After a busy week full of planning and packing for the Dodson & Horrell National Amateur Championships at Aintree, we finally set off on the afternoon of Wednesday 19th November.
It took us 5 hours to get to Liverpool due to a lot off traffic, but Yeti settled in quickly once we arrived. She started munching on her hayladge straight away and after unpacking I returned to the stables with a Banana Likit to keep her occupied, but it didn't last long as it was gone within an hour!
The next day Yeti and I had one class to jump, this was the 95cm Grand Prix Qualifier. There was 105 in my class and I was drawn 82nd to go, so we had a long wait!
When we first went into the arena, Yeti was very tense as it’s a very big, spooky and distracting arena. This caused us to have an unfortunate stop in the first rounds at a fence alongside the grand stand. On the bright side, Yeti had a good chance to have a look around the arena and we hoped she'd be more relaxed the next day!
In the afternoon, a tour of the racecourse had been organised by Derek Thompson who had worked there as Stable Manager for over 40 years, before retiring in April this year. We got to see the Weighing Room, Red Rum's statue and resting place, the Old Weighing Room (now the Winner's Bar) and several other behind-the-scenes places! Here are some photos from the tour..
On Friday, we had 2 classes - a speed class and another Grand Prix Qualifier. Yeti was much more settled this time, and we had a very fast clear to come 5th! In the GP qualifier, Yeti jumped a great double clear to come 14th out of 85, qualifying us for the Grand Prix - I was so pleased!!
The following day I jumped Yeti in one class, the metre warm-up, just so she had another chance to see the arena before the GP. We just had a pole down but I was still pleased as she jumped well. After she jumped we took Yeti out for some grass, gave her a hot bath and then put her in the solarium so she could have a bit of pampering and relaxation ready for the GP next day. By now Yeti had managed to munch away the whole supply of Likit treats that we took with us, so I had to visit one of the stands in the main arena to buy some more - she just can't get enough of them!!
In the morning we packed up so we'd be ready to leave after the Grand Prix. I was drawn about half way through the class so had enough time to watch several others jump. The course was fairly technical with a treble combination and plenty of dog legs, so the nerves began to kick in!!
But I needn't have worried because Yeti jumped a fantastic clear to put us into the jump off along with just 25 others. The jump off was fairly twisty with a long run towards the last fence. Yeti went clear again and did everything I asked, doing all of the sharp turns but unfortunately we weren't quick enough so just missed out on a top 10 placing, but I am still thrilled with her as it was such a tough track that caused lots of problems. The long journey home would have been even longer if we'd been leaving disappointed!
The horses haven't got a very busy December as it's the run up to Christmas and we've had a very busy summer, but we have a couple of shows lined up for Padmay as she hasn't been out for a couple of weeks.
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!