Spanish Sunshine Tour: imaginative floor plans and fly swatting

  • A very successful week one of the Spanish Sunshine tour is over and I’m very happy that all the horses have been in the top three in all of their classes. I can’t quite believe it’s gone so well and I’m really proud of the horses.

    Marinetty and I competed in the international prix st georges and did a lovely test to finish second with over 68%, while Ulia has punched well above her weight competing at a new level to come second three times and is learning so fast I can hardly keep up! I think she’ll be out at prix st georges by the end of the year.

    Pegasus MK (pictured top right) did his best ever international grand prix, which was great as his new owner, Jane from Horse Online, came to watch him. He was second with 8s for piaffe, passage and the zig zag to finish on over 68%. I’m particularly pleased with our improved zig zag as I’ve been working on it like mad at home. When we started grand prix it resembled a wasp in a jam jar, as we buzzed frantically from side to side, so I’m very pleased my efforts have paid off as it felt very balanced. He feels on great form — really fit, wanting to show off and is piaffing like a demon.

    Following our successful grand prix, I had a slight geographical moment of madness in the grand prix freestyle. I turned the wrong way and had to do some highly imaginative last-minute moves to get us back on track. We did finish with the music, but my floorplan confused the judges and affected our marks for choreography (which was unsurprising as I was extremely confused myself). Anyway, we came still came third, as his technical score was very good, but I have been kicking myself hard ever since!

    We enjoyed the traditional ‘end of week’ party, which all the dressage competitors attend before starting it all again next week. We were shown a short cut to the village of Vecha by a rather inebriated ‘helper’ a couple of nights ago, but have failed to reproduce the journey, resulting in us getting lost several times for about an hour. This is no mean feat bearing in mind that the village is only 5min away on the long route. I’ve decided to fill Kate [Roland] up with Jack Daniels (her favorite tipple) tonight and to see if it helps her remember the way! Tomorrow we have further reinforcements in the shape of my Mum, Pat, and Chloe Chaplain, who are coming out to help.

    The flies out here are quite bad so most of the competitors have adopted the new sport of ‘international fly swatting’ in our attempts to protect our horses. Andy Murray would be really proud of some of our moves. We have new judges coming out this week (for dressage, not fly swatting) so I hope we can build on our good work from the first week . The few days in between the competitions will give me a chance to build on our weaker bits and polish our strengths.



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