And just like that Badminton week is here! I am writing this whilst in the lorry on the way to Angela Tucker’s for some last minute dressage prep. We will stay up with her tonight (Monday) and then head on to Badminton from hers on Tuesday. She is handily right on the doorstep! It will be good to have a couple of run throughs of the test with her and do any last minute adjustments we need to. I have been riding through the test as much as possible on my other horses at home too just so I really got it engrained in my mind..
The last few weeks have, thankfully, been pretty smooth sailing for Balou and we have tried to keep his routine much the same. He has been going out in the field as much as possible which is something he loves with his girlfriend, Aunt Augusta. It would be so easy to wrap him up in cotton wool but they still need to be horses at the end of the day and you want them arriving at the competition in a good place mentally.
He had a good positive XC school at Rosamund Green Farm with Emma Fisher last week, where we just tried to make sure he was as confident as possible. Robin Dumas built a very useful ‘vicarage vee’ lookalike a couple of years ago so it was great to be able to have a practice over that.
He had his Badminton shoes put on on Friday by Neil Watts. Neil has been our family farrier for over 30 years and in March retired. However, he very kindly agreed to keep shoeing Balou right up until Badminton. He has looked after Balou’s feet since he was a foal and has been an integral part of our team. I can’t thank him enough for everything he has done for us and wish him a very well deserved happy retirement. Thank you Neil.
Packing the lorry is pretty easy when you’ve only got one horse so it didn’t take us too long. We have definitely packed for every weather eventuality though so we are well prepared for whatever the English weather wants to throw at us!
So this is it, we are on our way to the biggest three-day event in the World. I am a mixture of excitement, nerves & the feeling of just really wanting to show off how amazing Balou is to everyone. I hope I can do him justice and that we come home safely having learnt lots and enjoyed ourselves. I will be trying to keep you updated daily with our progress. A huge shout out to my home team who work so hard and have ensured we got to this week in the best shape possible.