Sweden Day 3

The Swedish field course was bags of fun, albeit very hard work!  My horse decided that Adam and I would probably enjoy a bit more of a challenging ride and so as I set off he went about 10m then suddenly stopped, half-reared, spun around and started to go the other way.  He nearly had me off and it took me over a minute to get him to go.  This meant that I lost 40 points in time penalties.  Since I only scored about 10, this did not add up to a good score!  The second time around I got him to go and scored a tolerable 17 points: far off the lead but not the worst score.  On Adam’s turn the horse did the same thing again, this time pitching Adam off.  Adam gamely remounted and with a little help got going and equalled my 17.  Each of us was awarded a rerun (as was Anders, who had jumped out of the track, and Sissela, whose quiver broke as she set off).  This precedent was set in Grunwald, where those whose horses were excessively badly behaved were granted a rerun for Grand Prix purposes but not for the  individual event.  Since one cause of our horse’s bother was that he hated leaving the crowd, Anders rode the track in front in front of Adam and then Anders and I did our reruns together, me following him and each of us being careful not to shoot the other as we roof around the broadly circular track.  Quite apart from being much easier than forcing the horse the whole way, this was great fun and siding to look at in future.  Claire and Chris needed no such help and both returned good scores, especially Claire, who finished 6th overall and 5th among the Grand Prix competitors (behind all 4 Poles, naturally).

The team rankings were the same as for every other event this weekend: Poland, GB Sweden, Finland.  I’ve not done the complete calculation but from what I can see this result would probably have been the same without the reruns (although as I say, that was a rule that we agreed in Poland, not something done just here).

Time now for a quick mention of something that happened a couple of days ago.  At the first dinner the topic of fencing came up.  It turned out that somebody had brought along a few heavy fibreglass practice broadswords.  Cue a selection of impromptu sword fights, culminating in a beautiful final bout between me (who fenced foil and and a bit of sport of sport sabre at school) and Szczepan, who fences traditional sabre (bigger and hachure than the light, flexible sport ones).  Then cue much furious retreating and the occasional lunge from me, trying to fend foil with a heavy broadsword!  This was glorious fun that left us both yearning for our own swords.  Next time, Szczepan 🙂

I would like to express my utmost thanks (and, I am sure, the thanks of everybody else) to Anders and Maria for hosting a superb event as well as offering wonderful hospitality (it was quite sad packing up the converted hay loft where we had been staying – it had become quite homely) and cooking wonderful meals for everybody on to of competing and judging.  The whole family deserves a good pat on the back followed by a week’s rest!  Thanks also to TetraPak, who very kindly provided over 150 cartons of drinking water, which were particularly welcome in the burning sun over the last couple of days.

The current GP rankings after two stages are therefore as follows:
POL: 175
GBR: 135
SWE:  110
FIN:  40

To my fellow competitors, thank you all for your company and I hope to see you all very soon in some part of the world or other.

Roll on Stage 3 in Britain on September 20-21!

Sweden Day 2

I am sitting here having eaten slightly too much of the excellent salad for dinner (saying nothing of the 3 or 4 kebab skewers, few dozen potatoes and 5 marshmallows – mmmm, barbecue…) and

I got that far before Maria came out carrying a traditional Swedish meringue-like dessert and strawberries.  Life just isn’t fair.

Anyway, now I’m really weird she, so let me tell you about today.  This morning we did the Hungarian style and GB once again pulled ahead of Sweden, by a comfortable margin.  Not as comfortable as Poland’s winning margin, of course, but that is to be expected.  On a personal note, I was very happy to finish third in the Hungarian, beaten only by Wojtek and Michal (Piasek) from Poland. 

In the afternoon we finished the Turkish style and Claire carried on the GB run of making every pick up.  Unfortunately Adam missed a couple, but made up for it with some fast riding (somehow any horse he did on well run 2s faster than for anybody else!) and a nice hit on the rotating target.  In the end GB again breast Sweden and only missed out on first place by 10 points, the closest anybody has come to the Poles all competition.

All of this was done in blazing sunshine, leading to sun interesting tan lines to come, I suspect.  Afterwards I had my first wash off the weekend, using a bucket of water fresh from the well.  Chilly at the time but wonderfully refreshing…  We have now set out the 500m Swedish field course, which is basically the same as a Polish course: long course with a variety of different shots.  We will do that tomorrow, trying to finish in time to make it to the airport in time for our flight!  I have my doubts about persuading my horse to canter the whole way.  Claire is swapping horses for this event, to accommodate another competitor who is having some trouble with her horse (and Claire is generally recognised to be one of the better riders around, able to cope with just about anything).

There may not be a post tomorrow, as I suspect we may be rushing to get to the airport.  If not then final results will follow in a day or two.  It’s feeling quite weird that I’m in court in 36 hours’ time, with a day’s competition in the meantime!

European Grand Prix Stage 2: Sweden. Day 1.

The second stage of three European Grand Prix is underway!  Claire and I left or house at 0430 yesterday (thank you to Claire’s parents for coming over that early to babysit so we could catch the early flight!).  We meet Chris and Adam at Copenhagen and then took the bus and train to get to Anders’ farm, where we have been made extremely welcome and are being beautifully looked after.
I won’t go into the details of the Grand Prix, as I have done so before.  Nor will I be posting much today, on account of being knackered!  Yesterday we tried our horses in the pouring rain but today the weather has been fine while we did the Korean event and then the first two groups did the Turkish style.  This consists of picking up a blunt arrow that is held upright on the track, then shot that arrow at the qabaq before drawing another blunt to shoot a small revolving target.  This is a terrifically fun event.  Bloody difficult (unless you’re Michal Piasek: he makes it look ridiculously easy).
The team scores haven’t been announced but as we stand it’s definitely Poland winning (again) and Finland 4th (Tero is doing very well but on his own even he can’t beat a team of 4!).  GB v Sweden is too close to call for 2nd/3rd.  Details to follow.  After dinner…

Korean results:
1: Poland
2: Sweden
3: GB
4: Finland

Including the site from Poland, GB and Sweden are tied for second on 70 points each, with Poland on 100 and Finland 10.