Wednesday 5th May
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Sunday 9th May, 2021
#BadmintonHorseTrials

Rider blog: Elisa Wallace taming the dragon

How am I going to tame the beast, so I have a perfect gentleman for dressage, and my winged black dragon on cross country when I need him?

Pulling into the Badminton venue on Tuesday afternoon was nothing short of awe inspiring.

The little village and cobble stone roads are permeated with history. Johnny settled right into the cozy stabling. We went out for a ‘quiet’ hack later on in the day and I soon realized that my horse who loves cross country would be inundated with tons of cross country stimuli.

At Badminton, the walk from stabling to the warm up areas passes by and through the cross country course. Immediately, I’m thinking how am I going to tame the dragon, and get him to realize we have to do dressage first?

We survived our first hack on Tuesday, but Wednesday proved to be more difficult. I wanted to get him out more, but as soon as he heard the cross country whistles of the cross country for “little Badminton,” our ‘quiet, relaxing, streching’ ride was over. We made it safely back to the stables, but the creature was no longer a horse. He was now, in fact, a dragon.

We had plenty of time to get him calmed back down, which he does as soon as he gets back to his ‘home base’, the stables.

Then it was time for the Jog.

It was incredible to see all the horses walking round the courtyard as they prepared. As we walked up to the jog strip, you pass through an archway and see people and cameras. As I entered the jog up with Johnny, I considered the daunting challenge I was going to have. I hoped I could contain my horse and not fall down in the process.

But Johnny loves attention. As we walked over the cobblestones through that archway, the feeling was incredible. Johnny posed for the crowed and jogged like a well behaved gentleman. He just loves the crowds. Such a funny horse.

After a successful inspection, we went for another hack and this time he was much better. I think he realized people were watching him.

Right now I’m thinking through my tactics and preparation. How am I going to tame the beast, so I have a perfect gentleman for dressage, and my winged black dragon on cross country when I need him? Luckily we have until Friday morning to sort everything out.

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