Lauren Shannon’s blog: a weekend of woes

  • Where do I start in describing my weekend of woes?

    I headed off to Somerford Park on Saturday to contest the CIC* with the Watling JCB-owned Crunchie and a BE100 with Arthur plus a couple student’s horses.

    Everything was going great, we were happily trundling along the A50 when the truck sputtered and stopped. I had no clue what had gone wrong, until I was kindly informed by an owner (who came to rescue us and the horses) that I had put unleaded petrol in the diesel truck! Don’t ask me how I did it — I even moved a pump along at the fuelling station as I didn’t want to use the “expensive” unleaded!

    Clue some very colourful language from myself and a quick call to Somerford to say we were going to be a bit late. My saint of an owner/mechanic Andrew managed to get us on the road fairly quickly and we eventually made it to Somerford.

    It was too late to run the BE100 horses, but Somerford kindly fitted them into withdrawal spaces on Sunday. Crunchie did managed to get a run in the CIC, and she didn’t disappoint, doing a personal best in her test to lie second after dressage on 39.5!

    We headed back to Somerford on Sunday, where both my students did well in the BE100, and Crunchie flew round the show jumping clear. I was confident going into cross-country as she has now contested three intermediates and a CCI* this year, so her cross-country is very straightforward.

    We set out the start box and jumped the first two fences before heading down a hill into a wood. At the bottom of the hill the wood ends with a dirt road running alongside the wood. Both the road crossing attendants were sat on the left side of the road in high-vis jackets and there was a car moving down the road from the right with its lights on (it was a very dark afternoon). Unfortunately Crunchie caught sight of the car as she came out the wood, slipped and fell straight onto her right side! Luckily neither Crunchie or myself were hurt.

    It was a horrible moment and really bad luck, but I can’t help thinking if the car had been stopped farther away from the course with its lights off, and there had been an attendant either side of the road, things may have been different.

    Crunchie was well on her way to a top three finish at Somerford, and for a six-year-old that is pretty good! It would have helped secure our selection for six-year-old championships at Le Lion, and although the mare is already qualified, I am no longer sure she will be selected to go. Mostly, I am just really upset that the horse had a nasty experience and that her owners had to leave the event with a sour taste in their mouths.

    I submitted a complaint through the correct channels on Monday, and while I feel BE has done well in its communication with Somerford, the TD and the FEI, there is nothing that can be done after the fact. I must now wait and hope this very competitive mare will still get a chance to shine this year at Le Lion as we had hoped!


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