I’m absolutely delighted to have been selected for the British Eventing Squad to go to Blair in September. I had hoped we’d get selected, as Persimmon has very strong 3* form, but nothing’s guaranteed when it comes to horses and to get the phone call and the call up to compete at a home championship is so exciting. The next few weeks will fly by, but I can’t wait to get up to Blair and hopefully do Great Britain, my owners and supporters proud.
I’ve only been to Blair once, with Boondoggle in 2008! Back then the course was designed by a different course designer and it’ll be really exciting to see what Ian has done with the track. I reckon it’ll be a big ol’ traditional championship course, with plenty of rider frighteners, but hopefully we’ll have a good ride round.
Persimmon jumped brilliant around Ian’s course at Bramham and he’s a bold, brave horse, so I hope it will suit him well. He ran at Blenheim last year and Bramham in the spring, both of which are hilly tracks (obviously not same league as Blair when it comes to hills… but I don’t know anywhere else that is really!). He coped really well with terrain there and with lots of fitness work between now and September he’ll hopefully cope really well.
Persimmon has had a quiet time after Bramham. I didn’t take him to Barbury as I felt he’d had a good enough run at Bramham and we’re building up well now and will hopefully be on track to peak at the right time.
Between now and Blair I’ll keep pretty much the same routine with him. I think too many people go over the top when it comes to big events and change too many things and this is often when things go wrong. I plan to keep the same routine, as that’s worked for him. I will maybe have an extra gallop here and there, but all that depends on how he’s feeling.
We’ve had three gallops since Bramham and our first run is this weekend at Aston le Walls where we’ll do the advanced class. I’ll have to see how the ground is and probably won’t be running massively competitively. Aston do a great job on the ground, but my plan is to save him for the right runs and keep him in one piece. At the same time, I do want to give him something to think about, as he’s probably forgotten why he’s still in training at this stage! He gets quite fresh when he doesn’t have a run for quite a while, so hopefully the ground will be good enough to give him a good spin.
We’ve been working continually on our flatwork and also today took Persimmon and some other horses to Rectory Farm for some show jumping practice. I like to jump on grass when I can as that’s what we ride on at events, but my grass ring at home has just got too firm and Rectory Farm has a fabulous surface. Persimmon went brilliantly and was extremely pleased to be out… he’s going to be rather excited at the prospect of going cross country this weekend!
Persimmon’s Bramham performance that helped book his ticket to Blair…