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The trials & tribulations of Oli


Oli and his horse Lacken Chebel travelled to Wales for the The British Junior National Championships’, here Oli recounts his experiences from his first three-day-event.

Photos: Photo-Synergy

To find out more about Oli Lawrence visit

Oli and Lacken Chebel had a fantastic ride around the Championship course at Glanusk


ell it would be logical to assume that a three-day would last for three days but there you’d be a bit off as it works out more as five days... After a surprisingly uneventful journey (that must be a first) we arrived at Glanusk. You get the feeling that things must be on the up when you pull off the motor way and see your very class advertised in stars ‘The British Junior National Championships’ well almost, blue billboards are nearly the same as stars! On arrival there was the standard vets inspections and passport inspections where you have to explain every detail nearly to the point of your last visit to the dentist... After the first trot up and dressage warm-up, the rest of the day was filled with course walks with the junior trainers. The course caused quite a few raised eyebrows being on the strong side and ended with the course designer saying, “I’ve been away for a few days” as he revved a chainsaw to address some of the concerns. The setting really was stunning, in the shadow of Sugar Loaf Mountain along the banks of a river. The track also ran through the gardens of

the house and over the garden walls – think large stone walls with ditches on either side. The rather noticeable thing was also the number of ditches on the course - they were pretty fond of them! I could stand in the ditches and disappear totally. On top of that the hacking tracks around the estate make Kent and the South Downs look mediocre. The track that followed the river and could only be described as ‘cool’ including a small grave yard – “I must stay out the way of that”. God must have been laughing at the look on my face as Dell trod on a grave because no one struck me down with lightning (at least not yet anyway). Each evening there was a riders meeting in addition to the specific ones for juniors where we were told they’d lowered various parts of the course ‘by a few inches’, I couldn’t see any difference! Dressage day dawned, cooler thankfully, and we were on at around midday. After warming up we started well until the atmosphere got to Dell and we dropped several marks, but there was still some promising work. We ended the day in a not so fabulous position but with plenty of potential to move up the field due to the

tough cross-country. At three-days your crosscountry warm up is quite substantial given that you don’t have anything before it. So a good 40 minutes before my time I was on board and raring to go. Then we were straight out of the box and flying. We made the time easily but it was a shame the time wasn’t tighter as it could have moved us further up the leader board as we were comfortably safe with the time. Highlights of the course included the water where I’m told spectators had to elbow their way to the front to get a view – but all I heard was the applause, I never got the chance to look round – fat people, skinny people, tall and short looked all the same! I was particularly pleased with Dell as we went straight at every combination in proper style and being inside the time was very satisfying, as that had been people’s main criticism of him in the past. The cooling facilities at the end of the course were brilliant, excellent advertising for ‘Water Boy’ one of the event’s sponsors providing the sprays – Dell must have felt very special with personal assistants on hand to spray him down with iced water.

The next day dawned bright and early for the last trot up. I had been a bit concerned how he would cope with show jumping after his cross-country but he recovered well. Our show jumping wasn’t fabulous, which was a shame as our clear round cross-country had moved us up the leader board a good way. On a brighter note, we completed and were placed 27th, which in itself was an achievement and we have an FEI qualification so the options for the future are wide open. Dell’s clear round crosscountry meant all the more as the majority of the horses in the junior section were very experienced making Dell’s grand total of 4 BE points look very modest in comparison. So now we know the standard, and it’s high, very high but some things you can only discover by giving it a go. So with lots of options and a field awaiting Dell at home – he can already smell the grass – we’ve got a bit of time to plan the next step. So you’ll have to wait and see but for now Dell can have a rest (he’s nodding in the back) and I’ll get on with my coursework – so much for a holiday - I knew I’d regret standing on those gravestones! august 2010 Localrider 97

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Complete version Localrider August 2010 issue  

Complete version Localrider August 2010 issue. Amongst many others this issue features reports and articles on: Hickstead Derby Report, Maki...

Complete version Localrider August 2010 issue  

Complete version Localrider August 2010 issue. Amongst many others this issue features reports and articles on: Hickstead Derby Report, Maki...