After a hideously long hot journey down to Devon, with hours of traffic delays, I arrived at Bicton with less than 25 minutes remaining before our dressage time. As I had no help with me, I had to unload feed from the back of the lorry, get changed, go to the secretaries, tack up, get on and warm up in this time! On top of this, after blistering hot weather all day the heavens opened just as I was getting on and due to the lack of time I had no chance to stud up. So needless to say that as we entered the dressage arena we were not well prepared or warmed up, and I was more than a little bit stressed out! Unfortunately I let the stress get on top of me and lost my way part way through the test and then after this found it hard to ride a good test, instead it was more a case of getting through it without any more mistakes. I was totally deflated and cross with myself after the dressage as I know I could ride much better and Freddie could have done much better if he’d had a chance to warm up.
The next day was jumping day, and I had decided not to check our dressage mark as I was convinced it would be so awful that I wouldn’t be in a good frame of mind to do well in the jumping phases. So I put the regrets of the day before behind me and gave Freddie a much better preparation and ride for the jumping. Due to the heavy rain the previous afternoon and overnight the show jumping had been moved onto a surface, which itself had also flooded badly. Therefore some parts of the show jumping course were situated in huge puddles. Freddie didn’t seem to mind though and jumped a nice clear round despite the less than ideal going.
The cross country course had held up well to the weather and only a few small alterations had been made to the track, which was big and challenging in a good way with lots of interesting features. Fred was in his element over the undulating land, with a few good uphill pulls and took everything well within his stride. He finished clear without any hesitations, and despite not pushing for the time we still didn’t get many time faults as he was so rideable and attentive the whole way round in the pouring rain.
I was delighted that we had gone double clear after our poor start in the dressage. I then went to check our dressage score and was very pleasantly surprised with our score of 56, considering how I thought it had gone. Then to my utter amazement I then noticed that there was a placing next to Freddie’s score- we had come 9th! Needless to say I was over the moon with this result, as it had been a challenging weekend and to come out of it with our first international placing was fantastic.