Sophie Toogood qualified at Area 5 competitions for the Open Show Jumping held at Dyfnog on 10th July and surprisingly, (as this is not a specialist discipline for Dillon) Eventing held at Sommerford Park 3rd July 2011. Sophie and Dillon also qualified for the Team Show Jumping along with Manon Owen, Lucy Grindle and Aaron Wilkes. Therefore Sophie and Dillon had competitions at Open level 3 days in a row, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. This lead to an extremely difficult decision and unfortunately due to the hectic schedule at the Championships they pulled out of the middle event = Team Show jumping.

This was the third year in a row Sophie and Dillon have qualified for the Champs at Draycott and we all agreed that the whole event was the Best Ever. The organisation was second to none.

We arrived in plenty of time to settle Dillon on the Friday afternoon and the individual Show Jumping took place on Saturday.

The weather was perfect and the ground was carefully prepared for reasonable going on grass. The first round was a long course with a wide variety of obstacles which only allowed half of the 57 strong field through with a clear. The 2nd round was significantly more challenging. As a result only 4 went through to the final with a double clear. Amazingly Sophie and Dillon were the first of the 4.

There was a fairly long wait for the shortened jump off course to be prepared. Sophie and Dillon were drawn 2nd in the jump off. The first horse had a problematical round as one of the jumps was not numbered properly. This lead to a long wait for a decision leaving Dillon to wait longer. The first jump in the jump off was a 4’3” triple bar, Dillon was a little shocked at the sight and stopped shooting Sophie out of the saddle!!!!! She remounted and completed the round, alas incurring 23 faults (time faults included!) This ended with them coming 4th! Fantastic result, but so near!!!

Monday started the Event with Dressage in 20 x 60 arena. First challenge was to remember the test!! Phew they did!! And Dillon must have recognised the seriousness of the occasion and behaved impeccably! Dressage score 35.58.

The weather over the weekend had been beautiful which meant that the Show Jumping arena had become very firm! Dillon had learnt a lesson from Saturday’s jump off and thankfully jumped a clear round.

We had 1.5 hours to get mentally ready to jump the cross country, which having walked twice the day before resulted in buying a Point Two Air Jacket (cheaper than a funeral!!)

The start box seemed to go on for ever but when Dillon started he flew. The jumps were the most technical we had ever seen, with more skinny’s than a Weight Watchers night out!!  Before we knew it they had gone clear. We were thrilled with the round and then just had to wait for the results.

3 Hours later the scores had been calculated and Sophie and Dillon were pipped into 2nd place in their section by the 2nd to last rider and by 1 penalty point. Still we were all amazed how they had done at this level.

The presentation ceremony was a long and drawn out affair but it was a treat to be part of it representing Flintand Denbigh.