Badminton’s newly re-named Mitsubishi Motors Cup competition (previously The Grassroots Championships) for BE90 and BE100 level riders is probably the highlight of the amateur eventer’s calendar, and to qualify and compete there must be simply awesome (it’s definitely on my bucket list!). Thanks to my new #teamtottie role as their ‘roving riding reporter’ I got to go along on Wednesday and meet up with fellow #teamtottie rider Emma Carvey who was competing in the BE100 class.
Qualifying for the MMCup is not to be sniffed at. For BE100 qualification riders have to be placed in the top 20% in a BE100 section in order to be able to ride at a Regional Final for the chance of qualifying the following Autumn.
Regional Finals are then held between August and October and the top 20% of eligible riders at each Regional Final qualify to compete in the Mitsubishi Motors Cup at Badminton the following Spring.
If you are talented enough to qualify and compete and then end up winning the pay off if pretty sweet! The winners of each MMCup class (BE90 and BE100) receive a new Mitsubishi Shogun to drive for a year, prize money, a trophy, commemorative plaque to keep, plus a load of VIP perks, gear, and advice. I’d say that beats a red rosette and hoof pick any day!
Not wanting to disturb Emma or make her unnecessarily nervous I kept my distance until she had completed all 3 phases (subtly stalking from the sidelines instead!) and then popped along to the lorry park to get a full run down on how her day panned out.
Scoring a respectable dressage of 31.4 the previous day and having watched her cruise over the final XC fences it looked like she was having a great round so I asked her how the rest of her event panned out…
Tell me how the dressage went…
“He was very good, he was settled but parts could have been a bit sharper. Considering his downhill build he did really well”
Has he reacted to the atmosphere of the occasion at all?
“When we first arrived he was quite excited. I rode him out on Monday night and he really did some dance moves out there! He warmed up really really well and when he went in he sort of went a bit heavy, but other than that he was good. His canters were a lot better so we picked up marks there”
How did the show jumping go this morning?
“Show jumping we haven’t had the best start to the season, annoying single poles down, but he went clear, he jumped really well, apart from number 4…I don’t really know what happened, he jumped really well and helped me out. I landed over the last and was like YEAH!!! the whole family was in tears”
This is a real family affair for you, how many people do you have with you?
“I’ve got my mum and dad some friends and the horse’s owners who are also relatives. He’s family owned, bred, reared and ridden so they are all really pleased. He’a half Shire, his mum was a Shire and his dad was a racehorse called Rock City. When I tell people he’s half Shire they look at me like…what???”
What did you think when you first walked round the XC?
“The first time I walked it, I was a bit…Oh!…this could go badly! I felt a bit unprepared because with the wet weather we haven’t had much practice and the course that I did do was very ‘pop a fence, pop a fence’ nothing too technical whereas here I think I counted just 5 let up fences including fence 1 and 2! Everything else was a question. I walked it a second time with more focus, got my lines more sorted. We just had an unlucky run out at a corner. He finished full of running and was hardly puffing at all, and danced all the way back to the lorry”
So what’s next for you two this season?
“Our next aim is to get back up to Novice and then hopefully a 1*. Ben Hobday can go 4* on his Shire so we’ll aim for 1*. My main tactic is to hang on, point in the right direction and hope for the best!”
Without the unlucky glance off at the corner on the XC their competitive score from the other two phases would have put Emma and Rockstar on course for 2nd place! That’s horses for you I guess, you win some you lose some but most importantly everyone goes home safe and sound.
It was lovely to speak to Emma and see the whole family involved in this plucky duo’s Badminton début and I caught a glimpse of some tell tale Tottie’s knee grip breeches in action as they whizzed past!
Wishing you lots of luck for the rest of the season Emma, have fun!