Amber O’Neill update

This has been a summer of mixed fortunes for us despite the glorious weather. After our win at Sandringham National my family and I went to Mallorca for our first holiday in 8 years. This meant we had to miss Catton National but we had a lovely relaxing week of sun and sand while Jasper had a week of just chilling in the field.On our return we headed off to Lyvers Farm for an ODE where we enjoyed yet more wonderful weather and celebrated a win in Open Pony after having the best marathon and overall score at the event. It was very odd squeezing all three phases into one day after a couple of years of national events but it proved my memory is still capable! I have had some great driving here at home with Jasper during August gearing up for the Junior National Championships. Unfortunately at the last minute we had to pull out as the event is being held in York (around a 7 hour journey) and our Land Rover was deemed likely to not make it! We instead decided to enter Windsor Park Regional which was being held at the same weekend and was crucially only an hour away from home. After a win in the dressage and a clear in the cones Jasper and I had nearly a 40 penalty lead heading into the marathon.

Jasper was going really well and maintaining a good pace for the 16km marathon until we were about a 1km into Section E when my Mum (on the back-step) noticed my front wheel was falling off! I managed to pull Jasper up just before it came off completely and we unhitched and moved to the side of the track. Unfortunately our incident occurred right next to a pig farm so Jasper was a bit freaked out. I was forced to abandon the carriage out on the marathon and lead Jasper home. Thank you to the stewards who brought my carriage back. Having to retire was extremely disappointing as we were on track to not only win the event but the Intermediate Pony Driver of the Year Points league as well. It turned out to be because the bearing sheared off so I am actually very grateful that it came off when it did and not in an obstacle at speed as it could have caused a serious accident. We are all unhurt and very grateful we didn’t drive all the way to York instead! I have been very kindly lent Margaret Henstocks carriage while I wait for the parts to arrive from Poland to fix mine, and hopefully they will arrive before the British Carriage Driving National Championships which are next weekend!

Jasper is well and probably wishing it was less hot so there were fewer flies around. I go back to university in a few weeks and I am really excited about seeing my friends again. Thank you for your continued support. Amber and Jasper

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