Bob Cotton Bandit – Start to Now…

Bob Cotton Bandit – Start to Now…

It’s time. It’s taken two days of packing to get two lorries ready for the trip (Laura will head straight back to Ireland after the event, so two lorries, whilst a stretch for one horse, really is needed to ensure she and Bandit make the ferry!)

All packed and ready, with Laura’s mum’s two puppies and their family collie, in tow, Bandit made the short trip from their UK home, today – Bramham is finally here.

It’s been a long, and not always straightforward, road for this partnership to get here and, if you’ve followed this week’s blog posts, you’ll have seen the following is true of Laura Birley’s Bob Cotton Bandit:

  • He cost not a lot of money
  • He could barely trot over a series of poles and, at the same time, pick his feet up
  • When he show jumped in competition, he regularly had four fences down, sometimes more
  • The more challenging dressage moves, like rein back (in his case rear), took time and patience to get anything like convincing results
  • He’s not always the dressage judges’ favourite and has to work hard for every point he gets
  • He was (and is still) strong cross country and hard to bit but that’s better because they now read each others’ body language through bitless riding
  • He was difficult to turn, cross country which doubled his bitting challenge
  • He is a sensitive soul who needs to be understood
  • A true gentleman (with just a decent amount of attitude, at points)
  • He has the heart of a lion

Laura’s final training session, yesterday, with Tracy Garside saw her and Bandit running through some dressage moves on a makeshift grass arena at home, with tyres and barrels as markers.

Now safely settled at the event, Bandit has tootled up to the main arena to get a feel, ready for dressage tomorrow. The stables are fabulous, the atmosphere is relaxed and the event staff are on it and helpful.

This weekend Bandit will tackle the biggest challenge that his and Laura’s partnership, together, have seen. They’ve had all the qualifying runs, and more, they’ve had great training, they’ve had great preparation in the lead up to the event and they couldn’t be more ready.

What will be, will be. As long as they come home safe, that’s a real win. Please cheer them on, if you see them out on course.