How long since I have wanted to do a junior trial? I remember three years ago having such high hopes for Estella after France and then she tore a ligament in the field and we had to retire her and with that went my hopes for Juniors for 2012 and 2013. In 2013 came Danny a horse that I could potentially do Juniors on with 2014 being my final year of having a shot at it. Well Danny is a tricky ride and we spent 2013 getting to know each other and the winter building up our training for our first trial and there is still a long way to go and we can still improve in all areas but if for any reason I don't get any further, Belton will stay with me!
First of all Belton is in Lincolnshire which is near Nottingham = long drive! We had our dressage on the Friday and show jumping and cross country on the Saturday. Our journey was made longer because as you might guess we got a little lost around Grantham, mainly due to signs telling us one way and Sat Nav telling us another. Eventually a cyclist stopped us as he had seen us a few times going round and round in circles and thought we might need some help. Bearing in mind it was lunchtime, he did ask if he had seen us at 6am that morning - now I know we are bad with directions but we are not that bad!
When we eventually arrived at the event, we were not prepared for how big it would be, it really is like a mini Badminton. It was a beautiful venue but the nerves kicked in when I realised how many spectators there were! They kicked in even more when I realised the dressage arena was in the middle of the grounds with shops and spectators all around! When I warmed up I really concentrated on us and not on everyone else, he felt really good. He did a smashing test and I have to say at this point thank you Fiona Bigwood for helping me make him look like a dressage horse, he will never have those flash paces and he is long but he held is own up there and in a very hot section of 60 of the very best juniors and young riders in the country, my Danny was joint 6th after dressage!
After dressage we stayed and walked the showjumping and watched some but wish I hadn't as it was all going wrong for every rider I watched. It was tricky and a lot of people were getting cricket scores! We then walked the cross country and gave Mum heart failure!
Over night we stayed at Nicole Mill's yard, it was a prefect choice for Danny as it was quiet and small. Nick Gauntlett also had about 6 of his horses there too. We had a few issues like our leisure battery on it last legs and gas running out, but we had a spare which mum replaced, was slightly concerned on my return from the stables to see mum under the lorry with a spanner and hammer in her hand!
We were on first thing in the morning so early start and back to Belton. In the end the show jumping rode well. We did roll a pole but it was at the triple. It was a long stride followed by a short and that was always going to be tricky for Danny and the pole was unlucky, it dropped after we had jumped the fence! There were only 10 clears in the whole section!
By the time it came for the cross country Danny and I were more than ready. I had a few butterflies, it was the biggest track that I have ever jumped and there were some difficult lines but it rode like a dream (apart from a jump near to the end where Danny locked on to the wrong one, but we got it sorted in time) and only got 1.2 time penalties. There were tears of happiness at the end of the course. I saw Tina at the end and she was emotional too! You can watch the video of the round here. : Belton Int. Horse Trials 2014 - Harriet Upton 750 - An Eventful Life http://www.an-eventful-life.com.au/riders/rider-videos-belton-int-horse-trials-2014-harriet-upton-750#.U0riBzgPQO4.twitter via @AddThis.
I couldn't believe it when I heard the commentator announce the placings. I came 5th and was the highest place junior! Tears all round then and am pretty sure Mum cried all the way home! Great Withington is our next trial....