We spoke with Lavenham sponsored Event Rider Jenny George to talk about how she is preparing in the lead up to Badminton Horse Trials. Jenny is returning to Badminton for the third time and will be riding Oscar a 13 year old, 16.3 Grey Gelding and competing in Class BE100.
How are preparations coming along for Badminton?
After a late start to the season we have finally got going! I had a good first outing at Gt Witchingham coming 9th, however our show jumping was a bit rusty and I had 2 down. I have since done a bit of grid work with Oscar to sharpen him up over the fences. On Sunday I went to Keysoe and had a great dressage score of 23 (77%) and double clear to win the class by 8.5 marks so that was a great confidence boost. He jumped really well cross country so I was thrilled with him.
How will you be preparing over the next few weeks?
Last year Badminton did not go to plan so I have a few things that I would like to practice that will probably be on the course this year. A good friend of mine has made a white house looking fence (which Oscar took an aversion too last year) they have had a white house on the course for the past two years so I think there is a strong possibility it will feature this year. I am planning on hiring a course that is quite local to me to put the house on undulating ground as per the one two years ago. I will also ask some friends to meet me there and try to create a crowd like atmosphere next to the water and coffin fence which is usually where the crowds gathers.
Badminton features a much larger crowd than the usual events that I compete in so I am not sure if this could have been a factor last year. I will also hire a show jumping course to jump a bit bigger, the course at Badminton is 10cms bigger than the usual 100 classes so it is a good idea to practice this away from home conditions.
When you arrive at Badminton how do you prepare?
I will arrive at Badminton the day before my dressage test. On arrival the vet will check over Oscar and look at his passport and check his microchip number is correct. I will then get his stable ready (they have lots of temporary stables that are all undercover) and take him there to settle him in. After a few hours I will take him for a leg stretch and little ride as the journey will be about 4 hours. After riding him I will let him have a few hours to relax and chill out. There are scheduled cross country course walks with professionals if you wish to go on them. This year Yogi Breisner is doing one which I am planning on attending, he is the Chef D’Equipe for Great Britain and is responsible for choosing and instructing the Olympic teams so that will be a very interesting course walk. I usually walk the course 3 or 4 times so I know my exact routes that I am planning on taking or alternatives that I can take if things do not go to plan.
Do you get nervous before you are about to compete and how to you settle your nerves?
I do not normally get nervous before I compete however as Badminton is such a prestigious championship I am bound to get slightly nervous before I go. If I am later to go in the section (it is a drawn order) I will go and watch a fence if I am particularly worried about one or a difficult combination fence. It is nice to see how other people are riding it and it usually settles my nerves to see other people jumping the fence well (or it can give me an idea of how not to jump it!) The last two years I have taken the dogs for a nice walk very early in the morning around the course, I like having a final walk on my own so that I am confident and can imagine exactly how I will ride every fence.
What is your schedule of events for Badminton?
The order for Badminton is usually a drawn order, there are 88 qualified combinations that have entered my section. I will find out closer to the event which day my dressage is on. I seem to always get drawn in the first half of a class so I am expecting my dressage to be on Tuesday 5th May (there will probably be around 60 combinations doing the dressage on the Tuesday and remaining on Wednesday morning) this will be followed by show jumping and then by the cross country on the Wednesday. I get tickets to the main international event which takes place Wednesday afternoon through to Sunday. I will probably stay for the Thursday and Friday dressage and walk the International course on Thursday evening and then come home Friday afternoon to watch the cross country on TV on Saturday!
Thank you Jenny and Good Luck!
Badminton Horse Trials takes place on Tuesday 5th May – Sunday 10th May, we will post updates of Jenny’s progress in the competition.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 at 1:32 pm