The adventures of Hero, Heidi and Hobday: half thrilling and half terrifying

Eventing videos 69 Videos 'It has been a long time coming': rider returns to win back Blenheim title after 16-year gap 00:36 Blenheim win for Christopher Burton by narrowest of margins 00:51 'He pricked his ears and kept going': Julia Krajewski heads Blenheim CCI3* with Pippa Funnell best of the Brits 02:37 'You have to use your head': top riders share their thoughts on Blenheim's cross-country tracks 01:35 'He is a real showman': Izzy Taylor springs into Blenheim Event Rider Masters' lead 02:37 ‘We really have to work for it’: Germany edge ahead at Blenheim CCI3* 03:01 Switching disciplines: former showjumper in the lead at Blenheim 01:10 All eyes on Tokyo 2020: meet the team behind Britain’s renewed eventing success 01:26 Ever wondered what it takes to be a doctor at Burghley? Watch this video to find out… 01:43 'It's effort after effort': top riders share their thoughts on the 2017 Burghley cross-country course 03:45 What do Zara Tindall, Mark Todd and Harry Meade make of the 2017 Burghley course? 03:47 Burghley Paws Trials: top dogs take on four-star track 02:37 Training with Toddy for ‘surprise’ Burghley entry 01:00 'It was pure fun': nail-biting finish to cross-country at Badminton 01:27 Shock result on final day of Badminton: record-breaker takes emotional victory 02:40 History made at Bramham as first Japanese rider takes CCI3* title: disappointment for overnight leader 00:49 'That was nerve-wracking!': Will Furlong takes Bramham under-25 title on dramatic final day 00:53 'I'm chuffed to bits': Izzy Taylor speeds to Bramham CIC3* victory 00:48 'She's so gutsy': Will Furlong takes commanding lead in Bramham under-25 00:35 'I couldn't ride at all last week': Paul Tapner leads Bramham CIC3* 00:41 Emily King best of the Brits in Bramham under-25: French dominate 01:18 'She's a little star but also hysterical': Gemma Tattersall has commanding CCI3* dressage lead at Bramham 00:50 H&H Champs: 'I held my breath' — islander takes 80cm spoils 00:54 H&H Champs: 'I've felt sick all day' — rider fights off nerves to secure 90cm victory 00:55 H&H Champs: catch ride rewarded after 15 hour journey 01:05 H&H Champs: 90cm class goes down to the wire on cross-country day 01:35 H&H Champs: 'cheeky' Fergus springs into the lead 01:40 H&H Champs: Super Szuca posts personal best to take the lead 03:00 Event Rider Masters at Chatsworth: 13-14 May 02:29 Danielle Dunn's Badminton first-timer blog: it didn't quite go to plan 01:16 'The biggest Badminton I've ever seen': riders' first reaction to the cross-country course 02:41 'I can't believe it': Burghley winner leads the way at Badminton 01:01 Frenchman leads the way at Badminton dressage: popular British combination withdrawn 01:26 Danielle Dunn's Badminton first-timer blog: the cross-country is one thing, but first I have to survive the dressage 02:14 France and Germany dominate on day one of Badminton dressage: first-timers are best Brits 00:55 Mark Todd aims for fifth Badminton victory: 'I don't have any plans to stop eventing' 01:00 The adventures of Hero, Heidi and Hobday: half thrilling and half terrifying 00:58 Kirsty Short's Badminton first-timer blog: Badminton's cross-country course looks right up our street, but will we or won't we? 00:26 Badminton first-timers: Lydia Hannon — ‘I owe this horse everything’ 02:30 Kirsty Short's Badminton first-timer blog: so near, yet so far away 01:25 BE JAS final at Hartpury: 19 February 3:59:06 Watch an event rider jump through the VIP hospitality tent 02:46 Ride around Burghley Horse Trials with William Fox-Pitt *HATCAM* 09:44 Ben Way's Burghley blog: It sounded like the apocalypse 02:54 Ben Way's Burghley blog: I need to change my name from Ben to Bettina 03:50 Walk the Burghley Horse Trials cross-country course with designer Mark Phillips 23:06 William Fox-Pitt walks the Burghley course: ‘There’s no point flapping and hoping’ 03:55 3, 2, 1, GO! Explore the 2016 Burghley cross-country course exclusively with free runners 02:56 Riders' first reactions to the 2016 Badminton cross-country course 03:06 Ian Stark walks the toughest fences at Badminton Horse Trials 2016 03:31 Walk the Badminton 2016 cross-country course 21:51 Lucinda Green: how to string cross-country fences together with a young horse 04:50 Lucinda Green: How to tackle coffins 04:13 Tim Price’s top tips for your first cross-country school of the year 01:33 ‘Repetition is key’ — Jonelle Price’s top tips for solving cross-country problems 01:31 What is day-to-day life like on Piggy French's yard? 04:44 Jonelle Price: I'm a bit of a thrill-seeker really 01:31 Tim Price: the scariest thing I've ever done 01:32 Caring for your horse's legs after cross-country: what you need to know 03:00 Ruth Edge: How to ride the perfect 10m circle 01:18 Harry Meade: ‘Life is about challenges — we don’t know what’s ahead of us' 02:54 Walk the 2015 Burghley cross-country course with Blyth Tait 03:34 How to fall off a horse as safely as possible 00:12 Yogi Breisner: How to jump a sunken road on a cross-country course 03:32 Yogi Breisner: How to jump ditch combinations on a cross-country course 02:09 Yogi Breisner: How to ride ditches 02:42 Yogi Breisner: How to ride safe turns across country 02:10 Yogi Breisner: How to tackle water when riding cross-country 02:16 Yogi Breisner: How to use your horse's gears while riding cross-country 01:33

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!

Ben and Heidi in the show jumping at Dalkeith

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.

Briget, me and Martin

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.

Continued below…

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.

Hero x

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!