So our first international test together was bright and early - 8:26 to be precise. I was at the stables at 5 a.m. to get Panta ready but must have left my brain in bed that morning because after getting him ready - warming up brilliantly and trotting around the arena before the bell like a dream.... I rode like a moron for the first half of the test. The second half was better... and after seeing the judges' marks - generous and they really liked him - kicked myself even more for my bad riding! Nevertheless fourth place was very respectable.
The next day went so much better.... a more technical test and would have earned us a good mark - except I went wrong. Oh dear.... how I have agonsied about that. With the recent FEI changes to the rules it was a very expensive mistake! Still nothing could take away from the fact that we were happy with the test overall.... every time I worked Panta over the three days he felt better and better!
So we had the chance to ride to our freestyle on the last day.... hurray!! Even with only a brief run through beforehand it all went to plan - unbelievable! Despite keeping to a fairly straightforward simple floor plan the judges seemed to like it - as well as the music! So did the Brazilian stewards as they recognised the music! We ended up with a very respectable 65%.
It was a great week - and as always the great team at Hartpury delivered... we saw some terrific dressage and some not so great dressage.... but the weather was much kinder than it was 10 years ago when everyone was stranded there due to severe floods!!
Huge thanks to Andrew J Murphy for making the trek across country to support us in training and warming up and of course Anneke de Vree for generously allowing her horse to come to England to compete for the USVI!
So.... in a little over a week we pack our things again and head up north to Bishop Burton CPEDI3*!