Firstly, I’d like to thank Mitsubishi Motors Cup for asking me to be part of their blogging team. It’s a huge privilege and something which I’m both nervous and delighted with. Nervous because I’m not used to writing a blog; will I be interesting and where will I find the time? Delighted because it adds to the huge excitement that’s building in my bones as we get closer to the big day! Forget my wedding…. this may be bigger!
From a young age, I can remember my mum recording Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials for me, on VHS of course, so I could rewind and watch it repeatedly, I even wore out a couple of tapes. Watching my heroes Mark Todd, Ian Stark and Pippa Funnel ride so beautifully over those enormous, iconic fences. Now don’t get me wrong I’m fully aware that the Mitsubishi Motors Cup isn’t ‘big’ Badminton but to a ‘girl’ who lives 331 miles away, who’s qualified on a family bred, home produced horse with two kids in tow, it might as well be.
Now a bit more about me and my amazing team, without them I could not follow my passion. I’m a 32 year old mum of two beautiful little girls, Rosie whose two and a half and Florence who’s just nine months. We’re based in the Scottish Borders and we mainly event, but my mare is a pretty talented dressage horse too. I bought Indi from my uncle, when I was living in Somerset and I needed a ‘project’ to bring on whilst my mum’s homebred mare had a break as she was only four years old. My now husband, Adrian and I headed to Shropshire to see Indie. She had been bred by my uncle and is a chestnut mare.
Winter schooling went to plan, apart from being bronked off a few times, even now I have to hold on tight if she’s had a few days off. We went to a few 80cm competitions when she was six years old and we event went on to win an unaffiliated dressage Championships at David Broom’s Equestrian Centre before we headed north, back to Scotland where I grew up. We had a great first season winning five BE90 competitions but always just missing out on a Mitsubishi Motors Cup qualification. We also had the small complication of our wedding in the middle of it all, so after going around the UK for weeks we gave up. By the next season I was pregnant, but this didn’t stop us. My wonderful friend Sarah got Indi fit for me, so I could compete at the Scottish Championships just four weeks after having my first gorgeous girl Rosie. I couldn’t have done it without her or her mum, who looked after Rosie for me so I could compete. We didn’t do too badly but we had lots of time faults. It’s amazing how fast a gallop feels only four weeks after having a baby and surviving on four hours sleep per night! After a few more events and another go at a Mitsubishi Motors Regional Final which ended in a retirement, we decided to call an end to the season.
The next season was good, but we decided to focus on BE100s and BE Novice, no Regional Finals. Having Granny on standby is brilliant, even though she’s an hour away, Rosie would go up there the night before a competition, so I could get ready. Fast forward to 2017, I was pregnant again … but this time I was not going to event four weeks post baby, I gave myself an extra few weeks and we won at Alnwick Ford at BE90 level after just eight weeks and she was foot perfect! Lucky Granny and Grandad were on hand to look after Rosie, but we had to take Flossie. Believe me feeding a baby in a car full of eventing kit is not easy, but we did it. We stepped back up to BE100 with a couple of regional finals, just missing out on qualifying by a few marks.
In October of last year, we headed to Eden Valley BE, a lovely, friendly event just a few hours away in Cumbria. Well she was so naughty! Totally full of beans, she warmed up like some sort of circus pony! She’s a typical chestnut mare at home, a little on the moody side, but out competing she’s a true professional. However, she chose our very last chance at qualifying to be completely neurotic! I came out of the test shaking my head – it was going to be a long drive home. But after watching the test I could see where I’d maybe scraped a few marks back. Then with a lovey double clear we managed a fourth place and qualified! Adream come true. Indie then had a well-deserved break until December.
So here we are with ten weeks to go. My fields are water logged, we don’t have an arena and I’m riding in the dark after work, but we’re here – and we’re going to the Mitsubishi Motors Cup!