“Once he locked on to the first fence there was no holding him back. He was FLYING!”

Sarah and Hugo spend more time training in water and tackle a British Eventing event – Alnwick Ford – to see if their hard work paid off.

I am very proud to report that Hugo and I have gained our first BE completion! I mean, technically, we were eliminated … however, as I was unaware of this and continued to jump the last and gallop through the finish flags I’m still counting it as a completion!
 
We trucked off to Alnwick Ford, which is a special event for me as this time last year SuperCob and I completed our very first BE Novice run there. We absolutely smashed it with a decent dressage, just two poles show jumping and a storming clear cross country, so I was very much hoping for a similar result and an equally amazing day with young Hugo this year. 
 
It was hot – very hot – and the flies were horrendous, but Hugo was pretty chilled in the dressage warm-up. So much so that I decided to go without stirrups for most of it! His test was nice – a slightly unsteady head due to the flies, but he was listening well and going forward, so I was pleased.
 
Good old Les Smith was judging and the scores were pretty high, but baby Hugo was sitting in third going into show jumping with a 30.8, which I am thrilled with!
 
We warmed up indoors in the blistering heat and Hugo was well up for jumping. There were a few mini leaps, but secretly I love these little leaps as he feels so mega when he does them. He was so confident in the arena and jumped a really nice round – maybe a bit fast on my behalf resulting in two poles falling, but he was so forward going and loving life I didn’t want to fiddle too much – that’s for another day!
 
A quick change into my trusty Apt Cavalier burgundy set and off we headed to the cross country warm-up. Now, as you all know, the water is our nemesis, but it is right at the end at Alnwick Ford, plus he’s been training here before so I was feeling positive! A bit of bad timing as we came out of the start box resulted in a brief nap before the first fence (a horse was galloping past us heading for the finish in the opposite direction), but it didn’t take long to get over it and once he locked on to the first fence there was no holding him back. He was FLYING!
 
He gave me the most amazing feeling around the cross country, storming across the ground and feeling so confident, jumping everything including doubles, skinnies, a coffin and a trakehner. We were both loving the ride and I hope the jump judges appreciated my embarrassing chatter about how much fun I was having all the way around!
 
We skipped up the incredibly steep hill at the end like a gazelle, over a little upright and then it was time … the water awaits. There was a little log then two strides max to a water that was little more than an oversized puddle! Unfortunately, we screeched to a halt at the log as he spied the water on the other side – damn it! 
 
We circled and had another stop, but I was not getting eliminated BEFORE I got to the actual water, so I dug my heels in, got my elbows going and all but lifted him over that bloomin’ log! Obviously, he came to a halt at the water’s edge and with a step backwards gained us our third stop at that combination and ultimate elimination. HOWEVER, at that very moment, in he splashed!
 
I cheered, patted and woohoo’d, and was a general embarrassment to everyone associated with me, but I was BUZZING. No one told me to stop, so over the final two and through the finish flags we went with more cheering and “GOOD BOY”-ing as loud as possible!
 
So we have an ‘E’ on our record – big deal! The important thing is he actually went in the water and we’ve worked so hard to get to this stage it was the best feeling in the world. 
 
It was a wonderful day, made extra special by a visit from Hugo’s real mum (those of you who have followed our journey from the start will remember that I am super lucky to have Hugo on loan), who expressed how proud she was of both of us. So, onwards we go to Hopetoun next week – will it be wet toes two weeks in a row? We will find out next time…

Watch Sarah's last vlog here!