Laura Tomlinson: ‘What happened was totally unnecessary’ *H&H Plus*


  • Laura Tomlinson on paperwork headaches and a late start to the season

    SINCE last writing my column, I have travelled to two international competitions with my up-and-coming grand prix horse Fallatjin. The first was in Belgium at the end of April, the second here in the UK. The latter was, of course, far easier, so thank you to all involved in putting on the CDI3* at Wellington earlier this month.

    For our trip to Belgium, we had decided to offer Emile Faurie’s horses a lift on the lorry as I only had the one horse travelling. To cut a long story short, my horse arrived in Belgium after over 17 hours of travelling (instead of the intended 11), while Emile’s were left in Calais.

    Luckily “Finn” arrived at the show still in very good nick, despite having gone from having travelling buddies to then suddenly being on his own, and dealing with an abnormally long journey – thank you to my very diligent groom.

    Gareth Hughes had smugly left ahead of us and, on arrival, he jokingly said to me, “That’s one way to get rid of the competition.” Very true Gareth!

    Poor Emile, whose paperwork was all correct, was forced to miss out on his first CDI of the season, and also had the headache of having to have his horses picked up from Calais while my horse was also made to wait for seven hours.

    This was all because the border control staff in Folkestone pulled out the wrong paper from Emile’s horses’ carnets, and the French on the other side would not accept anything, no matter what was sent electronically.

    I know a lot has been said on this matter already, but I must say that for the sake of the horses and the poor grooms travelling with them, I do hope that these border issues are resolved soon.

    There was nothing resembling “horse welfare” in the way our horses were dealt with in Calais, especially considering all of them still had a long way to travel, whether to Belgium or back home.

    They were the right horses with the correct paperwork, and what happened was totally unnecessary. But it was great that Emile went on to have a very good show at Wellington.

    Spectacular – with a side of over-enthusiasm

    FINN has benefited from some great experiences in the ring, though he will need a few more before settling fully and being relaxed enough to show his full potential.

    A few comments from the judges on my sheet from Wellington read “over exaggerated”, which I took to mean “spectacular” – just with a portion too much enthusiasm! Finn does feel remarkably like a young, bouncy Mistral Højris, my Olympic medallist, and I am very excited about him.

    In the meantime, I am also delighted that I will finally start my campaign for this year with my top horse, Rose Of Bavaria. Unfortunately, she has had some major delays; just as we started to come out of lockdown we decided to give the horses EHV vaccines, due to the equine herpes outbreak in Europe, but “Betty” was not well after the second.

    It’s been frustrating watching everyone else finally getting out and about, while I have had to be patient (not my strong point). But finally we are fit and will be travelling out to Compiègne in France this week, hopefully with a smoother journey than we had to Belgium. Emile is travelling to Compiègne too, but we will try our luck separately this time.

    You can also read this report in the 27 May issue of Horse & Hound magazine.

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