The Hickstead demo was the next big thing on the agenda and as we had free passes we decided to make a day of it. We got there early in the morning and after having our photo ID done we were able to put Ollie in a stable for the day. After watching some of the dressage we decided, for a change, to wonder over to the jumping. The trade stands are much better over there and it was nice for Gary to be able to watch something else. I don’t think it was necessarily Gary’s plans when we first met to spend every weekend watching horses go round and around a dressage arena! It was a really hot day and neither of us are good in the heat so we kept on having to find places in the shade and eat ice creams to keep cool. Well, that was our excuse anyway!
The stewards were very kind to let us have a warm up to ourselves, which was just as well as I think the electric atmosphere had got to Ollie a bit. Fortunately he got it all out of his system before we went in the main arena. I always give myself at least 5 minutes just to chill out before we go in and this seems to work well for Ollie as well. He was super relaxed when we went in and he didn’t look at a thing. No one would believe me now if I told them a few years ago we would not have even been able to make it into the arena as he was so scared. We have never been into an arena like that, with such a massive atmosphere, as well as all the grand stands and big screens. Hopefully this means if he can cope with this he can cope with anything.
It wasn’t the best test we have done by any stretch of the imagination,but by the sounds of the crowd at the end I don’t think it mattered. For a moment there I thought we had won the Olympics, the cheers were so loud, it was amazing!
Last weekend we had our first World Class Potential Squad training. I really enjoy these weekends as not only is it a great time to catch up with everyone, but you learn so much as well. On the first day we all rode through our championship test, which is recorded, and then feedback is given by the coaches. They decide on your weak points and then you have a training session to focus on them. We also had a vet and farrier check, a talk with the PR lady and a presentation on the scales of training.
The second day started with a talk from NAF as they are official sponsors of the GB teams and lots of free products were given away. Then it was a catch up with the psychologist and another presentation this time on doping policies. After lunch we had an individual session with a coach going over a video of the test we had done at the last international and took the whole thing to pieces. Then it was another ridden training session where our position was analysed, joy! Actually I was pleasantly surprised how even I am compared to most people, I’ve just got to put my blasted left shoulder down!
The focus is now on training before the next Nationals in September.