Friday: Kinky did a fabulous test and is joint 2nd on 39.6. He came to me at the beginning of last year. I bought him from Dirk Schrade and we were 10th at Compiègne CCI** earlier this year. He is good at all three disciplines and he still has considerable room for improvement. If all goes well, he could well be one of my reserve horses for the London Games. Brook goes xc at 951 and Kinky at 1330.
Thursday: We travelled out from Portsmouth to Caen on Monday night in convoy with Laura Collet - arrived Tuesday morning and settled in. We hacked the horses out on Tuesday night in the cooler part of the day.
Brook did his test on Thursday morning and scored 53.5 and we are just in the top 20. Kinky is going well and will do his dressage late afternoon on Friday.
Aston le Walls
Sunday: Good day today with new ride ALFIANO DEL FERRO (Alfie) finishing 3rd in the BE100.
NZB The Chosen One was 5th when we left for home. He was 4th after the dressage and followed this up with a great double clear – I did not push him xc and got 5 time faults.
Heading home and leave for Saumur on Monday night.
Leo, Billy and Eddie were having their first intermediate run today and they all jumped really well cross country. They all rolled a pole which is unusual but I am pleased how they went.
Brook did a great double clear and feels ready for Saumur. Kinky redeemed himself after my falling off at the weekend and went brilliantly – when I left he was in the lead but I might have been piped later in the section.
Heading home now – but back to Aston on Sunday for the BE100 and then we head across the channel on Monday night for Saumur.
Tuesday 10th May
Hambeldon did not quite go to plan – Brook, having his first outing with me for a while, did a great double clear and now heads to the CIC at Saumur next week. Kinky is also aiming for France but I managed to fall off him cross country so that was perhaps not the best preparation. Both will head to Aston le Walls on Thursday along with the novice boys who are stepping up to Intermediate for the first time.
I went to Summerhouse show jumping today with Cocky, Leo and Squid. Cocky was 2nd in the Newcomers, Leo jumped 2 double clears and Squid jumped double clear in his only class – they all went well and I am thrilled with them.
Friday 6th May
Sidney and I headed to Moreton Morrell on Wednesday with the young horses. NZB The Chosen One did a 31 dressage which was not bad for his first outing – a clear show jumping round followed. The xc course was very firm as one would expect not having any rain for weeks so I only took him steadily but he did a great clear round.
Sidney was riding Port Royal but sadly he had a small accident at the lorry whilst tacking him up for the dressage so was withdrawn. Riley flew home and arrived back at Stansted on Thursday night – Charlie collected him and he is now back at home recovering well.
Today is turning out to be a busy day with jumping all the horses at home in preparation for the three day events ahead. We head to Hambledon on Sunday so will pray for rain before then.
I left late Sunday night for the trip home and Riley and Nikki will leave on Tuesday for the long trip home and will arrive at Stansted on Thursday. At home Ben and Milo have been chilling out in the field and enjoying the sunshine. Sidney and I are off to Moreton Morrell with the young horses on Wednesday.
Sunday: It was a disappointing trip to Lexington this time. Riley did a good test to score 51 and lie 18th overnight – with the ground conditions and course it was not going to be a dressage competition so it was all to go for cross country. Sadly Riley tired towards the end and we had a frustrating stop a few fences from home. Although he trotted up sound in the morning I felt he was not quite right and withdrew him from the show jumping phase.
Wednesday: Well the weather out here is somewhat different to the UK! We have had thunder storms and tornadoes and are expecting electrical showers later today. The trot up time had to moved to avoid the worst of the weather but it was still conducted in rain – Riley looks and feels great and passed. We have not yet been out on the course yet but hope to do so tomorrow. I think I will do dressage on Friday.
Monday: I managed to catch my flight on time and catch up on some sleep and am now settled in Lexington – Riley looked good when I arrived.
We arrived back to a fantastic welcome from the team back at home and Jules kindly threw a fantastic BBQ – it was great to celebrate with everyone who has played a part in the win.
