Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Sandringham Club event last weekend held alongside the National competition is our eagerly awaited big event of the year!

Emma and I arrived Friday late morning on at last a warm sunny day at the gorgeous estate! There is definitely something special about being at the  invitation of Her Majesty that brings a sense of importance to our event. How lucky were we to be staying and competing in such fabulous grounds? The club camp site soon filled up with our members. A big thank you to Minta for carrying and unloading the boxes and walkie talkies for the obstacles, They take up so much space and my little trailer just fits our stuff in, just! Fortunately Minta's lorry is huge!

Fiona Powell had designed and already put out our cones course for Saturday, as usual an interesting and drivable course, everyone seemed to enjoy, even if some of us didn't drive it perfectly! Not an easy task to plan a course that challenges and yet keeps everyone a little happy, I still struggle putting out a practise course at home with a few cones!

I enjoyed going visiting friends on the national field and helping them to drink their wine, bit tricky to carry mine up there on the bike!

It was great that Saturday morning dawned sunny and warm, we had a excellent day of entertainment with the Nationals running their marathon, and I noticed the Duke also came along to watch along with some friends. Honest that is his hand sticking out the window! It is our only event, at least that I know of, where we get to watch the course driven one day and have a chance to copy the routes of the more experienced drivers, not sure how much that helps but  it is fun to be a spectator for the day.

The Sunday morning, sadly, started with some heavy rain around 6am to 7am, this summer's pattern of cold or wet day followed by a good day continued. By the time Emma, Red and I set off the rain was torrential! Luckily Section A did not disappoint, we travelled through strawberry fields, currents and more, the countryside at its blooming best! Sometimes we went a little sideways or a little too fast,  as Red made a big fuss about the many blue drums by the track, he was looking for an excuse to go much faster as he was feeling very excited about the marathon, making sure Emma hung on tight! We hit our first problem as we changed from road back to track, between 3rd and 4th KM I think, coming up behind an arctic lorry parked on the side with 3 tractors or JCB's on board, did anyone else meet them? But even better the fruit pickers, obviously fed up with the rain, all decided to go home at the same time, we got held as 32 transit vans came along the single track dirt road, slowly!

From Lucy at the start of A to the finish our stewards must be the greatest bunch of people ever! Apologies that I don't know all the names but I and all the club so appreciate you!

What a treat to have our halt under cover of the glass roof, we felt very Royal and had a lovely welcome from Liz Harcombe! To drive my horse in the gardens was such a treat and on to section B!

It wasn't to be our day, having completed 4 obstacles I managed to either not brake or have a brake failure in ob 5 and put my poor horse on a post, ouch! Broken harness and sore horse meant a slow walk back to the lorry park for us. A sad finish but I am happy to report that the on call vet, Rosie, checked my boy over and gave him a shot of Bute to get him home in comfort. I am happy to report it seems to be bruising and no worse. But again our helpers came to the rescue dear Rachel Horton, on duty in the obstacle, managed to say just the right thing to make me feel supported, thank you Rachel!
I am happy to report that many others had much more success the full results are on the club site but a big congratulations to the following: Ellie Sweetman winning pre novice horse, enjoying her first season and I always love watching her and her horse, they look such good chums! Susan Skeggs winner of open horse in great style and pony pair! Megan Wheeldon winning the hotly contested novice pony!
A big thank you to Lorna, Esther and Mike for keeping us all on track in so many ways and see you all at Blandings!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Blandings one day event was a great success!

Blanding one day event on the 14th June was a great success, as usual we had a very warm welcome from Louise, and the ground was as beautifully presented as ever.

Emma, Red and I went up on the Saturday teatime in the drizzly rain, a few other brave souls were already there and it wasn't long before Alf and Sue Budd were on site along with Striker! At least it wasn't cold and the air was still making for a misty dampness. My first time in the open horse and I hadn't driven my test, so we had an interesting practise in the arena, ensuring that every time I rolled over in the night that I again went through my test mentally yet again!

The 3 obstacles, to be driven twice, had been changed a little  since I last did them, and looked to be more open and flowing, great to get a look at them the night before, more chance for me to remember them!
A look at the cones, as again my first time driving the Blandings 4 minute cones,  a great idea that had me a little confused when I first saw them. For those that weren't there we had to drive the cones for 4 minutes and complete as many as we could including a slalom, to be driven twice and 2 other compulsory cones that were the narrow width, the Blandings bridge was also part of the course and could be taken as often as liked!

The morning again dawned a misty wet start but soon dried up and though it stayed cloudy we were dry and the horses didn't get too hot! Most people arrived Sunday morning bright and early and it was great to see the secure lorry field fill up.

The dressage arena's ran on time and the going was good, the land at Blandings is so good in all weathers. I managed to complete my dressage test without going wrong, a small miracle! The cones straight after I really enjoyed, it was great for my horse not to have the big finish he was waiting for, the session finished with the 4 minute whistle. It was such fun to pick my way round and I managed to go over the bridge a few times too. I heard most people laughing as they left the arena, a great sign that the format works well! In fact the whole day was full of happy smiling faces, I felt really privileged to be part of the event.
The marathon, section B only was not timed, only the obstacles, a great introduction to outdoor events for those that may have only ventured indoors so far. I also enjoyed concentrating on the obstacles and having 2 goes at each one, was so good for training me!

Blandings again
The next event is the 2 day in July 18th and 19th, but before then Louise is looking for a little help to prepare the venue, in return you are welcome to take your horse along for some practise afterwards, so a great opportunity for us all. The weekends of June 20/21st and July 11/12th any time would be a help please? Do ring Louise 0774 3932 907 if you would like to know more about what is required.

If anyone would like to contribute their story to the blog please do send it to me?

I look forward to seeing you all at Sandringham!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

2015 schedules now available

The 2015 schedules are now on the events page so please join up now and enter events and training.  Some events and training get busy, so please enter early to avoid disappointment.
This year's rules are little changed from last year - biggest change is that the marathon scores - obstacles and time penalties are now seconds times 0.25 instead of x 0.2, so the marathon counts 25% more than it used to.
At national events, body protectors are compulsory for drivers and grooms on the marathon - and may be for club events in 2016 (Note - they already are for juniors.).
Ashfields now requires mats to protect the grass.
Our club championships in September is a three day event.  More time, more fun.
The Eacdg National Novice qualifier will be at the Ashfields spring event - the Novice Qualifier at our June Sandringham event has moved across to the Sandringham national event that runs at the same time.
Learn more about judging, course design or running events - still time to sign up to the BC courses for clubs - see