I am writing my latest post having just returned from the most lovely holiday in Oman where Mark and I had the most luxurious and restful 5 day break. It was a most unusual holiday for us – no self-catering and no hire-cars or hired bikes.
Previously, after Emma and Biscuit’s less than perfect behaviour at Felbridge we went off to Pachesham for a rematch! Although it was very quiet, I cannot recommend this venue more highly. The organisers were so helpful, the courses were very good, and the cafe had delicious and very reasonably priced food. It was great to take E & B somewhere different and it was quite spooky, with mirrors in the warm up and dog agility training next door. They both jumped very well, Emma being 2nd in the Discovery and Biscuit 2nd in the Newcomers. I am very much looking forward to returning for a show here on grass on Good Friday.
On the Saturday, Sophie and I braved the hideous change in the weather to go to the Old Surrey, Burstow & West Kent point to point at Penshurst. What bad luck for hunt as this was the coldest, rainiest day we have had for months. There were lots of runners, but so few punters! I was very glad to have provided a cake so that didn’t feel too guilty about sheltering in the sponsors’ tent. We arrived just in time to see “Behind the Scenes” owned by our neighbour Ric, our lovely vet and family friend Chris Ginnett, Stevie our wonderful farrier and Anna’s godfather Andrew, win the members race. Just in time meaning that we skidded to a halt by the winning post as the horses went out on the 2nd circuit!
Luckily the weather quickly returned to Spring. It has been wonderful riding in such lovely weather. Amazing how quickly one forgets battling down the road wearing 4 or 5 layers. I managed to fit in a great training season with Shane on Ferro between his return from the Met Tour in Valencia and our holiday. My lovely girl friends organised a late birthday lunch a for me on the same day, so Ferro came to the pub too, ate hay and looked at the view and then we scuttled off to Hickstead. She is going so well I am really anxious not to make a mess of things and put her off jumping the bigger classes.
The last show before going away was a Friday at Crofton Manor. It was like being at a show on the continent: beautiful weather, and jumping outside in their huge arena. Emma (Doonaveeragh Emma) and Biscuit (Little Penny) started at 1.05 for the first time, both jumping enthusiastic double clears. Biscuit rolled a pole in the Newcomers and Emma jumped her first lovely double clear. Ferro (Wayfer) just rolled a pole in both the Fox and the 1.25, the latter being a much better round, and much better ridden. Having had a very bad journey down to Portsmouth I went back over the South Downs, what a beautiful journey, just as the sun was setting.
Saturday Mark harrowed the fields erasing the winter’s damage and aerating so hopefully the grass will grow. Sunday was a day for packing and tidying and then off to Heathrow – sadly not Terminal 5, but still a huge adventure, and actually Terminal 3 was better than I remembered.
Oman is a fascinating place. When Sultan Qaboos ousted his father from power in 1970 the country only had 5km of roads and the three schools only offered primary education. There is now free education and university for all, wonderful roads and so much building going on. The Omanis were, naturally enough, very happy with their lot, and very friendly and helpful. The weather was wonderful: hot but with a lovely sea breeze, and the highlight for me was watching hundreds of dolphins feeding just off the coast.
Lovely holiday, but lovely to be home too. Today has been more engergetic than the past 5 put together. All the horses have been very good – no trying to deck me, and I had a lovely ride with my neice Lilac this morning. What a treat to arrive home to find the Ruby’s branch of the Watt family had come to see her, it was nice to come back to a warm, well lit house and a well stocked fridge. A short, but busy week lies ahead. Hopefully all three horses will jump on grass at Pachesham on Good Friday, the stud holes are in, and all we need now is a little bit of rain, not snow, to ensure good ground.