With far from ideal preparation (Arnie had a dose of cellulitis just 2 weeks before the championships), Arnie and Louisa strutted their stuff right onto the podium at the PetPlan Equine Championships at Hartpury in April.
Louisa takes up the story of this amazing pair:
“I actually do not know what to say other than WOW – my pony is just amazing! We came 3rd in the Intermediate 2 PetPlan Area Festival Championships at Hartpury!
We had a really good start to the year achieving some excellent results, so our plan was working really well and Arnie was feeling great. Then, two weeks before Hartpury, Arnie had a huge puffy leg which was filling in front of us! He couldn’t walk and was so unhappy. The vet came and said it looked like cellulitis and immediately started him on antibiotics. The following day Arnie was looking better and was walking more easily. However, on day three Arnie was back to square one again and was in so much pain. Another vet call-out and they switched antibiotics. Arnie was also dosed up on Pro-Equine’s Colikare as, when he’s stressed/in pain, his tummy becomes uncomfortable. His leg was becoming more concerning as we hadn’t got on top of the infection and because if we had any hope of going to Hartpury then we had to be ‘clean’. We are fully aware of the FEI anti-doping rules and I was annoying my vets a lot and phoning the BEF daily to check what we could and could not give him. The following week Arnie was improving and I started working him again. A week since it happened you wouldn’t know he had been unwell. After another quick call to the BEF and they confirmed he was good to go, so we started planning and packing.
We arrived at Hartpury the night before so we could do the arena walk in the morning and Arnie was feeling great. We also got to meet up with Catherine from Pro-Equine who gave us some amazing presents including a gorgeous exercise blanket that we got to wear in the arena walk the following morning! So, a nice early start on the Saturday and we were focused and with our game head on. Arnie was great in the arena walk so we plaited him up and managed to turn him from carthorse to dressage a horse within a few hours! Then we were good to go. Our warm-up was good but possibly a little too keen. When we went in the arena, he was totally with me. It felt like we were riding down the centre line at the Olympics. That feeling was incredible, Arnie so in tune with me. We did a beautiful test, getting a 9(!) for an extended trot and 7.5’s for our one-time changes. Feeding Arnie Pro-Equine’s Activgait has helped so much to keep Arnie supple and able to do this level of work. At 14 he looks and feels great. Our score was just 0.3% behind second place, and both the first and second combinations had competed internationally, so we held our own and to come third was amazing. Plus we got to have our prize-giving in the main arena! Now for a few quiet weeks before we do some more Inter 2 tests and head off to Somerford Premier League in May!