It’s been quite a month – our first big one of the year competitively speaking.
We started with Burnham Market with the younger horses, which went well with Banksy jumping a double clear, Navigator winning the open novice and Clifton Cognac just behind him in second place.
Our next event was Weston Park and it was important as it was Promise’s last time out before the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event. He would be getting on the plane two days later. It was also Lush's last run before the ill-fated Badminton Horse Trials. Lush did a great dressage test, an excellent cross country and just one rail in the showjumping, so I was very pleased with him.
The plan was to just do the dressage on Promise, and he did well, sitting in third spot behind Andrew Nicholson on Qwanza in second and leader William Fox-Pitt. He then went and hung out at the truck for the rest of the day with the girls just grazing and wondering when he was going to get to jump!
Promise left for Kentucky on the 17th, and we followed on the 20th and we both arrived on the 21st! Both of us were very happy to be back in Kentucky. We had seven days to get ready for our test so did a lot of hacking around and checking the place out which Promise loves.
Promise did a very good dressage test which put him fifth out of 57 starters going into the cross country phase. The cross country was complete carnage with just 21 horses going clear and only seven of these making the optimum time – we were one of those seven combinations, as was the great Andrew Nicholson.
Lucy Jackson, another one of our Kiwi riders, was having a great round and looking good for time but had an unlucky trip up the bank coming out of the lake, followed by a fall which she really didn’t deserve. After the cross country Promise and I had moved up to third overnight, with Andrew sitting in ninth.
The next day was showjumping, and it was down to Andrew and I for the Kiwis. Andrew, being the legend that he is, goes in and jumps one of the few clear rounds of the phase making it look very easy.
Unfortunately, I made a bad decision on Promise and rode a little too strong into the treble, which caused us to have two rails down and possibly cost us the win. Promise jumped beautifully everywhere else and finished in sixth place, with Andrew seventh on Qwanza in just her first four star start.
We made a dash to the airport, planning to get back in time for Badminton but landed at Heathrow to a bunch of text messages saying “bugger, Badminton is off”. Time for a new plan....we will be taking Lush to Bramham for the CIC *** as a preparation run for the Olympics and we will let him have a run there without the handbrake on!
Things are certainly cracking along but the weather is definitely putting a bit of a dampener on things. No time to worry about it though, the count down is for the team announcement!