Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Show Jumping and Cross Country at Haras Du Pin

Friday morning came and I was on early again for the showjumping.

The amount of times I walked the showjumping was absurd especially one particular line where I just could not get the right striding between the fences, it was there,  I got it once but I couldn't find the stride again. So I walked it over and over and over and over.... until I remembered where it was exactly or until I made a track in the grass from walking it over and over again!!!

Anyway the preparation seem to really pay off as we did an awesome clear round and inside the time, when everyone that morning seem to be struggling to get a clear inside the time!!! Grant clocked something that I hadn't thought of  and said that when I was going over fence 5, I should have a cheeky look at the clock ringside and if it said 32-33 or less then I was on the right time but if it said anything over I needed to kick on so I had a look and I was at 28-29 so it was perfect!!! Best showjumping round I think we have done together!!

Then came the long wait for Cross Country, I wasn't on until 3.35pm, so I had time to have a cooked breakfast and go support the rest of the Brits for the showjumping and watch how the xc was riding.
Again I walked my lines over and over and I think I must have walked my course 5 times!!! For the first time I did minute markers so I knew where I was timing wise throughout the course and they worked a treat! It was the first time that I have come inside the time, I have never ridden so fast and so technically. I thought about it so much where I could take things on a open stride, which ones I could take on a sharp angle to cut out some of the ground and then when we were at the combinations I had some time to ask her to come back to me. For the first time we where inside the time!

Estella was amazing that week she tried her heart out for me and really gave me everything she had! It was amazing to have that feeling!!!

What a week!! But none of this would have happened if it wasn't for my "support" team they were fab. Some people are lucky enough to have grooms but even though my "support team" is just family I wouldn't have it any other way they are   F A B U L O U S!!!!!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Dressage at Haras du Pin!!!

You may think dressage is all the same whereever you go well you would be very wrong!!! The principle is the same but for a start they talk in French when they introduce you on the speaker and then translate it into English. It was weird when they said...... This is Harriet Upton riding for Great Britian On Estella in French and English, something I didn't think I would hear for a long long time!!!
They also played music whilst the tests were going on and of course the dressage sheets are in French.Mum and Grandad were able to tranlsate for me.

Anyway after a very succesful warming in with Caroline Morre all top hatted and tailed up, it was my turn to go, I wasn't nervous I was in the zone, I new my test inside out and back to front - I WAS READY!

I did the dressage test of my life, never have I ridden like it. I was light, I wasn't gripping and as Ken would say my legs where just like spaghetti hanging round Estella which made the whole frame so light and she swung from behind which she hasn't done for a while.

When I came down that centre line at the end of that test it was the most amazing feeling, it was a feeling of relief but the adrenalinewas running through me just wanting to do it again and again and not stop!

I was very pleased with the mark it was a 53. 4. They where marking in the 60's and 70's so I was pretty average. To people who where watching it, they thought it was lot better then that, but I think the French judges look for something different. They like long rangy over bent horses which they seem to make quite well, and because it was a 1* they mark a lot harsher. From what I can gather if you get in the 40's then that is the equivalent of the late 20s ish in normal novice and 50s is the equivalent to early 30s. I do not know whether that makes any sense what so ever, but anyway I was over the moon with it having been the first time I have been in that arena that size and with that atmosphere, in a different country with music but Estella performed her little socks off for me listening to me and not getting distracted!!!

I cant even explain how amazing it was it gave me the most amazing buzz it made me feel proffessional. When I arrived I felt out of my depth and wondered why i was there but as soon as I entered the dressage arena I felt different I WAS BORN TO DO THIS!!!!!!

Harriet Upton's Road To The Olympics: Haras Du Pin 2011

Harriet Upton's Road To The Olympics: Haras Du Pin 2011: Haras Du Pin 2011 , a set on Flickr.

Sunday, 21 August 2011


One word to describe it Haras Du Pin France....... INCREDIBLE!!!!!

