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The Scottish Equestrian Vaulting Team travelled to Sweden to compete in a CVI** international vaulting competition on 31 August 1 and 2 September. The team was Philip Beasley, Ann Rogerson, Amy Panter, Gemma Hope, Mandy Rawlinson, Joanne Eccles, Louise Smith, Lucy Phillips and Heidi Johnston with Jenni Dailly, Ruth Morris and Jim Pate as travelling reserves. Rebecca Morgan was their lunger and Jenny Leggate was chef d’equipe.

Jenny, Helen Rogerson and Paul Hope drove the horsebox with Rebecca and Daniel Mackay acting as navigators. The journey took them via England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark and across the bridge into Sweden. They took 4 nights to complete the journey with stops at Dover, in Holland and in Denmark. The second stop in Holland was a new education for us all. Pip and Eric (the owners) who turned out to be the most useful people on our trip show Arabs for a living. Knowing nothing about this sport we were given a full story of what goes on and shown some interesting videos, in return we tried to explain to them about vaulting. They couldn`t believe that somebody did a stranger sport than them!! We took a trip in to town in the afternoon because Daniel had somehow squashed his glasses and so we needed them fixed, the little man in the shop was very kind and mended them for nothing, This made Daniel’s day cause he thought it would cost him a fortune.

We had planned to do a long ferry crossing from Germany to Sweden, when Pip asked us where we were going she advised us to go a quicker route with a short ferry crossing and then to drive across the bridge to Sweden. She then took to organising this part of our trip.

The journey to Denmark did not take as long as we had planned and when it was Paul’s turn to drive (he only drove 50yds) it was decided that we would all stop and sleep because otherwise we would be arriving in Denmark at about 4am which we decided wasn’t very sociable!!! Fred was given half the lorry to travel in - he travelled really well loose and so he could have a sleep to.

On arriving in Denmark we all decided we needed some exercise. We found a rounders bat and a tennis ball and tried to play a game with only 5 people, not easy!! Paul pulled a hamstring in his first run round. Helen hit the ball in the bushes everytime. We couldn`t catch the ball for laughing at Jenny. Becca and Daniel made up the rules as they went along and kept getting people out with the spare ball!!

We arrived in Malmo on the Thursday morning in bright sunshine, which cheered up Jenny as she was convinced it was going to be like Rome and rain all week!!

We settled Fred into his stable and sat down for lunch. Poor Helen took a bite of her jam sandwich and duly chewed a wasp, her face started to swell but luckily first aider Jenny was on hand to save the day.

Fred was then put through his paces in the afternoon by a very reluctant Daniel, he was soon joined by Lucy and we got a space in the competition arena. This was good for everybody, the surface was great and the arena had plenty space.

We happily put Fred to bed and set off to see what the chef (Paul, he is a very good cook) had put together for tea. He fed a lot of people over the weekend and did a great job.

The vaulters were arriving at 10pm that evening so Liz and Bill Phillips and Paul set off to collect the bus and cars. Paul got to the airport and realised he`d forgotten his driving licence and passport so they had to do a quick trip back to collect the vital material.

As this was going on Fred was discovered to of been stung by an insect. He was very aggitated and very quickly this developed in a serious problem. His mouth became very swollen and he had lumps on his body. The vet was called and it was decided that the only viable solution was a cortisone injection and to hose him all over his body to keep him cool. The team of Jenny, Helen and Paul did an amazing job through the night of keeping him cool and by the morning he was back to normal.

Fred was presented at the vetting and was passed fit to compete.

Jenny went to the chef d’équipes’ meeting after the vetting and, following discussion, the judges and other competing countries unanimously agreed to allow Scotland to compete HC, it was decided that the team would compete first each day and receive scores but not being part of the final results.

Saturday mornings compulsories were due to start at 8.30am which led to an early start for everybody. House parent Avril did well to get the team up and ready so early.

The compulsories went well and everybody came out in a positive mood for the freestyle.

During lunchtime on the Saturday there was an opening ceremony, the team looked very smart (well done Avril) and although getting very hot even managed to take there tracksuit tops off as a team!!!!!

We were the first team on after the opening ceremony and the stands were much busier than in the morning, the team performed a foot perfect freestyle with not one splat. It could not of gone better and many people commented on how good it was, we felt very sorry for the teams that followed.

Philip was also vaulting as an individual and due to Fred’s dramas was kindly lent a Swedish horse by Johnny Fisbaek. Johnny was very busy lungeing throughout the weekend so it was decided Jenny Leggate was to lunge. Garbo was an interesting character and Jenny had to try and adapt to a different way of lungeing as well as Philip vaulting on a completely strange horse. The combination managed well on the first day and he was lying in 4th position.

That night was the party and Scots put on their kilts (provided by Jane Eccles) and proudly stood up centre stage and put on a great Scottish dancing performance. The party got going and soon everybody was on the dance floor, the only incident being when Phil went break dancing and managed to land on his face and get carpet burn on his lip!!

The Sunday morning was not such an early start with the individuals performing first, Garbo decided he was in control not Jenny and Phil managed well to get through his compulsories.

The team were again first on and put in another set of good compulsories, the worst disaster this day was poor Bill Phillips having his car broken into in a secure car park the windows were smashed and the radio had been stolen. He managed to arrive at the competition arena in time to hear the run out music.

Phil survived his freestyle in difficult circumstances and Jenny did well to stick with the horse even when he wasn’t playing her game. Phil finished in 7th place with an overall score of 7.026.

The team went into the second round determined to show that the first was no fluke, this they did with the only minor mishap being when Phil was so keen for Joey to fly in her dismount that he flew to and they both landed on the floor. This apart they overall had performed better than ever and considering they had not competed at a competition since the British Championships last year there hard work through a very difficult year definitely paid off.

The final score of 6.739 which is the highest score ever achieved by a British team in international competition was a credit to everybody involved. They received a second round score of over 7 from Jochen Schillfarth and scored two 8’s for freestyle! This score would have put them into 5th position.

SEVT thoroughly enjoyed their trip to Sweden a special thanks should go to Axel Welin the organiser who through thick and thin helped us to be allowed to compete. Jenny Leggate was also wonderful throughout she kindly allowed the wagon to travel many miles to Sweden and also is the owner of Fred who showed everybody that he is a true team horse.

The vaulters all arrived home on the Monday with the lorry only a day behind, Fred went out into the field looking as if he’d never been away.

The teams aim now is the British Championships where we sadly lose Phil as a team member, and then Saumur at Easter, a British CVI in June and hopefully one other before there main aim for next year the World Equestrian Games in Jerez.

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