The start of the 2016 season certainly wasn’t ideal – losing lots of events to the weather all across the country. Given that I missed planned ‘runs’ early on it feels like the season is only really getting started in May / June time! Having said all that – we’ve put the disturbances behind us and are now firing on all cylinders.
Livingstone won the u21 national Championship at Houghton a few weeks back. He’s very established now at 2* level and it wasn’t really on my original plans at the beginning of the year but a bad run in deep mud in Belgium meant we needed to hold fire a bit + have a nice confident run. He was seriously impressive all week, leading right from the start and finishing on his dressage score. My main aim for him this year is to be selected for the Young Rider Europeans again, held in Italy at the end of September. No British rider has ever won back to back individual titles at young rider level so we are really setting the bar high!
Adele 97 has come on so much this Spring and is really starting to strengthen her core muscles. She had done a few 1* in Germany before she came to me but was very weak and wasn’t use to my way of going. She is a phenomenal jumper but there wasn’t really any gears and a bit dead off the leg. There’s still a long way to go with her but she’s made huge strides forward going clear XC round her first CCI2* after just 2 intermediate runs! This Autumn will be one of consolidation for her; she is still only 8 so there’s no rush. Watch out for this one though because she will be seriously special one day!
I’m lucky enough to have another advanced ride in Collien P 2 – another grey mare!! We headed off to Houghton to do the 1* for qualification after only having about 10 days. Our second XC school was over the warm up fences the day before XC day – not recommended at all. Although it didn’t cause problems, she made the track feel ridiculously easy and was in the lead going into show jumping. Unfortunately there’s a bit of work needed in this phase so she had a couple of rails down but an incredibly exciting first run and I’m now looking forward to the rest of the season to develop more of a partnership.
The younger horses have come on really nicely too. Elstar has made a super transition up to Novice this year, winning last time out after 3 consecutive 2nd places earlier in the year. She still hasn’t had a dressage score below 29 and is a bit of a dressage diva! Esprit has also bagged a couple of good placings too with a 2nd place at BCA. They will both be aimed for their first 1*s this Autumn. I have started both of their Eventing Careers and it’s very rewarding to see them progress as well as they have done.
I’m very fortunate to have some great supporters, whom without I simply wouldn’t be able to do what I do so I am very grateful for the support that Feedmark give me. The quality nutrients, vitamins and other food groups mean that my horses can perform at their very best. In a sport where 0.1 can be the difference between winning and losing, every small detail is crucial. Small changes to the horses’ diet has enabled me to maximise their potentially and hopefully leading to successful results! It was great to meet up with the Team at Badminton, where I was doing the ‘Guinea Pig’ test. They can offer really professional advice and always have great deals on. Make sure you check the website to which shows they’re at and don’t forget to pay a visit!!