Catch up with James and the team!

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The beginning of May was all about Talent. We made our journey to our first ever CCI**** event. We arrived at the prestigious CCI**** event on Tuesday, all set to have Talent settled in and happy. The stable yard had such an amazing atmosphere and was absolutely stunning, it was such an amazing experience to have to opportunity to have one of our own superstars there!

Talent all happy and settled into his home for the week, it was time to get him all ready for the trot up on Wednesday. James rode Talent around the amazing park, soaking in all the amazing views. It was then official, show time for Talent in his first Badminton…trot up! Talent knew he was in among the best horses in the world and certainly knew he belonged there. He strutted his way through the trot up and was accepted!! Lucie being the ‘girl’ of the yard obviously became very emotional and shed a few tears….we had not even done much yet!
Talent was down for a Friday dressage being number 73! Thursday was a quiet day for the team having Talent out for lots of grass in front of the incredible house!! James had a morning ride warming up Talent and practising those important dressage moves!! Thursday was meant to be a quiet..ish day, however when you are at the biggest CCI**** in the world your week is bound to be full of excitement! 
Thursday afternoon Lucie headed over to Talent’s stable to take him for a nice afternoon graze… however it was stalled for a little while!! Much to our surprise the one and only Clare Balding was stood in front of Talent’s stable with the man who needs no introduction.. Mike Tucker!! Clare requested the use of Talent’s beautiful face to be in the back round of Mr Tucker’s farewell retirement video to be aired on the Sunday highlights of Badminton on the BBC!! Obviously Talent joyfully obliged and now is quite the film star!! He has let it go to his head a little!!

Thursday evening we enjoyed a lovely drinks reception in Badminton house!! It was simply amazing having a look around the house and gardens, soaking up all the amazing history and stories inside the house. After that we went onto a lovely meal for the EHOA. We went with our lovely owners of Sir Shutterfly and our very own Sir Shutterfly baby Alvin! , Jo and Martin who own Fairlight stud!! We had a wonderful evening with fantastic food.

Next up was show time for Talent and James to perform their first CCI**** test at BADMINTON!! James worked Talent early morning to settle him in and get his head in the game!! Afterwards it was Lucie turn to get him all dressed up and ready!…..
It was time… James was kindly warmed up before his test with the amazing Christopher Bartle, we are so lucky to have his wisdom passed onto our team!
James went forward to the main arena to perform his test… Talent was incredible!!! The crowds and atmosphere was so huge!! He coped under amazing pressure and performed all of the movements he was asked to do beautifully, he kept it cool and executed a lovely test… big pats from James after their final halt and Talent knew he had done us so proud!!

Lots of polos and hugs from Lucie after Talent’s exit, James was then whisked away for lots of interviews and also was requested to sign autographs! Talent said he would sign a few too!! Talent spent the rest of the day extremely excited!! He knew what was coming next…. So after Lucie convinced him to stop getting too excited, it was time for the ‘humans’ to walk the amazing… yet terrifying Badminton cross country course!
The moment we stepped onto the course it was obvious this was going to be a huge step up in Talent’s career, all the fences came thick and fast, huge, bold fences which such high technical questions really made you realise where you were!!

After a few course walks and a lot of people being carefully watched….it was James and Talents turn to tackle the amazing course. James was escorted by a huntsman down to the start…which made the butterflies in all of our stomachs flutter even more!! Talent was greased up and ready to go!

We all walked towards the main arena… Talent was counted down and off they went!

Talent sailed around most of the course, making it all look so so easy, huge questions that made so many horses doubt their confidence, Talent made it look like kids play. He showed to everyone he certainly deserved to be there and was more than capable of doing it. However unfortunately in our sport it makes sure it keeps you very grounded!! At fence 19b James and Talent had a small miscommunication of take-off and hit the fence throwing James out the side door. Both came home with no scratches just a new game plan!
James was so so proud of Talent and what an amazing achievement they had to get to Badminton. The incredible realisation of how easy he found most of the course, realising you did have a CCI**** on your yard!!

The course caused a huge amount of problems for many experienced 4* horses, making our bad luck feel a bit less unlucky. Talent still received a million hugs and too many polos to count!!

Next it was on route home…. Deciding the next game plan for Talent. James hopped into the lorry started driving and pronounced that his plan was to head to Bishop Burton OI and win, head to Bramham and then onto Burghley….

Talent must have heard our conversation, as we headed to Bishop Burton with Talent in the OI…AND HE WON.
He is such an amazing and special horse, one we are so lucky to have. His cheeky face will next be seen at Bramham horse trials….

Next time we will be catching up on all of the yards adventures… and still a bit of Talent’s adventures also!!