Monday - The journey.......
It took us 11 hours to get there 2 hrs this side 1hr and a half on the boat and 7 hrs from Calais to Haras Du Pin it was a long trip but it was well worth it! But partly why it took so long was because mother decided to take the scenic route towards Paris which added an hr or two onto our journey. On this journey Mum got incredible jumpy and nervous pointing out cars that where coming up beside us that she thought where too close or were going to cut us up which me and my uncle found hysterical because they where just driving past not to close at all!!!!

My Uncle and amaaaaaazing Godfather GRANT came with us because sadly my Nan fell very ill before we went to France and my Dad needed to be there for her. The moment we arrived there at Haras Du Pin my Nan passed away which hit us very hard. We hated not being able to be there for my Dad and being so far away from him, I liked to think that she lived to see us arrive safely to the event and was my guardian angel throughout!
When we arrived we where met by the stable manager the first person we spoke to in France but luckily I didn't need to brush off my French from school because she spoke a little English!!

Haras Du Pin is absolutely amazing, very posh and massive.

We thought she had put us in a fab spot with loads of room not to cramped............ until we got out and we heard the generator!!!! We where right next to it!!! We couldn't have been any closer if we had tried it was pretty much in Grants tent which he was very happy about..........NOT!

Stella had a nice stable which was airy and at the end of the row so she was happy, when we got her out of the lorry we were very worried about how stiff she was going to be but there was no need to be, she came off like a spring chicken dancing, we were worrying unnecessarily.

That evening I cooked us a meal it consisted of steak on the BBQ which I never do, actually I am never trusted to cook meat as cooking is not one of my best skills and it was proved when I thought the steak was done and it was pretty much raw all the way through so that ended going back on the BBQ and Grant finishing it off, I think I should to stick to riding!!!!

Tuesday - Build up to trot up

It was a quietish day, we had a junior meeting, where we met each other and got our British Flags. We had a great group of juniors who I got to know really well, we were all very supportive of each other and so friendly.

Mum had a great day she continued the theme of embarrassing me where ever she goes! She took her contact lenses out and then asked Grant which where the ladies were, well you can imagine Grant thought it would be very funny to tell her where the men's were, she found out when she walked into a urinal! Then we decided to investigate the event on the bikes, Mum fell off her bike, properly fell off. I heard her shout my name, I cycled back round the corner to see mum on the floor with the bike on top of her. She managed to fall of in front of quite a few people.Anyway she was fine, didn't hurt herself, just her pride and my street cred!

In the afternoon we got Stella ready for the trot up, she was bathed and plaited and looked fantastic. We were all very nervous. I have never done a trot up before. But we had no need to be she passed it with flying colours.

Competition blog to follow tomorrow.

Haras Du Pin 2011

IMG_0986Trot updressageSJHarrietJuniors course walk
IMG_0955IMG_0956Course being builtArena before the sj course was builtdressage arenasIMG_0927
IMG_1498The case of the missing kit katIMG_1502IMG_1507IMG_1508IMG_1510

Haras Du Pin 2011, a set on Flickr.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

So I am actually going to France!

So it has just occured to me that I am going to compete abroad. There has been no letter, no phone call to say that they have made a mistake that actually I'm not on the squad, nope not at all so we are venturing to France tomorrow at 9am.

The journey should take us 2 hours from here to Dover then we board the boat at midday, hopefully the crossing to will take 1hr Calais, then from Calais to Haras Du Pin should take us about 4hrs. So realistically we should arrive at our destination at about 5pm with the stops taken into account.

My Nanny has paid a visit today which is always a good thing because she is always bearing gifts and the best kind of gifts FOOD GIFTS!!!! She has brought lemon drizzle cake, sausage rolls and cheese straws. So we are all stocked up for the week!!

We have the music sorted, the living is sorted and it is very homely might I add!!

