Flippers at the ready…the countdown to Blair continues.

I’ve just about dried out from Wellington horse trials this bank holiday weekend, where the torrential rain we’ve been having really took its toll. I had three horses entered and although we didn’t have the best results on paper, I was actually very pleased with how the horses went.

Vendredi Biats was so nearly a star! He led the dressage on 25 in his first intermediate (he’s only 6) & jumped an awesome clear showjumping, in tough conditions. Unfortunately he then made a baby mistake on a dog leg to a corner on the cross country. It was really down to the bad ground – he slipped and became unbalanced. I didn’t tell him off as I couldn’t blame him, so I just came again as before. Unfortunately he thought this was a fantastic new trick as he had never run out before and he ran out again! So I gave him a smack and he then jumped it brilliantly and had a really good round for the rest of the track. It was a tough track and tough conditions, so I really am happy enough.

Last week we had our final team training at Addington, which was very interesting. We got to run through the test with Tracey and Andrew Fletcher which was great practice and really useful for both Persimmon and me. We scored around 76% in our test ride, which I was very pleased with – particularly when I know there’s still things we can work on and improve.

We jumped around a track on grass the following day. It had been wet and rainy, so this was good test for Blair as the forecast for ground conditions isn’t the best! Percy hadn’t jumped a track since Hartpury, so he was nice and fresh and jumped really well.

We had a little cross country school on the way home at Aston le Walls, just to give him a little freshen up and a play. Percy can get quite keen, so I popped him over a lot of small fences ensuring the control was always there and finishing with a few more tricky fences at the end. It was a nice, relaxed atmosphere and good for him to have a bit of a jolly.

While at team training we also got our new Toggi Team GBR kit, which really starts to bring it home that we’re off to a Championship! I’ve also ordered some extra Toggi waterproofs and wellies… it looks like we may need to be prepared for the weather at Blair. No doubt the organisers will have done everything they can to make the ground as good as possible and it wouldn’t be a true home Championship test without a little added weather challenge anyway!

Since team training Percy has just been kept ticking over with light flatwork and a little jumping. I’m not overdoing him, so he gets up to Scotland nice and fresh.

I’ve been working on my own fitness too, which I find a little harder than keeping the horses fit! I’ve been running around the odd xc course rather than walking and also trying to do some running at home. My husband a natural runner and I’ve tasked him to motivate me! Sometimes he’s very good and runs with me on our lane runs, but I am definitely not a natural runner and often he gets fed up and sprints off, leaving me to plod on at my usual snails pace, making a complete show of me!

I’ve also been working with Kate Davis who’s physio for the team. Kate has had a horse with me for the last 2 seasons and has helped me enormously with my strength and flexibility through various floor exercises. It’s amazing what a difference the right work can make – kind of like horses, I suppose!

We head up to Blair at the start of next week and I’m really starting to get excited. It’s about a 10 hour journey so we’ll leave early to try to miss traffic. From there, it’s everything crossed for a fantastic Team GBR performance! I hope to see lots of you cheering us on at Blair – please just remember your wellies and your Toggi Team GBR supporters kit too ?

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