Katie's July Blog: Frickley Here We Come!

In what seems to be becoming common, July did not start off in the greatest of ways.

After ensuring that everything needed for Brightling, which was to be our second Novice, was loaded onto the lorry, it wasn’t until we took Tinka out of her stable to plait her that we noticed a swelling in her hock – much to my frustration, this meant that there was no eventing for us that day. Thankfully the swelling was only an allergic reaction to a sting and we were quickly back to normal preparing for our next event.

Before our final prep run at Eridge, we had our final South East team training session. We ran through our test as well as jumped around a course which proved to be very useful and I was able to take lots of constructive advice away from it. It was also great to meet and get to know the rest of the South East team.

Before I knew it, we were on our way for our final run before Frickley Park in the Novice Under 18 at Eridge, which has been my favourite event since I did the mini Pony Club ODE’s and it’s also where Tinka and I had our first BE win. The day started off well with a good test which was much better than our test at Aston to score a 32.  Then it was onto the show jumping where we were warmed up by Mark, one of the under 18 coaches before Tinka jumped her best show jumping round to date to become one of only 4 clears in the section which filled me with confidence before XC! Tinka continued to fly around the cross country to our first double clear at Novice level gaining 6th place and our first BE point! Our run at Eridge couldn’t have been more perfect before Frickley.

We had one last training session with Steven Moore and a number of spins up the gallops before we had a 5 hour journey up to Frickley on the Wednesday for our first 3 day event. We arrived in good time which allowed me to take Tinka for a quick hack with my team mates before receiving our very smart and fantastically bright blue South East clothing which made us clearly recognisable as ‘Smurfs’!

Thursday was the first day of dressage and of rain… The Lorry Park and stables quickly became a sea of mud. We were due to do our dressage on the Friday, so I had a quick dressage session on Thursday morning before watching half of our team’s tests. Our team posted strong scores which left the South East team in 1st going into the second day of dressage – the pressure was on! Before we could worry about the dressage the next day, we had a cocktail party at the house and watched a dressage demo which put us in a good mindset for Friday.

On Friday morning, Tinka felt ready and good to go. Although we didn’t do our best test, we managed to post a solid score of 31.3 which left us in 15th place going into XC and it also meant that the South East maintained the lead! We then had an entertaining evening of fun and games and I think it’s fair to say that the South East team were by far the best dressed with our outfits ranging from bananas to fairies and even our team coach managed a chicken outfit…

Going into XC day it had rained very hard during the night and we were wallowing in mud everywhere we went. There were several times when leaning on Tinka’s neck prevented me from face planting into the mud! The ground on the cross country was fabulous but on the slightly softer side for Tinka which I was concerned about as we aren’t used to running on this type of ground. I needn’t have worried as Tinka flew around the cross country which had caused a fair amount of issues just picking up a handful of time faults which dropped us a few places to 22nd.

Show jumping day was a day which I will always remember. I was the 4th counting team member and the South East team were narrowly in the lead meaning that we all had to jump clear to win. We jumped in reverse order and thankfully I was in a good position so the pressure was still high but not unbearable. Over a challenging course, Tinka jumped a fantastic clear and felt as though she’d never even been XC the day before! The cheer and support from the South East team we got as we landed over the final fence is something I will always remember especially as show jumping has been something that I haven’t been overly confident doing - mum even cried when we finished our round!

To top things off, we found out that Tinka and I were one of only 15 double clears in the whole section of 80 competitors! We finished 11th on the same score as 10th but collectives meant that we narrowly missed out on a top 10 placing, however, the South East team ended up 2nd. Frickley was the most incredible experience and I could not have asked for any more of Tinka. Another season goal has been ticked off the list and it was great to meet lots of new people including 14 years and under KBIS NSEA Bursary winner Finn. I could never have done it without the help and support of the KBIS bursary, my friends, my family, my coaches Emily Baldwin, Steven Moore, David Pearson Smith and Leanne Wall, and not to forget the home team!

I am very much looking forward to August with the Pony Club Championships coming up and also something a little different which you’ll have to wait until my next blog for.

Until next time, Katie xx

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