Billy Bank’s Blog: Top Dressage Marks

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Straight from the horse’s mouth… Here we catch up with Billy Bank and Team Ireland as they finish the season on a high with a couple of top dressage marks.

Top of the Morning to You,

And hasn’t the weather changed! Wet and wintery has hit with vengeance. Of course, the upside of this is Granny gives us warming Fibre-Beet mashes which always go down a treat.

September was a quiet month for us time given to relax and recuperate after our busy summer. While I soon got bored, with my feet up reading Nag and Dog, Granny was forced to take a back seat when she got hit by the lurgy. Not normally one to stay in bed, I literally didn’t see her for several days. The yard cat told me she was zonked out and when she finally appeared there was a definite weight loss. Shame humans can’t eat Fibre-Beet as that would put some condition back on! 

The Young Master stepped up and we headed to Bishop Burton leaving Granny at home. This of course, it didn’t stop her sending endless messages giving advice and good luck wishes. Mother of Mary we were only ten miles away! Top Groom and The Leading Lady came to assist, and everything went swimmingly in the dressage where I posted a personal best and stood in first place at the end of the section.

Sadly, a pole down in the show jumping was costly, which I have to say was due to a dodgy approach from my pilot, no such issues on the cross country where I zipped round clear to finally finish sixth in a very competitive BE100.

Next stop Askham Bryan with the Leading Lady in an under 18 BE90. The Unicorn sister was on board with Little Sis, Nugget the bambino was strapped into the car seat and long-time friend and supporter Welsh Wendy thankfully came too, as quite frankly Granny was still not 100%. I could tell there was tension in the ranks when I heard Granny complaining loudly about the rudeness of the gate assistant who had refused to listen to her and accept her need to park the car by the lorry. Nothing short of a winning performance would do today. 

I tried my best, putting on the Ritz in the dressage, which once again saw me in the top spot (Could a career change be on the horizon?). No poles in the show jumping so off I set to the cross country in the lead. “Don’t get reverse time penalties,” Granny warned reminding me I had lost out here in the past due to a speeding ticket. What can I say, I took her at her word and had a lovely hack round the course and the first time in my career at BE90 picked up actual time penalties which dropped me to fourth. 

This coupled with the Unicorn Sister letting her halo slip big time in the dressage did not sit too well. Little Sis despite nearly being deposited at C kept her cool and produced a double clear in the jumping phases, which went someway to redeeming herself.  There were lots of pats and praise for our efforts and the promise of Fibre-Beet mashes when we got home so all was well until Granny tried to put Nugget’s pushchair down. There was a howl of anguish and some very ‘un-granny’ like language before the whole team had a try in collapsing the contraption. Tinkerbelle was summoned on the phone as only she knew the magic required to reduce the chariot to car boot size. 

Norton Disney marked the end of our season but sadly it was a complete washout, and I didn’t even come off the lorry. I was grateful we had travelled down the day before and stabled locally so it was a bit of a mini break for us all. I had a new travelling companion, a lovely Irish Miss whose breeding is top drawer and she is rather gorgeous. Welcome to the team Purple Corker.

Owned by Tinkerbelle, I think we will be sharing lots of future adventures as Babyface picks up my reins and The Young Master shows The Corker the ropes. Winter training will continue with the consumption of copious amounts of Fibre-Beet mashes and hopefully some fun outings soon which you can read all about in our blogs.

Keep smiling Billy Bank x