Why Canberra is similar to Badminton and Burghley | An Eventful Life

Why Canberra is similar to Badminton and Burghley

      Cross country at Camden Equestriad


I’ve been to two events since I last sent in an update – Camden Equestriad and Wagga.  Camden was of course where every eventer in NSW and further afield turns up and enjoys this amazing sport.  Astro and I pretty much proved that it’s very, very easy to come at the bottom of the field, with a few rails in the show jumping, a pretty average dressage test and a moment of ‘I’ll be nice as this hill is steep and so I won’t ride that jump at the top too hard as you’re a legend and jump everything oh hang on no you’re not, you’re a sod who stops’.  He slammed on the brakes at the base of a roll top.  Out came cranky Kate and then we rode away quite happily around the rest of the course, until the second to last jump, which was EXACTLY the same as one we’d jumped two fences prior.  So, while we didn’t finish last, it was close enough to it!

It was Mother’s Day a few weeks ago, and in true Kate style, I abandoned the family unit and went away to an event.  John and I headed to Wagga Horse Trials which was running the same weekend as another longstanding event on the calendar, Badminton (Wagga was celebrating 40 years).  I can’t quite believe it was two years ago that I was lucky enough to be at Badminton – thanks Mr Fitz!


       Show jumping at Wagga


 The weekend began like most do, with an early start.  Canberra and the surrounding areas are now “enjoying” frosty mornings, and when we drove past Natalie Blundell with a flat tyre on her truck, and we stopped to help change it, layers were peeled off pretty quickly!  The change of tyre took about an hour, which ate into my prepping and faffing time, as when we arrived at the venue, we had about 30 minutes to plait/tackup/get dressed and warm up!  However, I managed to get on about five minutes before my test.  The 105 class was in the indoor arena, which was great – a lovely smooth even surface – with all the previous horses’ hoofprints in the sand helping me remember where to go!  Have to say that I love that as I usually forget where the walk goes to/from.  I was pretty happy with his test, and MIRACLE of MIRACLES – so was the judge!  My goal was to get 60% - and we did, and were placed 12th and midfield! 

All the sitting up and watching the dressage at Badminton helped!   Like most eventing tragics, I subscribed to FEI TV and made sure the hotel we were staying at had free wi-fi.  Unfortunately, our room was not close enough to the router to support a decent connection, so we set up camp in the foyer! Luckily there were two very comfy wing back chairs, and we settled in for the evening.  And of course, just as Chris Burton was about to head out, we lost the connection and no amount of swearing could get it to work.  Luckily enough, from our room, Badminton Radio still worked, so we were able to hear what was going on.  I think the hotel staff might have had something to do with that.  My cross country on Sunday was a decent track which wove in and out of the trees, so time was difficult to make on my big tank of a horse.  We had time faults which ultimately cost me a top three finish.  The show jumping was later in the afternoon and we had rain and wind and generally revolting weather – but we are a dedicated if not crazy bunch.  Astro pulled off a clear round, which was another miracle as we’ve not been clear in the show jumping in I don’t know how long!  I rode out of the arena grinning from ear to ear thinking BEST MOTHER’S DAY EVER!  We then headed home and I was able to be presented with home-made cards, professing by status as best mum in the world, so everyone was happy.

In other areas in my somewhat hectic life, an interesting situation reared its head last week, when it was discovered that the XC course at Canberra was included in a heritage listing, protecting the historic woolshed that is located within Equestrian Park.  While we are delighted that the woolshed is being listed, the ramifications to the course could be very restricting, with the possibility of no work being permitted on the course without prior approval.  Given NCHTA has spent over $80,000 on course in the last two years, we’d hate to not be able to continue developing the course.  So the power of social media became evident after I shared an article on our webpage, and within 24 hours, it had been viewed over 14,000 times and many letters of concern were sent to the Heritage Council.  We have pointed out that many prestigious events in Europe run on heritage sites, so there’s no problem with the two going hand in hand.  Yet another similarity between Badminton/Burghley and Canberra if you ask me!  Astro and I were photographed on the course for an article in the Canberra Times, and he really showed himself off well. Eyes shut in one photo, and leg resting in the other - a prime, fit eventing machine!



Proud mother warning:  Abby, who is 7, agreed to have a hair-cut recently, and had 32cm cut off, and she decided to donated it to Variety the Children’s Charity to make wigs for children who have lost their hair.  The other plus to this is that when I go away, I come home to a child whose hair looks almost half decent, rather than looking like something that got dragged in backwards by the dog.   Mack is great at stepping in to look after the kids while I event, but a hairdresser he is not! 

NCHTA is holding an Eventer Trial in a few weeks, so I’m looking forward to that, it’s a low key competition with no dressage – winning formula if you ask me.

Hope you’re all getting ready for the winter season, I’ve stocked up on winter gloves and thermals, so there’s no excuse for me to not ride early in the morning…. But somehow I seem to find an excuse!

That’s about enough from me, have fun out there, and keep on smiling!