Well on Sunday, we headed off bright and early (although not too early in eventing terms) to Eridge Park, for our last ONU18Q. Knowing that selection was based on our performance on the day, I was nervous to say the least.
Last Wednesday (29/6) I thought I should take Ozzie to practice some dressage in preparation. We went to Great Bookham Equestrian Centre, and despite it being so local, I havent competed there for years. It was a very well run evening and all the people were very friendly. The BD tests we were doing, were fortunately very similar to the BE test I was going to do at Eridge. Although Ozzie was tense and a bit excited, it was a fantastic set up dressage wise, as I was firm and treated it as practice. In the test if something wasnt the way I wanted, I made him do it properly, which might have dropped me marks then, but I am sure it made a huge difference to my test at Eridge. We also did some clear round jumping, I rode like a muppet, and despite Ozzies best efforts, we had a pole in each round. I got in at 10.15pm Wednesday night, and was back at the yard at 6.30 Thursday morning to give Ozzie a quick hack before heading off to Wales on a biology field trip. The trip was meant to last until Monday, however I wasnot missing Eridge for anything. So a huge huge thank you to my dad who drove a 10 hour round trip to collect me from Wales!! (Thank you very much.) I got back to Reigate at 5.30 on Saturday night, and went to the yard to ride, ready for Sunday! My mum had already cleaned my tack and bathed Ozzie so he was a dazzling white, what would I do without my parents?!
By the time the hot water wouldnt work, and mums car wouldnt start I was starting to get worried, something was going to go wrong on the day - all these things going wrong must mean something .. surely ?! We got to the yard, got sorted and off we went at 7.45. We got to Eridge in good time, so I tacked up and wandered over to the dressage. Ozzie warmed up fantastically, went in and got a little tense, but nothing in comparison to normal. He did a really lovely test, and ended up with a mark of 41, which I though was quite mean really! But that is judging for you! There was a long gap between Dressage and Showjumping, so I went and watched some others do their dressage, before going on the U18 course walk with Mark Corbett. I was happy with the xc course, a good challenge but perfectly possible!
The showjumping was the phase I was most nervous for, knowing if I gave Oz half a chance he would showjump clear. Well I managed to give him that chance and he skipped round very happily for a clear round ! At this point I had started to breath, and was determined not to ride like a muppet or do anything stupid cross country.
A quick change and we were at the xc start. I was wearing my stop watch (didn't want a repeat of Borde Hill) however I forgot to start it!! So that plan failed!! However he skipped round like a pro, he gave me such a fantastic ride and felt really fit. At one point I did lose a little control, but on the whole, I maintained control and Ozzie was very happy!
When we finished, and got everything sorted I went and sat with Genevive (chuffy) Clark and we watched a film to pass the time. It turns out I had 5.2 too slow time faults, but that was still 2nd fastest in my section, and I finished 5th! I was so so so happy, all my work this year has seemed to pay off! Chuffy finished 3rd and another Surrey Union member, Lucyanna Westaway, finished 2nd. A good day had by all.
Today I received the confirmation email from Sheila, saying that I had qualified to ride for the South East at Weston Park this October. Three of us are Surrey Union members - Genevive, Lucyanna and I. Georgia Hatton Brown, Will Furlong and Hannah Murphy have been selected and they were also on the team last year, so I am very excited! I think I will be out doing dressage every week from now until October!!
Georgie and Ozzie xx