Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2008 British Grand Prix Freestyle Champion, and British National Champion Dressage Rider, Maria Eilberg (GBR)

Addington Premier League which seems ages ago now was great as a warm up for Wiesbaden and Lingen. No matter how many times I have ridden the Grand Prix I always feel rusty if not having competed for a month or so so it was good to have a practice run! Two Sox was full of beans and very happy to be out at a party again, perhaps a little too happy as we entered the Grand Prix at a buck! He had another little whiz just before the 2s but I wasn’t too bothered as I was glad he was feeling fresh. I had planned to do the Grand Prix only but as he was feeling so well he did the Special the next day as well which he was more settled for. Woodlander Rockstar did his first PSG which as I expected was a little green but he did everything and didn’t feel phased by the work. It was good for me to have a go so that I know what needs working on!

Wiesbaden was eventful! I had never been before--so many people and different events going on all at the same time! The warm up and main arena are situated in the middle of a park so you get a lot of people who are just interested to see what’s going on and children, so many children! I was working Rockstar the one morning and not only did he have a tractor harrowing the arena but a bus load of children appeared and started to have a coat throwing competition: Who can throw their coat the highest?! He was so good and the next day he had the vaulting horses to work around!! On the way back home we ended up being in the middle of the cross country course which was exciting, I heard the whistle and wham, I had a horse coming behind me at a gallop! Two Sox was a star and on great form. He was a little fresh when we arrived but soon relaxed and felt so loose and supple after the journey. He is so content with himself now taking everything in his stride and not being phased by anything. He used to get quite nervous at big shows and it would show with him being tight, anxious and not eating. Now he thrives on it, at the age of 16, loving the atmosphere and applause, and trying to get hold of any grub that is going, he is one happy horse!



In the Grand Prix he did pretty much a clear round, the piaffes perhaps being a little forward and the zig zag a little tight so a few edges but he did do his best ever extended trot which I was very pleased about! He finished third with 68% not far behind the winner which was really encouraging. We opted to do the Freestyle which I wasn’t quite sure about as it was to be the next evening under floodlight which was bound to be very spooky! I was drawn last to go at 11pm. The atmosphere was buzzing and electric, he came out onto the warm up quite nervous. After a good bit of suppling he started to relax and I had to keep him moving more or less the whole time so he didn’t have time to wind himself up, all he could hear was lots of murmuring from the people watching and there were shadows everywhere. When it was time for me to go in for my test we had to make our way through the crowds of people to main the arena, it was a huge party atmosphere with commentary and interaction with the audience and judges, like a demo. As the last rider was being interviewed the crowd gave huge applause and he got a little excited but did a great test, just two little blips, a small mistake in the one tempis on the half circle where he got a bit disorientated heading towards all of the people and a slight rhythm blip in the last ext trot down the centre line- I didn‘t support him enough. He finished third again with 73%, very close to second place, I was very pleased! I thought that perhaps the whole evening would have taken a lot out of him but no sooner had we taken him back to the stables and taken his bridle and saddle off did he walk straight into his stable of his own accord and start eating his hay! (Photo: Celebrating Wiesbaden!)

Unfortunately Lingen didn’t go exactly to plan! I was cycling back to the hotel when I fell off the bike and broke my elbow, I was going to fast down a hill and didn’t make the turn! Luckily it seems to only be a small fracture so I should be riding again in a couple of weeks which is very good news! I am also extremely fortunate to have my Dad and brother at hand to keep the horses going in the meantime.

The next goal is Aachen which I hope I have done enough to be selected for, it will be the final selection before WEG so fingers crossed!

33 comments:

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  2. Congrats Maria.. thats a really big ocassion.. nice .... and that a real big celebration..

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  25. Wonderful, i really enjoy to watch her in competitions, she drives the horse very well and barely it fails but this possible because of her.

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