The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton CCI****

What an incredible experience Badminton was. Bayano was incredible from start to finish and certainly did me and his owners proud.

We started off very competitively scoring a 26.8 dressage and sitting just outisde the top 15 going in the XC . Barney produced a beautiful test with just one small mistake in the final flying change. It was said by the commentators Pammy Hutton and Peter Storr that his test was considerably under marked but we were delighted with how he went overall. I want to say a massive thank you to my long standing dressage trainer and great friend Andrew Fletcher who has worked so hard and helped us both so much, we absolutely could not have produced such a test without him.

Cross-Country day came it it was certainly a serious test with huge fence after huge fence and number of seriously tricky combinations from start to finish. The track was made all the more difficult by the very sticky and holding ground which certainly made the endurance test all the more harsh. Barney gave me an absolutely terrific ride, but sadly did begin to feel tired during the middle section and came off the bridle. This resulted in me taking my hand off the rein into the vicarage V, confusing him slightly and opening the side door so we ended up jumping past the fence instead of over it picking up 20 pens. Such a shame as he was going SO well and trying his absolute heart out for me. I did manage to crack my ¬†knee against the fence as we brushed past it and for a moment felt I had done some serious damage…fortunately it wasn’t as bad as I first through and after a brief word with myself we cracked on and jumped the rest of the track without issue going all the direct routes and finishing really well. Obviously we were very disappointed to have picked up 20 pens during what was otherwise a fantastic ride, but I was just so happy to have completed with a truly class horse.¬†

Barney recovered very well that evening and the following morning, but unfortunately I was very lame indeed and so was unable to trot him up myself. Lydia Hannon very kindly stepped in and they flew through the second horse inspection.

The SJ course was similarly big with slightly tacky going. Barney has always been a phenomenal jumper and very rarely struggled on the final day, but unfortunately as the round continued it was obvious his previous days efforts had taken their toll.

Despite being not quite the result we had hoped for on paper I am immensely proud of my brave and generous horse. A massive thankyou to his loyal and enthusiastic owners Caroline Harris and Rebecca Salt as well as all our incredible trainers, sponsors and support team without whom none of this would have been possible.

One of the most exciting ends to the week was that our very own Charlotte Aitken WON the unbelievably prestigious Badminton Grooms award for her outstanding, care, turn out, dedication and professionalism. As a team we could not be prouder of Charlotte and we are so happy she has received the public recognition she absolutely deserves.


Many thanks to Trevor Holt and Golden Eye Photography for the photos