Hartpury at the beginning of July was looming and as usual there was a last minute dash to a 20 x 60 school to run through our freestyle… thankfully Debbie Winchester had videoed it in Belgium so that I could refresh my memory of the floorplan… my notes had long since disappeared in the black hole of papers I have been accumulating!
Our plan was for Rhapsody and I to go to train with Andrew on the Saturday/Sunday before departing to Hartpury on Tuesday the 7th. The plans did NOT include an emergency call out to vet Steve Brooks of GVG Brooks Equine on the Saturday morning when Rhaps had an extreme allergic reaction to what we can only think was a horsefly or similar bite. Thankfully Steve was not far away and immediately got some antibiotics into Rhaps intravenously followed up by another two injections. The external signs of his reaction soon subsided but I think his below par performances at Hartpury were a reflection that he definitely was not his 100% lively self. In both the team and the individual tests we started very strong and positively but towards the end I felt his energy levels fade away and it was all I could do to get him to the final halt. The final scores would imply very average tests but the reality was he had some very good scores to start putting us on possibly between 65-70% but with significant mistakes towards the end the final marks were considerably lower. I was very disappointed to say the least and it is hard not to feel that I let all our supporters, sponsors and friends down – not to mention Andrew, who was at Hartpury to help me and always sees the positives in our tests regardless of the results! We did finish the 3 day competition with a better score in the freestyle to music having simplified the floorplan to take the pressure off Rhaps so he could have an enjoyable experience in the arena on the final day. Under the circumstances I was pleased with a respectable 65.85%.
Rhapsody is a real trier and normally loves the big shows but he is not a machine and whatever he reacted to obviously had a sapping effect on him. He is now having some time off with a few hours in the field each day, Steve is monitoring his health, Gill Maybury is keeping an eye on any soreness in his back and shoulders , Simple System Feeds are rushing over some Eclipse Recovery to aid his immune system and we will get back to work at the end of the week. It will then be just over a week before we are back in Kent with Andrew and two weeks before our next international at Bishop Burton the first week of August with hopefully everything back on track!!