- Piazza di Siena at Villa Borghese, Rome
The historic horse show held in the unique setting of the Piazza di Siena at Villa Borghese is usually a favourite with all the riders.
This year however the show was hampered by the late pulling out of a sponsor and the replacement of the organising committee and under the circumstances I suppose we were lucky it went ahead at all.
However it should not pass without them knowing that it was far from the usual 5 star standard and would not be acceptable in usual circumstances.
The entries had to be paid by each rider rather than the usual way of offsetting them against monies won; no pick up at the airport so everyone had to pay 80 euro each for taxis.
Presumably to try and strengthen revenues they had national classes during the day and the final international class as late as 10pm one night, which is madness as you could only use the warm up arena at 6am which meant not only riders but grooms and horses had one day running into the next with little rest.
All in all it was a below par event which I hope will not filter down to other shows who think they can get away with same poor standards for what’s meant to be one of the calendar’s showcase competitions in the year.
We had a difficult Nations’ Cup with Niall Talbot’s unfortunate elimination following a fall, while an uncharacteristic high score from me in the same round put the team seriously under presssure.
My horse took off a stride early at the water and then the round unravelled. We got it together in the second round and had just one down but it was all too late. This week in St Gallen we will be bidding for a top three finish to help our low standing on the league table.
Sometimes when things go poorly it’s a great test of mettle and usually the cream will always rise to the top - lets see!
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La Baule was always going to be a tough show with high expectations following our victory there last year.
All the horses in the team jumped really well but unfortunately we gave away a couple of easy fences in the opening round which made it hard to climb back in the second round despite clears from myself and Jessica. (See news story HERE)
I was very pleased with Blue Loyd as we are still getting used to each other at the highest level but he felt easy around the whole course. In round one I rode too quick to the treble and knocked the vertical going in but in the second round we were more relaxed together and jumped a super clear.
Da Vinci’s Pride was fourth in a fast 1.50m class on Friday morning and KEC Alligator Alley jumped clear in Thursday’s Grand Prix qualifier and had just one fence down in his first 5 star Grand Prix on Sunday which I was very pleased with.
The horses and myself drove to Belguim last night where they will have a weeks rest ahead of the Rome leg of the series in 10 days’ time.
All in all it was a productive show that I feel we will all build on.
All settled here in La Baule. I worked my three horses this morning and they feel in super shape. They all passed the veterinary inspection this afternoon and are all set for the opening day of competition tomorrow.
Da Vinci’s Pride will hopefully be competitive in the 1.45m division, KEC Alligator Alley will be aimed at the 1.50m tomorrow and Sunday’s Grand Prix, and Blue Loyd jumps the medium class tomorrow with the aim being Friday’s Nations Cup.
Its pretty busy at the show this afternoon with everyone arriving en masse. It’s exciting to be at the opening leg of the Nations Cup Super League and let’s hope team Ireland can repeat last year’s triumph.
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