It was an early start for Gatcombe with Donovan for dressage before 9:30am… and a miserable one too, torrential rain all down the motorway, which luckily cleared to just a lot of mist when we walked the course. The rain did mean near perfect going on the XC though, which was great.
I somehow managed to leave myself a little short on time for dressage warm up and whether it was the mist or the fact that Donovan is feeling very fit, he came out a little tense and short in the neck – he was being a very spooky boy! He did an obedient test though, other than an unscheduled (perfect but not required!) flying change for 32.7, which left us 14th out of 40 after dressage. I was pleased however that he still scored fairly well even when tense and with a mistake.
Onto the show jumping, which looked up to height but I felt was a nice flowing course and with the tricky lines more on the uphill so kinder to jump. Donovan was a complete wuss in the warm up that was a little soft in front of the fences and we haven’t seen mud for a while (no excuse) – I think all part of the spooky syndrome he was suffering from! Luckily Nick Gauntlett was there riding and helped me get my act together with further words of encouragement as we entered the ring, Donovan’s head high and eyes out on stalks as if he’d never seen coloured fences before!!! Despite this I managed to ride positively all the way round, ignoring that he didn’t want to do his flying changes and he jumped a brilliant clear! Click here to see the video of our round (minus fence 1….)
Then he was just fabulous XC and made it all feel easy peasy! At first I was a little disappointed with 14.4 time faults but as the day went on there were many time faults all round – probably due to many combinations and going in and out of the woods. See XC course photos here. To see some video clips from our round click here.
Donovan finished in 5th place and I got my prize presented by Princess Anne! This means Donovan now has over 50 British Eventing points. Nick’s lovely grey horse Carden Earl Grey went really well to win his intermediate section so smiles all round 🙂