Recovery after Tattersalls and a podium finish at Bramham

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Turn around………..After Tattersalls

Monday we had a short lie in and back at the yard at 10am.

Monday and Tuesday was spent sorting a full on turnaround of the lorry, unpacking, washing, drying, repacking the lorry, food shopping and cooking and of course riding the horses ready to leave on Wednesday morning.

The Partner and Ballycoog Breaker Boy had the day off on Monday following their travelling and I took them both out for a hack on Tuesday morning to see how they felt. They both felt very perky and seemed very happy after their competition and travelling.

They will now have a couple of weeks off before coming back into work ready for the second half of the season. V.I.P Vinnie had his last canter session before Bramham and felt on top form.

We had a very timely visit from Gavin Scofield, Osteopath, on Tuesday for all the horses and he confirmed that both The Partner and Ballycoog Breaker Boy came out well from their Tattersalls competition and worked on what little needed adjusting. V.I.P Vinnie was set up for Bramham making sure he was in as good a balance as possible and making sure that he was carrying his withers.

Travel to Bramham - Arc…………..

We left the yard at 5.15am on Wednesday, V.I.P Vinnie had the Arc Equine on, programme 1, for travelling.

This is to ensure that he is comfortable during the journey and is microcurrent therapy.

We had a short diesel stop on the way and had a really good run and was parked up by 10am.

We then got Vinnie settled in, allowing him to eat the grass down in his stable before putting the shavings down and a large bucket of water. We then set up camp sorting the lorry and putting the Gazebo up.

Mum went to the rider’s briefing at 11.30 to gather all the information that they wanted to give us leaving me free to take Vinnie for a hack.

Bramham Park looked immaculate and is an amazing setting for a prestigious competition. I can now understand why it is high on everyone’s competition schedule.

We had the first trot up at 5pm on Wednesday which we sailed through, Vinnie still managed to do a party trick but luckily not to the same extent as at Blenheim last year!

All week we took Vinnie out to graze plenty of grass although on Cross Country day Mum thought she would be kind and take him out in hand before it all started - she soon realised it wasn’t a good idea as she had 2 front feet in front of her!!! Luckily someone helped Mum take him back to the stable before he ran round the Cross Country without me. He knew exactly what was about to happen.

Dressage Test was on Thursday at 15.46 and John Bowen, my trainer joined us on Thursday Morning about 10am. We have a very specific programme that we follow for warming Vinnie up for his dressage which is done over a number of sessions. The sessions prior to his test warm up are mainly working on relaxation and suppleness. He worked very well so in the final warm up for the test he was in a good place mentally. The only thing we had to sort out was making sure I didn’t tense up and try too hard! This took a little while to sort out but all in time for the test.

There was a big enough atmosphere and there were two arenas side by side. We had the same ground jury as the Senior CCI4*L and our class was split in half with some on Thursday afternoon and some on Friday.

It was a good test but with a little tension creeping in at times. Our scores for our flying changes are improving which is great but still need more practice to nail them. We got 30.9 which I was very pleased with as the leader was on 29.8 which had me sitting in 4th place at the end of the 2 days dressage.

Once the test was done John, Mum and I went to do our exploratory course walk with the dogs who had a whale of a time.

We got halfway round the course and realised that we were walking the short format one not the long format - this happened as the book said the long format was the blue course but in fact it was green!!!

As we were walking it another 3 times we decided to continue to the end of the course but looking at the correct fences!!!

Course Thoughts……………

My initial thought about the course was that it was really quite big, very technical and undulating with a long pull at the end of the course. There were a lot of questions and I can now see why everyone says that it is a truly testing course.

There were 24 numbered fences but 40 actual jumping efforts

There were 11 sets of combinations one of which had 5 elements.

2 water combinations

And enough arrow heads and skinnies to keep our attention.

Thursday night was drinks and party which was good fun. Also Dad and my Aunt turned up as she had collected Dad from the airport as he had flown in from a business trip in China. Sadly he missed the dressage but we did video it for him.

Rest Day………………

Friday was rest day from competition but there was plenty to do with 2 course walks, exercising Vinnie, and general mooching around and organising for Saturday, plus a little time for shopping!

A roller coaster of an afternoon…..

Saturday John and I were walking the course for the final time at 9am to ensure I knew exactly where my lines and minute markers were. The senior class had started so I saw how to do it and how not to do it at various fences. I walked it as I wanted to ride it, with determination, commitment and being positive. I was on at lunch time so avoided the various screens where we could watch others as I had to focus on what Vinnie and I do not what others do.

We had a good warm up and he felt very much up for it. Once on course although still nervous I was very focused and felt Vinnie was ready to attack it with me. Overall it was a very good round although some jumping was not necessarily the prettiest but it was all about getting between the flags.

It was the first time I felt I actually made it happen and not just sit there looking pretty!!!!

Vinnie finished a little tired but after washing down it didn’t take him long to perk up and he was soon in his stable ears pricked looking as though he was ready to go again. We spent a lot of time icing his legs over a number of hours to ensure we got all the heat out and help any micro tears repair. He also had the Arc on number 3 programme for the same reason and the FMBs Massage rug to help remove any knots and lactic acid.

After the Cross Country finished I was in the lead but there had been an appeal from Yas Ingham for penalties that she had been given.

These were taken away, and in my opinion quite rightly, they should never have been given to her in the first place.

So the results were reviewed and I went into Sunday in 2nd place.

Early morning ride………………..

Sunday morning after Mum had plaited him up I took Vinnie for an early hack to check how he was feeling. He felt very good and just needed that ride to loosen and limber up. Again he looked incredible and flew through the trot up but no antics this time.

We didn’t have too long to wait for the Show Jumping and John and I walked the course 3 times to make sure again that I knew my lines to ride. When I got to the warm up I was definitely nervous but no more so than normal. Vinnie warmed up well and we kept to our plan without overdoing it.

When I went into the ring I knew Cathal Daniels had gone clear so I had to do the same to stand any chance of winning. Vinnie was jumping a class round but unfortunately I had the first part of the treble down as I had let him get a little long. The fence fell SO late, I think I even jumped the next fence before it fell!! Yas Ingham followed me in and had the same fence down, but this kept her in front of me and Cathal went into the lead. I finished in 3rd place. A great result and one that Vinnie well deserves.

My initial feeling was of “how annoying” but at the same time how amazing to finish on the podium at such a great event. Hopefully this is the first of many podium finishes at International events. Vinnie and I are now qualified for Badminton next year so this will be our focus for the next 10 months with Blenheim CCI4*L in September.

Press ……………..

Both Saturday and Sunday I had to speak to the press which was a first and this didn’t faze me as I thought it might. No tricky questions!!

A big thank you to the whole team at Bramham for putting on an amazing event and a big thank you to the Lane Fox’s for hosting it. Also, a big thank you to friends and family who came to support me and of course the team, sponsors and Immy back home.

Vinnie is back safe and well and despite the rain will enjoy some time out in the field resting and recuperating.

The next competition isn’t until mid July so the next month will be getting all the jobs done, training the youngsters, Summer cleaning and having a few days break myself.