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  • Writer's pictureLisa Marshall

BRC Championships -Arena UK

There’s a lot to say!!

What a very exciting weekend…

We headed up to Grantham for the BRC Championships @ Arena Uk. We had a team and a couple of individuals heading down for GDRC Group. It started off with a little bit of an amber light on the lorry dash saying we had an engine fault Googled the little illuminated picture the lorry was offering us and it was emissions (I think it’s done this before, we carried on), I did check with the mechanic that this was ok and the man from the mechanical land… he say ‘yes’. Green light given, Mr P reluctantly loaded as Boris was shouting for him, but on he goes and away we go. Having to leave Madison-Leigh Goodall behind this time as no yard cover . We left what we thought was early to avoid the traffic how naive we were! It was absolutely lashing it down the entire way and took 6hrs! It’s never too bad on the way as you’re excited (not sure P shared our enthusiasm). We arrive, press the button to put the window down to talk to the lovely man directing us, for the window to take full control of the situation and just drop straight down into the door! No way!!! Well, with the window well and truly down, we get directed, park up (in the best spot ever), declare, get our stable no. and head off to sort that out with Mr P to get him settled. He had very different opinions of his stable! Not a chuffing chance!!!!! He’d rather sleep in the lake of a puddle outside of the door, but by no means was he going in (this is after me bedding it down). Way too precious for that flapping plastic green hole of doom! Back to the stable manager to see if they can re house him for the weekend? Thankfully, she was super understanding and allowed us to move him into a much sturdier and bigger wooden temp stable. Thankfully, he approved of this one, so we finished bedding down with his abundance of bedding and he stuffed his face as he had hay literally at every opportunity and was happy as a pig………

Jane arrives with her ponies as we’re heading back to the lorry, so we lighten her load, take a pony and nets and help her settle them in for the night. Easy done, in comparison to P. She then has to go and put her tent up, we offer assistance if required, not that we’d be any use. She’s going to see how it goes, it’s supposed to be easy.

We go to settle ourselves in, hook up, attach the gas, sort inside, tv on and pour the wine Matilda leaves P for exercise as we have the weekend and he is able to chill and take in his surroundings. We then get the msg that the tent erection isn’t proving to be as easy as first thought, so we head over (they’ve put her quite away a way in a field all alone). We all figure the tent out (I guess it would have been easy with more than one person (and to be fair we only did the finishing touches of poles and pegs)). She’d done a stirling job and then, we as our dream team (in the rain) created a tent master piece It’s the size of a house, so they won’t be struggling for space.

We head back to the lorry, tv back on, wine in hand. RELAX!!

Hannah, hubby, Melody & Ella are still travelling. They’ll have a pretty late arrival and be tucking straight into bed

The following morning, up and out to feed and tend to the precious one. He’s loving life! Our brekky made and ingested, we take a walk around to work out the set up, where to go, how to get there and so on. P has to come out of his holiday mode for 1hr for a leg stretch, which he is most displeased about. Carrying this displeasure on through his exercise. I think she’s riding a giraffe. Those that know me, know my love for giraffes , but not in this instance we just chill, let him have a stretch and then he’s quite happy to get himself back to bed.

Hannah & Poppy are up!! Her test…. It’s all quite calm. So it looks from the outside. She heads in for her test and it looks lovely, but she said she could feel Poppys tension. I think we’re all feeling the tension though! I feel, a nice test and it’s always a bonus to have remembered the test, ridden, stayed inside the boards and on your mount. So before any scores or judgement, that’s a flipping good personal win in my eyes! Even if Poppy was a little more focused on the show jumping

The afternoon came and ourselves and Jane have to do our team duties - which is poo picking in the dressage arenas and wow! The wind is blisteringly cold and I’ve never wanted horses to produce droppings any more than I do now, so that I can move to keep warm Matilda & I keep each others spirits high until Jane comes to relieve us. They’ve given Matilda a high-viz ‘official’ tabard which is now making me nervous. An opinionated, ginger official - not sure the show would go on. I feel bad having to leave Jane, but we need to go and make Mr P look wonderful.

