Competing at Bolesworth International

Sarah-Jane Brown has always dreamt of competing at Bolesworth International and this year with Fliss going so well, it seemed like a good time to give it a go!

The Cheshire event is a 6-hour drive from Cornwall but with two weeks of competition on offer it seemed a good time for a ‘holiday’.

It was my first show jumping international and we were lucky enough to have some top riders at the show, to warm up in the same ring as John Whitaker, Scott Brash, William Funnel et al. was both daunting and educational. Mind you I did nearly run Geoff Billington over on one occasion as he put up jumps for a pupil.

Sarah-Jane Brown competing at Bolesworth International

I for one suffer a bit of imposter syndrome and wondered if I should be at these events. We were competing at the lower 1* level with classes 1.25-1.35. I shouldn’t have worried Fliss excelled, she knew she was at a special event with a big atmosphere. She loved the people, the large ring and the courses. We jumped three classes each week, the first week we were 7th in the 1.25 speed, 11th in the 1.25 two phase and 13th in the 1.30 Grand Prix, many of these classes had 80 plus entries.

Horse with rosette

The second week we consolidated our form and had a 6th place in the first 1.25. This meant a lot as we were able to go in for a prize giving and receive a rosette, we were then 7th the next day and on the last day we jumped a super round in the 1.30 Grand Prix only for me to have a pole at one of the easier fences which I could (and did) kick myself about. However, five out of six classes placed was far better than I hoped.

The whole experience was eye opening, it was great to watch the pro-riders and the big grand prix classes as well as the fun classes such as the ride and drive. I walked the course for the Eventers Grand Prix and would have loved a crack at that. Nice to be able to walk around the estate and the dogs were certainly on red alert when they saw the resident hares!

Despite two weeks away from home Fliss maintained great energy levels and looked fantastic on Dengie Alfa-A Lite, as she can do rather well at this time of year!

Horse eating from bucket