Doonaveeragh Emma 1.40 Final
Having been a bit worried about the way Emma jumped at South of England I had a lesson with Shane on the Monday. In Lier in March I felt she had run away with me, and I had had her in a little pelham since then, but I wondered after the South of England whether, although I thought she felt easy to ride in the pelham, she was feeling a little bit over-bitted, so I changed her back to her old combination bit which has a soft plastic mouthpiece. Shane concentrated on trying to get me to be more relaxed, and therefore Emma became more relaxed, so we set off to Bolesworth with a bit more confidence.
Because I also took Askeaton for the national classes I had booked a freelance groom for Bolesworth, but unfortunately she injured herself on the Sunday, but luckily marvellous Nattie found me Paul Drew for Wednesday to Friday, and Mark came up for the weekend. It's a long drive to Cheshire but we got to the show in good time and Paul helped me get everything set up so that I could give the horses a leg stretch before the trot-up. By the time I had ridden Askeaton Paul had set everything up and trotted up the horses - that has never happened to me before! All the horses went well, and Askeaton certainly rose to the challenge of working in the international arena with Carl and Charlotte doing their dressage in the background - you'd have never guessed she was a baby!
Paul then gave me a lift into Chester to pick up my hire car, and after a little detour into Wales on the way back, we finished the horses and I went back to my lovely B&B to change for Nina's wonderful drinks party at the Castle. Lauren Hough had also arrived at the B&B so we went to the party in convoy, both looking super smart, and somehow - due to the fact that our girlie shoes were making it difficult to walk on the gravel - we just went into the castle through the first door we came to. Actually the first window we came to - but an excellent detour as we got to see lots of beautiful rooms, wonderful paintings etc., until we were gently apprehended and steered off to the bar! I said my hello's and made a fairly quick exit - off to meet lovely Emma and Guy Myddelton for a delicious curry before collapsing into my super comfortable bed.
First to jump on Thursday was Askeaton in the Discovery in the grass ring. She was very well behaved and warmed up beautifully, she just had a fence down when she wasn't really concentrating with all that was going on around her. Next up was Kvint in the 1.30 two phase where I over rode him because he was rather spooky going into the ring, but luckily Emma saved the day with a lovely clear round in the 1.35 two phase. I then jumped into my little mint green car to go and fetch Mark from the station before joining Chris Warren, Duncan Gipson, Lauren and Shane for dinner at Bolesworth for the foal auction.
Friday morning was very busy. Kvint jumped a lovely clear round in the 1.30 speed, Emma jumped a fabulous round in the Accumulator to finish 11th and Askeaton jumped her first Newcomers in the grass ring, just having one pole in the Jump-Off, but it was big and difficult for her and she was so brave and tried so hard. I was absolutely thrilled with all of them.
We then said goodbye to Paul who had to go home to his proper job! We had a quiet afternoon and then watched the Puissance which was such a high quality that five horses made it to the final round, but the only ones to clear the wall, and set a new Bolesworth record at 2.2m was Shane on Team Z7's Acorad 3. We then went back to the lovely B&B to have the most delicious dinner cooked by Chris and Dobby, by this time Shane and Lea Popely had also joined us at the B&B.
I had a very quiet day on Saturday with just Emma to jump in the 1.40 Grand Prix. She jumped absolutely beautifully, just for me to make a less than brilliant turn to an oxer and have four faults, which made me very disappointed in myself.
I exercised the other horses and then we had a quiet afternoon and then took the car back to Europcar in Chester, followed by another delicious Dobby & Chris meal and this time joined by Trevor, Caroline and Cass.
On Sunday I just jumped Kvint in the 1.30 Grand Prix, having decided that the ground in the grass ring had now got very hard, and that Askeaton had probably jumped enough. Kvint jumped a fantastic clear in the first round, and then was a bit surprised to go quite so quickly in the jump-off having two down to finish 9th - a fantastic result for him.
Mark and I managed to pack up and leave at about 2.00 for the long journey home, arriving home and getting the horses settled down by about 8.00. Time for two loads of washing as we had a two day turn around before leaving for Kronenberg in Holland.
Bolesworth was a great show, well done to Nina Barbour and her team, the show continues to grow and improve, all the lorries now park on hard standing, you have help taking your equipment off and on the lorry, and the classes were great. Our weekend was really made by staying in Fi Midwood's wonderful Cherry Tree Farm B&B which I can't recommend more highly. Literally 5 minutes from the back gate at Bolesworth with beautiful views and so comfortable. You can find Cherry Tree Farm on Air B&B - Cheshire West and Chester - https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/2728701?s=51. We also had excellent company, even Twiglet had a friend.
It was also great to catch up with Saracen Feeds who had a stand at the show, and to see Helen Dunning who was so successful with my lovely event horse Mossfort, who is now retired and living in luxury with her mother.
Most of all thank you to Paul Drew, and Nattie for finding him for me. What an experience - I literally only had to ride the horses, I was shooed away if I tried any stable management, and to Camilla and Steff who keep everything going at home and without whom I wouldn't be able to get away!.