May has been a quiet month on the competition front, Prince and I wont be going out again until the International competition in July at Hartpury, so we have been quietly working on training and winding down ahead of Leonie’s wedding and our holiday at the start of June.
During periods like this we take the opportunity to schedule in things like arranging for Princes passport to be sent off to be covered with an FEI passport, while he wont be travelling away from the yard as this will be needed to compete at International level, even though we aren’t leaving the country. However we had to get the diagram page completed and signed by our vet first, which didn’t take too long seeing as he is all black, and he also had his vaccinations done during this time as you never know if they may react if you have it done too close to competition, causing you to withdraw. For those of you who may not know, under FEI rules the horses have to have their vaccinations given every 6 months as opposed to the normal 12 monthly program in order to be eligible to compete.
The other big thing on our agenda was to get our saddle checked, again which we like to do out of competition season, we have learned in the past with Bongo how a change in the saddle could affect his performance so its not something we tend to do when we are in the middle of competition even though Prince isn’t so sensitive to change. Jo Beavis who is our lovely sponsor from the National Saddle Centre came out at the start of the month, straight after our last competition, and was a good job too as there was too much movement in the tree, so Jo had no choice but to send it back to the manufacturer for a complete tree replacement. The turn around for this type of work can be several weeks, so I wont be getting it back until mid June, so you can see what a predicament I could have been in if it was mid competition season. Luckily Jo is so fabulous that she was able to loan us a saddle identical to ours while mine is off being done, something she has done for me on several occasions perhaps if I’ve had a new horse until we get a saddle sorted, I feel so lucky to have had Jo on my team as a sponsor as she has worked with me since I was about 10 years old, so really has watched me grow, and means she knows what I like/dislike and totally understands my difficulties and my needs as she has watched me ride so much, which I think is really important to have when you are spending so much money on such an important piece of equipment.
The other exciting piece of news is that I am definitely going to be competing at Hartpury in my first 3* International thanks to a local company called Frost Electroplating. With the loss of lottery funding its becoming a real struggle to keep everything going at the same level of support, my parents are helping as much as they can, but its a real struggle for me on a small wage, so we were unsure if we were going to be able to afford to go. These competitions cost a lot of money, when you take into account the FEI passport, FEI registrations, entry fees, stabling, hay, shavings, fuel, food and accommodation for myself and Leonie for 3 nights and Leonies daily fee for being in attendance the whole time.
Frost responded to a letter I sent out looking for local sponsors, and I was invited to go and meet William Southall (managing Director) and Seamus Bourke (Business Development Director) and discuss how they were able to support me. They really liked the usb cards I had made and uploaded with my club 2020 video, so used the idea to work with Nicole and Sam of Quill Creations, who produced my video, to make one for Frost to have loaded onto their own USB card to be given out at the exhibition they were due to attend. So on the 25th of May I was picked up by Seamus at 7am and attended the huge Made in the Midlands Exhibition at the Ricoh arena, where all of the big manufacturing and Engineering companies from all over the Midlands came together. I was attending as a way of adding interest by way of curiosity to their stand, as no doubt people were wondering what on earth a young girl in riding boots and breeches was doing at such an event. Also William and Seamus thought it might be a really good way for me to make new contacts and other potential sponsors to help me on my journey, it was a long day but totally worth it as I met some really nice people and useful contacts. During the show William also presented me with a cheque for £1,500, which has secured my place at Hartpury and I’m hoping I will be able to attend the other International at Bishop Burton too.
I would like to say a huge Thank you to William and Frost electroplating for their generosity and support, Jo Beavis for taking the time to visit us and take care of our saddle, BettaLife for their continued supply of Pharmaquin ha which really helps to support Princes joints throughout his training.