I am a student at the University of Liverpool, and so during term-time I am based in Tarporley, Cheshire. However, outside of term-time, I am based in the West Midlands. I move around so that I can continue training through the winter. I have never competed at the Mitsubishi Motors Cup before, as last year was only my second season eventing. I picked up my Regional Finals qualification in 2016 in my first season, and then finally used it at my final competition of last year at Weston Park – so it was quite a surprise to qualify as it is so competitive.
I have had Nights on Broadway (Dollar) for just over seven years now, and we originally had him as a show hunter, until we decided to try eventing and have loved the change ever since. He is a very honest, loving horse, as well as being very charming and cheeky. He’s always amusing yard staff by sticking his tongue out at them! He’s particularly special to me as there’s been many years of hard work with him to get to this stage as he was slow to mature.
Training has been going well despite it being a harsh winter, and also trying to juggle my third year dissertation. We have been doing some arena eventing at Kelsall Hill, as well as dressage lessons with my trainer Val Smyth, and following the Mitsubishi Motors Cup fitness plan to build stamina for the cross country phase.
I am not only looking forward to competing at such a prestigious venue, but also taking on the biggest challenge for us yet. I can’t wait to tackle the cross country course and enjoy the great atmosphere. As always, my mum, dad and my sister will be coming along to support me, as well as my trainer to help me warm up and give me advice, I also hope to see a few friends too!
We are based in North Warwickshire and fairly central which is handy for events. I have only been affiliated at British Eventing for two seasons, so this is our first time competing at the Mitsubishi Motors Cup, and we are really looking forward to the experience. Mr McGowan (Split) and I will be competing at BE90 level. We Split as a four year old in 2007, so we have been together for over ten years. We thought we bought a six year old when, however we had his teeth checked in the first few weeks of owning him and the dentist confirmed he was in fact only four.
Split is a real character both at home, and out at competitions. He regularly takes the electric fencing down around his field so he can be with the other horses, as he always says, the grass is greener and to Split it is! He loves animals, cats, dogs and especially pigs! There is a field of pigs just down the road from us, and whenever we go for a hack he makes a beeline for them. Split loves nothing more than rubbing his nose in his sheepskin girth sleeve, or rubbing his nose on the cats tails. He is aptly named as he came over from Ireland with a split in his right ear which only adds to his cheeky character.
My instructor often describes him as a stroppy teenager, as he likes to put in minimal effort when he is being schooled at home and he loves nothing more than being centre of attention. He has also been known to go for a roll (with me on board) after finishing cross country, so we have to march him back to the lorry, take his tack off and wash him off quickly before he gets down to have his roll.
Due to the weather, we haven’t been able to get out this season, but training at home is going well. We don’t have a long arena where we are based, so I won’t have much practice in one before May. I work away in Hertfordshire during the week, but have been allowed to work from home some days so that I can drive back and ride so that Split and I can do as much preparation as possible.
Riding at Badminton Estate is something I have wanted to do since I was little. Hopefully being able to complete what will be one of the most challenging cross country courses we have ever been faced with is also something I am hoping to achieve and really looking forward to.
My Mum and sister will be coming with us for support. I am very lucky to have such a supportive family who also love a day out eventing. My sister helped me get Split ready for the Regionals last year, when she surprised me by coming back early from working a season abroad because I had broken one ankle and sprained the other at a water park accident on holiday in July, meaning I was unable to ride for six weeks. We qualified at the Regionals held at Kelsall Hill at the end of September. We only got the phone call the day before the competition to say that we had a place so it was all systems go – and we qualified!
I am based in Birmingham and I am very proud of our qualifying story. Tremeer had been off from May 2017 with a minor injury. Lots of care and rehabilitation later, she went to Weston Park in October for her BE90 Regional Final, fitter than ever. I was first to go in my section, so we headed up to dressage which was past the showjumping and cross country, she saw the fences and was a bit on her toes.
We were warming up, when someone came towards us a bit too close and Tremeer spun and bucked, I was dumped on the floor. I still had the reins and wasn’t letting go, so she ran backwards dragging me across the wet grass, I let go and she trotted off to the stewards. I was soaked and covered in mud.
I got back on and every time someone came close she spun or leapt. I couldn’t get any sense out of her. I carried on to do my test and she felt like a ticking bomb. I just steered her around the test. Luckily she kept her head and we achieved an amazing score of 26.8.
She charged around the showjumping, leaping very high over each fence. So we were clear. I got down to the cross country early so I could go first. With her start box problems, I didn’t want someone finishing when I was trying to get in the box. She did her normal perfect round to finish two seconds inside the time. The results were put out over the speakers and it turned out we had won, I couldn’t believe it. The rehab, before and after work, getting up at 5.30am every morning and not getting home until 9.00pm had all been worth it.
A friend appeared at the prize giving and having been through rehab herself she knew how hard it was. She had tears in her eyes and this set me off, so proud of my girl, I was just speechless.
This will be my second time competing at the Mitsubishi Motors Cup. We competed in 2015 but were sadly eliminated in the cross country. I have owned Tremeer for nine years. I brought her as a just broken four year old from and we have done all our competing together. She is so brave, nothing fazes her. She loves her competing especially the jumping and is a cross country machine. She was very quirky as a baby but has grown out of most it, but I still have to be led in to the start box by my dad as she gets very wound up. But as soon as they say go she just flies.
I am looking forward to just enjoying the experience, as that is what amateur sport is all about. I would love a double clear and to finish. My mum, dad and dog Kiri will be coming with me, as they come to every event. My friend Kate is coming too, and I am sure some other friends will join us if they can.