Tales from Windsor: ‘My anxiety was through the roof’ — Owner’s disastrous journey to the show ends in triumph

  • While many equestrians use Royal Windsor week as a holiday for some part, one owner had her most stressful experience to date.

    Karen Johnson, owner of Welsh section D stallion Menai Eurostar — who eventually won his class with producer Adam Forster and stood reserve champion in the BSPS Heritage supreme ridden qualifier — set off to the 2021 fixture with plenty of time to spare.

    “We left the yard in Cheshire at 9am as our class was just before 4pm,” explained Karen. “We always leave lots of time as Adam has a set routine for “GB” before his class.

    “About 50 miles into the trip, my lorry — which is new — went into limp mode. We did about 30 mph all the way to Windsor.”

    To make matters worse, GB got his headcollar off during the journey.

    “We heard some commotion in the back but there was no hard shoulder so I had to come off at the next junction,” Karen continued. “Adam went in the back to find GB loose, being his usual comedic self. Once he was tied up again we got back on the motorway, still in limp mode, only to have the engine management and injector warning lights come on. The lorry was getting slower and slower, and we were frantically ringing out to mechanics. The whole journey took us nearly six hours in total. I just thought that this show wasn’t meant to be.”

    Once they arrived in Windsor, Karen realised she’d also made a sat nav error:

    “I’d put Windsor Castle into my sat nav and of course the show doesn’t happen directly inside the castle, so we sat outside the gates thinking ‘now what!’ We could see the minutes on the sat nav going up and up; my anxiety was through the roof.

    “To finish off the comedy of errors, GB had stood on his shoe during the journey and had managed to move it. We finally got in and got sorted with just enough time to make the class, and thankfully, the rest is history.

    “We had to wait for the breakdown cover after the championship and didn’t leave the show ground until a few hours later, so GB ended up returning to his stable at midnight, though he was still bouncing down the yard in his usual way. He had a fabulous day out and he loved the crowds; he thought everyone was there to watch him.”

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