We made it!
Johnny and I have arrived ahead of Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. England welcomed us with stunning golden vistas, lush fields and gorgeous weather (fingers crossed it will stay this way, although we do need some rain). Johnny has settled in quite nicely and has taken a special liking to his luxurious green pasture. I’ve become accustomed to driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and navigating through the daunting roundabouts (I’m actually pretty pleased with myself for that).
It has been a pretty intense week. We received our draw numbers. I’m number 60 and Katherine Coleman is 40. So exciting!! Our coach Karen O’Connor has come over to get us tuned up and ready for Badminton.
We were able to enter a Combined Training test — the Four Star Test A at Recton — which was super helpful for Johnny and me, especially since dressage and show jumping can be our weaker phases. I was super pleased with Johnny, especially since he can be a bit of a turkey at smaller shows.
I think Johnny knows something’s up, because even though he was tense, he actually halted during our test. He hasn’t done that all spring! It’s the little things that make me so happy. Our show jumping needed some work, but by the end of our round things started to come together. All in all it was a great opportunity for some good prep.
On the day after the Combined Training, we went for a gallop. I’m always concerned about how Johnny has recovered from his travel, but he made it pretty clear he was feeling keen for the job. His ears were pricked. He felt amazing. We’ve had some great lessons, and I’m feeling better prepared. Hopefully, I can keep up the momentum heading into Badminton.
One thing I have really enjoyed has been sharing this experience with my amazing friend and fellow competitor, Katherine Coleman. It’s hard being away from home. It’s easy to get homesick – but when you are blessed with friends like Katherine, the experience is made a lot easier. It is wonderful to work alongside a true teammate, mutually motivating and inspiring one another as we look forward to competing at the same world class event. Our stomachs are definitely in our throats as we get ready for one of our biggest tests yet!
Photo of Elisa and Johnny at Rolex 2015 © Madison Nichter