EVENTFUL, FUNNY AND ACTION PACKED! - Tamsin qualifies for her first CC1 1* three day event


Tamsin's aim since getting back to Eventing was to take part in an International event.

She couldn't be more thrilled when she qualified for her first CC1 1* in August this year. Tamsins last international was in 1997 just before her riding break which was also at Osberton. - making this a very special achievement.                                                                                                                                               

tamsin and_suegimped
Tamsin tells us all about her trials, tribulations and success's 

PRE EVENT PREPARATION - Don't forget the wine!
The month of September has been about focusing and preparing Captain and myself for Osberton, Captain had to be fitter - he has never been a fast horse but he was getting stronger by the week, it was like he had found his 6th gear but wasn't sure what to do with it - I could definitely feel he had more strength, power and speed - (still not quite a race horse!)
We attended a few events prior to Osberton where we discovered Captain's new found speed and power caused us both difficulties, he wasn't coming back to me for combinations and was a bit too bold and very strong going into fences, where as before we started his fitness training he would back himself off and I would just keep my leg on! 
To ensure we both were coming together I arranged a last minute XC session with Nat Dixon at Waresley Park stud to try a few new techniques. Captain was brilliant and by not being in the ‚Äö√Ñ√∫Event‚Äö√Ñ√π atmosphere he wasn't overly excited, he became light in my hand, straight and enjoyed jumping everything presented to him, he even came back to me when I asked.   The extra XC schooling session couldn't have gone any better and we even managed to get our last canter in. 
In addition to XC preparation I also had weekly dressage lessons with Kathryn Brace (British Dressage Judge); we spent time going through the movements in the test and trying out different exercises to help strengthen our areas of weakness.
We concentrated on getting Captain more forward going, collected in trot and canter and keeping straight. These extra lessons certainly helped and it wasn't long before I noticed a big difference - Captain started producing a straighter canter and a much improved medium trot. Our last dressage lesson was on the Tuesday morning prior to leaving for Osberton where we ran through the test one last time ‚Äö√Ñ√¨I was thrilled as it went really well - finally we were prepared for the week ahead. 

Our riding preparation was going really well but getting prepared for our six night stay over was another thing! 
As soon as I found out that Captain and I had qualified I started preparing a detailed check list of items that we would need for our six day stay at Osberton.
Tamsin Capatains_stuffgimped
The list just kept growing and by the time I had finished it was like reading 'War and Peace' - and included key items such as Stable and mucking out equipment, Captain's feed and treats, hay, rugs, competition tack, day tack, my competition gear plus day riding clothes, not forgetting some of my essentials a big food shop, lots of drink (yes lots to calm the  nerves!) and plenty of chocolate (energy food). Tamsin chocolate_cupboardgimped

Packing to go to Osberton was worse than packing for any holiday! 
I couldn't believe the amount of stuff I needed and once all the items on the list had been checked (thankfully I now have a check list for next year!) there was the next big job of loading the lorry. This took the complete weekend prior to leaving on the Tuesday.  
Although I was traveling to Osberton on my own, I was fortunate that Jordana Marston a very close friend from the age of eight and who I had gone through school and Pony Club teams with had also qualified and would be returning to International level after a five year break.

Tamsin and_JordannagimpedIt was amazing to know that many years later I would be competing, supporting and spending time with such a good friend… and of course the rock of the family was coming up on Saturday with friends to support her daughter on XC day … what would we do without our mums.

Left Photo-  Jordana and Tamsin at Burghley (Jordana on the right)September 1993, being presented with their rosette by Karen Dixon.

Tuesday Arrives - Departing for Osberton

Captain eating_grass

All packed and loaded Captain and I set off to Worksop. We arrived around 5pm giving me plenty of time to unpack the lorry and settle Captain down in to this stable for the week.
This was made easier as many riders had made the decision to arrive first thing on Wednesday.

Luckily Jordana and her horse “Bumble” arrived shortly after we had, so Captain had a girlfriend stabled next door for the week.
Both horses settled very quickly enjoying the quiet evening eating the grass in their stable and getting to know each other. 

Wednesday - trot up and briefing 
tamsin and_captain_walsking_in_raingimped
Wednesday was a very busy day, with hacking Captain, event briefing, trot up and course walk. 

I took Captain for an early morning hack around Osberton estate, fields and fields of lush thick grass, plenty of areas for us to explore and lots of other horses to meet and greet - Captain got very excited!

The briefing was next and included discussions on where you could and couldn't hack and notes on the course and ground. It was still raining but and I hoped for better weather on Thursday and Friday to hopefully dry the ground out. 
My trot up was at 3pm, so I had a bit of time to get myself ready and do some more 'Captain' polishing! We both looked very smart as we walked to the trot up collecting ring, however we had only been in the ring for about a minute before the heavens opened, torrential rain and a hail storm. Well there goes my smart outfit and shiny polished horse - within seconds we both looked like a drowned rats!

 Tamsin black_and_white_rainy_trotgimped
Our Trot up comes to a halt and we tried to gained some shelter under the trees, it wasn't going to stop so I thought it best to sprint back to the indoor stables (with Captain cantering by my side).
Captain was becoming very excited and by the time we got to the stable the hailstones were thundering down on the indoor stable roof had really got him excited.
We decided to come out of hiding after approximately five minutes, the rain had eased and the hail had stopped. Captain just wouldn't stand still and decided the best position for him was on his back legs, which really wasn't very helpful and I had to let go of him a few times in the collecting ring, he didn't go far as he probably thought it was safer with me.

Tamsin rainy_trotgiomped
On reaching the entrance he managed to scatter the other horses waiting, and decided to bounce and spin when it came to our turn for the trot up. However thankfully he managed to control himself and trotted away well and then trotted back extremely fast towards the vets, however he continued straight past the vets and across a field before stopping, a site to be remembered with me running as fast as I could to keep up and try and apply the breaks at the same time. I can only assume that we passed as we were never called back. 

I wanted to calm Captain down after all the excitement, so decided a schooling session would be a good idea as this might wear him out before our dressage at 12 noon Friday. We didn't get very far and as soon as I mounted he was as fresh as he was in the trot up, only this time there was no going up on his hind legs, instead he decided to buck and leap every time I asked him to do anything!  I gave up and put Captain in his stable, hardly talking to him for being so naughty. Concern was settling in- How was I ever going to get a dressage test out of him? 

First course walk

Captain in his stable I decided to do my first course walk! Course walk_good_gimped 
Fence 1 & 2 not bad, fence 3 totally enormous  (wasn't even sure how I was going to jump that one) 4,5 ok, 6 huge, 7 even bigger, 8 big de-tour around, wasn't going near that one -  I was starting to panic, how could I go from jumping a number of novice courses to jumping an International course. Fences had seriously gone up in height and even more in width. I continued around the course to fence 12 where I bumped into Karen Dixon (also in the 1* dressage one before me) whilst talking to Karen I realised that I had been walking the 6 year championship course which followed the 2* numbers early on.

course walk_barrellsgimped 
How had I done this? Lesson learned - concentrate and check the correct flag colours with stable management prior to trekking around the course, oops! 
Panic over - I had just wasted an hour walking the wrong course (I won't be jumping that course for a while) It was getting dark and I was struggling to see so only managed to get to assess a few more fences before returning to my horsebox for a well earned glass of wine or two! and a lovely meal with Jordana and friends. 
Well day one went really well! - Horse not ride-able or manageable an hour of panic that the course wasn't jumpable. What else could I do  other than spend the evening in the bar de-stressing and catching up with the other riders - Let's hope day 2 is better!!!

Next time - Tamsin  talks us through how she got on in her dressage test and XC