Monday I went for a hack with Mark riding Leo. We went along the ridgeway bridle path heading out, which is where I’ve been taking Woody for hacks. All you have to do is cross the road at the end of the driveway and away you go up and down long steady hills. This time we hacked back via the valley. It was a better route home than turning around and going straight back the way you came, made the horses less fussy. It was a short walk along a road to go through a gate to get there but I survived. On our right after going through the gate was quite a steep hill onto some old turf that had been grazed nicely by sheep. Mark says “Do you want to go up this hill today?” Me “Ok!”

It was so much fun trotting and cantering up it behind Mark and Leo, both horses really enjoyed it and the footing was super. Now I was on the other side of the valley that I had been able to see from the path I usually take home. I tried to take some panoramic shots from Woody. Spectacular views!

When we returned to Badgerstown we went into the ring to do a little light flat work. I ran through the 3* test knowing that I was going to a dressage show the next day and needed a refresher. Woody was pretty amped up after his fun hack with Leo but he soon settled and put his energy to good use.

Tuesday morning around 9:30 a.m. we headed to Hunters dressage show not far from here. We hitched a ride with Georgie Strang in her wonderful lorry. It was a Badminton prep dressage show and she was taking Cooley Earl (her Badminton horse) and kindly offered us a lift. The venue was super and the people were lovely. There were some pretty big names there so that was fun. (Blyth Tait, Dan Joycelyn, Jonty Evans, Giovanni Ugolotti, ect)

I thought I was doing the 3* test first but as it turned out I was doing the 4* test first. It’s a new test and we all know how good I am with new tests. So I was going there for me not Woody. The trot work has quite a few changes of bend and direction that don’t necessarily come naturally. For instance half pass left to “X” then 8m circle right at “X”, right shoulder in up the centerline then track left at “C”. I mean come on guys I’m pretty sure they designed this just to mess with my head. Of course I half passed left and then circled left and “ding ding” goes the bell. I’m getting all the mistakes out before I go to Badminton. I HOPE!

The rest of the test went well until the stretchy circle in canter at “C”. We started off brilliantly and then Woody broke to trot half way 😱. Yikes! Our score was 72% and we placed second but we’re both going to have to do better. I decided not to do the second test (3*) since I had already done the one I wanted to practice and I still had to gallop Woody when I got back to Mark’s.

Once I got back I took Woody for a short hack around the farm and then did my four times up the hill gallops. It was raining, of course, but Woody still enjoyed himself. He’s definitely getting more fit!

Hanne's horse Arami.

Hanne’s horse Arami.

Wednesday was a super day. Anne Marie arrived in the afternoon. But first I got to go with Mark to Summerhouse Equestrian Center to watch him have lessons with Charlotte Dujardin. He rode Maclaren and then Rhapsody in the huge indoor arena (a blessing since it was freezing and miserable outside). I’ve never seen her teach before, only ride. It was an intense workout for Mark and the horses. It’s good to get your butt kicked into gear even if your Mark Todd I guess!

I was glad Woody was only getting lunged when we got back because Mark was in the mood to teach his heart out. Hanne from Denmark who brought her horse Arami was on the receiving end of that lesson. She had arrived the day before and is getting ready for Badminton here. They’ve already done Badminton before in 2016 as well as placed 20th individually at the European Champs. She’s had Arami since he was a foal😍🐴

On Thursday we all went cross country schooling at Mike Winter’s place not too far from here. Wayfarer eventing UK has a SUPER xc facility for schooling and they even went to the trouble of setting up a few of the Badminton questions. The footing was perfect and Woody felt great! Mark rode Fozzy first and then Leo. Hanne rode her horse and we all had a good school. Feeling prepped and ready.

Friday was a fun day of show jumping at home. Most of the Horses jumped so we got to watch a bunch. Georgie and Mark jumped Earl and Raps first. Then Hanne and I rode together and jumped a little. We did the canter pole exercise to warm up. Also a one stride with placing poles all through it. Two oxers one stride apart then three strides to a vertical. A triple bar five bending strides to a vertical. Mark said Woody jumped the best he’s seen him so far and I concur.

Today is a gallop day and Christilot arrives. It’s all getting very exciting! Can’t wait to cheer for my peeps at Kentucky 4* today.