April with James Sommerville

The start of April was still very wet everywhere to create even more events to be cancelled and straining our ability to get our horses out and fit. Talent is aiming towards Badminton in May and not been able to do much fitness work with him on the gallops. With that being said we decided to help keep his fitness up and improving we took Talent to the water treadmill for a few days to go on twice a day. Water treadmills are fantastic for overall fitness work, it works all of their muscles all over.

The horses had their monthly visit from Tim Jarman our fantastic physio therapist. Tim comes to the yard once a month, more if we need an extra horse doing to give all of our lucky ponies a good once over, helping any aches and pains they have. All horses competing are athletes so they should be treated like athletes, we try and give them all they can have to ensure they perform to their very best, and Tim most definitely helps the horses towards that goal.

Next up was Belton horse trials, we took Talent in the CIC***, Altaskin Jack in the CIC** and Bally Louis in the Novice. Talent did a nice test in the CIC***, with very little event preparation for this horse, we were very pleased with him. He really needs a few runs especially to settle him in from the winter and gain his focus on the job. He went onto do a foot perfect show jumping round…just like Talent does and onto a lovely cross country round…a few time as Talent was far too excited to be running cross country, James struggled to find the breaks so played it safe.

Altaskin Jack was a superstar, with a rather harshly marked dressage, he came back out to do a fantastic double clear to finish up 12th. Jack is a brilliant up and coming horse on our yard. Jack will be aimed towards Bramham CIC***.

Next up was Kelsall Hill with Talent and Rapide Gii in the AI.

Kelsall was used to establish some breaks with Talent before his Badminton run, he was a very good boy..however still slightly excited. Rapide Gii had a good run out.

Then it was onto Badminton!!!

The run up to Badminton was not as smooth as one would hope.  With the little runs on the British Eventing calendar and our 5 prep runs turning into 2, we were a little apprehensive driving onto Badminton. Another huge factor was not having James’ father and mother along with us, the two owners of Talent, who have been a huge part of James’ career. A fortnight before Badminton, James’ father John became ill and put into an induced coma, so all of the team and family were in shock and greatly worried about John, John finally woke up a week later a couple of days before Badminton. With John recuperating in hospital we were all bombarding him with news and updates, he is on the mend and will be home soon!

On the Tuesday we were on route to Badminton on the Tuesday, 4 hours later, Talent, James and I had arrived and entered the Port Culis yard. We love this yard as it is away from all of the hustle and bustle of such a huge event, our Team feel Talent relaxes more and enjoys a quieter environment.

On the Wednesday we had trot up at 4.30. Talent and James enjoyed a hack around Badminton, getting Talent settled in and seeing what it was all about. We definitely believe Talent knew exactly where he was and was thrilled to be back!



Trot up was passed and it was onto ‘dreaded dressage’. We were number 50, so it was nice that we had an early morning Friday dressage. We thought it would be nice and quiet early morning and it being Friday Talent may have settled into his work more…maybe not. With his huge character and enthusiastic approach to his work, Talent performed a slightly tense test. However I believe the horse was marked hugely unfair as if a horse does all of his movements correct it shouldn’t be as unrewarding. The judging was a bit up and down also. One judge gave Talent an 8 for a very good change and the other a 4…

However the horrible bit over and done with…onto some fun. THE CROSS COUNTRY. Saturday came a lot quicker than expected and it felt like they were in the start box as soon as we had arrived! Off they went. Talent set off with his cheeky face eager to get to each fence..Pulling James the whole way!! James and Talent had completed their first CCI**** cross country track!! They sailed over the finish line full of running and looking both very pleased with themselves!

Lucie had a rather tricky job getting him back to the stable yard. He was so excited and full of adrenaline that Rob, our ever faithful right hand man had to take over and Lucie took the buggy!

Lucie and Rob then had their jobs to do to prepare and rejuvenate Talent for the next day of competition. However their job was rather easy as Talent true to form was so full of energy and felt so well..we had to end up giving Talent a calmer to get him more focused on the next job in hand. Trot up was passed and onto the show jumping.


Talent and James warmed up so well as a tough cross country course on a very hot day and tacky ground. Watching the pair warm up all of my nerves went away. They were next up and they all came back again, seeing them enter the main arena on the final day gave me such butterflies I couldn’t stand to watch!!

Talent as always with James as his pilot did a foot perfect clear round and the pair are proud owners of their Badminton completion rosette and plaque. Finishing on a double clear was such an exciting time to be a part of Team Sommerville especially when James and his parents have owned the horse since he was 4 years old. A lovely surprised also was James winning the best owner rider combination. A fantastic finish to an amazing week.

Until next time make sure you join TEAM TURMERIC

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