Well it’s so great to have begun the season at last! We started off at Aldon where I had all six horses competing over the weekend… the weather was great and they all certainly loved being out! I had Zara, Indie and Peter in the Novice on the Saturday - Indie was a little excited in her test so didn’t get her best mark, but jumped a great double clear, Pete did a great test of 26 and jumped a really good double clear but I just went slowly xc as it is only his 3rd ever novice, Zara was awesome and won her section on an impressive 24 double clear. Then on the Sunday I had Zip, Brook and Charlie in the OIu21… Brook and Zip were both a little exuberant in their tests to say the least but then both jumped very well! Charlie, who is the youngest and least experience of the three, did did a great test of 30 and followed it up with a super double clear (but only steady xc) to finish 8th. So overall a really great weekend which hopefully gave them all an enjoyable and confident start to the season!
Unfortunately Somerley was cancelled so our next event was Gatcombe. I had a mega busy day with 5 in the the Intermediate and Open Intermediate classes (Brook, Zip, Indie, Carlie & Zara), which was very exciting… and good for my fitness!!! They all did good tests and jumped really well (despite the sticky ground and torrential hail storms), I didn’t run them fast xc due to the conditions… Zip finished 4th and Charlie 9th.
I’ve also had quite a few social events on through March… Mum, Dad and I were kindly invited to Cheltenham for World Hurdle Day thanks to The Jockey club, it was a fantastic day with world class racing… but unfortunately I didn’t have too many winners!!! Mum and I also had a great evening in London last week… we were invited to Claridges for a Country Life reception and also Piccadilly for a Spinal Research charity dinner. It worked out really well that both of the events happened to be on the same night and very close to each other… so we were able to attend both of them!! I also had a very entertaining day filming at home with Ben Hobday for Elite Eventing… it should be released very soon, so like Elite Eventing on Facebook and Twittter and subscribe on Youtube, as a highly amusing video is heading there soon!!
Mum and I also have some REALLY exciting news… we’ve just signed a sponsorship deal with Verdon Grey, the luxury outdoor furniture experts. We are thrilled and very lucky to have them join our team… exciting times ahead!
We leave early tomorrow morning for Belton Horse Trials. We’re going via Ferdi’s for dressage lessons on the way and then start competing on the Friday. It’s a very exciting weekend as I’m doing my first ever CIC3* on Brook – eeeeekkkk!!!! Also Zara and Indie are in the OIu21 Junior Trial and Zippy is in the CIC2*… so everything crossed, I can’t wait!!!
Despite getting drenched through many times, the January road work has gone smoothly! The horses are progressing well with their fitness work, and are now beginning to do a bit of flat work and jumping. During February Emily and I will be going to some BS shows at Summerhouse, Hand and Bicton to get the horses out and about, preparing for the start of the event season. Also dressage lessons with Ferdi Eilberg, and XC schooling if and when the ground dries up (!), are also planned. As the horses work increases their diets gradually change. A nutritionalist from Baileys came and checked the horses and advised on their diets. All the horses were wormed with Equest, and flu/tetanus boosters were given to those needing them.
King Temptress (Tess) is having an elongated holiday due to her tendon injury last summer. She is being a very good nanny to my 4 young homebreds! Liz Brown the team vet will rescan her at the end of February so we can see how the injury is progressing. She may compete this Autumn, but if we have any doubts she will have the whole year off. (May be saving her now with time off, will give her more of a chance of being a Rio contender…??!). Very sadly Cavalier Venture (Chubby) has moved yards and is now being ridden by Francis Whittington. I felt he was too big for me and possibly a male rider would suit him better. The Davies, who own him, asked Francis. Fingers crossed that works out – we all certainly miss him
David and I had a fun ski holiday with friends, and came back in one piece – phew! I had a treat towards the end of January when Mitsubishi, my car sponsor, changed my lovely Outlander for a beautiful new one. I feel guilty putting the haylage and feed, for the outside horses, in the sparkly clean boot!!
All the horses and our two amazing grooms – Lauren Reed and Emma Hartwell are back in work now, preparing for what is hopefully going to be an exciting year! The horses I’m riding this year are:
Mr Hiho (Zippy) – owned by Patsy Mason
Brookleigh (Brook) – owned by Jane Mercer
Miss Indigo (Indie) – owned my Patsy Mason
Charlemagne (Charlie) – owned by Lord Patrick Beresford
Walitze F Vegjard (Zara) – owned by Gabriella Atkinson
Del Piero (Peter) – owned by Gillian Jonas
I’m very lucky to have a great team of horses for this year and a good array of levels, from Peter who’s a 6 year old Novice horse, to Zippy and Brook who are my two top Advanced horses. I’m so grateful to all of my owners who I ride for, as without them none if this would be possibly!
The horses start off with a month of road work (which started on Jan the 1st)… we feel this is really important to do before we start their more strenuous work, as it enables the horses to slowly build up and tighten the muscles which they have’t used for several months. It can seem relentless and not the most thrilling at times, especially when it’s freezing cold and lashing down with rain… but it has to be done!!! This week the horses have started to be schooled and jumped, which they have all thoroughly enjoyed (numerous bucks and squeaks)!! January also consists of a lot of clipping, main and tail pulling and general beautifying done to the horses… as they all come in from their winter holidays looking rather Mammoth like!! In Feb we start going to Ferdi Eilberg for dressage lessons and also start going to showjumping shows – Hand, Summerhouse and Bicton are the venues we compete at the most. I love my showjumping so I really enjoyed Feb and it’s great for the horses to have some pre season competitions which can get them back in a competitive atmosphere before the eventing season starts!