April has been fantastic. At the start of the month I started to plan my trip to Waregem Belgium. I had been so lucky to get selected after my success in the winter championships. Planning this trip was definitely not easy with so much to arrange. Everything from adaptions to the lorry to be able to take it safely onto a ferry to arranging the tickets and the toll box for driving in Belgium. I kept on going and eventually had it all sorted and was ready to go.
Excitement kicked in as we boarded the ferry and it dawned on me the task ahead. I have never driven abroad before and so my first time doing it in a 7.5t lorry was slightly nerve racking and required several bags of squishes to keep me going and to prevent me teeth grinding. On arrival I realised how large and spooky it was with trotter racing next door and double decker buses in the arena. Then I found out just how large the classes were with 23 different countries competing and 20 competitors in my class alone. This was not only putting myself on the world stage but certainly the largest I had ever seen.
I decided to put all this out of my head and only worry about what I could control. I made sure Pumpkin was as comfortable as possible and kept as relaxed as she could have been. I got her out to lunge in the mornings to give her a leg stretch and allow her to see things without any pressure. This all paid off as after passing the trot up I got to go in the arena with the buses for familiarisation and I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxed and happier pony. I knew at this moment we had nothing to lose and all to play for.
The first day was the team test we went in and did a good test, but I still felt it wasn’t our best and we had more to come. The results however I was very happy with and a respectful 69% and 5th place was more than we could hope for. The second day was the individual test and a slightly harder test. I had to forget the day before, so I didn’t put pressure on us to do as well as I had set the bar high. I didn’t need to worry Pumpkin was fabulous and danced like a ballerina to take us straight into 3rd and a bronze place. Another score of 69% showed we had consistency and were safely through to the freestyle. Once again despite the horrendous weather conditions Pumpkin held it together and got us another podium place. 3 days of podium places and the highest British rider out of the 6 rides in each class each day. Absolutely wow I couldn’t have dreamt of anything better and can’t wait to do it all again.
The icing on the cake if that wasn’t enough was that whilst away it was announced that I have been selected for the world class podium potential pathway. I am so Grateful to the BEF and the world class program for this opportunity.
I must also say a massive massive thank you to everyone that contribute in any way to help get me to Belgium I hope we made you proud to be part of our journey.