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Badminton roundup

06-May-2019
06-May-2019 21:55
in General
by Admin

 Oratorio came out very well on Friday and was nice and relaxed before his dressage he warmed up really very well. Unfortunately when he went in he saw a few things and got quite tense and was not his best in the dressage which was disappointing.  I had really hoped he would be getting a mark comfortably in the 20’s, going on late on the Friday afternoon, but he made a few uncharacteristic errors which were expensive.
Whilst we were all frustrated we very much felt that he was not at Badminton expecting to win, so it was going to be much more about what he does over the next two days than how his dressage went.

It was on to Saturday and Little Fire was on quite early, half an hour after the start.  So I knew there was going to be no chance to watch anyone on course.  I was quite optimistic about the course for Little Fire, I hoped he would cope well and I felt there were no questions he was not ready for. My plan was to set off and attack the course, and very much aim at keeping to my minute markers.  He was fairly frenetic in the warm up, he seemed to find every day beyond exciting.   But once he was on course he totally focused and gave me a most amazing ride.  He set off really well on his minute markers and was taking everything in his stride.  I think I took a few slow lines through the vicarage area, so we got down a bit and I then was unable to get those seconds back.

 

I was delighted because he galloped really well to the end of the course, and whilst he was getting a bit weiry he certainly never felt tired which is great news and really exciting.  He came home with 11.4 time faults which I was very cross about as we should not have had those. But he will be quicker next time and I will ride some tighter lines.  The important thing is he finished very full of life and bounced back to the stables, and was far off having a sleep at all that afternoon.


My focus then turned to Kazu who was on between my two horses. So I helped him warm up and was thrilled to see him go so incredibly well, quite an achievement going clear around your first Badminton and making it all look very easy.

Once I had watched Kazu my attention turned onto Oratorio.  He was at Badminton because I really felt that he was ready for the challenge, but I knew it was a big question, and I knew he was very low on experience to even be there.  However it was ideal at the end of the day knowing how the course was riding, and having experienced the course personally, so conditions could not have been better.  

He warmed up very well and focused, and was much less of a clown than Little Fire,  and I felt heading up to the start very optimistic.  He was very unaffected by the Badminton atmosphere and all the people, and set off around the course like an old pro. I had very much planned on taking him all the same routes as I had taken with Little Fire, and it all came off.  He went very happily, and apart from doing a stride more or stride less in various places he gave me a very comparable ride, which was totally fault free and he made the course feel easy.

Unfortunately I ended up wasting a little time on him as well, ending up with 8.8 time faults.  However he showed no signs of tiredness and was flying right to the end which was a great feeling.  

All the horses looked excellent on the Saturday night which was a huge relief for Jackie, Adam and Hannah.  We were very lucky to have the help of vets Andy Bathe and Liz Brown to make sure we were missing nothing.  We also had Stephanie working hard on the Physio front so they would all feel their best for Sunday.  

Happily all three trotted up well and passed the trot up on the Sunday.  Overall I think there were one or two horses not presented, but everyone else who presented passed which was excellent, and showed that the conditions were pretty good.

Being in the top 20 meant both Kazu and I were jumping after lunch, but I had a pretty busy morning with course walking and giving both Little Fire and Oratorio a little bit of a practice run, pre show jumping.  It was amazing how quickly it came around and Oratorio was the first to jump after lunch.  I had a good warm up session with Ros Morgan, and he really was jumping very well considering it was a 3-day Sunday.
He frustratingly had the second fence down but otherwise jumped a foot perfect round and really didn’t deserve the 4 penalties.  It bodes very well for the future and I am very optimistic that he will master the clear round.

 

Kazu was jumping next and unfortunately had 3 down, but Tacoma d’horset is not the most careful show jumper and 3 down was certainly no disgrace.  I think she was giving Kazu a pretty good feeling and he was quite surprised to have had 12.

It was quite a quick turnaround onto Little Fire who was still on fire. I was really hoping that his nervous energy was not going to get him into trouble in the atmospheric arena.  I knew he could jump all the jumps and I was wondering whether he would be looking at the fences.  He had an excellent warm up and was jumping as well as he would jump at any 1-day.  In his typical style he went into the main arena and said “look at me”.  He could not have jumped a better clear round, never touching a pole and never losing his focus once.  I will never understand how he goes from being such a clown to being so ‘on the job’

His clear round only moved him up a couple of places which was a bit disappointing.  In fact I finished equal to Imogen Murray, but moved below her because my 0.4 time penalty put me equal to her and her faster cross country came into play, and moved her ahead.

So that was the end of a huge weekend, and I could not have been happier.  It was not a weekend full of glory and prizes, but each horse performed exceptionally well and will have gained enormous experience for their futures, which are now even more exciting.

They have come home really well which is always a bonus, and I am hoping to take Oratorio to Burghley and Little Fire to Pau - as a plan.

They will now have a few weeks off which they totally deserve.  Both horses got to Badminton as fit and as well as they could have been so they both deserve a nice bit of down time to rest and fill out a bit.

Badminton 2019 will go down as a huge success. I think the organising team will be very pleased. They have done a very decent job with the ground and conditions, as the weather was good, and the crowds were massive.  I heard there were 100,000 people there watching on Saturday which was a record.  

Eric Winter, I imagine, would be very pleased with his course.  Personally I would say perhaps it wasn’t quite tough enough, but only 50 people out of 80 completed it so perhaps it was.  Number 10 on the cross country was the bogey fence; it was a ditch up a bank to an angle log and horses could not really sight the line.  It was the end of the day for many top horses but it was perhaps not what I would call a Badminton fence, it was more a trick.  The Malting Pond was also an influential fence with a tricky corner after a big ditch.   But the waters and some of the feature

fences were rather undemanding.  I was also surprised and possibly relieved there weren’t too many questions towards the end of the course as horses get tired and make mistakes.  I look forward to talking to Eric about what he felt, but I am in no way negative about the overall track.  

The show jumping on Sunday was actually quite big which was good to see, as historically Badminton can be one of the easier courses and like last year the dressage was not too influential - it does make we wonder why we do so much of it!

What a brilliant result for Piggy French, she was a total deserving winner, and she won on a lovely mare who is by no means a superstar, Piggy won because she is a superstar.  Poor Oli he will certainly be in the dumps for a while because a victory looked to be on the plate.  

Personally I had both my horses owners there which was wonderful, they made a great team and luckily had a fantastic weekend. Like me I am very confident to say that they were delighted with their horses and it has given us all big dreams for the future.

Jane Tuckwell and her team must be hugely congratulated for what they achieved, what they do is incredible and we riders are so lucky. Cathy Butler did a brilliant job with the EHOA tent, and she was so generous letting all my supporters and family in.  It is a wonderful spot and it was lovely to have all my family there supporting me, it meant a huge amount. 

We are all now recovering, and it is rather nice to now have Badminton in the past, we can all now look forward to having a bit of time.  I am up to Aston Le Walls on Wednesday with four, and then Chatsworth with two, so things will be a bit quieter.  The next big one for me is Tattersall’s, and for Kazu it is Luhmühlen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2013 William Fox-Pitt. Photos copyright of William Murray in partnership with Fox-Pitt Eventing. With contributions from Kit Houghton, Fiona Scott-Maxwell, Julia Shearwood, Gavin Hudspith, Ian Loveland & Adam Fanthorpe.

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