Hey everyone,


We packed up the truck and headed over the Swiss Alps to Lons le Saunier CSI 3* for a very wet weekend of jumping. It was 12 hours

drive to the show, only 500 km but the famous Monte Bianco tunnel closed for 2 hours and traveling through the Alps can be very slow at

times with the truck..thank goodness Bella is such a good & patient traveler!


Eventually we arrived safe and settled Bella in on Wednesday evening. An exciting part of this trip was that I had organized with Patric, the

stable i brought Gordon from for him to transport Gordon to this show so i could take him home with me. So I now had Gordon to get to know. Once both horses were settled in the show began but also rain & more rain!!!


Bella and i jumped the 145 on the Friday but the surface was not good & he was very fresh so 2 down. I found it very difficult to work & prepare him properly with the practice ring boggy & the grass becoming worse & worse.


We woke up Saturday morning to discover it had rained the whole night  and after extensive riders meetings with the organizers it was decided  to cancel Saturdays jumping to save the ground for the followings day GP. I must admit I have very quickly come to expect an outstanding surface at every competition & certainly agreed with the decision. Our horses are too important to risk unnecessary injury because of the surface


However I must admit that with an extra days rest I was a little apprehensive about Bellas level  f freshness to go straight out into a big GP but i felt confident he would be super careful after fridays class. I was right and he warmed up really confident and i drew number 5 to start. The course was a solid 150 with 155 verticals and Bella jumped fantastic, only slipping to the left of the water and i had to circle and re-approach. He jumped everything clear and confidently and finished with the 4 faults for the circle and some time...By the end of the class there were only three clear from 55 so the course and ground proved quite tough. In the end i was happy with the class although disappointed about the circle.


The trip home with Bella and Gordon was smoother then the trip there, 10 hours arriving in Verona around one o clock in the morning...


Being home only lasted 10 days in which time i started to work Gordon! He is extremely athletic and very intelligent. I am enjoying his

training a lot but all too soon i was on the road again with Bella to Austria for Weiner Neustadt CSI 3* and the following week in the same

city a CSI 2*.


Michelle Strapp arrived in Vienna the day before Bella and i arrived and met us at the show on Wednesday where we began our training. The

improvement after just two days with Michelle is incredible and makes me wish she was here all the time! The first day Bella and i jumped a

clear round in the table A 145, the ground was a little hard but it didn't seem to bother Bella at all, giving everything plenty of clearance..


Saturday the ground was much better after 6 hours of water overnight and Bella and i jumped the GP qualifier 150 with just the one time

fault. Bella was feeling fantastic and i felt confident for Sundays GP!


The GP on Sunday was all we thought it would be, big and slightly technical. Even Hugo Simon requested they put done some of the oxers


I had drawn No. 1 in the draw so that certainly increased the pressure for my biggest GP to date. Bring on the time when I am so experienced that being number 1 doesn't worry me!


OK...to the course... number 1 was a square oxer with an up hill long approach followed by a left hand turn to a 150 square oxer and true 7 to a 160 vertical toward the in gate. I over rode the distance and Bella just rolled the top rail of the vertical. After was an option inside turn

or a very wide turn to a 160 vertical followed by a half distance 5 and 1/2 strides to the triple combination. I stuck to our plan and went inside to the vertical but got alittle close to the vertical and Bella (after touching the vertical before) jumped me loose from the saddle because he jumped it so big. On landing I felt like I was on his neck with long reins & totally wrong for the biggest treble I had ever jumped so i did a circle to regain balance and distance to the combination. There was no way i was cantering into that huge combination without a good distance and balance on a green GP horse! The combination was 155 oxer, one stride 160 vertical two strides 155 oxer coming out. I re approached and Bella even slipped on the corner but i found my distance and he jumped through like a champion giving each fence two foot. It is an amazing feeling to sit on a horse with his power, carefulness & scope jumping a big track !

After the treble was a right hand turn to a huge oxer, 6 normal strides to the open water and a short 6 to the double of verticals. Bella cantered down that line fantastic still trying so hard and jumping the open water really well. And then.....i turned LEFT!!!!....i went the WRONG WAY, turned back to correct it and crossed my path eliminating myself.......really really bugger.....i lost my concentration thinking about the mistakes i had made early on the course. A big lesson to learn....i was given the bell but jumped one more fence.... I was so cross with myself that I just rode that fence....he just ballooned it & felt so good.

So i was very angry & upset with myself but Michelle pointed out that he did jump a difficult track fantastically well...but both the jockey & the horse need experience . So now i am at a different location but in the same town for a CSI 2*, a good let down show for Bella before we head back to Germany Gera CSI 3* in two weeks.


Michelle and i have already started looking at young horses here in Austria and we fly to Germany Monday morning after this show, then

Paris and after Holland and Belgium...I really hope we find some more Special young ones to add to Gordon & Blesse!


Click onto the photos of Bella taken in the GP.  Also a new video of all the rounds from the weekend is here & on the gallery


Thats all for now...




France, Austria, Germany!

10 July 2010


Haras Du Ry, Ferme De La Gancellerie, Brevands 50500     

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