Our Badminton Grassroots Blogs this year are brought to you by our Supporter Gemosi. For more information please see the bottom of this post.
After careful consideration and some lively debate between the e-Venting team we are pleased to announce our 2015 Badminton Blogger is Laura Barber who will be competing in the BE90 final on her horse Skyhill Talisman. The number and quality of entries was the best we have seen which meant it was not an easy choice, and there was prolonged discussion between the e-Venting team as to favourites with 4 or 5 in contention at one point! We ultimately choose Laura as she has had an interesting journey en route to qualifying for Badminton which we thought would resonate with a lot of readers.
Now we leave it to Laura to introduce herself and her story:
As this is my first blog for e-Venting I’d just like to start by saying how excited I am to have been selected to fly the flag for the amateurs hoping to compete at the biggest event on the Grassroots stage in the spring!
Just a quick intro on us – my horse, Skyhill Talisman (‘Tally’), is a grey 10yo 17hh KWPN x ISH. He is still a lovely dapple grey which is unusual for his age, but means I can still pass him off as a baby when I need to! I am 26, and work full time in Milton Keynes, purely to fund my lifestyle of eventing & looking after my horses (I also have another horse – Caffrey – who I used to event but is semi-retired now). I got married last year to my long suffering partner Ian, and Caff stole the show as the surprise guest!
Tally was a big challenge to start with as he was the first youngster I’d ever ridden, and the wheels quickly fell off jumping when I wasn’t giving him the confidence he needed – after 7 years of jumping a double clear machine I quickly discovered that I’d never actually learned to use my legs properly!! At our lowest point we couldn’t even walk over a pole on the floor, and I regularly wondered if we’d ever get anywhere.
Fortunately I had a brilliant support structure – we took our time, persevered, moved yards so we could have access to regular facilities, and after 2 years he started to resemble something like an event horse. We managed a few events before Tally started working his way through the veterinary textbook, meaning we didn’t get a full season until 2013. He progressed relatively quickly up from BE80 to BE100, although getting 3 phases right in one day consistently remains a challenge!
2014 was a particular rollercoaster year as Tally fractured his splint bone in May, two weeks before I developed Labyrinthitis, meaning we both had the entire summer off. Tally was fixed after box rest & rehab, but I have been left with a permanent inner ear problem, meaning I am constantly off balance and it makes day to day life quite hard. Getting back on a horse was a massive achievement, and I’ve learned never to take a single day that you feel well for granted!!
Our first event back was the BE90 regional final at MK3 – not exactly ideal, but against the odds & total lack of preparation, we managed to qualify for Badminton by finishing on our 25.5 dressage and coming 5th (just – phew!). I took the pressure off and decided just to enjoy being back in the saddle, and it did the trick!
With 2015 in mind I’m focusing on 3 main goals – to finish the season happy & healthy; get to Badminton in the best state possible and perform at our best; and hopefully to progress up to Novice later in the year. We will start our campaign at Isleham in just a few weeks’ time (eek!) – I’ve never been before but thought we should go to a new venue & hopefully the ground will be good. I head off on honeymoon to New Zealand at the end of March so my pre-Badminton runs will be rather limited, but the ‘less is more’ has worked for me before so I’m hoping it can again!
I hope you enjoy reading about our preparations (please find us on twitter too – lac_88), and good luck to you all for this season with your horses.
This post was bought to you by Gemosi who make beautiful products such as this beautiful Gemosi Harmony Horse Hair Bracelet . Please take the time to visit our supporters to see what they can offer you as without them we wouldn’t be able to to run e-Venting.