In the words of Nick Brooks – We produced a horse, took it to England, successfully completed an event, let’s have a Prosecco!
Sunday was a big tick in the box for us, and a great way to start the season here. Nick was a lifesaver and offered to join me as support crew for the day – which was so very much appreciated.
My dressage was at 9.17am so I was up at 4.30am to plait and pack our final bits and pieces, they still aren’t 100% settled by themselves yet so he didn’t eat his breakfast but I managed to sew my plaits in without too much shuffling and pricking-of-fingers.
Nick met me at 6.00am and we left for the trip to Aston Le Walls which was about a 1.5hr drive. We successfully navigated the roads and arrived just in time for a great park.
Sooty was quite unsettled on the lorry while we got back numbers (I think our neighbours thought we might have a dragon on board). But he settled as soon as we took him off, and was even more settled once I hopped on for a pre-ride. - Side note - The UK makes you pay an extra start fee of 25 pounds cash when you pick up your back number – which goes towards maintaining the grounds.
I didn’t need to do too much because he felt great, and before we knew it we were back on for our warmup with my yellow British Eventing back number on! All went pretty smoothly, my actual test had some mistakes in it which I wasn’t too worried about for our first one out. He scored 30.5 which was good considering the mistakes. - Side note 2 – Because there are so many horses a lot of the tests are in 40x20m arenas instead of 60x20m ones – much less room to play with! - Side note 3 - And they don’t have an actual arena edge it’s just small raised planks on the ground, which makes for a foreign insecure feeling if youre not used to it 😜
We tacked up for SJ and headed off to warmup - Soot felt great and jumped a super round – I was stoked with him! One down where he just spooked a little, but neither of us embarrassed ourselves which was a relief. - Side note 4 – For the more local events in the UK, both your SJ and XC can be / is often run in blackboard order instead of draw, so you just turn up before your scheduled time and put your number down, warmup and go!
On to cross country and there was only one other horse in the warmup so I popped around the practice fences and off we went. He cruised around comfortably and felt great - brave, careful, and rideable. - Side note 5 – one really funny thing is that they don’t sell ice bags at the service stations here, so everyone fills these little plastic pockets with water (you buy them from the supermarket) and then you freeze them and stick them under your xc boots when you’re ready to use them! - Side note 6 - there is an actual stand that will print your photos from the day while you wait! 😱 I bought these two - love them 😊
All in all a day to remember, made all the more enjoyable with Nick there as company. It was pretty cool warming up and seeing all the big guns out, I can’t believe Tim and Jonelle made it after being at Aachen the day before, what am I getting myself into 🙈