I was asked to be foreign riders' rep and attended the draw for the first day... not sure how I managed to draw myself first in the class but at least we were riding in the afternoon. The morning was still wet and horrid... but during a gap in the rain Angela managed to get Rhaps out for a leg stretch. I was pleased with our test and felt that all our planning and decisions on preparation had gone to plan... The next day our order was reversed and I was last to go in the class. I decided to reduce our warm up time to keep Rhapsody fresh and we had another mistake free test for 6th place again.
That evening - before the final draw for the freestyle I was advised by the organisers that there had been a error with the international judges ratio on the first day in the grades 3 & 4 and basically it meant that the scores would not count for rankings points for Rio. There was a huge amount of entries from all around the world - all there with Rio in mind and these scores were important to all of us! The decision was made to run the grade 3 & 4 team tests again in the morning before the freestyle. This was a blow to the organisers but they rallied round to amend the timetable so that all the classes could be catered for. Unfortunately for me this meant - going in the same drawn order as the first day I was in first of all... but this time the class was starting at 7 a.m!!!! This was a crucial class for us and despite a solid test I was disappointed not to have improved on my original score. We had a long break during the day - at which time I decided that it would be foolish to drive home that night after such a long and tiring day - around the M25 - in rush hour on a Friday night and asked to stay another night. We had been up since 5 a.m. and as rider/driver I did not relish the thought... not to mention getting back to the yard late, in the dark and then having to take the lorry back to its owner and collect my car... so Saturday it was!
But not before we had the chance to ride through our freestyle! At 4 p.m. - we dragged Rhapsody out again and with the minimum of warm up we rode to the sounds of Here Comes Summer and Walking on Sunshine. I didn't quite trust my timing which left me in the wrong place for the walk but managed to quickly get back on track and finish well - with a satisfying 4th place! With 70% from one of the judges it was a good result to finish a very good competition!
It certainly had a been few days of drama and we returned home shattered... Rhapsody was fortunate enough to have some physio thanks to Gill Maybury and Steve Brooks followed by some time off. I on the other hand was at the gym bright and early on the Monday morning for my own physio session.... but sadly no time off for me!
Now I am back in the saddle and looking forward to the next couple of months training and getting to some local competitions - weather permitting. It looks as though we will be aiming for an international in the Netherlands in January, if the show is approved by the FEI. January will be the crunch time for Rio so still all to play for!!