Sam talks Olympics, Houghton, and more…
Posted on Friday, June 29th, 2012 at 4:21 am.
OH WELL….LET’S GO AND WIN BURGHLEY INSTEAD….!!
Well, as I write this, I would be telling a lie if I didn’t say I am still totally gutted not to have made the Aussie team for London. It all started going wrong when Badminton was cancelled as that really would have ‘sorted the men from the boys’ and Happy has had incredible form at this event. I know our rails at Bramham did more harm than good but I still firmly believe that Happy Times is a medal winning horse and he is more experienced and has better ‘results on the card’ over the years than ANY of the horses they have selected. I, among others, believe the selectors have made some very rash decisions and already there have been three protests against their choices. Anyway, I’m not going to dwell on it, I’m very happy for my friends, Chris Burton and The Fredericks for their selection and wish them every success. In the meantime, I have now got my sights firmly fixed on Burghley with Happy Times and possibly Pau with Paulank Brockagh. It is actually a relief to be able to choose the right path for the horses instead of feeling huge pressure to run them at events that I would not normally do with them. So Happy and Brocks are enjoying a well earned break in the field – they’re up to their hocks in grass – with all this rain we can’t keep up with it! It is particularly nice for Happy as he has been at peak fitness for months now. They’ll come back into work in a couple of weeks and probably just have a few OI runs to ease them back into it gently.
In the meantime, Real Dancer certainly kept my spirits up at Houghton with a fantastic win in the highly competitive CIC***. He scored an amazing 36 in the dressage and then jumped a lovely clear round in the show jumping – in the past this has been his weakest phase, so I have been working hard on this, taking him to endless jumping competitions and it paid off. With the influential show jumping under our belts I new I had to keep my foot down on the cross country to hold my lead….Real Dancer aka Albert, really gave it everything for me and, despite a couple of time, no one could catch us! The victory was doubly sweet as it was my 40th Birthday that day, so actually reaching the age of 40 didn’t seem so bad! Lucy also had a fun week at Houghton…somehow or other, she had managed to sneak Mumbo Jumbo off me for the week and went brilliantly. They did a great test and then stormed round the xc, inside the time, despite being watched every step of the way as Ali Butler drove me round the course on her quad as Lucy was going – luckily Lucy was so ‘in the zone’ she had no idea she had a critical eye on her every move until she finished! They then jumped a lovely clear round to finish on their dressage score of 49 which landed them 14th place out of 100 competitors. I might struggle to wrench Mumbo back from her now…! However, not every aspect of the week went entirely smoothly – without me knowing, Lucy had smuggled my birthday present into the lorry before leaving and then on the second day I came back from schooling one of the horses to find a huge white gazebo standing proud outside our lorry! Well, with good weather but a cold wind, we thoroughly enjoyed sitting in it that evening but the next morning – disaster – my birthday present had gone ‘A’ over ‘T’ and was lying in a crumpled heap several metres away from the lorry….! So that was a rather short lived present, however, my owner, Dinah Posford, certainly cheered us all up that evening when she arrived with fresh lobsters for us all – so we just put on our biggest coats and tucked in to delicious Norfolk Lobbies around our rather exposed table and, needless to say, nobody mentioned the word ‘gazebo’….
However, my Birthday celebrations did not grind to a halt then, as last week a group of friends joined us on the Isle of Wight for more lobsters! I expect many of you remember the picture in H&H of me with a lobster on my head…I’m not going to be allowed to draw a veil over that one! Anyway, we returned to the scene of the crime, Steephill Cove, and had a wonderful long lunch at this stunning beachside restaurant. By some miracle, the weather was incredibly kind to us and we all basked in warm, yes, warm, sunshine until late in the day. However, as we took everyone back to the ferry in our little horsebox (way cheaper and more fun than a taxi!) the weather turned and as you’ll see in the pic below, by the time we stopped for ice creams, the weather was returning to it’s usual form. We all had a great time though and made such a welcome change from our daily routine.
Back at the more local events, the young horses have been going well. I’m very excited about my new ride, Favorit Z, aka Frodo – he has been showing great form at our first few events together and I would really like to aim him for Le Lion later in the year. We had a great time at Nunney last weekend – this new event replaces Longleat in the calendar and the organisers had done an amazing job. The courses, the layout, the ground were all spot on and despite some horribly blustery conditions they ran a really happy and professional event. It certainly went well for Team Griffiths with Lucy coming 2nd on Angelo, then myself 3rd, 4th and 5th on Frodo, Kite (Penton Kite) and Angus (Opposition Apollo)…..Yes, the wife beat me again…I think I should start giving her duff information!
Well, I had time to sit down and write this as yet another event – this time Salperton – has fallen foul of this horrenous British summer. I can’t believe we’re nearly in July and this is still continuing. Fingers crossed it cheers up for beautiful Barbury this coming weekend. Then maybe we’ll get some better weather when we head to Germany for Aachen with Real Dancer – such an exciting event!
One final thing, I would really like to thank all my owners, sponsors and fantastic team for all the support they have given me in my bid for the Olympics – I couldn’t have even given myself and Happy a chance without their back up and I am more determined than ever to give them the results they deserve at Burghley, Pau and on to the next championships. Thank you everyone.
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