Having given the horses a very quiet ten days after Deauville I took them to Felbridge for a nice jump-round, and a warm-up for Edenbridge and Oxted. It is a really important confidence check to jump some smaller classes between the bigger shows. Luendi did a lovely double clear in the Newcomers and just had one pole in the Foxhunter which was entirely my fault. Emma jumped round the 1.20 entirely for her own amusement and went very well.
I then had a really good lesson with Shane on the Monday which hopefully will set us up for Edenbridge & Oxted and the All England Jumping Championships.
After a week of very unsettled weather I was a little bit worried about what the ground would be like at Edenbridge Show - but was assured it was good, and on Sunday it was fantastic. Luckily I was well enough organised that a flat battery and a funny light on the dashboard failed to create any panic and I left Luendi listening to some country & western music while I went to walk the Newcomers course. Luendi was terribly well behaved, walking past mules, fairies and all manner of other excitements on her way to the practice ring, which is very near to the clay pigeon shooting so she wasn't sure whether she was going to be shot, or to be eaten by the beagles who were going round the side of the ring on the way to their parade. I was very glad to be jumping her in the Newcomers as all the distractions made her feel quite green, however she jumped very well, and will have grown up enormously for the experience.
I then had a long wait before Emma jumped in the 1.35 in the main ring. I watched the very exciting Ride & Drive class - I quite fancied a brand new Subaru - and thought it might be a good class for Luendi next year, and the very eccentric Ardenrun Challenge, which was the brainchild of Old Surrey, Burstow & West Kent huntsman Mark Bycroft. The fence-builders ran and built the fences, two horses jumped the fences, and then a terrier jumped over the bales and ran through a pipe before the fence-builders took the fences down. The heat I watched was won by the Allsorts Team, three young girls who demonstrated the virtues of being young in that they could not only run the fastest, but also could remember what they were supposed to be doing, which was actually what won if for them. Even their terrier was better than the others - when he got loose he jumped over the bales and ran through the pipe all by himself!
The fancy dress managed to cause two incidents - the fairy frightened a horse so much that it ran over its handler, and the pushme-pullyou's back head fell off, and banged it on the bottom causing it to decant its rider. Dr Doolittle was clearly never a horse-whisperer as the coped very badly with a rather scared shetland pony!
Sophie very kindly arrived to help me with Emma, so that I could walk the course and warm up easily. Emma jumped a really lovely round, not appearing to notice that she was in a very busy main ring, but just tipped a pole coming out of the last double. I need to have more leg on coming out of a double - and find it very hard to remember everything.
Edenbridge & Oxted is always a great fun show, its real emphasis is country life with hunting, shooting, fishing, cattle, ferrets, mules - which I never realised were so big and chunky - tractors etc. For me it has always marked the beginning of the Autumn as the Old Surrey, Burstow & West Kent usually start Autumn Hunting straight afterwards and it is a really good day out.
Sadly it was so wet on Monday morning that I didn't take the horses back. We have the All England Jumping Championships at Hickstead this week, and I didn't want to jump them on the mud, or to drive the lorry on it either.
Doonaveeragh Emma - 1.35 Edenbridge & Oxted Show