Blog 5: The lead up to Badminton Grassroots!
Well I left the last post saying we were heading off to Ascott Under Wychwood the following weekend, however it rained (again) and then was cancelled .. It was such a shame and I feel very sorry for all the organisers who have put weeks of work into prepping an event for them to have to cancel it, but realistically it is the sensible option.
So instead we decided we would go show jumping .. With all the eventing being cancelled I have become #eventerturnedshowjumper! We had a great choice of affiliated competitions that weekend but we decided to go to Felbridge. I jumped Punch in the 1.05 open and he was super! He gave me a great ride and felt really confident. I did some tight turns too (even though mum said I shouldn't 'go mad') and Punch loved it! I then jumped Lily in the Newcomers, we had the most ghastly warm up when someone cut me up and crashed into me. Then I was jumping a big upright when a horse decided to rear and spin right behind it. However I was past the point of being able to pull out. She jumped it in front but never really took off behind and got the pole stuck under her legs. After that she was really worried of the other horses and was jumping huge! However she went in and was an absolute superstar! She was flying and I was so confident in her. We jumped a double clear and it was good enough for 2nd! I have since got my Newcomers Double Clears conformation letter - but with the first round at a max. 1.25m I think I may pass for this year!!
The following weekend Coco was meant to be at Hambledon - which ran under fab conditions from everyones tweets and pictures. However Coco managed to overeach in the field and bruise a heel so we didnt dare risk running him incase there was something more serious there (Thankfully there wasn't) so an event that actually ran and I couldn't go. However my horse is still in one piece so I can't complain!
Last Wednesday we headed to Hickstead with all the horses for some Dressage practice. I was practicing my Badminton test on Punch, and my friend Nathalie George and her horse Law Enforcer (AKA Bobby) were running through the same test as they are in the BE100 2012 Final! They both went really well and we managed to finish on the same score of 68.5% which I was really pleased with, especially considering I am never normally anywhere near Bobby in terms of marks.
Mum rode Lily in the Prelim and did really well - gaining a 3rd placing in a big section with over 64%. I rode Lily in the Novice and she was feeling really good. She got a bit tired towards the end in the canter but generally tried really hard. She got 65% and was 5th. Liz also did the same Novice test on Coco. She kept him lovely and relaxed and got a fantastic 68% for 4th. She has only ridden him about 5 times and done very little canter so it really was rather good!! Then I did the Elementary on Coco. He went beautifully as Liz had got him all relaxed and soft, so I was able to collect him up and get him working from behind but yet into a soft frame. He scored 66% and won by 7 marks! So it was a great outing and good practice for all of the horses and me!!
Finally this weekend was eventing time again. We took Punch to Farnham Town Show to show jump on grass on Saturday. If you need to have a jump on grass its a great place to go (it was a BSJA Show) and I think they hire it out too. They were friendly and the atmosphere was really relaxed. Punch jumped H/C in the Discovery but jumped a great, confident double clear which is just what we both needed!
Yesterday we headed off to Chilham with Lily in the BE100 and Coco in the Open Novice. Lily was a bit tense and excited in her dressage but held it together for a fair mark of 32.5, which was 8th after dressage. She then jumped a slightly wild show jumping round (I think she was very pleased to be out on grass again) but it was clear none the less. Cross country she was awesome. She absolutely flew round and made nothing of it but got a little on her forehand towards the end where she still lacks a bit of balance when shes tired but other than that I couldn't fault her. She got 5 time faults but I didn't go very fast as she didn't need to rush round. Despite that she was still 6th so two events for her and two placings!
Coco also did a really lovely test apart from when the sheep decided to sabotage our free walk - he couldn't work out what they were, so stopped for a look! He got a harsh 32 - but the judguing seemed a little eratic and apart from one 21.5. Most people were between 30 and 35! He then flew round the show jumping and was unlucky to touch one behind - which fell really late! But it was just one of those things and was probably the smallest fence on the course. I was testing a new bit cross country and it was perfect! He was such a dude and ate up the course - popping round beautifully. He was slightly cross as I wouldn't let him go too fast having missed a little bit of prep work. So we had 13 time faults but I felt so confident which is great as in just over a weeks time we are off to Aston for our first Intermediate (eep!)
Meanwhile Punch is off to Badminton Grassroots on Wednesday and I am really rather excited now! He is feeling fab and a huge thank you to all Simple Systems help with what to feed him after he had colic just after christmas. He is still in one piece now so just 2 more days to keep him that way! The course looks amazing and I can't wait to be going through the lake at Badminton .. Although this is just my warm up for when I do the proper thing in a few years time!!
I can't finish without saying what a true Master of the Sport Andrew Nicholson is - having just watched his cross country round and Kentucky, all I can say is Wow! Made it look like pony club!! He has also done a fantastic job to ensure that Badminton 2013 is going to make up for the 2012 cancellation. We have a head to head between old rivals William Fox-Pitt and Andrew Nicholson to head the Rolex Grandslam! We have the reining World, Olympic and European Champion bringing two horses and not to mention the whole of last years British Team and the Olympic Bronze medallist. What a competition it is going to be!!