The Mitsubishi Motors Cup 2018 is done!
Perhaps not the most outstanding result but having had a lame horse up until the Saturday before leaving on the Monday, I am thrilled to have even been there and completed it. To everyone who competed and perhaps did not have the result they would have liked, remember we are all winners. Hundreds of horse and rider combinations aim to gain qualification for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup so we have all done incredibly well, so chin up take on the positives and learn from the negatives, because I certainly will!
Arriving on the Monday lunchtime, Cath Hill, my friend and vet, took Etie for a walk and graze while I started setting up camp. With Etie settled in her stable, we set about putting up the gazebo and tents, with much hilarity. The next person of the team arrived was Alex Fishpool, straight from the ferry. She was chief cook and food operative and what an excellent job she did. I rode Etie who was a little full of it, so I spent most of my time in canter! Once we’d washed off and bedded down we headed off to walk the course in the beautiful evening sun.
The course was beautifully built by the Willis brothers and it certainly asked a few questions! I walked it first time to just generally getting where I was going and not getting hooked up on lines and technicalities, that would be done after the dressage. Back at camp we awaited the arrival of Jess Spalding who is my equine physio and is generally just a useful person.
Tuesday morning, I rode Etie early on and put her away. Jess gave her the once over and ensured we were good to go. It was quite lovely to arrive at the stables all ‘poshed’ up and have my horse led out to just get on! I thought of all the things Ros Canter had told me to work on while warming up and Etie felt relaxed and up for the job. The bell rang and in we went to ride our dressage test – breath, smile, and ride every step. We had a few little blips but overall a really nice test. The marks between the two judges varied but we gained an overall mark of 28.4 to put us in 11th place over night. The heavens opened over night and we woke to even more rain.
Show jumping in very wet conditions with the wind blowing is not ideal so two down and four time faults which I was disappointed with, but hey you’ve got to move on. I had walked the course a further three times; once with the organised course walk with Yogi Briesner, which was very informative and interesting, then with Ros Canter and finally on my own early Wednesday morning in torrential rain!
Geared up and ready to rock and roll, we headed over to the cross country warm up. There wasn’t a lot of people there so the steward asked if I want to go early. My support team needed to get over so I declined, however I did get warmed up. Etie felt up for it and was very keen. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and when I was called across still a little early, I perhaps should have declines as she wasn’t really listening to me. I got to the start box and the starter called 30 seconds, butterflies started fluttering and my mouth went dry! “15 seconds, ten seconds, 5,4,3,2, go good luck!” “Thank you,” I said and with a mad bang we were out of the start box and away flying. Fences one – four, Etie was feeling great if a little too feisty. Five came up too quickly, Etie’s head went up and her concentration went and she ran out to the side. Bum!
Right now, get your act together Charnley and ride it! Over we flew, and the rest of the course followed suit foot perfect! I took some positives from the run; we learnt from our mistake and took away things to work on, such as make sure Etie is polite and listening in the warm up. She finished really well but was a little footy from her bruise so straight off and back to the stables to put some ice on her foot. I was completely buzzing and on reflection pretty awesome. There was no time to wait after the cross country. I needed to pack up and get things organised for the team and head off to get Allstar B (Alby) ready for Ros to do the trot up! The rest of the week for Ros was obviously well documented but I want to say a huge thank you all my fellow Mitsubishi Motors Cup competitors who gave Ros and Alby the most amazing cheer at start and finish of the cross country.
Thank you also to all the volunteers, organisers, officials and sponsors especially Mitsubishi Motors for their continued support. I have to thank Cath Hill for driving Etie home and for all her help, Jess Spalding for keeping Etie sound, and Alex Fishpool for her support and food! Huge thanks to Ros Canter for her coaching and the honour of allowing me to groom for Alby at this amazing event.