue browbands, and I’ve power-hosed the lorry and am busy packing up ready to go on Friday. Because everyone knows I’m going away, they’ve booked in loads of lessons so I’ve been very busy teaching as well as riding the other horses so they are ready for a small holiday while I’m gone.
It’s about a four-hour drive from us to Dover, then we’ll get the overnight ferry and the venue is about five hours from Calais to Ermelo, the Netherlands. My trot up is on Tuesday and I’ll be back online then to let you know how things are shaping up out there.