“Nationals here we come!” – Cara Shardlow, Supported Rider

It was a shaky start to the year with three horses injured – I really wasn’t sure that any of them would make it to regionals at the beginning of February.  However, by the skin of our teeth I managed to make it with all three of them!

Sandonista and Mario Lanza were first on in the Novice Freestyle.  This was Mario’s first big competition and I was so pleased with how he coped; although he a little tense, he made no big mistakes and was placed 10th.  Sandonista was very on edge in the warm up, but settled a little in the test.   We probably didn’t preform our best test ever but we came away with a respectable 4th.

Sando was in action the following day for the Elementary Gold and Freestyle.  The Elementary was in an arena he had not been in before, so alt
hough he had one big spook dropping out of canter, he still got a good score to be placed 4th again.  He then went into the Freestyle and was much more settled gaining 3rd on an excellent score of 71.40%.  Sadly, he missed out on nationals qualification by one place in all three classes, which was disappointing but I have just heard that he is first in line for a ‘Wild Card’ for the Elementary Freestyle if someone drops out.  He may still make it with over a month to go – so fingers crossed.

Detonator went on the Tuesday and although Bishop Burton is one of his pet hates… he was brilliant!  (He was just about containing his excitement at being back out partying!) We came a fantastic 2nd in the Advanced Medium Freestyle to Sophie Wells and we got our ticket to the Nationals!  It really was not expected so I’m thrilled! We were also 3rd in the PSG, to which he produced a better test for, yet I was a little disappointed with the score.

It was then onto the Myerscough Premier League with Detonator.  Although still not quite back to full fitness and a bit rusty, we held our own against some very hot combinations. Unfortunately, making silly mistakes in three out of our four tests was costly.  I was still happy though to gain a 6th and a 10th and then to be just out of the placings in strong classes of at least thirty.  It was a great warm up for our 3rd selection for Great Britain.  This was a bit last minute as we were on the reserves list, yet I am so pleased to be asked again so early in the year.  We head off to Keysoe CDI next week and my aim is to just go and enjoy the experience again.  I really can’t wait.

The Nationals are the middle of April with Detonator and maybe Sandonista if we are lucky!!

In addition to what feels like a manic month, I’ve somehow also found the time to get my youngster out locally for his first outing.  He behaved incredibly well, so I am delighted.  We left the arena with a balance issue at one point but he had a nice experience and will get him out again to keep building on it as soon as possible.

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