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

  • This week has been quite busy; it appears to have gone in a flash! On Tuesday I had Sport Scotland training with John Ledingham. I took Filius for his first jump since the disaster at Tyrella, so I was a little nervous but he was in fact just wild! He was so happy to be jumping again I could hardly hold him. We didn’t plan on jumping him over any big fences but John had to put up a couple of decent fences to try to get him to concentrate!

    I also took Cool Dancer (Axil), Safehome (Bailey, a two-star horse owned by Kate Hunter), and Lunacruz, a homebred five-year old who I am hoping to start eventing soon. All the horses jumped well; they love the surface at Ingliston Equestrian Centre. I also had two short dressage lessons with David Gatherer-Bailey on Filius. He was still wild — he managed to kick my foot while we were attempting to do a flying change so there is plenty of work to be done before next week, but at least he is back to his cheeky self.

    I think the earlier I arrive at Badminton on Tuesday the better, so Filius has time to settle in and realise he’s at a big event and then hopefully he’ll be on his best behaviour.

    After we arrived home on Tuesday, I thought it would be a good idea to take Mick (Unitivo De Foja) and Fortnight (Fortunesnight) out jumping to Rowallan which is only a 20min drive away, so it was a quick turn around. Both horses jumped really well. Mick was a little bit fresh with a few leaps and bucks as he’s not been out to a competiton for a while.

    We also had a trip down to the gallops this week. Filius was relatively well behaved — he has a habit of just taking off with me (he can go very fast and be very strong!) but he only did it once so I was quite happy with that. I also took the other three that have got three-day events coming up soon (Bailey is heading to Tattersalls CCI**, Axil is doing Tattersalls CCI* and Fortnight is going to Bramham for the under-25s).

    This weekend I’m off to Withington Manor, which is a long way south for us but it’s definitely worth the journey. Axil is doing his first intermediate, Bailey is also competing in the intermediate and Fortnight was going for the under-25s advanced, but he managed to knock his other front leg and has given himself a tiny puncture wound so he isn’t going now. Horses!! Touch wood he’s been fine since he arrived in January and then this week he manages to knock both his front legs in the one week; I think he just didn’t fancy the long trip to Withington! I want him to be 100% for Chatsworth as that is an important one for him.

    Filius is having his last shiatsu massage today (Friday) and he’s been newly shod although my farrier, Nick Deacon, is going to Badminton so he will be on hand if we need him. So that’s Filius nearly ready to go, we just need to survive the next few days! I’m leaving for Badminton on Monday as I’m going via Ian’s [Stark] for some final tuning-up — it will be a quick turn around as we won’t get home from Withington until late on Sunday night.

    I just can’t believe how quickly time is flying by! Thank you all for your lovely messages. I’m sorry I don’t have time to reply to all of them at the moment, but they really do mean a huge amount to me. Hopefully I will have more time after Badminton.

    Bye for now, Olivia

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