Hickstead was something of a comedy act which started by me missing the turning to the showground making us late after a considerable detour, then forgetting my gloves – back to the lorry, forgetting our number – back to the lorry again. By the time I was in the warm up arena we had less than 5 minutes till our starting time. I cantered a few circles and decided to ride through our first test simply as a warm up for the second. First though we had to get past the scary carousel horses that were leaning by the entrance to the arenas. For a horse that doesn’t usually spook Rhapsody took a real dislike to them and by the time I coaxed him past he was well and truly wired! He snorted down the centre line in a passage kind of way and unbelievably we got to the end with no mistakes. It had been such a farce up to that point that I really did have to smile as I walked him to cool him down before our next class. I was very pleased with the second test – we were both more relaxed. When the results came out I had to chuckle - we came 2nd in both!
The day did leave me questioning my normal warm up routine and I decided to shake it up a bit at Oldencraig a few weeks later as part of our preparation for the international at Bury Farm from 27/30 October. There are some times when you can only test out a new plan at a competition – it goes against the grain a little but of course you hope that it pays off. Throwing away the test at Oldencraig will, I believe, pay off at Bury… time will tell but I had Rhaps much more forward going which is how most judges like to see him and I like to ride him.
Our day at Hickstead wasn’t all smiles… Rhapsody broke his double bridle. As much as I don’t want to think about Christmas just yet, looks like I have started writing my wish list for Santa!
This weekend I start to pack for Bury Farm and as usual I want to thank the great team of friends and sponsors who all do their bit to help Rhaps and I trot down the centre line!!