We have just arrived home from Holland, all absolutely exhausted! Roosendaal is a great venue, as the stables, arena, cafe and lorry park are all within a very short flat walk of each other and all very nicely laid out.
The horses had a long trip over, but all travelled really well. The first day was just a training day, with the trot up in the afternoon. In theory that’s the easy bit, but everyone was still very relieved once all our horses are through!
The first day of competition came as a bit of a shock to find that there were 19 competitors in our class including most of the world’s leading riders! I think I may have put Greg under a little too much pressure on the first day as he boiled over a bit in the test, completely my fault as sometimes you can try just too hard to get it right!! We still finished in the middle of the group, but I knew I had to change tactics a bit for the following day if I wanted the results to be different. I took him into the arena on the second day completely relaxed so he had time to take in the atmosphere. It wouldn’t have been the best test we have ever done, but he tried his hardest as I rode for a safe clear round. After a long gruelling wait till the end of the class, I was absolutely delighted to hear that we had finished third and was the highest placed GB rider in my grade. 🙂
Only the top 7 riders in each grade qualify for the freestyle on the last day and I was incredibly relieved to hear that we were through. I have a new, much more complicated, floor plan which is the first time I have ridden it in front of judges. I also tried a different technique to get around as I often become disorientated as there is so much to think about. Instead of using an ear piece for Gary to call the letters, he stood in the middle of the arena and I had a couple of very kind volunteers standing round the edge. It did make it a little easier, but it’s still one of the hardest things for me, so we will see if there is anything else we can do to make it less to think about so I can concentrate more on the riding rather than worrying about where I am going and where I am in the music. We finished a close fifth and again the highest GB rider in my grade…
I couldn’t have asked for anymore from Greg at our first International abroad, but we now have to learn from this as we only have 3 weeks till our Nationals!
I would like to thank my home team and Sport Godalming for believing in me and the travelling team for making it an enjoyable and successful trip.