Last week we went to the performance squad training at the Unicorn Trust Centre in the Cotswolds. We had a fairly hectic schedule for the 2 days as they like to give you time to see everyone whilst you are there. I think we saw 11 different experts from vets to nutritionists and farriers to sport psychologists. We had a training session on each day with Michel Assouline, which was very useful to get some new ideas and training tips. Gary, Ollie and I came home absolutely exhausted, but we learnt a lot and can not wait for the next one in August.
I went to a Hickstead qualifier yesterday at Hickstead itself, we have already qualified but we wanted to go for a dry run as the next championships are there at the end of June. It was such a windy day and a lot of people had withdrawn as it can be quite a spooky venue on the quietist of days. Ollie is not generally affected by weather conditions so we decided to go for it and I think we made the right decision! He was amazing, despite making a few mistakes we ended up with a score of 80%. You can imagine our reaction when we heard the result, someone said you can swear if you want to, you are allowed! The only problem was that I found out just before we were about to go into our second test and I found it very hard to keep my concentration, as I just wanted to scream, as I never thought we could get a score that high.
I managed to regain my focus and we did a similar second test. We made a few mistakes again and had a big spook when someone made a loud bang in the lorry park. At this stage I did not care what my score was, as I assumed it could only go down from earlier. I was wrong again and unbelievably we managed to top our previous score with 80.67%. Not only had we achieved 2 scores over 80, but when we read the sheets I discovered we had been given 2 10s and our collectives in both test were 9,8,8,9. The highest I have ever got.
I am not sure where we go from here! We just have to see if we can do it again. I have a couple of able bodied shows coming up to give us a bit of variety and to keep Ollie fresh. Then it will be as much training with Richard as we can fit in before the Championships.