Such a mad week I will break it down in brief day by day
Tuesday – Up at 6 am to be at Badminton in time to coach Victoria Gregg (aka Plum) for her dressage in the Championship Grassroots Competition. Tracy Haines came along for the morning out. Plum did a good test although frustrating as her lovely big grey got a bit tense losing him those higher marks. we then walked the grassroots courses, it was testing with plenty of skinniest and tough lines. Tuesday afternoon involved going to Hereford to collect Bertie our 5 year old who was in the young Event Horse Class at Badminton the next day.
Wednesday – Back to Badminton, Plum went first SJ and XC and jumped a super double clear, I am very proud to have coached her to this level. Our young event horse went super up with the winners after dressage and bizarrely lost marks on his jumping, he is one of the biggest BS winners in the area for his age so we think maybe he was jumping too big and careful. See photo from the Badminton Horse Trails website gallery below.
Then for the excitement of the Badminton 5* trot up & vet inspection, with Louise Harwood and Allison Haines – Balladeer Miller Man. Miller was immaculately turned out by Amber Skelton all I had to do was add a few of the smaller plaits and also help grab a very excited Miller as he left the excitement of the trot up. As you can see from the photo Louise wasn’t really dressed to be holding onto a giant grey horse who when the crown cheered and clapped decided to entertain them by doing a kite impersonation!
Thursday – Moreton Morrell, we took Captain and Chief, both horses did a good dressage Chief the best on 31, and both had a rail down in the SJ. They both went clear XC with Chief being the star of the day finishing in 8th place and winning a rosette which we didn’t have time to collect. It was Chiefs first 100 so a really good day for him especially as he made it feel very easy. Chief pictured below.
Friday – 4 am start and back to Badminton to help get Miller ready for dressage, I helped Amber wash a giant yellow stain from his hind quarters and put in the impossible 3 tiny plaits again and then I had a struggle with tapping the studs (holes had burned over) which wasn’t easy as Miller was having a massage at the same time we were getting him ready. Amber Skelton had him beautifully turned out, but due to the studs we didn’t quite have him ready on time, 5 mins late. You have heard of Bride Zilla? Well we had Badminton Zilla ! This was our rider arriving to get on and she was a little stressed that her team of 3 couldn’t get one horse ready on time, luckily Adam Kemp her dressage trainer soon calmed her down and she was soon back in the smiles zone. Miller warmed up lovely and calmly for his test. He went into the arena and disaster struck, he had spotted himself on the big TV screen, his head went up like a Llarma making for a rather tense test. Louise did well at times to keep him in the arena.
Saturday XC day – A very exciting day, the course had ridden well with minor problems at some of the midway complexes, it seemed that once you reached the lake then riders could get home, fingers all crossed.
Miller was wound up he didn’t fancy going back near the big screen and I had to help, see photo below of a very anxious Miller head very high with me running along side with a hand on his neck, encouraging him towards the start box, he started and went clear, foot perfect and made it all look very easy indeed. He took a stride out at Huntsmans and looked awesome, very much like another Murphy Himself. Ali and Ian were thrilled. What an amazing achievement for them to have sourced him as a 4 year from Ireland and then watch him develop with Louise Harwood into a Badminton horse, proof that dreams do come true.