There were rain showers on and off all day, so the ground was starting to get cut up, but it was still ok as I headed off for my test. Then the real rain came! Squirrel produced a lovely test during a short break in the rain, and although we scored 35, he was still 4th in a competitive section.
The rain continued to pour as we headed down to our showjumping and by the time we got there to warm up late in the afternoon, there were only 3 people in the warm up as everyone else had withdrawn. After jumping some very small warm up fences in a bog, we decided to brave it and go in, but round a big track that hadn't been jumping well before the worst of the weather, a clear was very unlikely!
Squirrel tried his heart out but, like many other riders I spoke to, I found he just couldn't make the distances. Because it had been sunny, then raining, then sunny, the ground had gone like glue, but was also slippery. Having said that, he was jumping exceptionally well, with just one down by the time we got to a triple near the end of the course.
I saw a stride and kicked for it 3 out, but got no response as he just couldn't extend quick enough and ended up on a perfect half stride. Poor Squirrel took the pole of the first part with him and had absolutely no chance of jumping the second part. I just quietly patted him and came round again, saw a good shot, but he slipped taking off and the same thing happened again. I had to make a decision whether to try again or not but I knew if I could get him cleanly over the first part, he would have no problem jumping through, which luckily at the third attempt, he did very nicely.
We finished the course with just one more down, which, under the circumstances we were very pleased with and I was delighted with his bravery and honesty in tough conditions. We decided with limited intermediate experience, it was best not to run XC, despite the lovely track, it was not worth the risk. A few very brave people battled the elements and had good XC rounds, but soon after the event was abandoned.
There was nothing more the organisers could have done to prepare for this sort of weather, and it is a real shame for them to have to abandon Monday as well.
Only 13 people finished the OIU21 section, out of 36 starters, so we were not disheartened by our result. But saying that, you can't help but think what might have been had we been earlier in the day :(