More of our team mates are due to arrive today which will complete the team. Caryll Overy, Xaria, Lyn Baker and Elizabeth Baker all arrive and get settled in with Selina Tickle, Abi Tickle Showjumper & Grace not far behind. It’s not long after the first lorry with Caryll & do in arrives that we receive the msg you dread from Selina - her lorry has broken down (not too far away) and could someone go and save the pony & children whilst she waits for recovery? So off I go on the rescue mission, (having to barricade our parking space with the Biffa bins and a wheelbarrow full of tack and equipment and Matilda (in the rain still)). As I arrive, obviously, emotions flowing and stress levels are through the roof, I try and air on the side of positivity that all are ok and it actually could have been so much worse. All is a little easier. Luckily she’s at a service station, so I take full advantage and fill up , drop the ramp, quickly swap Muffin (the pony) over (as I know you’re not supposed to and the road should have been closed, but could you imagine…) All loaded safely, children on board with items they need and we have to head off leaving Selina behind to wait for recovery.

Once we arrive with the precious cargo to park up with Matilda drenched alongside the Biffa bin, we do all of the necessary bits and go to settle Muffin in his stable (which he also didn’t like) so he was allocated the stable next door to P’s - his new neighbour… which was cute.

Mr P is all plaited, we head to the warm up and have a ride, he’s slightly improved on his impression, but not massively. He has a little longer than the previous day and starts to work a little nicer than before. It’s starting to get dark, so we head in.

Not long after we’ve finished faffing, Selina arrives… there’s always one that needs to make an entrance!! Big orange tow truck, flashing lights, the whole 9 yards! But she’s here, literally placed next door to us, the wine is poured as my goodness she deserves it!! I pop dinner in, our team mates arrive in full force for drinks and chats and we have a wonderful night, albeit a little late with an early start required.

The morning has arrived, up and out early doors to get his highness, fed, skipped out and give him a little pep talk. Matilda is ready and test hopefully learnt we pop her on and they’re off to do the arena walk to show him the flowers and sand bags. Thankfully, he wasn’t at all bothered and into the warm up she goes. It’s getting busier, but thankfully, Mr P has realised it’s his time to shine and has his game face is on… phew! He likes a very good warm up, so Tilda takes it easy but keeps him engaged and his attention on the job! Little Melody has arrived on Banjo and oh my goodness… talk about cuteness overload!! I’ve never seen anything like it. They are smashing it in that massive warm up with horse towering over them and everywhere. They’ve kept themselves safely to the outside and are literally doing so well. It’s test time. We head to the collecting warm up area where they have 5 or so more mins to keep warming up. Banjo sees a man in hi-viz yellow, poo picking and he’s not at all keen as he shoot’s across the warm up at break neck speed with Melody on board, not even looking phased or stressed (if she was, she hid it bloody well) and carried on as if nothing happened. This little girl is a legend!! It’s really time now! They are in at the same time in neighbouring arenas, so it’s hard to watch them both, but we have the whole team dotted around for videos and pics (which was wonderful support for the girls). Melody, I can’t even believe is remembering her test and loving her whole experience. Matilda & P are looking good. We have a jog across the diagonal and a pretty dodgy canter transition with him being his and quite against the hand. Over all, she rode him beautifully and it’s the best I’ve seen her hold him together under this kind of pressure. I’m a little emotional now and then see Melody finish and come out and I’m even more emotional! OMG!! They are amazing!! SOOO proud of them both!!! Hannah (Melody’s Mum) is in bits with overrun emotional pride as is Nanny (Jane). Man… if you’ve not guessed, it was an emotional moment! can I also point out that Melody is only 9yrs old and Banjo 4!!!

