I had Zidante doing her first ever CCI*** at Blenheim, at only eight years old she is relatively young for this level of competition, but as she had coped so well this season when she moved up to CIC*** level I made the decision that she was ready for this next step up.

She was absolutely amazing all week, we did our test on Friday and she coped with the pressures of the big arena very well. She did a lovely test and tried her heart out for me, we made a couple of small errors, one in the rein back and one of her changes was late in front. But as the quality of the rest of her work was so high she still scored very well. We got a 41.6 which was good enough to put us into 10th place going into the cross country.

Watch our test here:


The cross country was big, bold and technical and the toughest CCI*** track that I have seen at Blenhiem. I was quite late to go and had been watch how the course rode all morning, it was causing a lot of trouble and I was a little worried that this test might be one too far for Zidante as she hasn’t had a huge amount of experience. I needn’t have worried though as she flew round the track and made it all feel very easy. She felt absolutely mega and not at all green. It was a hilly course and the furthest and fastest she has been so I didn’t push her for the time as I didn’t want her to feel tired at the end. She finished full of running and well on the bridle. We were ten seconds over the time and picked up four time faults, leaving us in 5th place over night going into the show jumping.

Watch our cross country round here:

Zidante trotted up well on Sunday morning and didn’t seem to be feeling the effects of her efforts from the day before. She warmed up well for the show jumping and I hoped she would put up a good performance as she is normally so reliable in this phase, but at a three day event you never know how they will come out and jump. Zidante however jumped like her normal self and posted a lovely clear within the time. Unfortunately  for Oliver Townend his horse wasn’t feeling as good as Zidante and had a fence down, this dropped them down the order and moved Zidante and I up to 4th place!! What an amazing achievement for such a young horse!! I couldn’t be more thrilled with how she went and coped with the event, she is now going to have a well earned holiday.
Watch our show jumping here:

All photos courtesy of Fiona Scott Maxwell

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