On the Road with Abigail Newbery for the Bonheiden Nation’s Cup

Bonheiden Nation’s Cup – Belgium, 17th – 20th May 2012

Diary Entry #11   Valentino and I left for the Nation’s Cup Show in Bonheiden at noon on Tuesday the 15th and it took 5 hrs to get to Calais on the other side. Although the journey to the show was only 3 hours off the boat we stabled in Calais over night as we couldn’t get to the show until Wednesday Morning and didn’t want to travel through the night. I have a cat in Calais.

We left Calais at about 9.30am all well rested… It took us three and a half hours to get to the show as we got a little bit lost, it wasn’t very well sign posted and a very nice man out  on a hack helped direct us (in Franglais) and helped us do a U-turn in the road by stopping the traffic!
Eventually we found the show and had to get towed into our parking spot due to the mud – this seems pretty ubiquitous in horsey life these days! Rudolf (Valentino) came off the lorry and settled into his stable and we unpacked everything. I gave him some work once he had settled in and thankfully, despite the mud, it was dry. We also had to do the trot up, which all went fine although he was a little fresh!

Thursday I didn’t jump as we could only start 3 times so I just gave him some work in the collecting ring again and popped him over a few small fences in preparation. It’s useful to settle the horses in.

Friday was my first day of competition, the sun didn’t show it’s face often but at least it was still dry! The class was a 1.30m A4 and we just had one fence down, we were just a little bit close and very unlucky!

The Nations Cup (junior) was next, on the Saturday, the team was made up of me, Jake Saywell, Sally Hopkinson and Emma O’Dwyre, with Lara Whiteway as the 5th man and two individuals, Alfie Bradstock and Daisy Davis. We had a very disappointing team result although Alfie was Clear in the Individual section. Corinne put me as the first member of the team to compete and Valentino had a very uncharacteristic 12 faults, the fences I had down were over a fence to a combination on a difficult distance, when he had the fence it took the canter away from us a bit so we had the last two parts of the combination down… when we got home we did notice a small splint coming up on his front leg so that may not have helped! After that things didn’t go to plan with Jake on 18 faults and Sally on 17 faults so unfortunately we were not to make it to the second round whatever Emma did even though she had a great round with just 4 faults!

Sunday, Grand Prix day! Today it was incredibly hot, it had stayed dry all show, although they had forecast rain for the duration, and it now beautiful sunshine! It’s not just Blighty that endures rollercoaster weather patterns.

My Class was at 1.45pm, I was 4th to go and the course was big and technical, with a very tight time allowed. When it came to me no one had been inside the time, or even near it really! We ended up with 5 faults, one down and a time fault. Rudolph was jumping really well and popping round it as easy as anything, until number 8 where he was very unlucky and just had the front bar of the oxer. I was very pleased with him though and could go home happy!

We did the trip back in one hit (but didn’t get lost this time!) and arrived back at about 1am. Overall I was very pleased with the show, the team result was a shame, but we all have off days! The Bonheiden venue was a really nice place, very small, but well set out with a big ring and collecting ring, an indoor school and good catering facilities – always important! It was also nice to be able to get there without taking days as it wasn’t too far from the docks at Calais…


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