It’s been a long build up to Caroline Martin’s first CCI3* on an international stage, and the Bramham arena is a pretty intimidating one in which to make your debut. That being said she coped admirably and rode a pleasant, mistake free test to score 52.9.
The changes happened but were not smooth, and perhaps if I were being picky I’d like to see the whole picture consistently a little softer, rounder, more forward but pity the poor girl who went in before her, Hannah Taylor, who endured a truly nightmare ride, and due to an error of course and misunderstanding about whether or not she’d completed her test Caroline had an extra long wait before her bell rang to go in and start, which can only have added to her nerves and she handled the pressure extremely well.
It must be an advantage that she is riding Quantum Solace, a horse to her that feels like slipping on your favourite pair of pyjama bottoms they know each other so well, and she has so much faith and confidence in him. Yes, you could tell she was slightly nervous, but as coach Buck Davidson said afterwards, it’s only to be expected, and from this she’ll learn, and grow, and improve.
“This test was better even than the test she did at Tattersalls a couple of weeks ago. She did a great job; I think always the first time going into a big ring is something you can’t practice and they took a little while to ring the bell and you could see she didn’t know quite what to do so it took her a little while to get into it, but she was very quiet, very accurate, very steady but it just wasn’t quite as big as it can be.
“I’m super proud of her, I thought she did a great job and the horse was fantastic. Everything is always building to the next thing so she should be super proud of herself at her first international competition, she held it completely together and we know we have a horse that can finish on whatever he does in the dressage, and we’re happy. She rode great, she kept her head together and now she has to keep her head together more for the next two phases.”
Caroline agreed that this is most definitely not a dressage competition, “I felt great. Buck gave me a great warm-up and he felt amazing going in and we did the best we could at the moment so I’m really happy with him. He’s an amazing horse and I don’t think this place is a dressage show, it’s definitely all three phases, it’s going to come down to that at the end of the day.”
More to come later, including pics of Veronica having a jump school, and Kitty King and Nana Dalton discussing a couple of the cross country jumps, but until then Go Caroline and Nacho, and Go Equi-Trek Bramham Eventing!