On May 12, 2012 by Sarah Lewis
I dragged myself up at 4.00 on Wednesday morning, mucked everybody out and left at 6.00. To my astonishment I drove the lorry straight onto the car park, exchanged my pass for a wrist band and set off to watch the first part of the Foxhunter. I was drawn sixth in the second half, so warmed Ferro up as the first half drew to a close, and Tony Pavitt very kindly held her while I walked the course, and gave me the highest leg-up ever to get me back on. Until this year Ferro has been very spooky about her surroundings, so a ring with a huge model of Buckingham Palace on one side and a very strange rockery with ostriches, monkeys, elephants and hippos on the other, in addition to the stands, marquees and flags, was going to be a fair old test. Although she was spooky over the first couple of fences she grew in confidence as she went, and if the rider hadn’t turned too quickly out of the double she would have had a low placing. As she was drawn late in the B&C (1.30) I was able to take her back to the lorry and give her a quick sponge down, a little drink and a small amount of hay. By the time I got back on the rain had begun, but she warmed up well and jumped a confident round, just rolling two poles, one where she had a little look at the ostriches and one where I slightly fired her. However, I was thrilled – she had been a star and I hadn’t been a shambles.As the deluge continued it seemed incredible that Windsor would be able to run, but the rumour mill assured us that hundreds of tons of straw and bark had been put down and everything would be perfect. Consequently Ferro had a good tune-up in her snaffle, seeming really confident, followed by a good bath with special attention to her socks and I declared for my Wednesday classes.
Ferro was entered for the 7/8 year olds on Thursday, but between us Shane and I decided that a big 1.35 in the Frogmore Ring, which is quite tight, might be a rather ambitious idea for both me and Ferro so I decided to give Thursday a miss.I stayed to watch Edmond Mahony: friend, husband of my cousin Fee and chairman of Tattersalls, jump his young horse in the Working Hunter. By this time you could hardly see for the rain, the course was incredibly spooky and the horse was very inexperienced, so everyone was delighted with a really good round for just a couple of rolled poles.
It rained solidly for the rest of Wednesday and most of Thursday. Our garden, yard and school were completely under water, but Windsor ploughed on, sadly loosing a few showing classes. Against my better judgement I hopped out of bed at 3.00 on Friday and left at 5.00. There was no traffic and I was really shocked to drive straight onto the showground. The class for the B&C walked quite big and it would be our first go at starting at 1.30. There was quite a lot of confusion over the running order for the class, meaning that I was sitting on the fence chatting when I was called as having four to go! Luckily Ferro is very easy, and quick, to warm up and all went well. She jumped like a real superstar, sadly just spooking before the last fence in the first round and tapping it off. She still finished in the top half, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled with her. The class was won by David Simpson, getting even with Dereck McCoppin who also works for Shane and who won the Wednesday B&C. As I rode Ferro back to the lorry one of the guys doing the horse crossing said: “did you see that horse dancing!” so I hope she was pretty pleased with herself.
We have been back to Windsor today as spectators. Bright sunshine again and excellent competition. We watched Dereck get a good second place in the speed stakes, and Tim Stockdale win the Six Bar, inspite of falling off just as he passed the finish. The Spanish Carabinieri and the Canadian Mounties did fantastic musical rides.I just stayed to watch the Hickstead crew jump in the A&B class and then drove home in the bright sunshine. I was such a lovely day that, having collected the dogs from Mark’s office, I then hacked out the other three. It was such a treat to have the sun out that I was reluctant to go inside.