I think we might be ready!!!!!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Training sessions for France on Estella

Tina Cook lesson, Monday.
Recently Stella has been returning to her old habit of going really slowly and making me work extra hard. So this is what we solved: Tina had me doing medium trot and medium canter, just making her go really forwards and responding to my leg but not letting it all go out the front and holding it together which gave me such a good outcome. We worked on getting some spark into her, Tina said we both looked really pretty but a bit flat.We also did some awesome jumping, Tina told me to push myself slightly out of my confort zone and push her on a little more which made the jump so much better and it meant Estella would then have enough power just to take the longer strides to the jump, this will help massively with France because apparently the French have longer distances  and we will need to jump on a more open stride,so this will help us to make up the distances in the combinations.

During this lesson Mum managed to fall backwards off of a jumping block, squash Tina's puppy with a show jump and lose the puppy she was supposed to be looking after! Not embarrassing at all!

Ken Spencer lesson this evening to practice THE TEST!!
It went exceptionally well, I have learnt how to do sitting trot with my light seat which means I do not block Stella and she is a lot more supple and forward. I just have to remember my corners and in canter to stay STRAIGHT and not to let her hollow on the right canter! AND REMEMBER THE TEST!!!!!!! Apart from that it should be good!! Good old Uncle Ken he always gives me the confidence before an event!

Mum had a lesson with Ken too - how to quarter mark, so we should look very posh going into the ring, if Mum practices enough!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Countdown to Haras Du Pin - I am so excited!


266 horses, 14 countries, and some champions..!
The Haras du Pin national stud-farm, in Normandy, France, welcomes from 17 to 21 August the ultimate FEI Eventing World Cup leg. The show establishes a new record with 266 horses participating, and some of the best riders in the world. The two co-leaders of the provisional FEI Eventing World Cup rankings, Clarke Johnstone (NZL) and Chris Burton (AUS) will start with respectively 1 and 2 horses. The winner of the « Grand Complet » 2010, Emily Balwin (GBR), is back with her brave Drivetime, maybe for a second victory in a row. The living legend Mark Todd (NZL) comes back to Le Pin and will try to qualify another of his horses for the OG 2012, after an incredible victory at Badminton Horse Trials. The Australian duo Clayton and his wife Lucinda Fredericks stick to the « Grand Complet » for another year. They will cope with 16 French riders in the World Cup class.
In summary:
  • 3 international eventing classes: a CIC 1 star, a CIC 2 stars, and a CIC 3 stars, last leg of the 2011 FEI Eventing World Cup.
  • 47 horses in the CIC3*-W, 98 in the CIC2*, and 121 in the CIC1*, for a total of 266 horses.
  • 14 nations participating: Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, France, Great-Britain, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, USA.

Le Grand Complet~ Since 1995 ~

   Le Grand Complet started in 1995 on the lands of the Le Goupil family farm in Martinvast (Manche, Normandy). Being the founders of the event, they gathered a massive group of volunteers from the riding centre settled on the farm and the adventure was on! Pierre Le Goupil, a former professionnal rider who competed Burghley and Badminton, managed to lead a strongly motivated and inspired team to turn a regional event into an international one up to 3 * level. In 2002, it became the 1st FEI World Cup qualifier to support the concept.
   In 2010, due to the farm and riding centre developing policy, the event was relocated on the lands of the outstanding and impressive Haras du Pin (Orne, Normandy). The place once hosted the Eventing European Championship a few decades ago. The facilities offered on site were praised and the 1st edition considered as a success.
  Le Grand Complet is renowned for its conviviality, with live bands music in the evenings and a warm atmosphere. It is the only event in France to welcome so many foreigners. Right from the beginning, nationalities such as Belgian and British, have largely contributed to the growing success and they quickly spread words on the quality of the event. They still match the high reputation of the competition, entering large squads every year.. Some faithful riders have never missed an edition.  
   Le Haras du Pin will host the 2014 WEG XCountry test and the organising team USTICA is ready this year to improve the access for crowds of visitors and welcome riders and horses at its best as it has always been its priority.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Hickstead Schools SJ

With the rain pouring down, off we went at 9am picking Beanie up on the way. Just before we left we had a phone call to say 14 teams had dropped out, so we hot footed it over there but when we got there it was a it was only 4 teams that had dropped out!

