Two big competitions for Team Bartlett, with lessons learned

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New boy Equador MW showed his Aston Martin tendencies but Freebie slowed to miss out on his second International win, says Toots Bartlett
Toots Bartlett celebrates with Freestyle R

Team Bartlett had a quieter month of competitions, but it still turned out to be an exciting few weeks.
After a couple of months of getting to learn the do’s and don’ts with Equador MW, the newest member of the team, we travelled to Aston Le Walls for our first event together in the UK. It was also Equador’s first event for a couple of years due to the Covid lockdown in New Zealand, where he has recently come from. We had a truly fabulous day and I was thrilled with the way he behaved and performed. He posted a 29 dressage score, and followed that up with a lovely double clear in the showjumping. Being a little too speedy around the cross country course – he’s the equivalent of an Aston Martin on four legs – we picked up some ‘too fast’ time faults which cost him the win. However, I hadn’t been sure that I could form a partnership with him this quickly, so I was thrilled that there’s every sign a good relationship will develop. We now look forward to taking him to Somerford Park CCI2* at the beginning of July.

So close
Freestyle R gave us a fantastic weekend at Nunney International Horse Trials near Frome.
Nunney is a local event which we always try to support, and we are hugely grateful for all the wonderful volunteers who tirelessly to assist the organisers to keep it on the International circuit.
Freebie finished the CCI3S dressage on a top score of 27.4, and after leading the two days of dressage, I did start to wonder whether the showjumping phase – historically our weakest together – would let us down. But he produced a lovely double clear, which was absolutely thrilling. My main aim for the competition was to gain my MER (minimum eligibility requirement) to enable us to move up to CCI4 together, rather than winning, so this did take a lot of pressure off me, and we were able to produce a solid clear round showjumping. I am fortunate that through my training on World Class, and having played nationally in several different sports, I have learned to try and utilise nerves effectively. I always try and turn them into excitement, to show what wonderful horses I have and how our training is being productive and beneficial.
Unfortunately some ‘too slow’ time penalties on the cross country stopped Freebie from gaining his second International win, but he still claimed a very exciting fifth place.
Homework for me is to get him a bit fitter and do some hill work. If you have prepared properly at home, then all that is left at competition is to try your best, safe in the knowledge that you have given your horses every opportunity you can to show what they can do. We definitely learn the most from the days we don’t get the results we want rather than from the days of success.

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