This was my first task since joining the committee this year, and it was to be Chief de quip for the Area 9 Combined training, held on Sunday 17th April. The week running up to the competition was a little testing as the venue that was hosting the combined training had to cancel due to the weather. As it was Wessex Gold organising the event, we were keen to find a new venue. Jo Howse and the rest of the committee including the competition secretary, Ted Carty, went on a mission to find another venue, which they did,  Tumpy Green near Dursley, in Gloucestershire. Unfortunately due to the change of venue and being further away,  we had riders pull out leaving us short on team members to compete. However with some persuasive appeals, I did manage to replace two spaces which were Jo Bryne and Fiona Whiteway, so thank you for standing in . I then had to look at a way to rearrange the teams, using some of our individuals riders, and luckly on the Saturday evening Bex Greenwood, who is not 100% health wise,  stepped in so we had two full teams, so thank you Bex Greenwood .
The sunday morning arrived, with sunshine, however the field was a little sticky and some lorries were towed in and out. Ben Greenwood went to work, warming up the riders up individually for their dressage tests. The arena that Jo Bryne and Michelle Kieffe had the worst of the ground, and was very sticky in areas and although they both did lovely tests, both Rupert and Peter struggled with the going.  Wendy Lappington and Amy Smith both did a lovely test in their arena,  as did Ted Carty and Fiona Whiteway in their arena . Kate Livermore, Bex Greenwood, Abbie Robins and Sophie Barnes probably didnt have the kindest of judges, with lower scores that we would have expected, having watched them.  They too didn’t have the best of ground but all the Competitors were in the same boat.
On to the show jumping, again Ben warmed the riders up, walked the course with them, and chatted about their lines to certain jumps.  The course was a nice flowing course and the ground in the show jumping arena was good. Wendy, Ted, Michelle, Fiona and Abbie all jumped clear. Amy and Bex both knocked a pole and Kate and Jo both knocked two down. So all in all, they all had done a good job.  Unfortunately it wasn’t Sophie’s day and she was eliminated.
The results came in Team Claret 5th, but then result changed and on the Area 9 website, were awarded 4th, so a very well done. Team Merlot came 11th, so also a good result out of 24 teams. Individually, Abbie Robins on Adrian the 2nd was 2nd,  Wendy Lappingdon on  Loxley Monkey was 3rd, Ted Carty on Harley Kinski was 4th and Amy Smith on Simon was 6th.
Congratulations to all the riders, you all rode beautifully, thank you Ben Greenwood for being a great team trainer and thank you to all the members who put themselves forward to do the training, to be considered to be part of our team.
I would also like to say a massive well done to Abbie Robins and Adrian the 2nd who have qualified for the Festival of the Horse in May, as they were the highest placed Junior rider, not in the winning team.

Just a little message if you would like to be in a team or ride as an individual for the Horse Trials or Eventers Challenge, later this year, please contact me.  You will need to come to at least one training session throughout the season to be considered, and be available for the championships.  All the dates of the Area 9 competitions and National competitions are detailed on the WGRC calendar.
Sue Allen