Back to the stable for P a lot of praise and as many cuddles as he’ll allow Those that know him know he’s not very tactile. We can now relax, enjoy the environment, have breakfast and hang around to watch and support our team mates. As we’re in the cafe having brekky, the table across from us are saying Matilda's name and our ears obviously prick up. (What can this be)? So we’re scanning the results and Matilda can’t see anything. In that moment we get a msg from a team mate to say she is sitting in 1st position at the moment! This is super exciting, but never get too excited as there’s still a further 17 riders to go.

Next up is Abi & Muffin, show jumping. We’re heading over to watch their round, but sadly missed it as the class was running early. A cracking round though for a clear. We manage to be in the right place at the right time for the 2nd round in the indoor and they fly, with another super round, just 1 pole down, ending on just 4 A super result.

We head off to get Muffin back to the lorry as the transporter is coming to collect him to take him home with Abi & Grace. (As Selina is staying an extra night in the lorry all alone as the recovery company are coming to fix the lorry the following day to enable her to drive him home & pick up some more precious cargo on the way).

As we’re walking that way we get a plea for help from Lyn as Rolo is being a bit of a pickle and she needs help. On my arrival to the stable, it seems he’s been slightly more than that, taking himself off unaccompanied around the stables & carpark. To then be caught and refuse to re enter his stable or put his bridle on! I get there to thankfully have him walk back into his stable, we get him plaited, bridle on, Elizabeth on and off to the warm up. He’s pretty ok, but we stay nearby to make sure.

Whilst this has all gone on, we’ve missed Xaria & TEMPLEDRUID GETZ (Tiggs), but meet them coming back and they are super happy with what was a great test!! Lots of smiles all round there. Super happy for them and now joining the waiting game for results.

Elizabeth & Rolo are off in the warm up, there’s a little bit of tension as there are literally ponies cantering towards, behind and across them. It all takes it’s toll and he has rear and throws some unique shapes, but Elizabeth is awesome. She sits still keeps herself composed and continues calmly on. Hats off, for a young girl in that environment for the first time, both her and his nerves are through the roof, they are carrying on with composure and elegance. Super proud! It’s now their time! They head to the collecting ring, nerves are on fire, Elizabeth dbl checks everything so she knows what she’s doing and in they go. They are doing a wonderful test, we have a small error of course, which is quickly rectified and beautifully held together to continue (without falling apart) to produce a bother lovely test). This was our last test so we are just waiting now for results. All ponies are sorted we head to the cafe to meet the team and Matilda gives in to the cheesy chips.

So after a wait - results are in. Hannah & Poppy 15th Abi & Muffin 12th Xaria & Tiggs. 7th Elizabeth & Rolo. 15th Melody & Banjo. 18th Matilda & Mr P. 2nd

TEAM RESULT!!!! 10th

Just amazing!!!!

The story doesn’t end there… we all pack up to head home. There’s always a drama - we had a couple. Rolo was just Rolo he had no desire to go on the lorry. It took quite a bit of arm renching and persuasion, but he did do it

Then P, he was even protesting, he’d rather stay out. Just to add to his excuses, we have a loose horse pelting it across the arena and he morphs into a raging stallion doing passage around me in 5m circles. He looks phenomenal, but I’m not sure I’m enjoying myself. Matilda & others take a while to contain the loose horse so P is having a great time. Eventually, all is under control, P on board window wedged up with sandwich packets.

We clear up and have to wave goodbye to Selina who is having to stay an extra night to get the lorry fixed to drive home Monday. This is all amazing service and we are confident she’ll be home and safe soon enough with new pony on board

Monday morning arrives, I

msg to check her night went well… oh how the tables have turned. The recovery are now saying they won’t/can’t fix the lorry. She’s had conflicting reasons and her loving nightmare continues! After a huge amount of upset, back and forth calls, the end result is her having to have the lorry recovered home (which they could have done Sunday so she didn’t have to endure the extra night there), the pony is have ing to be transported all the way home £££ Poor Selina has suffered massively, nursing a migraine and high emotions she’s eventually headed home. I’m so sorry you had to go through it all, but on a plus side - it was great to meet you and have your company for the weekend! Things can only get better now!!!

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