First-timer’s Badminton Horse Trials diary: day three

  • I am so pleased with Patris Filius. He has such a big heart and is so genuine. Even when I got things a bit wrong, he kept on jumping for me — I think it’s that bit of pony in him. He proved today that he has got the jump and the stamina to compete at this level — I’ve just got to learn to stay on a bit better!

    I think being a bit young and naive at your first Badminton probably helps. I only watched a couple of riders go round early on as I didn’t want to see any problems that might make me question the plans I had made for us.

    When the time came, it was good to finally get out on the course. Filius jumped great through the lake, but I had a bit of a wobble before the sunken road and decided to take the long route as today was all about getting round.

    I had always planned to go long at the Colt Pond after my dunking at Burghley, but the turns seemed to knock him out of his rhythm and then he just didn’t take me to the hedges at fence 15. It didn’t help that I missed and asked him to go on a stride that he clearly thought was ridiculous! He lost a bit of confidence in me after that and the next few fences come thick and fast. Then he left a leg on the rail on top of the bank and I popped straight out of the side door, which was frustrating.

    After we were reunited he jumped well through the hollow, but the ground under the trees between that and the Shooting Butts was quite soft and he found it hard work. I thought I was going to be in trouble at that point, but when we came out of the trees and back onto the better ground, he picked back up again and by the time we got to the houses we were back on form and he kept on going right through to the finish.

    Today was a real endurance test for Filius, but I think we both learnt a lot from it. Touch wood he seems to be sound and didn’t look tired or stiff when he walked out for a graze this afternoon. Assuming all goes well at the trot-up tomorrow morning, it will be on to the show jumping. But to be honest, who cares about the show jumping?! I just wanted to get round today and I’m determined to enjoy it whatever happens tomorrow.

    Bye for now, Olivia

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