Here is my latest efforts to turn a Novice horse into a 3* performer. It all started in Romania when I rode Watt with broken bones in the CCI2* because he led after the dressage. Stupid mistake. He did an enormous jump near the end of the course and I fell off. This resulted in a reverse qualification for horse and rider. Next step- back to 1* and a jolly nice, but slow, clear at Aldon. Then on vet’s advice I opted to pin fire him, so box rest and holiday.
We started the season with a late replacement run at Whitfield BE90 as I had a space and there were no withdrawal refunds that day, To my utter amazement the Dressage judge gave him 47.5, this for a horse that does 25 in Novice/Intermediate tests. At this stage I have to question the competency of these List 6 judges; I think that because BD competitions have lots of classes with few entries, Organisers tend to use one or two higher list judges to cover all tests and the lower list names don’t get a lot of outings unless used by BE. So little experience and questionable judgement. Anyway double clear at Whitfield followed by a double clear at Berks College.
Onto the next step which involves two CIC2* (FEI) plus 2 CIC2*or an Advanced (BE). I decide to do the Advanced at Aston, oh hold on I’m reverse qualified so I need another Intermediate to qualify. Quick- Eridge is the answer. So travel there and for once the M25 is clear and after two rider poles in the show jumping, we come 8th with two points and hurrah Watt is Intermediate. On to Aston and our first Advance test – not bad if rather excitable – a silly stop in the show jumping with time faults and a steady clear on the cross country. On to Hartpury 2*, and if all goes well Ballindenisk. Then if I don’t fall off between now and the end of the season at an FEI competition, I will be a B rider and 3* CCI here we come.
The whole point of this diatribe is to talk about reverse qualification; I can understand if a rider has only done a few top level events but in my case I have 14 MERs at CI3* and it seems daft to uncategorised me. Horses pounding round at any level is not good news for their soundness so, like everyone else, I am now going to pull up if I have a couple of stops to avoid the down-grading and use superglue on the saddle.
Meanwhile on to Burghley with the awesome Tigger; the anticipation of the competition is such that I started being nervous mid-July! I am loading up the new lorry with Sponsors’ goodies, Global herbs products are part of the daily diet, two Voltaire saddles are being polished, Equestrian Discount Store rugs are in their cellophane and a Beatrice von Treskow jacket will stun you at the trot up. Mother is doing her usual ‘I can’t watch the xc’ while the Master is gnashing his teeth in the field having been told that he can’t compete unless we go back to Romania.