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My Yorkshire weekend with James Somerville

PUBLISHED: 00:16 26 December 2010 | UPDATED: 18:21 20 February 2013

My Yorkshire weekend with James Somerville

My Yorkshire weekend with James Somerville

Young three-day eventing talent James Sommerville tells us why he likes to saddle-up every weekend

Young three-day eventing talent James Sommerville tells us why he likes to saddle-up every weekend



Eventing is my career and my passion, which means my perfect weekend is a working one. Yorkshire is home to my two favorite events, Bramham International in June and Allerton Park Horse Trails in September. The estates they are on provide stunning parkland settings against a back-drop of gorgeous country houses.
I competed at Bramham for the first time in 2010 on Pipe Band (Maisie - a first-timer too), a chestnut mare owned by Sarah Higgins. As I walked the cross country course on the evening before the competition began, I realised the daunting test that lay ahead of us.
On Thursday, as planned, I rode first thing to stretch Maisie's legs and get her relaxed before our dressage test. Then Nicola Rooke, who was grooming for me, got Maisie ready while I got into my top hat and tails.
Unfortunately, the test didn't go entirely to plan as some tension had crept in and we made one or two mistakes. I still felt positive as I prepared for the competitors' cocktail party though, which is always good at Bramham.
I walked the course again on Friday, planning which routes to take in our round, and exercised Maisie for the showjumping and cross country the following day.
Maisie felt fantastic during warm-up for the showjumping on Saturday, so I couldn't wait to get in the arena. The big atmosphere was slightly distracting for her though and we had two rails down, which was disappointing.
With the cross country already underway, I went out to look at the course with the added benefit of seeing other horses and riders jumping it. This was massively helpful as I learnt what was causing problems and how best to approach some of the huge fences.
And so the time had come. I tore myself away from the fantastic sport on course and headed back to get ready. Riding gear on, horse ready and final checks done we headed to the warm up. Maisie felt a bit too relaxed, which was a little worrying, but she flew round the course making it look and feel easy, clocking up a clear round with just a few time faults. At 22, this was a dream realised.
My role on Sunday was a supporting one. My girlfriend, Jolyse Clancey, was competing in her final phase, the showjumping. After that, we had the rest of the day to relax, watch some great sport, admire some fantastic horses and spend too much money in the huge trade village at this spectacular Yorkshire event.
Then all that was left for us to do was pack up and go our local pub, The Punch Bowl in Marton-cum-Grafton, where we sat in front of a roaring fire with our parents and shared our stories of a most satisfying weekend.

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