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  • Samantha Lissington

Wilton Horse Trials update!

We headed off to Wilton last Sunday, Ginny and I were joking this week about having an early start, but when we worked out the timing my alarm was literally set for 2.45am!

Nick joined in again this time, this time in official groom capacity! He met me just before we left at 4am. It was a nice morning drive and we even passed Stonehenge – who knew you can see it just by driving past!

So we arrived by 6am and I headed off to walk cross country. Wilton is all on grass and has a bit more of a casual atmosphere, similar to some of our NZ events back home. The cross country had some unusual fences in it this time around – a couple of ‘pokey’ water jumps (ie. Jumping into the unknown, small dark spaces, weird lighting, all contributing to a bit more trust and commitment required from horse and rider combinations!) also a big drop fence that ended up causing a lot of trouble.

Rui struggled to fit his big frame into the tiny 40x20 dressage arena but produced a solid start with score of 32. Sooty was on track for a great test before a couple of breaks towards the end – he still got a 28 so a promising couple of events for him. Interestingly I feel the dressage is being more kindly marked over here based on the few tests I've done.

Both horses jumped lovely double clear rounds which I stoked with. The both jumped through the more unusual xc questions well, Rui just catching his stifles on one of the water fences but has pulled up well since.

- Sidenote 7 – You aren’t allowed to wear xc helmets with a peak, so you have to get a skull cap and then a hat cover – hence the last minute blue pom pom one that I bought on site at Aston last time! I mean, I really thought I had overcommitted with the whole pom pom thing, but now I feel like I am having an identity crisis – am I a pom pom person or not? Either way the bright blue is definitely not ok, I need to sort a navy one by the next event!

We headed home, I heated up my cheat meal, watched a chick flick and listened to some Ed – all in all feeling rather content with life at that moment in time. We have to savour those moments around here!

Next on our horizon was a first outing for the babies to practice SJ on Thursday afternoon which was very successful, and then they are on to their first event on Tuesday in the BE100 at Smiths Lawn. Rui's next event is scheduled for next week at Hartpury in the 4*S next week, although he isn't eating particularly well again which is making me anxious!

I’ve actually picked up a little catch ride this weekend thanks to Tim – I am taking a thoroughbred around the Intermediate/Novice at Gatcombe. It is the first time in a long time that I’ve done a catch ride so hopefully I can do it justice! **This will have to be another update!

What a historic moment this week with Toddy deciding to finish up his legendary eventing career. I am sad that I have missed out on the era of competing on the UK circuit alongside him (by a matter of weeks if that!) but so thankful for what he has done for our sport and the culture that he has helped cultivate at the top. Thank you Toddy!


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