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Steph Croxford's "weathers" the Grand Prix Special!

We caught up with Steph Croxford to see how her summer has been progressing. We didn't expect tales of gale force winds and horizontal rain! Read on to find out more about the challenges Steph has faced - both from the elements, traffic and mathematically!!

"First stop this month was the Hartpury Premier League, where Mr Clyde warmed up beautifully and went in and tried his absolute socks off! Simon joked with me that typically he would probably get the a low score because we thought it was so good and sure enough when we went to look it was 65.5%! I was miffed, especially as even Carl (Hester) even said how much he loved my horse!!! We were about to get in the lorry to go home when Simon looked at the sheet and said, I don't understand how your average is score is lower than your lowest mark. They had added it up wrong - by 4%! So actually we were on 69.5% which put us in third place! The winner was Charlotte Dujardin and second place was Lucy Woodhead on 69.6% so it was very close! So that was a great turnaround and luckily Simon had thought to question it!"

"So off we went, feeling buoyant on o ur way to Deauville in France. The route there was terrible - with lots of traffic and a queue getting into Calais. Anyway we arrived, the trot up was fine and on the day of his test the weather was horrendous. Gale force winds combined with trees in pots all around the arena that fell over as we entered! The judges were all in white tents with flappy table cloths - needless to say that Clyde wasn't the most relaxed! We had a lot of spookiness and several 'grind to a halt' movements - particularly towards K where the fallen tree was! Had I been in the UK I would have put my hand up and retired, but if I didn't finish I would not have been able to do the Grand Prix special so I soldiered on and came out with a 62.4%. To be fair on Clyde he did everything, but it was tense and unfortunately my card was marked so I knew that no matter how well he went in the Grand Prix Special, we would not improve our rankings."

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"However, I went with the attitude of giving him a nice experience and improving our confidence. This time we had horizontal rain instead of gale force winds, but he tried his hardest and we came out with 64%. Our trip back was horrific, there was an accident and it took us 10 hours to get home from Dover!"

"So right now I am feeling a bit cream crackered! We don't have any major outings now until the Nationals, where Clyde has qualified for the Grand Prix, so between now and then he will have some easy weeks and probably a PYO test to get us out. It means we can focus on the school holidays and getting Clooney out and about a bit."

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"In Mr P news, he has a new friend called Sherlock - a yearling who Annabel thinks is her new 12.2hh! Mr P has already claimed his friend by biting him on the bum and pulling out three of his teeth! He is however feeling very well and is the soundest retired dressage horse I think you will ever find!"