January 19, 2016

Hungerford, England
January 19, 2016

Hello everyone and Happy New Year. With ice on the roads and the arena frozen solid, I find myself unable to ride the horses this morning, but at least I finally have time to write my blog!

The end of 2015 flew by and the 2016 season is nearly upon us. The winter is supposed to bring with it a more relaxed schedule and a bit of down time, but for us we’re full speed ahead. I did manage to get home for Thanksgiving which was a nice chance to catch up with friends and family but of course it was too short and there were so many people I didn’t get the chance to see. As much as I enjoyed going home, we have some big plans for the three grays this year, Sambuca, Halo, and Finn, and I was keen to get back to them. All three missed the end of last season due to injury or just plain bad luck, so we’re aiming to head down to Portugal for the CIC’s and CCI’s at the end of February and try to hit the ground running. Eventing doesn’t start in the UK until March/April, so we want to get a jump-start on things, and maybe thaw ourselves out for two weeks in the sunshine.

Halo (Aloha) has improved enormously since we got him last summer, and the winter has given me a chance to get to know him better. I was hoping to take him to Ballendenisk CIC3* then onto Boekelo CCI3* last year, but at an intermediate horse trials the week before leaving for Ballendenisk he had a very unlucky fall in the water on cross country. To add insult to injury, he was leading the division after doing a 28 dressage and a nice clear show jumping. Fortunately we walked away with only his knees badly scraped up and some very spectacular photos, but it did mean time off for his cuts to heal, and it put an end to his autumn campaign. He will do the CIC3* down in Portugal and I’m looking forward to picking things up where we left off last year.

Sambuca is back in full swing after nearly two years, and it has taken a lot of patience to give her all this time to heal. We have taken a very conservative schedule with bringing her back, and hopefully our patience will be rewarded. She was still a new horse to me when she had her accident, so now after all this time, I am finally getting the chance to get to know her, take lessons on her, and start to move forward. She is the most spectacularly beautiful mare and it’s wonderful to finally be making progress with her. She is definitely an exciting horse to have back out this year, starting with the CCI2* in Portugal.

Finn, like Halo, was on track for a big autumn event when two weeks before Blenheim he somehow managed to fracture a splint bone! He was of course feeling and going fantastically and right on form for a great result, but instead of Blenheim, we made the trip to Newmarket for splint surgery! Not really a fair trade I don’t think. He is back in full work now and ready to once again stage his comeback. He is also on the road to Portugal with the other two greys and, lord help us, we’ll definitely need to pack lots of purple shampoo to keep the three of them clean!!

Cavalier Crystal (CC) gave me a great year last year and it is with great sadness that I write that she has been sold. Only getting the ride last April, we achieved every goal that both Liz Williams and I set out to achieve. We qualified for Burghley Young Event Horse final at Gatcombe which was a great achievement in itself, and then she went on to win the final which was truly amazing. She also qualified for Osberton 5 year old Championships and did her first Novice, feeling like an old pro and finishing 3rd. She is one of the most promising young horses I have had the pleasure of working with and most of all, unlike all my other young horses that are bought for the business of being sold, CC was going to be a keeper, and I had allowed myself to make dreams and plan her future beyond Novice. It is the first time since getting Finn as a youngster that I could aim for the stars, and although I wish them the best of luck, it will be bittersweet to watch her go on to greatness from the sidelines.

Rupert was amazing at the Burghley Young Event horse 4 year old final. Having only had a couple of outings (one being the qualifier at Burgham) he was so good in the big atmosphere at Burghley and although green, he was well behaved and performed brilliantly. After a bit of time this winter growing up further in the field, Rupert is now getting busy aiming for 5 year old classes.

We also have a new addition to the yard in a lovely little 3 year old (now 4) mare called Hanna. She is a beautiful mover and has a super jump, and is so intelligent it’s almost frightening! I backed her in December which took all of a few days, and after having Christmas holidays off she’s starting work again….watch this space!

Thanks to my owners and sponsors. Without their help I could not continue what I am doing. Here’s to a successful year.