So I was hoping to fill this blog with lovely photos of Blue and myself competing at Aston le walls and Tweseldown, but yet again the good old British weather got the better of us. After being balloted out of the BE at Aston I entered their unaffiliated competition on the following Monday. Only for it to be abandoned, the same as Moreton and the actual BE at Aston, so I was never going to get my first run out which ever event I choose. I seem to be spending longer and longer trying to work out what we are entering to keep us on course for Badminton. I’m trying hard to keep it all as normal as possible but doubts as to whether I’m doing enough or not are forever in my thoughts!
My next event was at Tweseldown, I was entered on the Sunday in the BE90 class. On the Thursday afternoon I had got finished early on the farm so thought I would nip up, quickly in the car, to Tweseldown and familiarise myself as to where everything was and walk the course. It was a beautiful day and the courses, for all the levels, looked amazing and were presented beautifully. There were a lot of professionals and Rio Olympic riders there competing and I stood and watched many of our top Eventers warm up and do there rounds. I think eventing must be one of only a few sports in the world where we are lucky enough to get close enough to watch, listen and even compete against the top proffesionals in our sport. Can you imagine being able to play tennis with Andy Murray or drive a car round the track with Lewis Hamilton!
I returned home full of enthusiasm and excitement for the fast approaching Sunday, I loaded the lorry with everything bar the kitchen sink and then double checked again that everything was present and correct! I washed, trimmed and plaited Blue, had I known what the next 24hrs weather had in store for us, I wouldn’t have bothered! I had later times so it was a pleasant alarm Sunday morning and then we headed up the M3 to Tweseldown, the closer I got the faster my windscreen wipers had to go, but the ground at Tweseldown is very sandy and generally has great going so I was still quite positive about our day ahead.
I parked up and walked down to collect my numbers, the rain was pretty heavy and relentless. By the time I got back to lorry I was wet through one coat, anyway I got tacked up, studded up and went to warm up before our dressage slot, hoof oil definitely wasn’t required. She warmed up nicely and we did a good test in very wet and muddy conditions. After tucking her up in the lorry I went to walk the Xc course and the show jumping. By this stage I was having quite a job staying up right in my wellies and doubts started entering my head if this was a good idea. I walked by the show jumping to get to the start of the Cross country and it was getting pretty cut up and slippy. After walking the Xc and doing all my minute markers with the Crosscountry App, I had come to the decision to withdraw and save her legs for another day. Even though we had the 3rd highest dressage score in our section of 30.8% and the fact that I am desperate to get going again sometimes it’s braver to say no than to carry on!
Previously, at the end of Blues first year of Eventing, I entered Alton BE100 on arrival my lorry was towed in by a tractor. I shouldn’t have even put the ramp down! But I made the mistake of continuing, in bad weather and ground. After getting a good dressage score I thought I better continue, so started to warm up for show jumping when we slipped and ploughed through the practice fence. After that Blue lost her confidence and we got eliminated in the show jumping, it took me some time to get her back to normal, so I now listen to my first instincts however frustrating it is!
Typically the following week we had a lovely week weatherwise, even that golden thing in the sky made an appearance for a couple of days. Some friends said the ground had dried at Tweseldown and that the course had been left open and flagged, so on the Friday I loaded Blue and we set off again up the M3. I tacked up and studded up as if we were doing a normal BE, I warmed up like normal and then walked through the start gates a few times and then set off with my minute markers in mind, at competition speed. We did the same course I would have done on the Sunday, she went like a dream and flew round, I was especially happy with her fitness after the finish, she wasn’t really that sweaty and returned to her normal breathing pretty quickly. Unlike me who had eyes streaming, nose running and a burning face that resembled a beetroot! I must remember my £2.99 clear safety glasses that I wore quite a few times last year whilst competing, I knicked the idea from a good friend of mine who was wearing some at BE one day, if your like me and find your eyes water whilst you travel at speed I can highly recommended wearing these.
I have now re-routed to Howick BE to try and get my first BE under my belt, I’m going to do a Sun dance and hope that doesn’t get rained off as well or I will start to panic! I have kept up my flat work training and show jumping in the school and have been doing my fast and hill work out on the forest, which is very wet and muddy!
This week I have been to West Wilts competing in percentage dressage, I thought I would pick the Mitsubishi Cup dressage test BE94 so I could get a feel for it and find out what parts need to be worked on, as you don’t get to do this test any other time. So I entered twice, it went ok, it’s a long way down that centre line in a long arena! I now have plenty to correct and tweak, we picked up a 1st and 2nd place but considering there were only two other competitors in my class it doesn’t really count.
Dressage at West Wilts
My tummy flipped on Monday not only did I have to wave my youngest son, Will, off on a week long school trip to the Isle of Wight, but also the entries opened for the Mitsubishi Cup! On return from dropping Will off I sat down and done my entry, checking I filled it all in correctly, that was it we are entered and going to Badminton!!! I keep reading all the posts and updates on social media and the Mitsubishi Cup web page, which I saw already had who the course walks are with this year, which I will definitely being doing. I’m eagarley awaiting my pack that British Eventing have released for all qualified riders going to the Mitsubishi Cup at Badminton in relation to horse and rider fitness and prepping for the big day!
I have a few busy weeks ahead with combined training this weekend, SJ lesson next week and fingers crossed a BE the following weekend. I’m also doing some dressage writing at the Portman BE, so any of my friends competing, big smiles please down the centre line xx