We turned up to do the course walk for 10.30, to see some poor person being stretchered off, which didn't bode well and still the rain poured.

We waited and we waited and waited! And it rained and rained and rained. Finally at 3 we went to warm up and do a clear round, but there was still a wait so our team went for a hack instead. Then it was the turn of our team, our first team member went, was eliminated and so all the team was eliminated and we never got to jump at all! I didn't mind actually, we have all been there before and I was worried about the ground and putting Beanie at Risk.

So I went back into the sand warm up arena and jumped her 1.30 metres - very happy with that. Even if I didn't jump in a class and we did get terribly wet.

Then we went home and that was our day!

Open Area Eventing on Estella

Back out again on Tuesday for area eventing (open class)!!

Oh dear, I had a shocking dressage! Estella was really flat, she gave me nothing which was such a shame because it was a 34.6, if she had done her normal standard then it would have been amazing score! But then again if she always did the same good dressage, it would be boring and they not machines after all!

The Show jumping really flowed however she was a little lazy with her hind leg and did take one rail, but the SJ was caused chaos so I was happy.

She flew round XC and I have really started now to come on a more open stride to single fences and stop taking a pull when I dont need to, to save time, which should help me a lot more and stop her from chipping in little strides!!

I ended up coming 4th, so not too bad.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Smiths Lawn with Beanie

So back from Area dressage it was time to get ready for Smiths Lawn the next day!

I took Beanie (Tinkers Whiz Kid) into our first BE one day event as a combination - Pre Novice.
Beanie is owned by Gail Stephens. She is a 16.2 chesnut mare 16 yrs old, a sometimes tricky but she is lovely!

In her dressage she got a 34.5 which wasn't terrible, she has to be kept constantly busy so in a simple dressage test she tends to get quite hot and lose concentration, my feeling is that she will be lot better at a  Novice test that has some more complicated movements and she could most definitly do the height!

Show Jumping: It was the best show jumping I think I have ever ridden in my life but unfortunately she had a rail with her hind leg which was a shame. She spooked at the filler under the rail . She will never stop but when she is unsure she puts her head through her front legs looks at the filler and forgets about her hind legs.

XC: She was jumping super - flying everything we were taking out strides and collecting when we needed to, it was just so together but then we came to the first water! It looked like we were going into a massive lake and they had railings to show the direction, it was a small gap to get into the water and the poor mare freaked and completely froze which is unlike her, she has never done that with me before, I even jumped her over the rolltop into the water at Coombelands and she didnt think twice about it and just listened to me! So she froze at the Smiths Lawn lake and she didn't techniquely step back but the fence judge was very quick to give us a stop which was a real shame because she then went and jumped beautifully after that.

If we hadn't had the stop on the XC course we would have come 2nd but even with the stop we came 12th.

There is so much to work with and she is such an enjoyable to ride that  I would love to carry on eventing her and get her up to Novice! So we will see. I am hoping Gail will get a taste for being an owner!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The busiest week I think I have ever had!

The is so much to update on so I am going to do it gradually over a few days. 

So this busy week started with area dressage in Sevenoaks. But the day started with a very broken satnav so we had to go back to old fashioned google maps and me having to read out the instruction to mother who was in the drivers seat, however this was a bad idea because I missed out a key bit of instruction which made us go terribly wrong and putting another 1hr onto our journey 'NIGHTMARE'  this resulted us getting there way later then planned and only having 5 minutes to warm up. The test, it wasn't to terrible I got 69.82% and came 5th it could have gone better had I warmed up for longer and got her in front of my leg more but for a 5 min warm up it wasn't to shabby.