Victoria Bax recaps over WEG

Victoria Bax updates us on her experience at the World Equestrian Games and how her team of ex-racehorses are going...

"Wow what an experience we had in Normandy actually watching the World Equestrian Games competition in the flesh. On the first day we travelled down to the D'ornano stadium in Caen which was about an hour away from the chalet we were staying in. Our journey there was interesting to say the least! A local bus ran us into Caen and then a short walk to a very packed temporary bus stop to transport us another 10 mins on the shuttle bus to the actual stadium. Once inside the stadium, we were greeted by a small plastics bottom shaped patch on a concrete slab to sit on, mmmmm comfy, NOT! But that was not the worst come, French toilets..."

"At first I thought I had opened the door to the shower unit, so I opened the next and the next to realise that no they were they toilets; a shower type tray, with two foot prints and a hole in the floor, enough said! The dressage itself though was incredible, a real inspiration to actually see this level of dressage in the flesh. This was the second day of the team dressage competition, so we got to see Charlotte and Valegro at the end of the day, WOW! The following day we took a drive around the various Normandy landing beaches which was a real eye opener and something I won't forget in a hurry. The next day saw us drive down to see an old friend and her horse Trust who I helped many years ago when she first bought Trust and lived in England. It was lovely to catch up and I even ended up giving her daughter a lesson on Trust that afternoon."

"Friday came which meant Dressage Freestyle day, so a trip back up to the stadium but as expected this was the busiest day yet with thousands of spectators wanting to see the show. The queues were unbelievable, it took us a good long while to actually get in but so worth it to see Michael Eilberg, Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin start their stuff and to end up seeing Charlotte win yet another Gold was incredible. The following day was Eventing cross country day. We had heard rumours that the parking situation at Haras Du Pin the venue for the Eventing was problematic to say the least due to the recent spell of wet weather. Fortunately we made the decision to leave our chalet at 5.30am to make the hour drive to the venue which saw us arrive in the first 20 or so cars there. A short sleep in the car before making the long walk to the cross country course, but wow was it worth it to see the absolutely greatest riders and horses in the world compete round a truly testing course which caused an untold amount of problems."

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"Going early was definitely the right decision as on our way out at the end of the day we saw many many abandoned cars on the road side and people walking up to 8km out of the cross country back to their cars as the roads had become simply gridlocked during the day due to the amount of spectators attending and sadly some didn't get to witness the event in the end as they simply didn't make it on time or gave up. Of course the day was dampened somewhat by the news of one of the GB horses very sadly passing away upon completing the tough cross country. I witnessed Wild Lone storming through the final water complex and he looked simply amazing and full of running. My thoughts definitely went out to Harry Meade and his team after a fantastically ridden round by him."

"So after an amazing week we headed home the following day and back to reality with horses to ride and competitions to compete in. I have recently taken on a new ride in Icy Mission, or Reggie to his friends. He is a 9 year old, grey, ISH who although dabbled with a spot of low level eventing as a 5 year old, sustained an injury and has been coming back into work with a different rider who came across a few problems, so the ride was passed to me. Reggie was renowned for being quite careless in the showjumping phase and a bit wild on the Xc phase, so I had my work cut out in preparation for our first event together. I decided upon Munstead as it is a fairly simple and straight forward course. His owner had previously said to me that there was a bottle of Champagne in the deal if we ever managed a double clear at an event, the challenge was on!"

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"Reggie performed a nice safe dressage for a score of 36, although I think the judge was a little mean! Reggie then went on to perform the most beautiful double clear, his very best in a long time. This was topped off by Reggie's owner receiving his very first eventing rosette as we had secured 7th place. To say his owner was absolutely thrilled would be an understatement and yes I did get my bottle of champagne, what a day, I simply love my job!"

"Forrest also came along for the ride and produced a lovely dressage test for a score of 30, then another improved show jumping round although he was unlucky to breath on 2 rails, then onto another easy confident clear cross country round to finish 16th, so a good day."

"At home I have been busy working my youngsters, Millie and Tilly the girls I bought from the Ascot sales back in June. They are coming along very well, Tilly especially considering a couple of months ago she was unbacked! Millie being a year older has been out to her first party and behaved impeccably given the situation. She is also hacking alone and hoping to go Cubbing very shortly. Next up is Crysto's last run of the year at South of England in the CIC2*, so my preparations are firmly set on that at the moment."