Sunday 9th of June 2024
Claire Benfield

Claire Benfield, Part 2

In her second post for The Gaitpost, Claire Benfield, Head Girl to Ireland’s Aoife Clark, updates us with her Road to Rio hopes from Aoife’s yard and beyond.

Fernhill Adventure at Team Training

Fernhill Adventure at Team Training

“The early alarms certainly haven’t been missed but glad to be back out to kick start the season ahead. All the horses have come out feeling fresh, happy and gaining some great results already.”



The season has officially started as all the horses have had their first runs of the season. It’s been pretty full on for Aoife and myself as we have had 3 or 4 horses going to each event every weekend. 

The 2 big boys Fernhill Adventure (Biscuit) and Wasting Light (Archie) have had their first international run at Burgham in Northumberland to do the CIC***. They each did a lovely dressage and both scored a 45.3 (talk about consistency!), had an unlucky pole down each around a massive and troublesome showjumping track but were absolutely class cross country to finish 5th and 6th respectively in a very competitive class. That was definitely worth the 7 hour trip up north. Our luxury Empire Horse box made the journey comfortable and effortless! As this is usually our ‘2nd home’ between March and October it’s a real treat to have the mod cons to make it as comfortable as possible for both us and the horses. Plus endless cups of coffee on demand, what more could you ask for!?
It was such a hardcore weekend for both of us as we had a very tight time schedule and had to stick to the times. Queue a lot of running round and a very red face from me! Note to self- must get fitter!! It really is such a lovely event and everyone made such an effort and was really helpful and accommodating.



The best thing to see on our return back to the yard was a sweet message on the white board in the tack room from Laura who was at home saying ‘well done team Ace!’. It was such a lovely gesture but the genius wrote it in permanent marker! Needless to say it took a lot of scrubbing to get it off-I’m sure she must secretly be blonde!!

Biscuit and Archie will next head out to Belton to do the CIC*** which will be our first Olympic Trial.

Biscuit has come out this season feeling and looking amazing. He has been a superstar coming up through the ranks since coming 2nd at Le Lion D’Anger as a 7 year old. He is our main hope for Rio and I know Aoife thinks he is the most talented horse she has ridden.

Wasting Light at Team Training

Wasting Light at Team Training


Christmas comes early

I am proud to write that Archie has not only been entered but has got accepted into the Big B (Badminton) this year. He is the youngest horse entered, aged 9 and he is a real blood horse; fingers crossed all the preparations go well. I think I need to buy an endless supply of polos just to keep him happy – that will definitely be in his rule book!

Regardless of which horse and hoping we get there, factor 50 for me is a must!

We have a few busy weeks ahead with the youngsters Jensen and Monbeg Senna heading out to Goring Heath followed by Weston Park, Belton then a trip over to Ireland for Ballendenisk International for the older boys.

As I write this, it appears my Christmas, Easter and Birthdays have all come at once as not only have we got some amazing new Veredus cross country boots but Aoife treated me to a Saturday afternoon shopping trip to buy not 1 but 2 brand new shavings forks!! Mucking out has never been so appealing!

Whoever said ‘diamonds are a girls best friend’ has clearly never worked on a yard!!

Until next time,

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