Friday, April 20, 2018

With The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials weeks away we are delighted that Shelia Barker has joined the team as blogger in the run up

Blog Number Two 19th April

An action packed week.    Well!  We got the sunshine, not down South where it was so needed but up here in Scotland which was wonderful as it enabled me at last to have two really good days productive work in the garden.  My thoughts were never too far away from the horse front though!  Here is a picture of Miley continuing his fitness work ascending into the clouds on the Down-lands of Hampshire.

So the verdict must be, so far so good.  The waitlist is getting shorter, but …….

A most enjoyable weekend spent on the A1 and Belton.  Whilst many riders had their Badminton bound horses at Belton we decided to buck the trend, but there are, as one knows many ways to skin the cat!  A combined mother and son birthday party on the beach!

Huge credit to Stuart Buntine and his team. Talk about defying the odds; what a Herculean task to put on such a massively good event with the conditions we have had this spring.  Of course ‘old turf’ is always a great bonus, but who would have thought that the going would hold up through to the fading light on Sunday?  It was a privilege to watch so many wonderful horses jumping the demanding track.

Why so much time on the A1?  A six hour drive south in the early hours of Friday to watch my granddaughter in the U18 ON class.  Back to her place Friday night to swap lorries and riders and back up on Saturday early doors with Nana (Elite Syncopation)for a 9 am dressage in the advanced ONE day event.  Back down the A1 and a lie in Sunday as not jumping till the afternoon.  Along the line I have by this time picked up a husband and an extra dog ready for our six hour drive back up North again Sunday night.  And we try telling people we Event Horse Owners are not bonkers/enthusiast?  There were many notable performances over the weekend but harping back to my ‘extended family’ Will Furlong should  get a mention on his Badminton bound Collien P 2.  Winner in the  AU25 section with only 2.4 time faults must have been some ride.  The confidence of youth!

Talking of which the eighteen year old I mentioned last week was Ruth Edge (Friend) and the pony sized Ice Dancer.  And the Advanced U25 in her day were AU21 (YRAT’s) and a full stand alone section as compared to the 17 U25 in yesterday’s section.  When does youth become not youth?  Was my husband really ‘a youth’ when he married me?!

Blog Number One 

1987 – I first became an Event Horse Owner.  Little did I think 31 years later I could be on the cusps of owning a Badminton bound horse (small leg of!)

Absolut Opposition has actually been to Badminton before as a ten year old in 2015. A great run with just one little mishap xc. Then with ongoing veterinary niggles, one owner pulled out and, as mothers do, I stepped in!

Probably I am very typical of a thousand and one other mothers of pony mad children.  Walking the Badminton course with ones child saying confidently ‘ my pony could jump this Mummy’.  Dreams?  Reality! oh the confidence of youth!  Will it really happen now?  We all know of the million and one obstacles between dreams and reality, fairy tales seemed to happen more way back then.  If you had jumped just one advanced and finished in the top 25% of a three star as an eighteen year old, you were free to enter the holy grail event.  Rightly so the qualifications have become much tighter.  A slight setback, a couple of missed runs, and all of a sudden one is rock bottom on the wait list.  History assures me that we will get in, with a much smaller entry than usual, making the decision back in January not to go to Portugal chasing points look to be a good call :- but let’s wait to be sure till the fat lady is singing!

We have been very lucky so far this season, we have had two runs!  Isleham our first port of call was cancelled but thanks to the team at Twesledown we got a last minute entry and at Burnham Market we were the lucky ones that got a xc run on the Friday before the rain came and spoilt the party.

As a JRN coordinator for a number of years I have proudly followed ‘my children’ on their journey to Badminton with the usual highs and lows.  This year I think I have nearly a record, eight in all.  My three ‘boys’ Harry, Tom and Will as well as Lizzie Green, Kate Honey, Gemma Tattersall, Georgie Strang and my own daughter Nana Dalton.

Let’s see what the next three weeks brings, perhaps some sunshine, now, that would be nice!

Onwards and upwards!

With very best wishes

Sheila

Not the usual task for a Badminton bound horse possibly?!