First-timer’s countdown to Badminton: 23 days to go

  • Meet H&H Online’s diarist, Olivia Haddow

    Well, we are back from Tyrella in Northern Ireland and I’m pleased to report that Patris Filius has decided that the eventing season has now officially started and that it is time for him to get his act together!

    He has gone some way to make up for his interesting (!) first outing at Lincoln, by finishing 10th in the advanced intermediate on Saturday.

    Despite travelling to Tyrella the previous weekend, we somehow managed to get lost on the way, but even with that and the ferry to contend with, it took us less than 2hrs to get there.

    The event is right on the coast — literally, there is just a fence between the course and the beach. Luckily the weather was much better than the previous weekend when we had to contend with a howling gale and snow! The ground is so sandy that the event is able to run regardless of the weather, which is vital when you need those all-important runs prior to a big competition like Badminton.

    I gave Filius a school on Friday and he was very well behaved. Then I walked the cross-country course with Ian [Stark] and was pleased to see a testing water jump at fence 4; a good-sized drop into water followed by a skinny angled brush on the way out. The rest of the course was quite decent but not too technical.

    We had an early start on Saturday morning but the rest of the day was quite relaxed. They do things a bit differently in Ireland; you get a dressage time, then a start time for the cross-country and a block time for the show jumping, so you can just turn up and go whenever suits.

    We managed a much better dressage test than at Lincoln, although I was a bit disappointed with our score of 58.1. There is definitely still room for improvement before Badminton. Normally his medium and extended trots are his party piece but they didn’t score that well this time.

    He flew round the cross-country clear inside the time. We started quite cautiously as I was aware of fence 4 and didn’t want a repeat of Burghley [when Filius jumped so boldly into the water that he unseated Olivia], but he jumped through on the straight route like a pro and cantered round the rest of course inside the time, so job done.

    After the cross-country we were lying third, but as is so often the case, it was the show jumping that proved our downfall. I have learnt to live with it, but there have been so many events that we could have won if he could just jump a clear round. It started well but all went wrong in the combinations. Normally it’s the single fences we fault at, but that’s horses for you.

    So now it’s fingers crossed that everything goes according to plan at our final run before Badminton back at Tyrella in the CIC*** this weekend. It’s getting quite scary now. I don’t like thinking about how close the big day is getting.

    Here’s hoping that it all goes smoothly and that we survive it!

    Bye for now, Olivia

    View Badminton Horse Trials gallery 2007

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