I am unbelievably proud of Sportsfield Freelance and Laura Collett and what they achieved at Boekelo this week. It was a huge ask, given that Laura only sat on her for the first time a month ago and has since just had two runs and jumped her about five times! While on-paper she may have been mid-field, it was an immense achievement from both of them. Penny looked total class and had a brilliant experience for her first time at 4*L level. I'm hoping to be back to try and qualify her for Paris in the Spring, she looked so at ease even with a rider she didn’t know very well!
I trust her completely! I've been riding her at home with my broken arm since June (one-handed!), and she went to Laura’s yard a week before Boekelo, only deciding to go two weeks ago. While I had been keeping her training and galloping up during the summer in the hope that I could return to ride her myself, we didn’t know if she was going to be fully fit enough.
If they had managed to fit in one more run together, I think it would have been fine to go for the time cross country but with such limited preparation, it was better for her future that she had a confident and educational run with a few time, finishing a happy horse. She flew through the finish and gave Laura the feel of a championship horse! I’ve always believed in her, but to hear it from someone of Laura’s experience and calibre is so exciting for next year.
Her dressage was super, with just a few little mistakes to lie just outside the top ten, and is improving all the time. While on-paper her show-jumping wasn’t the perfect result, with three down near the end of the course, she came out super on the last day and it was a lovely round. She is such a new and different ride for Laura being small and blood it was a huge ask as a new partnership.
The most important thing is how fresh and happy she came out on the last day. Laura rode her beautifully and looked after her so well! I was so glad we took the plunge and decided to run her. It will bring her on so much for next year!