Monday, March 18, 2019

We welcome Suzie Jenkins as our new 5* blogger in the run up to Badminton.  Suzie is an owner with Tom Jackson with her husband Iain.

Blog 2 10th March 2019 – The Badminton Entry

What a busy fortnight it has been! I have been worrying about entering Badminton before it closes and now it is DONE! Just a nail-biting few days to see if we are accepted once the closing date has passed.

I have waded through the pages of entry information trying to make sure all the information is correct and giving details to give the commentators something to go on. Tom is naturally very reserved and will be the last one to put in anything that is too positive about himself, so it is lucky he has no Wi-Fi or mobile phone signal at the moment, so I had to do the entry for him!

I wonder which details will be of interest? Katya’s feisty personality or her constant desire to jump in and out of her paddock? Or Tom’s 2018 results on his string of exciting horses?

In the meantime, a lot has happened back at home. Tom Jackson Eventing has packed up the entire yard and finally moved ahead of the season start and the trucks rolled out last week leaving Kent for Chris Burton’s former base in Surrey. What a huge task and with the season now underway but the team has been hard at work keeping the horses in their routine.

Katya is certainly not letting it all get to her and is settling in well, getting plenty of beauty sleep and enjoying the new paddocks. She is headed to Pontispool this weekend for a first run, so we can see how she is feeling to be back on the job.

Blog 1 26 Feb 2019

Where do I start? I am so excited and terrified to have a horse on the road to Badminton. Sixty days to go and Katya hasn’t competed since she finished 13th in her first 4* (now 5*) Pau in France at the end of October. It is a bit scary.

To some extent, these fears are just the normal paranoias associated with owning an event horse! You always worry that something is going to go wrong because you know that there are so many things that can go wrong!

But more about that later… My roller coaster journey as an event horse owner began in a discussion with rider Tom Jackson about 6 years ago.

I was just an ordinary horse rider and Pony Club mother whose experience of Eventing was the annual trip to Badminton and watching my children hurtle round the cross country at Tetrathlon until I decided to buy 4-year-old Carpa du Buisson Z (stable name Katya). Further horses followed and luckily within a year I had Tom on board and Katya has come through the levels after a difficult start. My quirky little princess made it all the way through.

What can I tell you about her? She is very talented and the bravest little horse. She is the pony of the yard but with the biggest jump. She isn’t a fan of dressage –she can be very opinionated yet can do a champion test if that day is the day she decides to. But put her cross country and she throws heart and soul into it (perhaps with excessive exuberance at times) and show jumping is what she was bred to do. She proved herself at Pau finishing double clear at one of the world’s top competitions at just 10 years old. It was my proudest moment. I am only sad that as the last horse to go cross country the video team had packed up and gone so there was no record of the round!

Can she repeat it? Who knows? We have Badminton as the target and she has come back from her holiday raring to go. Has Pau affected her confidence? We won’t get a sense of that either until her first runs at Pontispool and Belton to kick off the season.

But before I know anything, I have the owner’s dilemma for May: I must start thinking about the best way to watch her at Badminton. You feel a bit foolish booking hotels and restaurants when you are not even 100% sure she is going. The worst thing is wanting to invite friends, but I will feel pretty sheepish inviting everyone along if I have to pull Katya out days before the event for some reason. Enough negative thinking! We are focusing on the upside, there may not be much time before Badminton but too much for me to imagine every eventuality.

In the meantime, Tom, is moving yards to a beautiful yard in Surrey, not far from Pippa Funnel, where he often trains. It will be a big wrench as Katya and Dusty and Ginge will be much further way and I will not be able to pop in to see how they are going. But it is a big step forward for Tom and Sabrina and their brilliant team, at Tom Jackson Eventing and I am sure the horses will settle in well.

Suzie Jenkins