Sitting on the bench

September 15, 2013

Since last I wrote, my little piece of the world has been agonizingly quiet, that is until I took a sharp left turn, and I now find myself once again stretching daylight hours. That is of course the only way I’m happy. Sitting on the bench is never good for my psyche. Aachen was a hugely successful trip, and I came home, proud, energized, and feeling atop the world. We even got our picture on the cover of The Chronicle of the Horse. When I saw it, I had a momentary thought of “this is my biggest achievement yet”, but then I told myself that was shallow, and to put the Olympics back in top spot. But it’s a close second, definitely! Unfortunately, I also brought home a few injuries with me. Mercifully, they were all my own, and Finn came home in great shape, but nonetheless, I was benched. For Finn that meant we have taken an easier plan for this autumn, and for the first time since he was a six year old, he’s getting to have a season without a three-day event. I am pleased that this is a good opportunity for us to regroup, buckle down, strengthen our weaknesses, and get all our affairs in order for next year, but sitting back and watching Burghley, Blenheim, and the likes go on without us has been trying to say the least.

What does a competitor do when they can’t compete? Turn their world upside down apparently. Although I’m still based at Chescombe Farm, I have taken on a separate yard, and am setting up on my own. It’s an evolution that was inevitable, and I suppose now is as good a time as any. So from sitting, glued to my computer, studying what makes Michael, Andrew, and Jock so consistently good and how one can better them, I’ve been dislodged to go dig trenches, pressure wash, cobweb, and clean up “I don’t even want to know” mystery items. I have lots of plans to do up the tack room and grooming area, but first I need to fill those freshly done stables, which is together a stress and an opportunity. Thanks to the recommendation and efforts of a few friends, I’ve had a thoroughbred straight out of race training sent to me. It is very early days, but she’s settling in well and has a certain resemblance to Clifton Promise. Who knows?.. Seems like a good place to start! I’ve also gotten a 4 year old mare that is wise beyond her one month under saddle. She moves, she jumps, and today she even had a canter around Badminton Estate. Maybe she’ll be competing there in 5 years. Again, who knows?.. I do love the dream and endless possibilities of young horses. Finn started from just that! Hopefully I can soon have a few more empty stables filled and this whole thing will take off rather than wash away in the winter floods. There’s no better motivator than necessity.