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curse but they both said to me, “Hayley, if you can get around this course, you can get around any WEG!” Well, I wouldn’t exactly say that was the best way of starting off the event! I thought to myself, I can either walk around the course this evening and know what Cuppi and I are in for, or leave it until tomorrow morning after a good sleep. So I decided to walk the course, in the pouring rain!

best with mistakes in the flying changes, but overall, I was pleased. We had a riders briefing after dressage where we were informed that horrendous weather conditions were coming in, with hail and thunder storms expected all day for cross-country. I couldn’t believe that they were expecting that kind of weather when Dressage day had been reasonably clear!

Next day was trot-up and my mum arrived from South Africa to come and support. Cuppi was really good in the trot up but was really spooky with all the crowds; the trot-up can be as well supported as any of the other phases of competition, so there is a real atmosphere!

Well, the Brits can certainly predict the weather well! It rained and rained and rained, all day! There was a point when I was watching a couple of riders and couldn’t even see them go past, it was raining so heavily! I was on very late in the day so was concerned about the going. The senior class of CCI3*’s were a complete wipeout with many falling, retiring, being eliminated, breaking frangible pins etc. I decided at one point to stop watching and focus purely on Cuppi and what we needed to do to make this happen.

My mum and I walked around the course together and I was really interested to hear what she thought about it. She was absolutely silent throughout walking which I know means she is nervous! The course was big, technical, required absolute focus from both horse and rider and would reward those who rode with a plan. I walked line after line, trying to work through all scenarios of how the jumps could possibly ride. I imagined myself riding through the lines and being able to react to anything that happened while jumping. This is a technique I use when walking courses to help me get my mind away from nerves and actually get on with what I need to do.

My warm-up for the cross-country did not go to plan; the warm-up jumps were in the same place as they had been the whole day, so the mud was very difficult to jump out of. Every time I thought I saw a stride, I was off my distance as the mud was sucking Cuppi in. I eventually decided to stop jumping as I felt that it wasn’t doing Cuppi or me any good. There were several holds in starting as riders in my class were either falling or breaking frangible pins, which meant I was on him for longer than I wanted.

Friday was dressage day. Cuppi’s dressage has really improved and we are working on refining movements and patterns. He was I was number 110 to go and was watching a couple go off from the incredible in the warm-up but when he got into the main ring, start when all of a sudden, a French man came running up to me, the arena felt like I was riding through a ploughed field! He did his pointing at my stop watch and begged if his rider, who was Issue 19 SPORTING HORSE


Sporting Horse Magazine Issue 19  

July 2014 Edition of Sporting Horse Magazine

Sporting Horse Magazine Issue 19  

July 2014 Edition of Sporting Horse Magazine