I’ve just discovered this fab website that filmed Heidi’s cross-country round at Burnham Market Horse Trials where she finished on her dressage score of 26.5. I can’t stop watching her perfect performance.
I love all the UK footage they have on their website so they will probably get a surge of films being bought by my friends. Watching this made me realise Ben (Hobday, Heidi’s rider) is right — it’s time to move up to the next level.
I was trying for ages on my phone to enter Heidi into the intermediate at Richmond Horse Trials but gave up doing it online and rang the entries secretary. I discovered she wasn’t qualified as she’s only done four novices and needs to do five all with clear cross-country. I felt relieved as I text Ben to say they could only do novice at Richmond. I went back to class thinking all admin was finished for the day. No sooner had I sat at my desk and my phone vibrated — a sneaky glance revealed Ben was calling. I ignored it but a text followed.
My teacher let me scurry out of class again so I went back to crouching in the toilets to phone Ben while trying to maintain an air of being a proper owner. He said Heidi would be qualified by then as they were doing a novice in a few days. I was about to say that’s tempting fate assuming she’ll go clear but noise erupted in the corridor so I swiftly drew the call to a close assuring him I’d do it straight away before my cover was blown and he realised what a rookie owner I was squatting on the toilet floor.
However Ben’s predictions were right and I’ve had another exciting week as an owner. Last Saturday the indomitable pair of Ben and Heidi (Aberllanerch High Tide) scooped another first place at novice level at Dalkeith, finishing on their dressage score of 31. Ben’s wife Emma was a very close second finishing on her dressage score of 31.3!
I am very proud of my beautiful mare and can’t believe that she has 22 BE points after only five runs at novice. Sadly I couldn’t go and watch as it was in Scotland, but Ben rang immediately excitedly firing instructions so fast I could barely keep up. The gist of it was to tell the entries secretary at Richmond she was now qualified and to book her into Floors Castle intermediate too. Wow, this adventure is going at such a pace it’s half thrilling and half terrifying.
It was nice to have some down time and get to see Briget and Martin Lyne who came to stay at my mum’s B&B as they are the ones who inspired me to become an owner. They have a horse with Izzy Taylor and sometimes visit when they are en-route to an event in Ireland to watch their 17hh chestnut gelding three-star horse, Briarlands Birdsong compete. I didn’t know much about being an owner until I met them. Bridget’s brother Guy Avis also has a four-star horse with Izzy called KBIS Briarlands Matilda who she rides at Badminton this week. Martin and Briget have been very informative about what being an owner entails and this gave me the confidence to send Heidi to Ben when I was working in London for four months.
It was nice to catch up and tell them how well Heidi was doing. I think Martin was rather impressed when I told him about the gifts Ben sends to his owners. I get parcels in the post with Hobday down jackets and woolly hats.
Ben also always buys me photos at events when Heidi’s placed and if I can’t go I get messages with clips of her dressage and jumping.
I assumed getting your horse competed and schooled by a professional would be extremely expensive and was surprised that it seems to mostly cost about £800 per month and obviously you don’t pay when they come home for the winter. Of course for me it’s a struggle as I’m doing A Levels and only work in the holidays. However I don’t think I’ve wasted money as her journey with Ben has made her progress beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve had offers of £25,000 and £30,000 for her and I wouldn’t have got those before she went to Ben. Also Heidi owes me nothing and although it’s hard to fund I’m hanging in there and luckily Ben lets me pay when I can.
I’ve no idea what level Heidi will get to and she could go lame which would suddenly mean the end of this journey, but for now things are going extremely well. Ben feels she has real potential. He loves her and I get adorable Snapchats of Heidi eating digestives, galloping on the beach or jumping massive showjumps (see video top).
I’m incredibly happy with my clever mare and can’t wait to go to Richmond on Friday, although I’m not sure I’ll have the courage to walk the course. I will let you know in my next blog how they both get on.
P.S. I have an article in Tatler if anyone is interested and it goes on sale this week and has some unusual après eventing information!