After a frantic night of washing and packing I left at 5am for the trip to Rolex where Riley is waiting for me. Fingers crossed for another great week!
Thank you for all your congratulatory messages – sorry I will not have time to reply to them all but thank you!
Monday: Wow - words can not express how I am feeling right now - a Badminton win - some 15 years after my last one. Ben really is the most amazing horse and I am so grateful to NZB for allowing me to ride him. I truly think he is one of the best horses I've ever had.
Sunday: A fantastic clear round today and Ben and I are at the top of the leader board. He is only 10 and quite inexperienced but Ben kept jumping and never stopped trying despite getting tired near the end.
It is all to go for tomorrow, Milo went earlier in the day and a clear round with just 8 time penalties and we are in 40th place over night.
Saturday: A brillant test from Ben and we lie in 4th place over night - all to go for on Sunday.
Friday: Milo went into the arena early this morning and went as well as I could have expected at this time – it was all a bit fragile and he was a bit on his toes but he did not blow up and we completed the test for a score of 64. Our aim from here is to finish on our dressage score!
Wednesday: Well I have arrived at Badminton now and we are all settled in for the week.
It has been a busy week. We got home late from Burnham Market and on Monday the packing began in earnest for both Badminton and Kentucky. Riley was collected mid afternoon on Tuesday for the trip to Stansted – he travelled really well to the states and is now in quarantine – the horses leave late afternoon on Friday for the 16 hour road journey to the venue and then have a couple of days to relax before I arrive late on Tuesday. I have been drawn number 35.
Ben and Milo have settled in really well at Badminton and trotted up well today. Milo has an early draw so will benefit from a slightly quieter arena on Friday morning you can follow all the news from the great event here http://www.badminton-horse.co.uk/ Milo does his test at 1056 on Friday and Ben at 1658 on Saturday.
Leo was really good and won the dressage quite comfortably but he had a uncharacteristic rail in the show jumping; he spooked at something and had one down – he was still very competitive when we set off cross country but the ground was very hard and I did not go very quickly; we added 3 time faults to finish 3rd – if I had had one time fault we would have won.
Billy was ok in the dressage; he is getting better; a clear show jumping and good cross country round followed and we finished 4th. Sidney on Echo did not have a great day – we were reasonably happy with him in the dressage but the judge did not like him – they had a rail down in the showjumping! At the coffin they had a difference of opinion and Sidney ended up in the ditch - both are fine but Sidney is a bit stiff; luckily he had done all his dressage before his fall – I think he might have found sitting trot a little uncomfortable! Lupi did a much better test for 64% - a huge relief all round as it is a qualifying score. Quincy did some really nice work but fluffed a few movements so there is improvement there to come. The ground in the Show jumping was very soft due to the watering over night – Quincy did not like the going and had 4 down and Lupi had 2. Lupi went clear cross county and finished 8th – the main mission was to qualify for Saumur so that was good result.
All in all a good weekend. Travelling home now and then get everything sorted for Riley to leave on Tuesday and we leave for Badminton on Wednesday.
the 2011 season - week five
Plans have changed here in the last week and I will now take NZB Grass Valley to Rolex. Major Milestone is a relatively new ride for me and although he is a brilliant jumper he is not quite established on the flat and I think he will benefit from having a bit more time to work on his dressage
Riley will now leave for WEG on the 19th April - he flies out from Stansted with the team GBR horses. Nicky Fleming who will groom for me will fly out the same day and meet him at New York for the trip to Newburgh Quarantine Station
All the horses will leave quarantine on Friday for the long drive to Kentucky - they should arrive early on Saturday morning
I will fly out from Heathrow on Tuesday morning after Badminton and arrive in time to ride Riley that day. Riley was my team horse at WEG so I know he travels well and I am looking to being back there. Mark
It was quite difficult xc for 2* - there were some tricky combinations with sharp turns and long gallops and it was fairly distracting for the horses. It was a clever course and it did cause a lot of trouble but the more experienced horses coped well.
