...since my last diary post we had a fund raising demo in May when Skye proved that he had really moved on with accepting the unexpected - and thanks to everyone who attended and raised over £500 towards our travel expenses for WEG... then we trained and trained... and headed for Hartpury in early July as a warm up competition for the World Championships in Denmark the following month.
Safe to say our preparation didn't go quite to plan when 2 days before we were due to leave for Hartpury, while getting Skye in from the field he spooked, knocked me over and then proceeded to canter over me... a trip to hospital - stitches in my lower leg and off we went... on crutches!! Luckily I could still get my boot on even with the essential padding provided by the hospital!!
The first test was a safe 'clear round' and not sure why exactly but I was disappointed with the marks - although all the movements were there - the judges just warted MORE - of everything!! Next day we upped our game but an unfortunate incident just before we entered the arena was enough to worry Skye and there were tense moments. It was a test of highs and lows and the score reflected that.... but there were important lessons learned through the week!
Fast forward to August when I was having kittens over the transport arrangements for Skye (that had been booked in May!). I knew that after Brexit it would be more difficult taking a horse to Europe but I didn't expect the transport company to be the main problem! Everything was in the balance until literally a few days before we were due to leave... stress overload! But we got there and I will gloss over the fact that the transport company 'lost' my new competition jacket so we had to buy a new one at Herning the day before our competition... but we were there!
Skye was 'wild' the first few days - there was SOOOOO much going on - but he was very settled in his stable and soon got used to the busy atmosphere around the stable area.
Suzanne came out to groom for me and had the 'privilege' of sharing a tiny caravan with a show jumping groom who didn't speak English and was a bit scary!... but her little dog was cute! The first day's training was very 'spicy' and I think a bit (understatement!) worrying for Regine who had travelled from the VI for the championships - having not seen Skye in action before. Thankfully Andrew was his usual 'rock in a storm' (is that the right quote???) and gave me tons of confidence to deal with the situation & thankfully we had a few days training before our first competition to settle Skye.
Individual Test - day 1 - all started pretty well - but I made some poor choices (sitting trot - really.... why Lee??) which I in hindsight feel added to Skye's inevitable tension in that atmosphere. And then when he made a mistake & did a flying change in counter canter and panicked - I guess I panicked too. Instead of taking a breath... establishing the walk and calmly picking up counter canter again I asked for it straight away - 2nd poor choice but was conscious that we had a simple change looming! It was messy and ended up with Skye launching himself forward not once but twice!! That resulted in trashing 2 movements instead of 1! Expensive!!
The test had started really well with lots of 7's...but obviously dipped thru the floor with these 2 movements. We got it back and finished with some good marks but the damage had been done.
Another days training which saw more improvement and then test 2 - the Team Competition which was - for us - just a welcome opportunity for Skye to gain more experience in the arena. So much better - still some tension - but no explosions. Maybe it was the Calming Cookies provided by Lee Pearson after our first test that made all the difference but I felt his confidence improved from the positive experience and as this was the more difficult test of the 2 we were really pleased with how he coped!
So many positives to take away from the Herning World Championships - of course things could have gone better - but that's life isn't it!
The dramas didn't end there... the drive home involved police, fines, and me having to drive the lorry through Germany to Belgium - not really what you'd expect when hiring a transport company for your transport!
It was quite an experience for sure and we all felt privileged to be there and been able to watch such great equestrian sport in person... dressage freestyle.... show jumping individual final ... vaulting finals...
I couldn't have done any of this without the support of not only the dream team in Denmark with me - Regine, Andrew, and Suzanne - but also a whole host of other friends and professionals in the background... thank you all!! xxx
Many more pics and behind the scene views on my FB page... https://www.facebook.com/leefrawley2012