Having basked in the sunshine at Pyecombe, it was back to reality, weather-wise, at Chepstow. I always try to get to Chepstow early, to get a good parking spot, and hook-up as this is a show with a lot of walking. I had lovely permanent stables and got the horses bedded down, watered and hayed nice and quickly. I then got Emma ridden, and got them both trotted up in good time. Georgia Tame and Izzy Smith stayed in my lorry for the show so we all got organised, had some supper and went off to drink champagne at the welcome party.
Kvint was first up on Thursday morning and jumped a lovely double clear in a very up to height 1.30 in the 2* small tour, so I was really pleased with him.
He is stepping up really well now, and is much less green about his surroundings.
I then jumped Emma in the Medium Tour 1.35 two phase. She jumped a really good round and was reasonably quick, so it was a measure of how hot the competition was that she finished just out of the placings.
The weather had been a little bit changeable on Thursday, but on Friday the heavens opened and it was really cold. Kvint jumped early in the 1.30 Accumulator for a clear round, but I didn't jump the joker being mindful that he would be jumping his first 1.35 the next day, so I just wanted another good round for him.
By 9.30 Georgia, Izzy and I had all had to change our clothes from head to toe - we were absolutely soaked. I then got myself togged up again to jump Emma in the Big Tour 1.40 two-phase. She jumped a great round, but just touched the back pole of the last fence in the first round.
The photos show what a really horrible day it was - I can highly recommend the Rain Free jacket from Horse Pilot which actually kept my top half completely dry! I went back to the lorry having got the horses comfortable after a busy morning, and had some lunch with Izzy and Georgia. By this time the lorry looked like a Chinese laundry as we were rotating our sopping wet clothes over the heater, and the warm steamy atmosphere and our full tummies sent us all fast asleep.
On Friday I jumped Kvint in the 1.35 Small Tour Grand Prix. He absolutely flew round until he was a bit green going to the combination and didn't quite make the distance to the second part - how he managed to jump out I have no idea as I thought I was definitely going to fall off. He jumped a bit greenly at the following fence, but finished really well. Emma jumped very well in the Medium 1.40 Grand Prix, but just touched the middle part of the combination, and then got very strong so I turned a circle, got her back under control and she finished very well. We then dug ourselves out of the mud and trundled home. This is a super show, and a great addition to the Spring calendar. It is great to go to a CSI2* without having to cross the channel, and although sadly this year I failed to win anything, it is a proper international show, with serious courses and competition and I felt that Kvint has really grown up from competing at both Lier and Chepstow. For Emma the 1.40 classes were a proper jumping test with very committed turning distances which, because she jumps very high and is very hot, sometimes found us out, and it may be that I have to learn to ride these a bit differently.
Back at home we endured such a cold spell that my chilblains came back, before another sunny weekend at the Costa del Pyecombe. When I walked the course for the Discovery it was like a Grand Prix (it turned out that it was the 1.40 course from the previous day just at 1.00m), and I thought I would be happy if Askeaton jumped 4 fences. She was a complete star, jumping a fabulous double clear to finish in the money once again.
Marine and Emie then jumped a really good double clear in the Foxhunter, and Kvint had a really confidence building round in the 1.20 to finish 3rd.
Lovely Izzy Pennington had her first day of helping us at Pyecombe, a bit of a baptism of fire as we had to leave at 7 am as Askeaton was very early to go in the Discovery, but she certainly was a good luck charm as everybody jumped a good clear round.
As always many thanks to Mark, Camilla and Steff who work so hard to make sure we all arrive looking and feeling our best, and to my wonderful sponsors Saracen Horse Feeds and MacWet gloves. My horses always look so well and feel so good on Saracen and I never wear any other gloves than MacWet, they literally never slip whatever the weather.