Abigail Brocks and Kate Smith

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Abigail and Kate are our first ‘sister’ bloggers who are both looking forward to making it to the Badminton Grass Roots competition 2014.

Abi and I started our equine partnership some years ago, having both had careers in the equine industry - Abi in racing and me in eventing - it was time to go and get 'proper' jobs. Abi became a vet nurse and I moved into local government and social care.

With horses being in our blood we decided we should continue our passion but as a hobby rather than profession, I decided to hang up my competition boots (Kate rode at Badminton and Burghley some years ago) but still wanted to be involved from the ground and Abi had always wanted to have a go at this eventing lark - it seemed to both of us that this could be the perfect partnership!

I think it must be emphasised that our partnership is supported and held together by a network of family and friends that keep the show on the road and I feel it necessary to mention the key players as their names will be seen frequently throughout our blogs:
Mike, Abi's husband is the farrier – very handy.
David, my husband is chief mechanic and keeps our 30 yr old horse box on the road.
Charlie, family friend is vet – again very handy.
Pat - our Mum, has supported Abi and I, unconditionally, both financially and emotionally, throughout our mad equine escapades and continues to do so.

We have had a few horses, that we have acquired as youngsters and brought on to pre novice and novice level and then sold on as we felt they had reached their potential in eventing or were better suited to other careers.
Just Todd is a 16hh 11yr old bay gelding from unknown origins. Abi found him as a rather unruly, hairy 3 year old running fairly wild in a herd of 'gypsy' ponies. The aim was to have a winter 'project' whilst we looked for our next 'event horse'. At the end of the winter, with a project ready to sell Abi started writing the 'for sale' advert - on reading it back it occurred to her that if she saw this advert she would answer it! Thus Todd stayed!

To bring the story and Todd up to date we qualified for the regional finals of the Grass Roots competitions and last spring we had two shots of qualifying for the championship. Todd rose to the challenge and won  the regional final on his dressage score of just 23. It even warranted a mention in the British equine bible 'Horse and Hound' ! This was the first BE event that Todd had won throughout his career to date! The realisation that Abi will get to gallop on the hallowed Gloucestershire turf is just sinking in - how exciting.

May seems so far away at the moment but I know it will come around quick - so Todd’s preparation for the big event has now started in earnest, although being somewhat hampered by the foul English weather - wall to wall wind and rain, mud up our knees and flooded arena! Although we can at least do some water jump practice!!

Registration has been renewed, the fixture list for BE events in being scrutinised and discussed in finest detail, calendars are out and fitness programmes being penciled in, annual leave has been booked and by all accounts the minibus to deliver the 'fan club' to Badminton has been booked. We look forward to sharing our journey with you …