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21 September 2008 – Last day at the Nationals for another year

Nursing a hangover from the Riders Party last night I walked Aristo out in hand which I come to regret as he fully took advantage of my weakness! I sharply returned back to the stables deciding not to hand walk him at a show again! We then watched the young horse classes but had to leave before the Grand Prix as it seemed the sensible option to get Aristo back home. Well done Maria for winning the Grand Prix title, though understandably devastating for Laura. We left Stoneleigh in very good spirits, feeling proud of my big pony and very excited for next season. A huge thanks to all involved in creating such a fantastic Championship show and all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes!

20 September 2008 – Nationals Day 3

Music Day today and I was excited to have Horse Hero coming to film me! This actually distracted me for most of the morning and made my wait until competing much easier! It was soon time to get ready to compete and I had a sort of half nervous feeling as we had never done an Inter 1 music together before and half excited feeling really looking forward to doing it! In his warm up he felt very consistent and was starting to fill me with confidence. I used the music I had made for World Classic, so even though its not perfect for Aristo, I know it inside out. I was pleased with our entry, as it is technically difficult starting from halt into canter zig-zag half passes followed by a big extended canter and into full pirouettes. He pulled all this off beautifully (in my opinion for the stage he is at!), though we did our trot transition too early as I was keen to get this out of the way! There was a bit of resistance in both trot shoulder-ins, but none of the judges seem to have picked this up on the sheets! The trot half passes were beautiful and for him, his walk very relaxed. I was keen to get out of walk and back into canter so this transition was a bit too early. I felt his changes were big and expressive and the extended canter to halt finish suited a big, dramatic horse like him. For our first inter 1 music I feel like I couldn't have asked any more of my wonderful partner and was so proud of him! We ended on 70.4% and 4th place though as daft as this sounds because 4th is brilliant, I still feel like the placing didn't matter - we could have come last, as my heart swelled with fondness and affection for Aristo with huge excitement of what the future will bring...

Congratulations to Laura for winning the Grand Prix and I can't wait to see them out there through the winter!

19 September 2008 – Nationals Day 2

I was competing even later today waiting until 5.07 to Compete in the Inter 1. We set up the same as yesterday - taking him out for a leg stretch in the morning, watched some classes and had some lunch. It was really nice to catch up with everyone too and the general mood in camp was very positive and happy. I spent ages making Aristo spotless and generally playing with all the kit. It was finally time to get on and warm up and, by that time I was raring to go! thankfully Emile was there to help me warm up and we worked on Aristo's thoroughness and getting him a bit more 'sparky' before the test. My instructions in the ring today were to have him more collected and ask for a bit more. I think there was some ringside chatter between my mum and Emile during the test as I wasn't riding forward enough now! I think this resulted in Emile deciding maybe I take instructions a bit too literally... After the test I was thrilled as we had only done one Inter 1 before, this being the one we qualified for the Nationals in. To come 6th was fantastic and he felt like we had built even more on our relationship and I couldn't wait to get back on him again to ride a bit more!

After the prize giving and putting Aristo to bed we went to the Biotal Welcome Party to see everyone, network and catch up with Sponsors. By the time we eventually got our tea it was very late and I was dropping off at the table so crawled off into bed.

18 September 2008 – Nationals Day 1

Today I was running in the Prix St George Championship. I wasn't due to compete until 2.27 so I rode Aristo out in the morning for a leg stretch thinking the longer he is out of his tiny stable the better really! After watching the classes for a bit and some lunch, it was soon time to get ready to compete. I went to get changed, psyching myself into the zone listening to upbeat music, usually it is Bon Jovi, but today I fancied listening to 'The Enemy'! I then bounced back to the stables to plait and bandage Aristo and after mum's usual nagging 'Have you thought through your test malarkey' we were ready to go and get warmed up. I was a little concerned as Emile couldn't really help me to warm up because he was competing at the same time in the Inter 11. Determined to stick to our usual warm up plan and not let it bother me, Aristo actually felt very good and really up for it! When they called me to go I was feeling surprisingly confident and thought 'lets just go and enjoy it'. Afterwards I was pleased as we had done a mistake free test and it was probably the most harmonious we have done. Basking in the loveliness of my test I was soon snapped sharply out of it by Emile telling me I didn't go for it enough! This in mind, I was still thrilled with our performance and feel Aristo's confidence in me is really growing. We ended up placed 4th which was an added bonus really! Of course the placings are important but my aim of these Nationals is to set Aristo up for the future, working on his confidence and ring-craft, and to be placed so high up was brilliant. Mum dad my brother and I had a nice meal in the hotel and then I was shattered so after a last check on Aristo, betty and I hit the hay for the night.

17 September 2008 – Arriving at Nationals

Was up early to ride all the horses and finish packing before we leave. I just walked out Aristo in hand because im going to ride him this afternoon when we arrive. We set off at lunchtime and thankfully had a very easy journey down to stoneleigh. Slight panic when we arrived as the warm up arenas shut at 7pm and by then it was 6.15! Threw the tack at Aristo and jumped on taking him straight round for a leg stretch. He was very well behaved and apparently totally by accident we had timed it really well as earlier there had been up to 50 horses all trying to work at once resulting in total chaos! He settled well in his stable, though we almost had to reverse him in as he is so large and can only just turn round with his head touching the canvas when he looks out! Thankfully he is reasonably laid back so is seeming to cope with it okay.

16 September 2008 – Getting Ready for the Nationals

Spent all day organising, sorting and packing as we are leaving for the Nationals tomorrow. Not sure we will have space to put Aristo in our huge lorry after all the stuff has gone in... may have to re-think tetrus - style packing! Then went out with my good friend Samantha Harrison and our mums for a double birthday celebration - it was Sams birthday a couple of weeks ago and mums is tomorrow.

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Latest results

  • Feine Dame: 1st / 69.45
  • Divine: 1st / 72%
  • Aristo: 4th, 6th, 4th / 70.4% (music Final)
  • Aristo: 2nd overall / 72.9 + 70%
  • Show Boy: 1st / 68.92%
  • Feine Dame: 1st / 68.88%
  • Feine Dame: 1st / 72.07%
  • Show Boy: 1st / 71.47%
  • Aristo: 1st / 70.38%
  • Show Boy: 1st / 72.8%

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