Sunday 22nd of November 2020
Claire Benfield

Head Girl Hopes: End of season round up

As our season has finished, let me continue on from my last blog and what we have been up to in the mean time!


Back in July we had the pleasure of traveling to Aachen, Germany where we had Archie competing in the CIC***. He was also in the Nations Cup squad. If Carlsberg did horse shows then this is the one! 

From start to finish, both humans and equines were extremely well looked after. Not only did they have Eventing but also World Class Dressage and Show jumping.

Archie and Myself travelled out with Sarah Ennis and family along with her horse BLM Diamond Delux. Aoife then came out the following day as she was also competing Jensen at Upton House (who came 4th I might add!). Arch was a complete star from start to finish and I was so proud with how he coped with the atmosphere. He tried his heart out and finished 13th individually against the worlds best horse and rider combinations. His superb double clear also meant that Ireland came 3rd in the Nations Cup! We only had 3 out of 4 people in the team which meant we had no discard score so to get a team podium finish was just amazing! 



The following week at home we had a couple of fab runs at Aston le Walls from Biscuit – who was having his first run back after recovering from his virus. Jumping a super double clear meant he finished 4th! Even after trying to buck Aoife off in show jumping warm up – definitely proving how well he was feeling!! We also managed to get a Winner with Colourfast, who was also having his first run back after fracturing his splint bone back in the spring.

 I managed to squeeze in a few days holiday in Barcelona for a friend of mines hen do. I have to say as much I enjoyed the sun, sea and sand, it did feel a little odd not to be at Somerford Park with Aoife – queue me checking BDWP for live scoring whilst sat on the beach drinking cocktails! 

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Back to reality with a bang as the day after my return we headed off to Millstreet, Ireland with 4 horses. Although we came away with an excellent 4th in the CIC*** with Wasting Light, and 7th in the CCI*** with Pink Gin, these results were after Aoife taking a heavy fall on the Friday when Jensen made a green mistake. She was very sore after but managed to convince us all that she was fine to ride and there was no arguing! On arriving home and with Blenheim in a fortnight we did convince her to take an easy week to give Archie (in the CCI***) and Biscuit ( in the ERM) the best chance to go well there. 

Blenheim is one of my favourite events and it started off well with Archie doing a super test apart from knocking into himself making him do a few uneven steps resulting in him not getting a mark he deserved. He still tried his best and actually I thought it was one of the best tests he has done despite the minor blip.  He was then going super cross country and up on the time, until he tripped after the last fence resulting with him and Aoife parting company before they crossed the line as she couldn’t pick him back up in time. She had been complaining about her shoulders and feeling a bit out of balance that morning but put it down to needing new stirrup treads and reins with better grip in the greasy conditions. So again convincing us she was fine, I was sent off to get some new ones! 







Despite the bitter disappointment especially after an excellent round, we headed straight off to do Biscuits dressage for the ERM. He did a lovely test and went into 8th place over night going into the show jumping the next day. The show jumping was causing a bit of trouble but Biscuit disagreed by jumping a super clear, moving him up to 2nd place into cross country, of which the top 20 were running in reverse order. Unfortunately we picked up a 20 penalties half way round the course as Aoife felt she was struggling to turn him therefore not meeting the stride she wanted and Biscuit was then unable to jump it.

When we had finished, Aoife (finally!) felt like she wasn’t quite right so made the sensible decision to let us take her to hospital which then revealed 2 fractures in her neck (c5 and c6) and real weakness in her arms and legs. This explains why she felt weak and unable to help pick Archie up and hold Biscuit on his line. Unfortunately this means our season has prematurely finished, and the horses and rider will have a well deserved rest. Although it seems like an unlucky season with Biscuit’s virus and Aoife’s injury, there have been plenty of highlights too, and really we are very lucky that all the horses, and more importantly the rider, are still in one piece as it could have been a lot worse.

She is being a terrible patient, but is trying to rest, and we got the good news today that she won’t need an operation to stabilise it, so hopefully not too much longer on box rest and we’ll all be ready to pick up and smash it next season!!

Claire x

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