I cannot believe it’s already the middle of October, 1151 successful kilometres ridden this season, but where has the time gone! I’ve been very fortunate to ride some very special horses this year; Elayla, Burfield Goodie Two Shoes, Penhwnllys Samala De Mons and Nahzira bint Chantanz. They all had very different goals this year, but they have all been achieved, and then some.
Burfield Goodie Two Shoes, has defied all odds and is qualified for the 2017 World endurance championships for young riders in Italy, after completing her two CEI 2** 120km rides, with a 1st at Kings Forest and 8th at Euston Park. She has also had good placing’s/grading’s in all of her other competitions this season, including her first ever Red Dragon experience, where she was 8th in the Little Dragon 80km class.
Layla’s season plan has been the most difficult this year, at times it felt like every ride I entered was cancelled/changed! But she had a brilliant run at Royal Windsor CEI 2** 120km, where she placed 22nd, the 3rd GB combination home and I was the first young rider home. Layla also went on to win the 80km National race at Kings Forest in the summer, she led from the start and it was one of those races, where everything seems to go to plan – and this doesn’t happen often! Layla has also been instrumental in taking my young horses out this season, she is a brilliant confidence giver and has gained the top grading, even though she thought it was boring being a nanny!
Nahzira bint Chatanz has been with us since she was 6 months old, but it is still daunting when you enter their first ever endurance ride. I had no need to worry because Izzy has taken her three novice rides in her stride, and the atmosphere did not bother her in the slightest. She has now upgraded to open level for 2017, and has her first 40km qualifier under her belt, to start her pathway to FEI.
I am very fortunate to have the ride of Penhwnllys Samala De Mons, a mare who I backed at three years old and has subsequently returned to me to complete her first few longer rides. Marley has a lot of potential, and her owner was keen for her to fulfil this, so we started her on the FEI ladder after completing her last 80km qualifier. She was 2nd in the CEI 1* at Kings Forest, and this was a great start to her FEI career. Unfortunately, the CEI 2* we had aimed for was cancelled, so we will have to wait till 2017 to obtain her next qualification.
I could not ask any more from my horses, but I equally could not achieve what I have without my support team and sponsors. Every one of my horses benefits from a diet aided by Feedmark supplements, and it is instrumental in their performance.
So, whilst I watch the horses grazing in the field, on their winter breaks, my thoughts turn the 2017 season. Now I will never make ‘plans’, horses know about ‘plans’! But there is no harm in looking at the competition calendar…