A 3:30am start is Nellie’s biggest challenge yet. Loading “Nutty Nellie” in the dark was never going to be relaxing. However, within 15 minutes she was in, allowing Acco to have a relaxing day at home. Acco would far rather stay at home and eat Nellie’s left over hay than have a day trip as companion!
A glorious 6:30 course walk as the sun rose, made a change from seeing the stars at dusk. An 8:30 dressage gave a very average test, which produced a fair 33.8 but this will need serious work from now until Badminton. A super show jumping round, until the last irritatingly, annoying fence which gave us an expensive 4 penalties. A quick change and by 10am I was in the start box for my cross country. A stiff and technical course for Nellie really made me focus but she was just incredible, a pleasure to ride. The commentator kept repeating, ‘taking a stride out here’ ‘flying that with confidence’ ‘quickly through this’ and ‘nicely through that’ I couldn’t be more proud, she certainly made up for her little strop in the dressage. I was one extremely happy rider crossing the line with 5 seconds to spare!
Finishing on 37.8 we thought there was no chance of a placing only to search results when we arrived home and see she was one of only 4 clear xc inside the time out of a 40 strong section including some ‘real’ past Badminton winners to help secure 8th place!
Oh and not to mention we nearly didn’t get there. Spare parts failed to turn up for our four wheel drive. So back to our lovely friends whom we borrowed the trailer off, this time to ask for a car!!!! At least we didn’t have to use our electricity sparingly! No pressure Nellie we need that first prize at Badminton as Mum needs a new Mitsubishi.
Having being a member of BE for less than a year I am humbled to have brushed shoulders with so many of my childhood heroes. At Larkhill once more we were parked near the amazing lorries of Harry Meade and William Fox-Pitt. However, I was embarrassed when mum told me she’d been chatting to our friendly neighbour – “clue” dressed in bright pink! Apparently mum had suggested that smart lorries weren’t necessary, looking towards our borrowed car and 15 year old trailer. Our lovely neighbour agreed gesturing towards her older red lorry. When mum realised she had been chatting to real Badminton winner Lucinda Fredricks it made her genuine interest in my round all the more meaningful.
Back at home with Badminton looming, training on grass is becoming a vital part of our preparation. So off we trot down the road to a farmer’s flat field… Shhhh don’t tell him! Nutty Nellie lived up to her name once more and decided prematurely it was time to go home. She reared over backwards, and then rolling us both into the mud and galloped 2 miles home down the road. I was more worried about her than my leg that didn’t want to move properly! I was found by a local gardener that had seen Nellie gallop past. He started to give me a lift home until I met a very stressed non horsey Dad who brought me the rest of the way. Nellie, who had been untacked, so Mum could join the search party, was waiting mud covered in the field. Hobbling around I tacked her up and took her gently to the arena, I needed to ensure we finished on a positive note!