The All England Jumping Championships is, for me, the grand finale of the summer jumping, so to find myself flat on the floor by 8.45 on the first day after a failure to communicate properly with Benny was not the ideal start to a few very busy days. Feeling a little bit fragile, I climbed aboard lovely Culana Z who jumped a brilliant double clear in the Newcomers. I then jumped Benny hors concours in the Newcomers to make sure he hadn't lost any confidence before walking the 1.40 in the main ring for Emma. I knew the course would be strong, and it certainly didn't disappoint. After a shaky start when Emma ran me to the first fence, and then stopped when she saw how big it was, she actually jumped very well round the biggest course we have tackled to date. I finished the day jumping Catokyo in the five year old qualifier where she just hit the first fence before settling and jumping a good round.
Day two started with Benny jumping a great clear in the 1.20 in ring three, before Emma jumped in the main ring again, this time in the 1.40 speed class. Shane very kindly helped me work in away from the other horses and she jumped another lovely round with just a couple of mistakes early on. However, with over 100 starters in each class, the courses were strong and there were very few clear rounds, and I was thrilled with her. She was much more confident on the second day, and I certainly felt much more settled and competent that I did last year. We were lucky to jump before the rain started as Catokyo and Culana had to jump their Newcomers in quite heavy rain and slippery conditions.
Saturday was another early morning, Catokyo and Culana both jumped very well in the Newcomers in ring 2 and Benny jumped a lovely round in the 1.20 on the all-weather. I had decided that Emma had jumped enough and that the Grand Prix on Sunday was going to be too much to ask, especially with rain forecast for Saturday night.
Having completely failed to qualify for any finals all the horses had a lovely day off on Sunday while Mark and I went back to Hickstead to watch the Grand Prix which was won by Phillip Miller on Caritiar Z with Lucy Townley (Bunn) second on Billy Fanta.
We had a lovely week at Hickstead, it was lovely to see Macolm, Judy and Nikki Pyrah with all their horses jumping clear every day, and we had a very competitive sports quiz evening with Clark Glasgow and his family. Our team was second which was actually my best result of the week.
As always very many thanks to Steff Gibbs for all her hard work, and three very early mornings, and to Mark who came to watch Emma in the main ring every day, and supplied us with coffee and cakes when the energy levels were very low on Saturday.
The horses are having a quieter time for a few weeks now. Emma is just in the field every day, while the others are hacking out to keep them ticking over, and we are all enjoying the wonderful Indian Summer.