Despite the early morning drama I was turned out to perfection by the team and went off to warm up for the dressage with plenty of time in hand. I felt good, so good and danced onto the field full of energy. Twenty minutes later I was still walking with Minnie Haha stretching and suppling me in the yoga routine. The tanoy's were blaring out info about the cross-country which is where I wanted to be. Minnie kept calm, her inside leg quietly moving me left, then change the bend and move right, take the contact forward, stretch your neck. With a huge sigh of resignation on my part, and relief from The Old Girl and the Young Master, I relaxed and put the dressage hat on. I managed to curb my enthusiasm throughout the test, but I danced sideways back to the stable. The show jumping was surrounded by spectators enjoying the wonderful event at Belsay and the ice cream van was extremely busy as the temperature rose. Clear rounds were at a premium in a course that had been cleverly designed to catch out those who didn't ride a good line. I pinged round clear, and then posed with a family who asked if they could have my picture. Just the cross-country now - my favourite phase.
The cross country course was easily the most challenging Minnie Haha and I have tackled together but how we loved it. I wasn't interested in admiring the scenery or taking in the wonderful back drop of the old castle, I had one job in mind, a clear round inside the time which I delivered. I had lots of pats and praise from everyone and as I am such a kind boy I meekly let The Old Girl take me back to the stable without a single step or jog as I knew she was still feeling ropey (and she was lame, oh yes she would not have passed a trot up that's for sure).
Another second place for us was confirmed which made the journey home to Yorkshire much shorter but like Solihull everyone was full of praise for such a great event at Belsay and the vow to return next year.
The Young Master will be picking up my reins again next week when we head to Frickley Park for The Area Festival and a BE100 run. From what I have gleaned we are staying for the weekend with a host of friends. The Old Girl has even dug out some fairy lights for the Gazebo, whatever next? With the hot weather I am so glad to have regular hydrating feeds of sloppy Fibre-Beet
on the menu, you really cannot beat it and I know we will have plenty packed when we head off again on our travels.
Stay safe everyone and keep smiling
Love Billy Bank x