I was nearly sick when I walked in to the canteen to get a banana and got a smell of beef stroganoff...
Well that was one of the most exciting days ever! Allstar B jumped the most foot perfect round with a few time penalties to pull up to 6th position overnight. You always dream of being competitive at a big event and all the preparation is for that reason, but to actually pull it off is quite surreal.
This morning I took Alby for a hack first thing and then went for my last walk around the course on my own, to make sure I knew my plan at every fence. I then got changed and checked everything was OK at the stables before heading down to the Riders Tent in the collecting ring. In there are lots of TV monitors, making sure that you can watch all of a riders round, so it was great to spend an hour watching and seeing how each fence was riding. It was certainly proving to be a challenge early on but I stuck to my plan and, although I was nearly sick when I walked in to the canteen to get a banana and got a smell of beef stroganoff, I managed to control the nerves fairly well.
Alby can get quite nervous before he starts and he was certainly full of himself in the warm up, tossing his head and throwing some huge jumps. However he settled well in the 5 minute collecting area and just about contained his excitement in the start box, which can sometimes be a challenge for us. Alby is a big strong horse and coming down to the 2nd fence I had a real urge to control him and take a pull but I was proud of myself for softening my hand and he absolutely flew it. He was fairly keen up until the lake which he was just brilliant through, but then he settled in to a lovely rhythm and jumped out of his stride.
I don’t think I will ever sit on another horse with the power that Alby has. He eats up courses like this and makes the jumps feel so jumpable that he fills you with confidence.
So thank you Alby, you are a complete legend. But thank you also to his joint owner Caroline Moore. She has trusted me with this boy, and always believed in me when sometimes I haven’t believed in myself. She is 100% positive all of the time and helps so many people achieve their riding goals. I hope she is enjoying a few glasses of champagne this evening!
For us, our focus is Alby. He gets lots of walking and grazing, and we ice his feet and legs to help them recover after the cross country.
Tomorrow is the final day and fingers crossed I can ride to my best and do everyone proud. This is a real team effort to get to Badminton, and everyone involved in our journey is just amazing, so thank you!