Hickstead as always is a wonderful venue. One of thing that makes it so special is the arena, which adds difficulties for the riders with its differing gradients, and also the material - some of the poles are a bit longer and the equipment a little old-fashioned which I feel is nice as many of the shows you go to these days look the same and don't have the same character as Hickstead.
The topic of the ground conditions is one of much debate and also one that people point to when things go wrong. There's no denying that the ground was definitely on the soft side and as our horses are worth so much we have to endeavour to have the best surfaces to avoid injury. However I do feel that many of the riders and horses themselves have gone a bit soft about jumping out of surfaces that are less than perfect. Surfaces cannot be consistently perfect everywhere, and maybe they shouldn't be, either.
I was absolutely thrilled with Rancorrado, who gave one of the most solid performances in the class. He jumped really well in both rounds, producing one error each round. When he landed after the second fence in the first round I could feel him getting stuck in the ground a little bit and he clipped the back pole off the next fence probably because of this. I then put my leg around him and rode him forward, and the horse answered my question superbly and jumped super the rest of the way round.
All my international horses will be rested this weekend to have them in top shape for the Dublin Horse Show, which begins on Wednesday week (August 5). I will however jump some of my other horses at the South County Dublin Show which is on at Coilog in Co. Kildare this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. Check back after that for an update.