So the last few months have been super hectic with work, learning to drive the lorry and competing Merlin. In October we headed up to the west coast of Scotland to content the Area Festival Semi Finals. Merlin had never been to a stay away show before, or a major championship venue like Morris before. We went with my friend Stevie and her super cob Harvey as Merlin likes company in the lorry and stable. Stevie had qualified too so it saved taking two lorries. I still couldn’t drive myself at this point so my other friend Pauline very kindly drove the 400 mile round trip for us.

We were entered in the Prelim first in the outdoor. I was watching the weather forecast carefully as it was supposed to rain all day, but I hit on very lucky and managed to avoid getting wet. Despite being super chilled in the arena walk early morning, and in the warm up, Merlin went into the test arena and definitely woke up. It’s the most lively he’s ever been in a test and I had to really ride him. I thought the test was a bit of a disaster to be honest but everyone watching said he looked amazing – watching the video back I had to agree. Being lively had made him super expressive and he managed to score 67% for 2nd place and a National Final qualification spot.

His Novice test was in the indoor. He was absolutely fantastic, coped really well with the atmosphere and produced one of his best Novice tests yet. I was a little disappointed with his score of 66% but it was a low scoring class and he managed to come 5th overall. It meant we didn’t qualify for the nationals but for his first season at BD I was over the moon with him.

We have also been out and about qualifying for the Winter Regionals. Merlin has managed qualification at Prelim and Novice and we’re now working on moving him up to Elementary ready for the new year. Plans for next year are to go to the regionals and then qualify for the Area Festival at Novice Music and Elementary. The big aim is to be doing Medium by the Summer, but if it doesn’t happen it’s not the end of the world.

I’ve also been having HGV lessons so I can finally drive my own lorry. I’ve been having them at Tyne and Wear LGV in Gateshead, who have been amazing with me. I managed to actually pass my test first time on Friday so I was super happy. We’ve now officially got wheels!