Blog Two from Italy’s Giovanni Ugolotti and his fiancee Kathryn Robinson from Canada ahead of this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
Kathryn admits: “The pressure is definitely ramping up now and the nerves are kicking in. When Badminton announce the drawn order for runners everything suddenly feels a lot more real – and the countdown to trot up day speeds up alarmingly.
“My planned last run wasn’t the perfect prep for my first Badminton – I tried changing Bee’s bit for Belton advanced, and it proved not to be a good idea. It was too strong for him. Jumping out of the coffin I took a check, and poor Bee reacted far too much. We met the jump on a half stride, Bee hit it, and I fell off.
“Plan B came in to action and I took him to Bicton yesterday for the open intermediate, with my original bit back on his bridle. He was amazing; a good dressage, one rail down and fabulous clear across country. So hopefully our confidence is fully restored!
“Bee and I have been drawn at number 24. I am really relieved to be doing my dressage on day one – I can get it over and done with, and also wont have too long a wait to go cross country on the Saturday. I can’t wait.”
“I definitely had a better Belton than Kathryn,” says Gio. “Oplitas is feeling the best he has ever felt and Badminton can’t come soon enough for me. I was pretty pleased with his dressage (34.9) and although he had a rail down, the ground was relatively holding after some terrible weather, so I can give him that – the organisers did really well to keep running.
“I’ve been drawn at number 47. This means that we are enough apart with times that we will be able to watch and help each other, which is really important. We definitely work best as a team!
“Between now and Badminton the horses will go up to the gallops another three times, will probably have a jump two or three times, and practice a few of the cross country fences that I have built in the field at home. I have designed them to look as close as possible to what we will see at Badminton.
“My owners (Kathryn owns Bee) are super excited to have a horse heading to Badminton, and like me they can’t wait to be there. Kathryn is VERY busy looking for her trot up outfit. She hasn’t found anything yet which is causing some alarm for me – she can be SCARY when on a shopping mission! I just need to remember to pack my favourite socks, which I always wear on cross country day, and to make sure Kathryn has her lucky whip, which must be 100 years old by now…”