Well what a weird spring! Trying not to be miserable about the endless COLD and SNOW – I hate snow at the best of times but this is becoming a joke!
Joe (JJ Malone) had been entered for his second 90 of the season at Swalcliffe but this was abandoned due to the Weather. (To be honest last time we went there at their first ever event, it was so boggy Joe overreached really badly so I wasn’t overly upset that they cancelled).
Great Witchingham was next with Mo. David and Maggie Sayer and their team soldiered on and ran in spite of the conditions, (although even THEY had to concede defeat on day 3 because of snow cover). We took Mo to do the BE100 on the Friday. I often go on my own but this time my friend Lyn came along – she rides Mo quite a lot so has a vested interested in making sure I am doing the Right Thing when we’re out. Great Witch is a 3 hour drive from here and at about the 1 hour point, Lyn said “exactly where ARE we going?” she thought it was just outside Cambridge … oooerrr I didn’t like to break the news to her … two hours later we arrived!
Well we have NEVER been so COLD at an event … frozen fingers, bitter wind, and struggling above all to keep Mo warm. It was a relief to get going and in spite of the muddy track in the dressage arena we scored a creditable 33.5. We had time to walk the course after dressage and only one fence had been removed from the XC which was the one after the water. We show jumped at about 4.30pm and had one pole down (my fault again MUST learn to sit and wait) then went XC at about 5.40pm. My family will tell you I have recurring nightmares about being late for events and having to go XC in the dark (obviously because I am generally late.) Well this was nearly it. As I warmed up for XC and watched the cars driving round with headlights on I was worried about whether my 18yo Mo’s eyesight was good enough to see the fences clearly! My fears were soon allayed as he stormed round clear, only looking at the white crossed flags in front of the other fences which stood out like beacons in the fading light. We ended up 8th … yay!!! It was so weird having prizegiving when it was dark outside ! Claire was 2nd on Jenga too!… excellent!
On 18th March the entries opened for Badminton Grassroots. Woohoo! I entered Mo and Joe and paid for their stabling and started to make plans for who will be coming, where they will be staying, how much wine to take, etc. So exciting!
Anyway, back to real life … next up Burnham Market International … one of my favourite events, I love the north Norfolk countryside and this event hosts the FEI classes which is fun to be amongst. It is another 3 hour journey but because I couldn’t get up, I was 30 minutes late leaving and so 30 minutes late all day really. This time Lyn couldn’t come (she was looking after the horses at home) so I was on my own but I was parked next to and in front of good friends, Claire Fielding and Jane Jarvis so there was plenty of banter all day. You have to be really organised to go on your own, making sure everything is prepared in advance, and readily accessible. In spite of his reduced warm up (!) Mo scored another 33.5 in the dressage and I knew he could have been lots better so that was good.
The SJ was on the all weather arena to save the main ring for the big boys the next day. They were running quite late and there were stacks of horses waiting, all crowding round the whiteboard and trying to keep warm. When I looked, my number wasn’t even down which highlighted that a whole section had been missed off, so I left the ring stewards frantically redoing the numbers whilst I sauntered off to get Mo. Obviously, given the delay, I was quite laid back getting ready but when I got over there I only had 3 to go ….. aaarrghh …. QUICK … jump the X … then again, then the straight (bit high, never mind) then the oxer …. ok ok I’m ready ….. all was well, Mo jumped a lovely clear. Yay! I LOVE it when we are clear show jumping, probably because it just doesn’t happen often enough and I know it is my weakest phase. We have worked so hard at it this winter.
In both our previous events I had notched up some time faults XC but this time with the excellent conditions I was determined not to. My friend Caroline (Jenks) was in the warm up with me and made some comment about what a large bottom !!! Crikey! “Me or the horse?” I called as I cantered towards the practice jump … that made us laugh and then it was my time to go. (Btw I think she meant the horse!!!) I did have my foot down, but he jumped really well and we finished inside the time and were 4th! Lovely. Ah I love the relaxed aftermath of an event. In spite of the sunshine it was still bitterly cold but Mo was sheltered from the wind tied up by the lorry with his haynet. I gave him his warm Slobbermash (part of our strategy to get him to eat and take fluid – I bring along a hot flask to make it) and then put him away and went shopping with Harvey (Skelton) and Claire.
We visited the EHOA tent with our wristbands and had some lovely soup and tea then off to our favourite Jack’s Snacks for the Newmarket Sausage and tea (milk in first) We did the Standing By The Scoreboard thing, that we all do when there’s a possibility of a place and chatting to Jane (Jarvis) she made me laugh recounting her journey to the event where she (in her well used and loved horsebox) had been following the fabulous Headley Stud lorry which had stayed on the M11 while she peeled off onto the A11 for the route she knew well. Well, she said, Game On … lets see who gets there first! Ha ha… imagine Jane’s delight when a good 20 mins after they arrived, in rolled the Headley Stud box! (I didn’t like to dampen her euphoria by suggesting they had probably stopped for a Full English at the Little Chef in Kings Lynn) 🙂
We were 4th! Yay! So pleased. Claire’s Troublesome II (April) was 7th in her section) .
So next up is South of England. Joe is entered there in the 100 which I wasn’t sure about given that he missed his 2nd 90 run at Swalcliffe. He is feeling fit and well however, so we are going to go for it! Then Hambleden with Joe and Milton Keynes with Mo then BADMINTON! 🙂