Melissa Northwood from Somerset gives us the back-story behind her build-up to this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships at Badminton.
I am thrilled (yet feeling rather ill) about riding at Badminton in the Grassroots Championships next month – it was my dream 25 years ago as a junior rider.
Little did I know when I gave up Eventing in 2000 that 14 years later I would be preparing the horse I bought as a scruffy foal for Badminton! ‘Good Job Too’ (AKA Archie) is locally famous for his antics both in and out of the stable, though now he is 13 he is finally a lot calmer!
Bought from Lyn Wilton in Holsworthy as a seven month old foal Archie progressed into a very respectable dressage horse , qualifying for Regionals and Pet Plan Championships, though he spent a lot of time on his hind legs both with and without a saddle.
Before long he was finding it all too boring so, seeing as I had hung up my Eventing boots previously I decided to sell him so he could go on and do a job he loved. With no joy of sale and having won his first BE90 with Philip Tuckwell, I decided reluctantly, and with huge amount of encouragement from my boyfriend Richard to returned to Eventing. I have only done four BE90s and the Regional Final (which I would have won only for a pole down in the show jumping!).
A rocky road so far
Everybody faces challenges when preparing for a Championship but our preparation has been rocky to say the least. Having started the year well with eventer challenges and a win combined training under our belt, things were going well. Then mid February I had one very flat horse. Since Archie is petrified of the vet, blood tests were out of the question. My vet Andrew Walker told me he would probably take a month to get over it, which he has however as I write I have not done an Event yet this year! We do have two planned so fingers crossed they go well.
Archie is just one of my responsibilities as I now run a small yard between Taunton and Ilminster, schooling and teaching. The support I’ve have had from my clients and friends has been fantastic so I hope we do them proud at Badminton.
I would like to wish good luck to everybody heading to Badminton for your preparation in the coming weeks!