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Ready Steady Tokyo

19-August-2019 15:43
in General
by Admin

Ready Steady Tokyo test event was quite an experience, I was very fortunate to be asked to take Summer At Fernhill out to complete in the 3*S and it was great that Catherine Witt could come out too.  We were obviously there testing all things Olympic and it was a very worthwhile experience.  The Tokyo facilities were top class; arenas were lovely, stabling was the best you would get at any 3-day, and they were air conditioned.

The space, going forward at an Olympics would be limited but there is a plan to put more arenas down.  The main arena was pretty much finished and the stands around it will be very impressive come next year.  The horses seemed very relaxed and happy in there which is so important.  Summer had travelled out very well and did a lovely dressage, that we were all very happy with.  He unfortunately broke in the medium which is normally his party piece, and his last halt was weak.  He scored 32 which could have been better and would easily have been in the 20’s without the mistakes.  The field there was quite mixed, there were some 3* horses and there were 2 horses there that competed in last years World Games, so to lie mid field was very satisfactory.

The cross country venue was in a different place to the JRA show ground as it was in Beijing.  So after the dressage the horses were boxed up for 45 minutes and stabled away.  The cross country course has been built on a man made island which is quite novel, and the ground on it had been beautifully prepared and watered, typical new equestrian grass which was on the firm side but was actually pretty decent.  Summer was in great form and took on the cross country very confidently.  He was actually quite strong so I wasted a fair bit of time setting up, and that is why I incurred a couple of time faults.  But it was the first time I had taken him quicker around a 3*S course and he was very full of it.  Lots of horses went in the time, but not everyone, and I think he stayed about mid-div.  It was an interesting course built on mainly flat ground.  The first minute was uphill, and the rest of the course was on the flat with quite a few man made lumps and bumps to slow us down.  It was not a big course but there were plenty of questions, and I was very pleased with how competent and grown up he felt.  He came out of the run well, and we were very lucky to have Liz Brown there to take care of him with Adam.  Absolutely everything was done to make sure the horses were fully rehydrated after the course  It did take a bit more out of him than usual but it was only 5.5 minutes, next year when it could be 10 minutes will mean a lot more to take into account.  That night they were boxed back to the Equestrian venue. Trot up was the next morning, followed by the show jumping.

The course was quite decent for a 3* but it was not too tricky with distances and time, and the horses jumped very well on the surface overall.  Summer came out feeling great and jumped a lovely round, which bodes well for the future.  How many 3* horses as part of their education have experienced an Olympic standard venue?  I really feel the whole experience will have done him the world of good.

Team GB are so lucky to have had all the funding to get everyone out there for the experience.  Everyone will undoubtedly have benefited, and it was also very positive to see that despite the climate it can work.  I would describe the Tokyo weather as feeling a little bit like stepping into an airing cupboard.  However it was amazing how well the horses coped and once you got used to it and got on with it it was actually fine.

I was very lucky to be supported by Alice and the boys and we decided to take a few days off after the competition to see more of Japan.  We spent another day in Tokyo, which is an incredible place, and then had a couple of days canyoning up in the mountains which was certainly a first for me.  I am ok in water but I am not a water baby so it was a first for me going head long down water falls into deep holes, and also the first time I have ever abseiled.  It was a steep learning curve, and my boys are all very good at that kind of thing so there was no way I was being left behind!






© 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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