BADMINTON GRASSROOTS RIDER – Lauren Collard …

With four weeks to go until this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Cup, Lauren Collard updates Eventing Worldwide on her preparation.

Four weeks to go until me and Ryan set off on the brief journey over to the Badminton estate for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup. Ahhhh!!!

We started our season at Tweseldown where the weather wasn’t particularly on our side. The wind was so strong that just walking the course was making my eyes stream, so I was unsure whether I’d be able to see where I was going when riding. Ryan wasn’t very keen on the wind during our dressage warm up so I may as well have gone straight in. Luckily he knows what he’s doing and produced a sweet, consistent test. Down to the showjumping warm up where it was rather muddy; although, due to the wind it had dried up pretty good and Ryan was jumping well. Just as we headed into the arena, the rain started (just our luck). Ryan jumped really confidently, didn’t spook at anything, although, I did chase him into the penultimate fence (I really need to stop doing that), I think he may have touched a couple of poles but none fell, we were clear and the rain stopped!! Worst phase over and we now could enjoy ourselves and have fun. Ryan looked at few jumps to begin with but soon settled and ate up the course. Half way round the wind picked up and it started to hail (typical)! I was galloping towards the water jump with one hand stopping my hat cover flapping over my eyes, hail stinging us, wondering whether we could do it one handed. Ryan will go straight into water but he’s not keen on getting splashed so it takes quite a lot of effort to keep him cantering. Anyway, he took matters into his own hooves so trotted through, out the other side and popped the jump then galloped towards home. Though the finish and we were clear in the time. Woohoo!! Had a look at the leader board where we were fourth after dressage but double clear meant we moved up to win!

Since Tweseldown we’ve mainly been hacking for fitness. We are really lucky that we have some brilliantly steep hills to walk and trot up and Ryan’s own field is a steep hill so he keeps himself fairly fit. We school once a week and lunge once with the rest hacking. Ryan does like to let my 6 year old god daughter have a go now and again, he even works in a little outline for her. He’s such a great horse.

We are off to Larkhill on Sunday so are going showjump schooling over the BS course at Summerhouse this week in preparation. Our last event before Badminton is Bicton and have plucked up the courage to go to Summerhouse for British showjumping as well. We are really lucky that we have Mendip Plains and Rosamund Green really close so will aim to go schooling at these too.

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