An update from our Supported Rider, Mel Chapman …

July began with a lovely weekend trip to Somerford Park for the first of two regional competitions. I was chuffed to bits with 5-year-old Romeo (TCE Jubilant al Sno, who is owned by Dad and I) as he finished 4th in a hot elementary gold class. We returned home with fingers crossed for a wild card.

It was brilliant to have only a short journey for our second regional outing, and what a super one it was too. Donna Wood and her team ran a brilliant competition at Richmond Equestrian Centre, where the horses thoroughly enjoyed dancing their way through Novice, Elementary and Medium tests. I secured another 4th place in the Elementary gold with TCE Shine a Light in a class where, once again the top three qualified!

Our final dressage outing in July involved a rather torturous journey to Hickstead for the Young Horse Championships. The last time I competed at this venue was 10 years ago. I rode Norman (DHI Work of Art) into 3rd place and finished behind Peter Storr and Charlotte Dujardin in the 6-year-old final. This time round, I had three 5 year olds to ride and they were all really well behaved. TCE Jubilant al Sno finished in 3rd place and TCE Jinte in 7th. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the event, especially as my Mum was with me.

In addition to the dressage ponies enjoying competition successes during this month, Holly Richardson has continued with her winning ways. TCE Kees (Quiche to his friends) went to Warwick Hall and competed in the 4 year old Osberton qualifier, which he won. Following this, it was the turn of TCE Ipache, who didn’t put a foot wrong on the way to winning his class, making this his fourth win of the season so far. These two horses most definitely have wings, as well as exciting futures ahead of them.

August was a little bit quieter than usual.  We had to postpone one of our camps due to the not so summery weather conditions. These events are a highlight of our Team Chapman Equestrian year and so we were left feeling a little flat having missed out on the craziness, fun, shared learning experiences…and delicious food.

The regional horses were given a little bit of extra downtime and then their training was picked back up again. The time felt right to bring Yogi (our giant of a rescue horse) back into work after he had spent over three months chilling and eating in the field. I was amazed and delighted when I sat back on him – he felt like a totally different horse and I am so excited about what we might achieve together in the coming years.

Yogi

Towards the end of the month, we received the super exciting news that mine and dads gorgeous 5-year-old stallion TCE Jubilant al Sno had been given a wildcard for the Summer Nationals in both elementary gold class as well as a place in the 5 year old finals. I counted the days until the championship and then put together a training plan; we were all very excited…until the curse of September struck again…

For those of you who don’t know, I’m not a fan of the first Sunday of September. In recent years I have been kicked in the head and, a year later, fractured and dislocated my ankle. Anyway, this year’s ‘first Sunday’ was set-aside for a day of competing at Yorkshire Riding Centre. It was a chilled outing and I really enjoyed it. The horses were on top form and, other than the nuisance of being bitten by a horse fly, I was relieved to return home in one piece. So, imagine my despair when, only 48 hours later, I was admitted to hospital and hooked up to an IV line as a result of the onset of early sepsis…all thanks to Sunday’s fly bite. I spent 5 days in hospital, finally being released after an operation to surgically remove the bite because the antibiotics weren’t working quickly enough. Despite feeling incredibly weak and wobbly, I headed home full of determination to be fit and ready to compete at the Nationals however, the time frame for recovering enough to control a 5-year-old stallion in a championship environment was somewhat short (only 5 days). Despite my best efforts (I genuinely underestimated how poorly I had been) I made the decision to withdraw. It wasn’t an easy choice but it was the right one.

During my period of hospitalisation, there was a little bit of good news. I have managed to keep the gorgeous TCE Happy Boy as part of our team. I sold him last year but with the support of some amazing friends and family, he’s here to stay. I’m hoping he will make the step up to PSG next year and, even more importantly, Norman now has a field buddy and he is loving it!

Following my week in hospital, and missing the nationals, I found it a little bit difficult to pick myself up so I was relieved that September ended on a really positive note. Feeling much better and super determined, I took six horses to Alnwick Ford to compete. I was on a mission to start and finish qualifications for the next round of regionals. The horses were on top form and I returned home with some great results.

The team and I are keeping everything crossed that the coming months are a little more ‘normal’ and incident free!!!!

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