Rhapsody and I arrived at Hartpury on Monday the 1st July - he was stabled in a posh box, the lorry was parked close by and our rooms the nearest we could have hoped for.. it was all looking very positive! The trot up was no worry and by then Andrew had arrived. I had scheduled a training session in the main arena - which was indoors this year, in the early evening, having just given Rhaps a leg stretch the day before after our journey and a little light work in the morning. He felt well and truly amazing - very enthusiastic and we had a very good training session. Our times on Wednesday were mid morning for the team test.
We decided to go for a steady 'clear round' - it was good enough for 65% and 6th place in a field that was very competitive with riders from GB, Ireland, France, Australia, South Africa and Hong Kong. We were very pleased with that result and score - with the judges comments proving that they like Rhapsody and are willing to give higher marks when our consistency improves. We were very hopeful of a repeat performance - or really an improvement - on Thursday but a error of judgement by me in the warm up meant that Rhapsody was a little unsettled going into the arena and I paid for it with a couple of mistakes in the test - disappointing but nevertheless another lesson learnt - 7th and just out of the prize giving.
All to play for on Friday with the freestyle and a chance to enjoy ourselves - a new floor plan and new music - hopefully only temporary if something up my sleeve takes shape in the future - but a final placing of 5th - with 2 of the judges putting us 4th - a good ending to a great show - what a difference some sun makes in contrast to previous visits to Hartpury!
Once home Rhaps had some well earned time off, a check up by Gill Maybury, chiropractor, and some relaxing hacking through the National Trust woods that surrounds the yard. Before I knew it I was driving Rhaps to Andrew''s in Kent for a weeks training - where he is as I write this. I went over last weekend to train and ride - it is so exciting to see before my eyes how much he is improving - Rhaps has a real enthusiasm for the work we are doing with him - obviously feeling better in himself and finding it all so much easier these days. A delighted Andrew rang today to say that - despite the pouring rain - Rhaps had gone the best ever - extremely encouraging for the future!!