Well horses are great levellers - you can never quite tell what is going to happen next. I have had a few really great weeks, especially with Emma who is now Grade A and after Chepstow was standing 25th in the Gold League. Neither of these have any real meaning, but still, it's nice to have produced a horse from a three year old to Grade A myself, and also I am proud to see our names on the Gold League list, which only records results of 1.35 and over. I went and had a good lesson with Shane after Pyecombe and didn't think Benny was quite himself and so made the decision to leve him at home for Windsor.
When the alarm went of at 3am on Wednesday I did wonder why on earth I thought Windsor was a good idea. However it is a lovely show and it is very good for the horses to experience such an amazing atmosphere. Even though Catokyo was late to go in the Foxhunter the class started at 7.15 and the ring is a long way from the lorry park. Catokyo is such a cool character that she was totally unphased by the atmosphere and wandered happily into the main ring. She was a little bit distracted by the big screen and had two fences down facing it, but she jumped better and better and next year she'll be really ready to be competitive.
We then had a long wait for the A & B jumping, possibly the Foxhunter could have started a bit later! Emma was last to go and I didn't think the track was too big. She just had the middle of the combination, maybe I wasn't quite straight enough and the last fence in the first round. It was a super competitive class which Georgia Tame won convincingly, and last year I would have thought it too much so I was really pleased with both horses.
Doonaveeragh Emma A & B Jumping Wednesday
Steff and I were up at 3 again on Thursday with Emma early to go in the A & B jump-off class. Unfortunately Steff didn't get to see anything as Catokyo got herself stuck on the tack lockers and had to be rescued by several firefighters. Catokyo then refused to settle in either our lorry or the Breen lorry so Steff had to stay with her while Julien and Jo Marsh-Smith gave me a jump. Emma really jumped magnificently until the second last fence where she had the second part of the double. She the really ran me to the last fence and completely ran out of room so rather piled into it. She came round and jumped it perfectly- so not upset and hopefully she might be more inclined to take advice next time. When I spoke to Michael Quirke he said he thought it was a big and difficult course, she made it feel so easy until the very end, so we just need to keep tipping away and we'll get it all right.
When I got back to the lorry Catokyo had finally calmed down and Steff had done a great job of looking after her but she had a very sore and swollen leg so we had a quick look round and then took her home. This morning she is pretty sound but still sore so we will give her loads of TLC and she will see the vet on Monday. Ideally I would never have tack lockers in the horse part of the lorry, but with a second hand lorry you can't always get exactly what you want. This is the second accident we have had with the lockers in four years so they are not something I would recommend.
Jemma Tester very kindly rode Benny and mucked out both days which was wonderful. I think next year I might try stabling for the middle night. It is expensive, but I don't think any of us are at our best when we get up in the middle of the night.
The horses have a slightly quieter time planned now until after Anna's wedding on 3rd June. We are currently on our way to Yorkshire for my godson, Edward Green's wedding which will be full of old friends and great fun.