Hickstead was one of the selection trials for the Paralympic Games so the pressure was on to get some great percentages! JP was going extremely well in the lead up and I felt really prepared for the competition. We travelled up a day early so he was able to settle in and I was able to ride him in the warm up.
British Dressage had announced that they were not charging for tickets so it was a fantastic opportunity for people to come and watch us in action; especially if they couldn’t make the Paralympic Games. Hickstead did a brilliant job of decorating the arena and having a buzzy ‘Games like’ atmosphere!
I stretched JP in the morning as it was going to be a long day before competing in the afternoon. He was so relaxed and felt brilliant so I kept it short as to not ware him out! It was fantastic having the opportunity to sit and watch the restricted riders; we are so lucky to have so many fantastic up-and-coming riders in the UK with brilliant horses, I spotted some real talent for the future so I better watch out!!
When it came to warming up JP we realised quickly that he was on edge; he was jumping a lot and wouldn’t settle. He got a lot better the more work we did and went in feeling on fire (in a good way!) We had a great entry however on our two 10m circles he tripped then spooked at himself tripping!! The rest of the test was ‘nice’ but we had elements of tension because if the trip! However; we managed to pull into the lead with a very respectable score of 72+%. I was so pleased that I was able to get such a great score with some major mistakes, I was excited to see what we could get on day 2!
JP slept well and came out feeling more settled; I knew a good test was on the cards! The test was so much better than the previous days, he was so soft yet had lots of activity! The judges seemed to love it and we got 76+%; 4% in the lead! I was over the moon I even got a standing ovation from the selectors!!!
Winning both classes meant that I went forward to the ultimate championships to music. I love performing my freestyle so aww as very excited! When I got back on JP however he felt extremely tired after two days of competition; so I wasn’t expecting a brilliant result. He was good however just completely lacked vavavoom. We ended up 5th with 77+% which is better than I expected! We had a blood test done as its not like him to be so tired and we found out that JP was actually anemic! He is being treated at the moment and feels even better than before