Despite a trying time at home of late, it has been a rather successful few weeks for M.S. Team Eventing. Riding high after Badminton it was on to Chatsworth and a great 3rd place finish for Roheryn Ruby in the CIC*.
All change and on to Rockingham...where we wanted a little rain to soften the ground and what we got was a monsoon! The ground was quite holding following the deluge of rain (we can't really complain as we desperately needed it) so Shannondale Vintage was quite exhausted when he finished but certainly cheered everyone up and put a smile on faces with a glorious double clear in the Intermediate, just adding 14 times faults to their 31.3 dressage to finish 4th in a very competitive section.
Violetta B came along to Rockingham as well for their first grown up party, for the Burghley Young Event Horse class - jumping very well and behaving superbly. However, the judges didn't really appreciate the need for speed, so hopefully we'll see a slightly more sedate performance at Houghton.
On to another stately home, this time the stunning ground of Houghton Hall in Norfolk where a 3 day event actually takes 5 days, with Ruby and Petal (I've Dun Talking) both in the CCI*. We're hoping for another good finish from Ruby and expect a nice accurate test from Petal.
Ben is also coming along with Cosgrove in the CIC* and looking for a double clear and MER score.
Ivar Gooden seems to have adopted a bit of a fan club following his Badminton triumph and we are very pleased to say that he is feeling VERY well! He is certainly ready and raring to go after his holiday and really wants to be back in work. We'll find a nice Open Intermediate for him to have a fun run in and then all being well another 3*. The most amazing plan would be Aachen 3* and then Burghley 4*...lots of luck and bubble wrap needed.
What a week - what a Badminton!
It was a first Badminton CCI**** for Imogen, and a first ever 4* for Ivar Gooden (Sir Charles). All anyone could have hoped for was that they would both come home safe and well, but what they actually achieved was an incredible DOUBLE CLEAR, a 21st place finish and to WIN the under 25 prize!! What a rollercoaster of emotions that was!
Whilst Imogen kept her cool and rode two of the jumping rounds of her life, Dean paced - 26Km on cross country day alone, and Kim provided the emotional statuses.
The team added up the key team of Imogen, Charles & Chief Groom's age and it was still less than that of Sir Mark and Andrew!
Imogen couldn't actually put into words just how special the feeling was to complete her first Badminton, with the feeling just still so surreal, and she certainly didn't expect to jump a double clear on a 10 year old in his first ever 4*, especially being only 23 herself!
But that is exactly what they did. Only 31 combinations jumped clear across the country with falls, retirements and refusals a plenty. Imogen and Charles produced a brave, polished and determined performance to carry each other around one of the most demanding Badminton's anyone has seen in a long time, displaying what a true partnership they are. The incredible cross country performance moved them up 36 places ahead of the final show jumping phase.
Only 10 combinations went on to produce a double clear from the showjumping - Imogen and Charles being one of them! That performance then moved them up a further 11 places to finish just outside the top 20 in 21st place.
With everyone's emotions running high watching the pair of them go around was terribly nerve wracking for the whole team, because everyone wanted to see them get round clear and safe. But what an incredible, exhilarating and emotional feeling when it all came together!
So onto prize giving...with Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, in the main arena at Badminton! Imogen always hoped there may be a chance, but never really thought it was realistic, so to be crowned the highest placed under 25 rider and be included in the main prize giving was VERY exciting!
So for now, a MASSIVE THANK YOU to absolutely everyone who has helped in any way, there are really far too many people to mention but it all means so much and we are all truly grateful! However the biggest thank you has to go to Aivar Ward and Terry Morris for allowing us to look after, produce and ride such a special horse.
Now to Chatsworth...
Well we made it to Badminton and Ivar Gooden was ACCEPTED for the trot up - the big first hurdle done!
People ask about what it is like being at Badminton and how is it different from other events. The number of people waiting for the trot up, was like Oh My God! Walking out under that archway was incredible. We didn't really want to get overly obsessed by the atmosphere as a way of keeping calm.
Dressage came next - a really pleasing if not a little green test. For his first 4* test we were really pleased with how calm he was and how rideable he was.
We unfortunately lost a stud on the way in, which meant we had a few slips but we're still really pleased with him.
Now the dressage is done everyone just asks about thoughts ahead to the cross country - it is big and bold! As this is our first Badminton we can't really compare to previous years, as yes we've been to watch, but it is very different walking it and watching, to walking it and riding. It may be his first 4* but we've been a partnership for such a long time, we know each other inside out.
We're keen to see how the new water at the top of the hill will ride and jumping into the lake is something to look forward to, but we're just really looking forward to jumping the final fence!
Dean is a bit obsessed with stats so was obsessing over the waitlist and number crunching. At least being on the waitlist meant that a certain amount of stress and pressure in the run up was lifted!