Will Thompson and I set off for Dover at 4.30 last Wednesday. Will has a lorry licence, so I had the super luxury of taking my car. I got to Lier a couple of hours before Will so I got the shavings and hay and set the stables up ready for the horses to go straight in.
We were very lucky that there was a small clear round jumping show on when we arrived so I gave Heidi and Askeaton a quick spin round a small course. Heidi was super spooky and really struggled the first time so it was very valuable to be able to jump her round and settle her. I just rode the older horses on the flat and settled them down. Then Nattie Biderman and I went to find my B&B which is about 500m away and have a quick dinner in beautiful Lier.
On Thursday morning I dropped Nattie at Mechelen station to catch her flight home and Will and I trotted the horses up. The young horses jumped at 12 in a 5&6 year old handicap. There were only 10 five year olds, Heidi was a little Star, just tapping the last fence when I pushed her a bit. Askeaton jumped her customary clear round. I’m getting spoilt with her now. I jumped both Emma and Kvint in the 1.30. Kvint placed 13th out of about 90 and Emma just touched the first part of the double in the jump off.
On Friday morning both young horses jumped clear, Kvint made a truly unremarkable job of the 1.35 and Emma jumped brilliantly and very fast to be let down by the geriatric rider who jumped fence 6 backwards in the jump-off.
Saturday morning started off brilliantly when Kvint cruised round the 1.35 Speed to finish 4th. I did wonder if the clock was faulty, but I just think he is naturally quick now and is so easy to ride.
Next Heidi and Askeaton had the young horse final. This was a little bit bigger and more technical than the previous two days. Heidi jumped very well but was a bit quick to the second fence and Askeaton felt very tired and just had coming out of the double.
I then just had Emma to jump in her first 1.40 of the year. I thought the course was pretty big and square and she jumped absolutely brilliantly. Even with a pretty quick double clear she finished 36th which gives an idea of the quality of jumping at the top level of these shows.
Thé horses had done all their jumping by Saturday so we had a quiet day on Sunday. On Monday Will and I hacked out round the lanes which was a nice way to switch the horses off a little bit.
Will and I then had a nice lunch and a wander round Lier which is very beautiful, and I then had a relaxed supper with Mikey, Jackie and little Shane from the Breen Team.
We had another relaxed day on Tuesday. This morning the older horses have been worked quite thoroughly on the flat and Askeaton and Heidi havé done some pole work and had a little jump in preparation for jumping again tomorrow.
All the horses trotted up well this evening and we’re ready for an early start tomorrow.