I am very pleased with my two; Campino was a bit green in places not having the best of lead ups and he ended up 1 sec over the time; he felt very comfortable all the way
Jack made it feel very easy - 4 secs under the time and he felt really class - I had wanted to do a 2* to go that bit of extra distance to see how he coped and he finished full of running
Again it was a difficult course - well up to height with only 7 clears inside the time. The combinations caused the most trouble and Kinky got a bit confused and hit the rail going in and the last but still finished `10th
Jack jumped a lovely clear to finish 2nd.
All in all it was a really good weekend - they finished really well. The winner is an established 3* horse and most of the others in the top few have 3* experience (photos from the weekend can be seen on my Facebook page).
We headed home over night and have training with Luis Cevera on Tuesday and on Wednesday we will have dressage training with Charlotte so we will be well tuned up for Badminton.
We will head to Burnham Market on Saturday
Until next time, Mark
the 2011 season - week four
Jack was really good in the dressage today - he made a couple of little mistakes but I am very happy with him. This particular test does not show him to best advantage and some people thought he had been harshly marked! I am really pleased with him and we are less than a rail off the lead.
Kinky is in 10th which is great. I am very happy considering he went so early on Thursday and quite a few ahead us do have 3 * experience so I am thrilled
I am happy with the course it is a strong 2* but my two should cope well - it is quite twisty but I hope to be able to get the time. Mark
We left home early Tuesday morning and travelled through the day to Compiegne. It is beautiful weather here and we are all settled in now and relaxing in the sun. Both horses trotted up well on Wednesday and we wait for the times for the dressage as I write
Results can be found here http://www.worldsporttiming.com/results/timing-577.html
Back at home Sidney went off to a wet and windy Portman. Leo was great again and finished 6th. Eddie and Billy both rolled a pole and then went steadily xc in the conditions and finished just out of the placings.
Plans have changed a bit now in the run up to the big three days - I have decided with Milo's owners that he needs a bit more time to settle in the dressage he will now head to Badminton rather than Kentucky and Riley will make the trip across the water again. This has resulted in some swift work on our behalf by Pedens and a big thank you to Henry for sorting it all out for us.
belton day two
Show jumping and Cross country day was busy at Belton
All mine show jumped clear which was great and then they followed it up with clear cross country rounds.
Jack and Ben finished 4th and 5th in the CIC, which was fantastic. They both felt really good and ready for their challenges ahead. Jack heads to Compiegne next week so I did not run him too quickly. Ben heads to Badminton feeling full of confidence now.
Riley was a superstar again and finished 5th in a hot section. Milo did a great double clear but hampered by his dressage score he finished just out of the top ten. Sidney had a good day - Lupi did a great double clear; Quincey rolled a pole but jumped clear so has the all important qualification. Heading home now and off to Portman on Tuesday and then Compiegne
belton day one
We travelled up on Friday and spent the night with Judy Bradwell.
Today NZB Regent Lad did a foot perfect test and is currently leading the 3* - he even beat NZB Land Vision! Ben got a little spooked by the tent flapping in the wind and the proximity of the people but still did a really good test.
Major Milestone was more relaxed than he had been at Lincoln but was still a little tense. Quincey did a 64. NZB Grass Valley does his test later this afternoon
Earlier in the week we set off to Somerley
Leo was 4th in the Novice - having done a 33.3 test and just picked up a few time penalties cross country. NZB Campino was leading the 2* by 10 marks when I set off cross country - sadly we had a fall in the water - both of us got very wet but are fine. I am not too sure what happened - we took a stride in the water before we both went down. We are both ok and still head for Compiegne next week.
the 2011 season - week three
Saturday was Novice day
At Gatcombe the dressage arenas are right by the cross country and poor Leo got very excited so did not do his usual good test. He did a great double clear and finished 8th.
