We did drive home in a Mitsubishi, but alas it was not the top prize of the promised new Mitsubishi car. We sure could do with something more reliable than our old rather less than faithful Mitsubishi that we have now! The day started with an impressive second best dressage of 27.6 in an 80 plus strong field. Unusually we had a pole down in the showjumping, but even so it was now starting to dawn on me that Nellie and I might be able to pull off the equine equivalent of Leicester City!
After the showjumping we regrouped back at our old 4×4 and ageing trailer which was sandwiched between the usual impressive horse lorries. Spottie, Nellie’s travelling buddy was waiting patiently, and would help keep her relaxed, allowing us to get her ready for the next phase….plaits out grease on. The course was cleverly designed and feed back confirmed it was causing difficulties to even the most experienced of riders.
However, Nellie, who only a few years ago was destined for the other side of the Badminton Estate, as food for the famous pack of Beaufort hounds, was just exhilarating, flying confidently round. In fact a little too fluently, as we were 2 seconds too fast which meant we picked up 0.8 of a penalty leaving us on 32.4. Frustrated at my error, but hugely proud of Nellie who had done her best…. and more. In an incredible atmosphere of cheering and moving spectators she had stayed focused, except for one sticky moment at the iconic Badminton Lake. Our trust and faith in each other had incredibly given us 3rd position!!!
Thank you again to all those who supported me, my friends, college mates, grandparents and parents and even my brother who without me knowing had, skipped school to come and cheer me over the line. Nellie, none too patiently, waited amongst the tears and hugs of elation! The support has just been amazing, in fact slightly overwhelming and I am so grateful to have such a dedicated team, Mum for all she does for me and the whole team behind the scenes who make it possible for this to happen.
The prize giving was almost as exciting, we were escorted by a convoy of Mitsubishi vehicles to Badminton House where the stunning backdrop was to be used for the mounted presentation. Afterwards, luckily Mum was there to take Nellie, as I was asked to attend a press conference. The first three prize winners were quickly escorted away in a Mitsubishi 4×4 convoy through the crowds. Definitely a first, but I had plenty to say as I felt Nellie ‘s past needed to be shared, as well as out future plans.
Mostly, I am so proud of Nellie, she was so close to being put down, the vets condemned her, then she did not help herself with outrageously bad behaviour, but I guess I always had faith which she has more than repaid.
So finally, again, a massive thank you to all of you who came to support, including Nellie’s old owners, family and friends as well as many of Mum’s clients all who have helped make it the most prodigious and, unforgettable experience.
Soon it will be time to plan and set new goals, but for now, Nellie at least, will get a hard earned rest.
Zoe and Nellie