Sunday 11th of April 2021
Features

Mitsubishi Motors Cup: First Timer Tips, Part 1

Laura Barber competing at the 2015 Badminton Grassroots Championships.

Laura Barber competing at the 2015 Mitsubishi Motors Cup.

2015 Mitsubishi Motors Cup finalist, Laura Barber, shares her top tips for competitors heading to Badminton for the first time.

Whether you’re reading this as prospective competitor, a keen supporter, or a complete newbie to eventing, there is no escaping the excitement that The Mitsubishi Motors Cup brings. Not only does it bring together the top event horses and riders at BE90 & BE100 level from all over the country; there’s also the small matter of it being held on the hallowed eventing turf of Badminton.

My horse (Tally) and I were fortunate enough to qualify for last year’s championships (…I’m still not entirely sure how!), and cheesy as it may sound, it really was an eventing dream come true and an experience I will be eternally grateful for. I documented my journey last year for The Gaitpost, so when Sarah got in touch I jumped at the chance to talk about it all over again!! So here are a few pieces of advice to any first timers, who may be (as I was 12 months ago) wondering just how on earth they prepare to compete on the biggest stage there is…

pic 1 - diary

Plan…Prepare…Practice 

As a natural born organiser this wasn’t too much of a challenge for me, but I found that scheduling in all the different activities we needed to fit into the weeks/months preceding Badminton was the only way I could feel prepared. It sounds so simple, but just keeping a diary helped make sure we got in our weekly canters/dressage practice/pole work/chill out hacks etc etc! It’s also a great tool for reflection when you look back it’ll give you great confidence in all the work you’ve put in!

pic 2 - stopwatch

Fitness…and then some! 

I’m quite lucky that Tally is naturally quite lean and stays fit very easily. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for me!!! I started a new diet plan and took up running, and also interval trained with Tally from the January onwards. The course will be the longest XC course you will attempt at BE90/100 level – in 2015 it was over 3km with a 7 minute optimum time. Although it’s not the hilliest course around, there are a couple of short steep bursts and a long pull depending which way round it runs. Not only was this at the end of the course for us, we also had to do it into the worst headwind I’ve ever experienced on horseback…I was certainly glad of the hours I’d spent going round and round the ménage after work in the dark winter months!

 

Coming soon in Part 2: Making a stay of it and happy packing.

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