Eddie also got very excited in the dressage - as an ex racehorse I suppose that was to be expected - he got very wound up by being so close to the xc but again did a great double clear
I thought Billy was much better in the dressage - he did a much improved test but did not get a brilliant mark. He had a unlucky rail down but jumped a "brilliant" cross country round according to Sidney
Quincey had an off day - he was not in good form in the dressage or show jumping and then had an uncharacteristic 20 penalties cross country. Hopefully this will act as a wake up call for both rider and jockey before they head out again to Belton next weekend.
Loopy showed much improvement in the dressage and did some very nice work. A good double clear set them up for another run at Belton next weekend
This week is a busy one - Somerley on Wednesday with the novices and NZB Campino is having a run in the CIC 2* in advance of Compeigne.
We then head north again on Friday for Belton
Until next time, Mark
the 2011 season - week two
As usual Charlotte came on Wednesday to give us all a tune up in the dressage for the weekend. Many congratulations to Charlotte winning the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special in her first international in France.
On Saturday morning Charlie, Jess and I made the 3 and a hour trip north - I then rode them all in the afternoon in preparation for the competition the next day
Sunday was going to be a busy day with me riding 5 in the OI classes
NZB Land Vision was fantastic in the dressage and scored 25.5 and then did a great double clear to win his section by 2 marks. This horse continued to thrill me with the way he goes and I am really looking forward to taking him to Badminton
I was also thrilled with NZB Grass Valley in the dressage who scored 29.1 even though he broke in the first medium trot; he cruised round the xc and picked up the odd time penalty which had us finish 3rd
NZB CAMPINO was also very good in the dressage and scored 28.2; a very good clear in the show jumping and again a few time penalties xc saw us finish 2nd behind the Burghley winner and fellow kiwi Caroline Powell on Lenamore. It was great that Kinky felt back to his old self after being off colour at Isleham a few weeks ago.
NZB REGENT LAD also was fantastic in the dressage and scored 25 and finished on that score to win his section too. This horse continues to improve and is feeling classier all the time.
Major Milestone continued his progress towards a trip to Lexington with a solid double clear. He was completely out of sorts in the dressage on this occasion and did not settle at all. He was however very good in the jumping department but because of the dressage I just took him slowly xc and he finished out of the placings.
It was a great day all round and I am really thrilled with the progress the horses are making towards their major spring assignments. The long trip home was a very happy one.
Hopefully show jumping at Summerhouse on Tuesday with the novice horses
Next stop Gatcombe with the novices and Sidney with Loopy and Quincey in the AI.
the 2011 season - week one
The season kicked off at Isleham on 7th March it is a fair old trek to Cambridgeshire but the going was good and it was a good track for the first run of the season
There was only one section of OI so sadly my three were all in together! MAJOR MILESTONE did a great test and scored 23.2 - even scoring 10 for his entry! His owner has been working with him during the winter in the dressage and I was pleased that she was able to come to Isleham for the day and lunged him before I got on - he then jumped a fantastic double clear and ended up 3rd. He will now head for Lincoln and Belton on the way to Lexington or Badminton (CLICK HERE for Lexington Horse Trials)
NZB REGENT LAD did a brilliant test to score 22.7 and lead the section after the dressage and double clear saw us finish just ahead of Milo - but behind Oliver Townend who raced round a lot quicker
NZB CAMPINO did a great test and clear show jumping but after a miscommunication cross country I retired him - we will go cross country schooling with him before his next outing at Lincoln
Thursday saw us leave for Tweseldown with NZB LAND VISION and NZB GRASS VALLEY - both Badminton bound and having their first runs of the season = they performed brilliantly and finished 2nd and 6th respectively in two very hot sections.
My first winner of the season followed on Friday with LEONIDAS winning his first novice section - he has really come on over the winter and feels much more established now - he will head for Gatcombe. His season aim is Le Lion D'Angers in the autumn.
Charlotte Dujardin came again this week to work with us on the flat and the progress the horses have all made over the winter is showing in their marks
Heading north to Lincoln next weekend
Until next time, Mark.