Four days after getting home from Spain I was packing the lorry for Hardelot. It did feel a bit mad, but Hardelot is a lovely show, one of the early season shows on grass in Northern Europe and it fitted well with giving Culana and Lima a break after Spain.
At 3.45 on Wednesday morning Heather Trevor-Jones, Emma, Luendi and I were on our way to Folkestone and by 9.30 we were unloading in Hardelot. The Breen Team and Jake Saywell beat us to it having left Hickstead at midnight, but I cannot drive the lorry and make a sensible job of riding the horses on no sleep, which is where the Eurotunnel comes into its own taking a couple of hours off the journey. Hardelot is held on in the town, and there is no parking: you queue to unload in a residential street and the lorries then park along the roads round the golf course, hence the need to arrive before too many other people. This year the urgency was increased by very wet conditions and the scarcity of unflooded stables. Once Heather and I had settled the horses and I had parked and hooked up the lorry I rode and trotted up both horses and declared Luendi to jump on Thursday.
Only Luendi jumped on Thursday. She jumped in the 1.20 but the very muddy conditions were hard for her and she was a bit disappointing. On Friday both horses jumped in the 1.25 speed. Luendi jumped a great round and Emma was 6th. It was still tacky ground but lovely for Emma to cruise round a small class. Luendi was the perfect mount for the prize giving. The French make a fantastic fuss of prize givings with the top eight mounted, bags of enthusiastic commentary and several laps of honour - Luendi was very polite, whereas Emma would had been electrified.
Hardelot was a show with a few glitches: as we got onto the autoroute in Calais the back tack locker was open (we got the whole way to Folkestone with it closed). Heather bravely battled the traffic to shut it, but when we arrived at Hardelot Emma's top rug was found to have joined the humanitarian effort in Sangatte. Simon Moss managed to get the water heater, which failed to work in Spain, working before we left for France, but on Friday afternoon hot water started gushing out of the lorry necessitating turning off all the water and showering in the show showers, which actually weren't too bad and had an endless supply of hot water.
As my class was later on Saturday I took Emma for a quiet hack along the bridle path out of Hardelot which was absolutely beautiful. Both horses jumped in the 1.30 small Grand Prix. Luendi jumped well for her first 1.30 which was strong and on tacky ground and Emma was a bit wild for two down. Saturday evening was spent celebrating Chloe Breen's birthday.
Luendi didn't jump on Sunday so she had a lovely long hack round Hardelot. Emma had a really unlucky four faults to finish 8th in the Grand Prix. The prize giving was very long, with speeches and loads of prizes and galloping about - very exciting, but we survived. Then we tidied up and I got the lorry into the queue for packing up. This involved 45 mins queuing and 5 minutes packing! There were no space on the train, but we were very quick getting a ferry in Calais and were home just after midnight. Very tired, but quite a good show for Emma and good experience for Luendi.