Thanks to the very kind sponsorship of HorseZone.co.uk I was able to compete in the CSI2* at Bolesworth. Bolesworth is the brainchild of Nina Barbour and is one of three 4* shows in Britain. It is very over-subscribed and therefore I was lucky to get in. One of the slightly scary conditions imposed by Bolesworth was that I could only jump in the 1.40 section of the 2* as the 1.30 section was completely full. Having consulted with Shane it was decided that it was decided that we were up to the challenge and Doonaveeragh Emma and I set off for Cheshire. Thank goodness I was able to borrow WHB Horseboxes' very smart two horse lorry as all the big lorries had to be towed on and I drove on easily.
Emma was soon settled into her Olympic stable and the lovely Doug Hinckley from WH Management helped me drag my tack locker through the mud. I made the most of working Emma in the Castle Arena and then trotted her up. All ready to go for jumping at 10.00 the following morning. I then merrily drove the lorry off the muddy field and set off to stay with Guy and Emma Myddelton nearby, and to change for the cocktail party at the Castle. On the way back to the party the torrential rain started and this set the scene for the next four days. When I went to put Emma's rug on after the party a mini-tidal wave had swept through all the stables flooding all the boxes. Luckily Emma already had a huge, and mainly dry, bed so I left her munching her haylage.
Next morning I walked the strong 1.35 two phase, lunged Emma and took full advantage of Bolesworth's kindness in allowing ad-lib shavings to make the flooded boxes more comfortable. Emma jumped like a star, but in my efforts to go fast enough in the jump-off I had her a little way off an oxer in the jump-off and she just touched the back pole. Emma also took advantage of having 11 bales of shavings in her stable and spent nearly the whole day in bed, only getting up to eat and jump.
It was lovely to go back to Emma and Guy and have a delicious supper and an early night. They very kindly lent me their VW Golf for the week which meant that even though I still got stuck every day it only took one person to push me off and I was away.
I had a slow start on Saturday, once again lunging Emma and letting her have a graze before the 1.40 Accumulator. The course was so big that I cried! I could not imagine how a supercharged cob could possibly jump the joker which was 1.60. The up-side of crying was that Chloe and Jake Saywell took pity on me and Chloe helped me at the practice jump which was fabulous and Ella Fawbert videoed Emma's amazing clear round. It was also really lovely to know that Emma and Guy were also watching and there was great cheering from the Cheshire & Wynnstay Hunts who were having lunch in the marquee alongside the ring.
On Friday evening we watched the Puissance and then had a lovely dinner courtesy of Alyona Solovyova, with Chloe, Shane, Chris Warren and Duncan Gipson while watching the elite auction of yearlings.
Saturday was a non-jumping day for me which was very relaxing. Emma had a lunge, a graze and a very quiet ride. I then had the most delicious lunch courtesy of HorseZone and watched the end of the inspirational para-show jumping which was sponsored by HorseZone. I also managed to catch up with Helen Dunning who rode Mossfort so successfully after me, it was really lovely to see her. I luckily managed to find a car wash to have Guy and Emma's Golf hand cleaned which was definitely most necessary. I stayed to watch some of the evening entertainment, including the Knock-out Competition which was won by the super speedy Jay Halim who edged Shane into 3rd place.
The 1.40 final on Sunday walked big. Unfortunately Emma was very hot in the warm-up and it just happened that Shane was jumping at exactly the same time as me. Nattie came and helped just before I went in which was a great help, but we weren't quite as chilled as I would have liked. Emma had an early fence behind and then rather rashly took a stride out to a very big oxer. We survived so I halted her, patted her, got a good canter going and finished the course well. It's only a round of show jumping and mostly she jumped very well.
All week I had been very conscious of the difference between and 1* and a 2* - not only in the size of the fences but also in the standard of competition. Emma is more than competitive at 1*, but we really had our best foot forward at Bolesworth and only achieved one low placing in the Accumulator. It's good to have had a look at how much better we need to get, but she will jump a few slightly smaller classes now to make sure she is happy. I loaded up quickly, and paid my bill very slowly and trundled home in the heavy Sunday night traffic. I imagine Emma was as thrilled to see her bed as I was.