Well what a month this has been!
Eventing is a great sport to keep you grounded – you can be on a high one week and get dragged through the mud the next!
Most of July was based around the Olympics. We went to Aachen early in the month with our greener horses for the World Equestrian Festival, except for Andrew (Nicholson) who took his Olympic mount Nereo. They had a great run as always, to finish fourth in a top-class field. The rest of us were just there to have a bit of a sharpen-up and to give our young horses some experience. We finished fourth as a team and achieved what we needed to.
Then it was into our Olympic camp where we focused on dressage with the famous judge Stephen Clarke for the first two days, and just spent time hanging out as a team. It was a great four days and everybody got on really well. This is a great team to be apart of!
We then gave the horses an easy day, just hacking out, and then on the fourth day we gave them a jump with our showjumping coach Luis Alvarez Cervera.
After the camp we had a couple of days to get things sorted. Some of us did a local event while Andrew did the Hickstead Eventers Challenge where he finished second – another great result!
We then made our way into Greenwich. This was a little unfamiliar to be in the middle of town for an event but it was organised very well and didn’t feel too crowded, even though there was always a lot going on.
It was time for business. We got off to a good start. We were in fourth place as a team after the dressage. The cross country proved to be quite influential with a lot of horses slipping – that was mainly due to all the turns – and a number fell which of course, meant elimination.
All of ours came home clear and fast. Andrew was the fastest with no time faults. Mark (Todd) had 0.4 time faults, Caroline (Powell) 1.6, me 4.8 and Jonelle (Richards) 6.0. This kept us in fourth place and very close to third.
The showjumping was built to be hard to get inside the time allowed and was definitely up to height. Jonelle was first out for us and jumped a beautiful clear round, but had nine time faults. Caroline and I both went inside the time but had a rail each, and Andrew jumped clear inside the time. It was down to Mark. For us to get bronze, Mark had to finish with less than 11 faults.
As always he stepped right up and did his job with class! We finished with the bronze medal for the team’s event.
The individual was decided by another round with even bigger fences. Mark was on a young horse and while he was pretty tired from his previous efforts, he still did a respectable round to pick up eight faults for his two rails and finish in 12th place.
Promise and I jumped a convincing clear with just a single time fault to finish in 10th place, with Andrew taking an unlucky rail to finish in fourth.
So a bronze medal, all five horses finishing with good performances, and three in the top 12. It is a great result, and a sign that New Zealand is definitely on the way back to the glory days!!!