Sunday 21st of November 2021
Badminton Grassroots

In The Start Box, Part 2

Our eventing grassroots blogger, Anna Martin, shares her journey to the Mitsubishi Motors Cup at Badminton Horse Trials in May. In part two of her blog she tells us how she found her horse of a lifetime.

Introducing Sannanvalley Classic. The horse of a lifetime and it really was love at first sight! We had been to see quite a few horses that sounded lovely, and of course were lovely, but just not for me. I was just getting over a broken arm and dislocated shoulder from a fall so my confidence wasn’t great.


We flew to Ireland on a Thursday in May 2015 to see an amazing 15hh pony. He was a great jumper and a beautiful pony but we just didn’t click. Mum was a little embarrassed to tell the owner we were not going to buy him, she really loved him but she knows it has to feel right, that’s just the way I am!

So two days later we went to Wales to see a coloured mare that looked and sounded lovely. It just happened. She has amazing black eyes!  I rode her, jumped her, hacked her and galloped her in a field and I begged and begged all the way home.

Trying Classic

She arrived home a week later and we got to start to know each other properly. Of course I was nervous all the time and we took it really slowly. I did one event on her that year and just loved it.

All over the winter we had fun. Lots of practice in dressage and jumping at home, plus my weekly lessons at school with Emily and some NSEA competitions with my friends – which are really fun. At first people didn’t realize that Classic wasn’t Polly because they are quite similar looking!

Once the BE season started we managed to get one event in before I got injured. I hurdled some flower pots in Disneyland Paris when we were on a school netball trip….. it happens a lot! I damaged my cruciate in my knee and was off for a month or two. But once I then finally got round to starting properly I couldn’t believe how well things went! I finished in the top 2 placings every time out, apart from once when I retired xc.  It was a bit of a dream to be honest, Classic just got better and better and I managed to keep inside the time.


I have a system that I like to follow, which is getting out of the startbox quite steady until I feel she is really listening to me and jumping well, then I push her on a bit which she loves and we do the rest of the course at that pace. I don’t think I breathe or have a pulse for the first minute, my legs go like jelly.  Then once we have jumped a few fences I tell her she’s a good girl at each jump and she moves her ears to hear me, its really cute!! I think if I didn’t do that I wouldn’t breathe until we’d finished. The other thing I do is look at my watch after every jump, I don’t actually notice the time on the stopwatch but it’s something to take my mind off my nerves! One further very unusual habit I have is close my eyes when I go through the water. I may have to give that up soon as the jumps get bigger and closer to the edge of the water though! 

My first full season ended with winning three sections of the South East Eventers League. The BE90, Leading Mare and Leading Under 21. I got the most amazing prizes including money, a xc top, clothes, EQU Streamz bands, trophies and some sperm……

The icing on the cake was winning a beautiful Greenwich Olympian dressage saddle at the NSEA championships for being the overall champion of the NSEA/BE eventing series. I was allowed to choose literally all the details and I love it.

I’ve started this year by being bluelighted to hospital on a spinal board with spinal bruising and swelling from a fall……but I’m hoping it’s a good sign!!



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