Back to BE - BE80 Mendip Plains

15 May 2022

British Eventing has become crazy expensive, so I purchased a Pay-As-You-Go ticket for Fred and I this year. I wasn't ready to hit Bovington in April, so I had a choice of 3 venues in May - Mendip Plains, Howick and Pontispool.

Given I was doing Pontispool for the BRC on 4 June, I decided going twice in a week was probably not needed.

I contemplated Howick, but again given the rising fuel costs, the 100 mile round trip didn't seem efficient when Mendip Plains was also running an event and they are just 15 miles from the yard, I choose to attend their inaugural BE event.

Sadly, they suffered the usual problems with BE at the moment - too expensive meaning numbers are low, so they combined all classes into one day. Looking at the entries, it was obvious that one section was going to get 'shafted' with the times if they started the BE80 and 90 together - which they did. And for reasons known only to BE, they decided to run 1 section of 42 people in the BE80 and shaft the first half of them with a 3.5/4 hour wait.... And yep, we paid the price for our early entry. 8th on and times were 9.42 Dr, 13.22 SJ and then just 40 mins to XC at 14.01. I was disappointed but tried to make myself positive about it.

I was so excited as I walked the course in the sunshine at 23 degrees on Saturday, the weather for Sunday was saying a bit of drizzle in the morning possibly but otherwise ok.

Saturday, I had a final jump, course walked, got plaited up, and finished up the day cleaning my tack and boots. I had new 'sparkly bum' jodhs to ride in and a brand new XC hat, courtesy of some deals at Badminton.

Sad that mum was at my last BE event, I was determined to #dothisformum!


My goodness it was biblical!

Fred hasn't done a big event since Sept 2021 and as we started our warm up he was quite tense and felt a bit 'rabbit-in-headlights'.

As I handed over the whip to Steph, I sensed Fred curl up a bit and go inward. He didn't want to go forward in his test and although he held his frame it was sticky. As we went to our right canter, Fred was almost not moving. He struck off, changed so was disunited and when I stopped him and restarted, he had a bit of a tantrum because I was trying to keep the frame and send him forward. He basically stopped, and stamped and I threw the reins at him and just booted to go forward! Then we almost overshot the canter to trot transition. Argh. We pretty much scored 6.5 for every move bar the 4s for the canter 'incident' and 7's for the walk.

At 12.45pm we were supposed to be walking the SJ course, but they were running late in the 90cm. By the time it started at 1.20 we were soaked through, freezing cold and pretty darn bored!

Fred show jumped forward and clear - sticky moment at fence 6 when he dropped the bridle and took a look at the fence - I think it was a ladder at the base, was a rather innocuous fence. However, he did manage to leave it up and the second part of the double too! So I was pleased with that.

It crossed my mind to go XC now, but the rain was relentless, we were wringing wet and I just thought if he 'took a look' out on the XC without studs we would slip and I couldn't guarantee we'd come home safe. It was a very rational decision to withdraw. The last thing I wanted was a slip or anything to break our confidence when we were competing in 3 weeks time at Pontispool. At the end of the day, nothing is worth risking Freddie. There's always another show, another day. And I love him too much to risk him.

It turned out that as I withdrew, Kathryn (our friend and Vet on Call at the day) had been stitching up another horse's knee after falling on course. We agreed that without studs, it just wasn't worth it.

But I still got 36.5 dressage and a clear SJ. I've had worse days than that. So I'm pleased with the boy.

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