Brilliant fun, amazing memories and huge disappointment – that’s horses and unfortunately sums up my first Badminton!! But we will be back….
To actually get to my first Badminton was such a massive privilege and I was so excited and thrilled to be there with my very special horse. Just arriving and walking through the archways to the historic and beautiful stables is a feeling I will never forget!!
First step – trot up and this has become a serious fashion parade!! I was kindly made a beautiful outfit (plus given boots and hat) and managed to match up to TJ, who my grooms had looking divine! The trot up is always a bit nerve wracking but a very excited TJ was accepted by the ground jury and we were officially starters at Badminton Horse Trials – wow!
Dressage next and a personal best is all you can ever wish for – we did just this in a big atmosphere and I couldn’t have been prouder of him. No we weren’t troubling the leaders but we both did our best and looked forward to our favourite part to come…
Next amazing experience was drinks reception in Badminton House, a huge privilege that didn’t disappoint – it is absolutely beautiful. Great chance to relax with friends and family, plenty of champagne in celebration and we were glad of a day off the next day!!!
So XC day arrived and I still remained more excited than nervous, having walked the course 4 times I had my plan and was confident TJ and I could do it – yes it was huge and tricky but he is the most amazing XC horse and I have total faith in him. After a perfect warm up there was a delay to our start and TJ got over excited and managed to pull a shoe off….talk about bad timing, mass panic and the farrier having to nail it back on in a hurry to a very excited horse minus a big chunk of hoof. Anyway mission accomplished we set off and TJ was awesome, simply foot perfect over everything until suddenly he stopped! Taken by surprise I presented him to the jump twice more but he wasn’t interested and we were eliminated, such mixed emotions of disappointment, confusion and most of all worry that he was injured as it was just so unlike him.
We quite quickly discovered that the shoe he lost had been nailed back on a bit tight and after 6 minutes of galloping and jumping he must have been feeling sore and very sensibly opted to go no further. Absolutely gutted but so relieved that this was obviously the problem.
I am pleased to say that after a week off, a new shoe from my brilliant farrier and he was right back to form and plans started for the next event. Easier said than done with on call to swap and days off needed but thanks to my amazing colleagues at Milbourn for making it work – next stop Bramham….