So Nearly There

On April 2, 2013 by Sarah Lewis

Sunset in Antigua

Sunset in Antigua

The timing of our holiday in Antigua was absolutely perfect. I think I had probably been overdoing it at home, and in retrospect can say that I started riding far too early! With my walking stick in hand I got taken to the departure gate at Gatwick and then managed to get fast-tracked through immigration in Antigua, which saved about an hour of standing on the tarmac, although we did have 20 minutes staring at an empty luggage carousel with the other three people with walking sticks. It was certainly the first time that Mark had been absolutely thrilled that I had a broken leg. The Blue Waters resort was beautiful, 20 minutes from the airport on the Carribean side of the island. It boasted beautiful rooms, lovely swimming pools and a warm clean sea. Both staff and guests were so friendly, and after a hard day of sunbathing and swimming there was nothing nicer than catching up over a few rum cocktails.  Having been absolutely miserable with my leg when we arrived, after a week of warm sun and swimming it felt so much better and stronger.

The weather when we arrived back in England was an unpleasant surprise, but thank goodness we came home on Monday as by Tuesday morning we were completely snowed in.  Going down Bell Lane on Wednesday morning on my way to Cheltenham was like a black run complete with mogils.  But I had my usual lovely day with my brother David and the excitement of being in the paddock with the “Not Afraid Partnership’s” young horse Chatterbox, who ran greenly, but very promisingly into 5th place. Of course this was totally eclipsed on Friday when the wonderful Bob’sThe timing of our holiday in Antigua was absolutely perfect. I think I had probably been overdoing it at home, and in retrospect can say that I started riding far too early! With my walking stick in hand I got taken to the departure gate at Gatwick and then managed to get fast-tracked through immigration in Antigua, which saved about an hour of standing on the tarmac, although we did have 20 minutes staring at an empty luggage carousel with the other three people with walking sticks. It was certainly the first time that Mark had been absolutely thrilled that I had a broken leg. The Blue Waters resort was beautiful, 20 minutes from the airport on the Carribean side of the island. It boasted beautiful rooms, lovely swimming pools and a warm clean sea. Both staff and guests were so friendly, and after a hard day of sunbathing and swimming there was nothing nicer than catching up over a few rum cocktails.  Having been absolutely miserable with my leg when we arrived, after a week of warm sun and swimming it felt so much better and stronger.


Thursday brought a gentle return to what passes for real life at Alchornes. Physiotherapy first thing, a lovely lunch with Chloe Breen to inspect Master Douglas Breen and then home to ride for the first time for a fortnight. Luckily although Ferro was ridiculously fresh to hack out, Emma was a good girl in the school and my leg felt OK. Since then it has been full speed ahead with the physio, trying to get more flexibility in my ankle,  trying to get back some of the lost strength in my leg and getting fit. In addition to riding the horses I am trying to swim 1km a day and can now start cycling and going on the cross-trainer. I’m thinking there should be some sort of veteran’s triathlon at the Rio Olympics as I should certainly be fit enough. I have recently started having help from John Harris, a fantastic osteopath in Epsom recommended to me by Brian Cassidy. He deals with a lot of professional sportsmen and women and has given me the confidence to really push myself
Worth won the Gold Cup – the first time I have not been at Cheltenham to watch him. The Not Afraid Partnership and Bob’s Worth encapsulate some of the best aspects of National Hunt Racing. Five friends who bought a very inexpensive horse who has rewarded them beyond their wildest dreams, and who is ridden so beautifully and tactfully by Barry Geraghty – the man who sold him to them. I have watched the replays so many times, and I certainly won’t be absent from the celebratory party!

To this end I have been doing grid work and bounces at home, to make me a bit quicker and stronger in my lower leg, and went and had a lesson on all three horses with Shane yesterday. They all jumped brilliantly and the leg held out really well, so Felbridge on Saturday here we come. I also felt a lot better about having entered for Windsor which seemed like a rather expensive gamble at the beginning of last week. I think the national classes at the  CSI2** at Wales & West are going to be our first big show, followed by Windsor and then probably Bolesworth Castle.

Gridwork with Biscuit

Gridwork with Biscuit