Becky Forte and I set off for Jardy with Emma and Kvint on Wednesday, 13th September. We had to go on the Eurotunnel as it was an incredibly windy day. We eventually found our way off the Paris Peripherique and after anxious telephone calls to Bumble Thomas and the show, and driving over a lot of speed bumps in the woods, I managed to find a lady in her garden who gave me directions to the show. We unloaded in the absolutely pouring rain, and were soaked to the skin by the time we had set up. We were so wet that we didn't even mind taking the horses for a graze in the rain.
Luckily Thursday morning was dry and Bumble Thomas and I went for two lovely hacks round the woods and past the very beautiful houses before trotting the horses up on some very bumpy concrete. Certainly I was extremely unsound on the uneven ground, but the horses both seemed to cope with it. Without the horrible rain we were able to see what a beautiful place Haras de Jardy is. It was built in 1890 as a thoroughbred stud and is now owned by the state.
On Friday morning I jumped Kvint in the 1.20. I thought he might be spooky in the beautiful ring with bright jumps and a big stand, but he wasn't at all impressed by anything, especially not me! He was a little bit over bold and rather strong, having two fences down. Emma jumped brilliantly in the 1.30 two phase to finish in my usual position - one place out of the money.
On Saturday I jumped both horses in the 1.30 speed. Emma jumped beautifully for a minor placing, and Kvint just had the first fence and going into the last double when there was a dog in the way. He felt really good and super scopey, so I am really looking forward to doing some bigger classes with him now. Saturday was a very good day for the Brits with wins in four out of five classes, Alice Watson, Adam Botham and Declan Irvine all winning classes and Bumble Thomas and Tracy Newman getting good places.
On Sunday Kvint jumped a super double clear in the 1.25 and then it was Emma's turn for the 1* Grand Prix. I was right at the end of the class and she jumped a fabulous round to be one of seven in the jump-off. Last to go in the jump-off I went faster than usual, but still not as fast as a French person, to finish 4th. Although it wasn't a huge course it was difficult enough, and certainly the first time I have won 500 Euro. We also got a lovely blue plaque for the stables. The jump-off was fantastic fun. Emma jumped so well, and it was lovely to have such great support from Becky, Bumble and Sean Brady. Once again the Brits did really well with Alice Watson also placed in the 1* Grand Prix, and Graham Babes winning the 2* with Adam placed again and Bumble placed in the final class of the show. As always foreign shows are great for making friends and enjoying compatriot support.
Becky and I then packed up and set off, just in time, as we drove through unbelievable rain. Once again I think we saw quite a lot more of Paris than was strictly necessary on the way home, but we made good time to be in Calais while it was still light, and were home at 12.30. A long, long day, but at least a very happy drive home.
I was up early on Monday to do the yard before going to Max Routledge to ride and collect my new purchase - three year old Heidi, one of Max's homebreds out of Tiandra, who was jumped successfully by both Max and Kathy Willard and by Max's lovely stallion Typhoon S. So far, so good, I am absolutely thrilled with her. She has settled in really well, been for two hacks and been in the school today. She is very orange and very little, but the last little three year old I bought was Emma, and I think this one feels very exciting.
I spent a rather sad Monday afternoon celebrating the life of Sara Brise, who recently died in a horrible accident. The huge number of people who gathered for her wake and to support her family were a good indication of what a very popular and respected lady Sara was. There were lovely tributes paid and her daughter Sophie managed to sing quite beautifully for which I have great admiration and respect.
As always many thanks to Steff and Mark, for keeping everything running while I was away and to Becky Forte who did a brilliant job of looking after the horses, and me, and keeping me company on the drive.