‘She’s been on box-rest for two weeks’: mare brushes off disrupted preparation to complete Badminton

  • Becky Heappey (née Woolven) was overjoyed to complete Badminton Horse Trials for the first time, having endured a torturous preparation. She only knew for certain that she was going on the eve of the event, which is presented by Mars Equestrian.

    The 16-year-old mare pulled a muscle in her back in the field a fortnight before the event.

    “We very nearly withdrew – we only decided to come on the Tuesday afternoon before the event started,” said the Gloucestershire rider. “We gave her a quick bath and then came! We didn’t know how she’d go in the first trot-up let alone the last one.

    “She’s been on box-rest and hand-walked for two weeks, and you never know what that does to their fitness and preparation, so bless her she was pretty fresh in the dressage.

    “And then setting out cross-country I just didn’t know what I was going to have in the tank. I was quite conservative and in hindsight I thought I wish I’d gone quicker, as she felt good at the end, but then if I’d gone quicker I might not have got to the end. She felt unreal from start to finish.

    “She’s a wonderful natured mare, she just took it all in her stride,” added Becky, who juggles her eventing career with bringing up her 19-month-old toddler Milly. “You’d never have known she hadn’t jumped for weeks, and we didn’t get to run through our dressage test.”

    Becky Heappey has already completed Luhmühlen and Pau CCI5*s with Julie Record’s mare. The rider had previously tackled Badminton three times without completing – on Charlton Down Riverdance, so it was a relief to finish this time, despite knocking three down on the final day.

    “Bless her, she jumped really well round most of it, then tapped three and they all came down,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for more. She’s not a spring chicken so I’m really pleased with her.”

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