So we all trekked down to Derbyshire, set up our penning for the ponies in the rain, pitched our tents, and at 9am on Thursday we started the first competition.
The day did not go as planned. Nerves and the pressure of the occasion got the better of the team. I didn’t deal with it in the best way possible: I was angry that their attitude had changed, and rather than deal with that by happily getting them to concentrate on having fun and enjoying their day, I basically told them off about their attitude.
That said, if they could’ve managed one more point in the morning session, they would’ve been in the run-off for the championships final.
So we had a break and started the runners up final at 1.30pm. Again we didn’t get off to a great start. I said I’d meet them for a practice at 12.30pm, and they were 25 minutes late. So that got us off to another bad start. The afternoon session went better. They qualified for three finals, and I think they were first in each of those heats. But they seemed to get some bad luck in the finals.
We ended the day 10th in the runners up competition, and 22nd out of 24 overall. They should still be proud of themselves for getting that far: only the second F&D team to do it 10 years. And they beat a lot of teams to get there. Three of them are now too old for juniors, so move into the seniors age group where I hope they do as well.
So now we have to find a way of dealing with the pressure, and putting together a team that really wants to win, and believes they can.