It has finally stopped raining and my spirits have instantly lifted, and my energy and enthusiasm, which I thought had succumbed to old age, have returned. I even managed to catch the sun, or at least the wind, at Pyecombe on Saturday. If we get a few weeks of this weather the grass might start to grow and the horses can go out at night.
We have finally managed to have two training sessions with Shane which have made me really pull my socks up and start riding all the horses more positively forward. This forces me to look for a distance far earlier and keep the horses in a much stronger rhythm and hopefully give them more space in front of the fence so that the two babies have enough time to get their front ends folded up, without giving them a fright. I am much more scared of Shane than of falling off, or the huge things he makes me jump - a system that also worked brilliantly when my mother was in charge - so it does make me shut up and get on with it.
Both Luendi and Espirito Santo (Rabbit) are now jumping quite happily round Discoveries and even jumped their first 1.05 at Felbridge this week. Sometimes it is prettier than others, but they are both quick learners, and, like all of us, they need lots of practice to get it right consistently. I am thrilled with both of them, they are both lovely characters and terribly well behaved at home, at shows and in the very smart new lorry.
We hardly know ourselves with so much space for getting the horses ready, lockers and a lovely living. I am really looking forward to our first stay away show. We live up a very narrow lane, so there has had to be some modification of our driveway to get it in and out! I can't claim to have reversed in in one go yet, but I haven't scraped it either.
The lovely Emma has now done her first few 1.30 classes. Two lovely double clears and twice I have made a mistake in the jump-off. I am trying terribly hard to ride her more forward and to be more relaxed with my hand. She is inclined to be hot, so it is a major challenge to force my brain to make me do the right thing. I know how lucky I am to have such a fabulous little horse, and I am determined to make a good job of her, so I will be training really hard, and making sure that as "practice makes permanence" the practice is correct. Emma is entered for the CSI* at Hardelot in the first week of April, so I am very excited. The CSI* is a very small affair compared to the CSI3* that it runs alongside and so it will be thrilling to be there at all, let alone competing there, and having the chance to watch some of the world's top riders working in as well as competing. I think we are on track with our training, but I will need my super competitive and efficient head on as the French can jump clear rounds at about the same speed as the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham - and I am the one who could never go fast enough eventing!
I have been very proudly watching Biscuit (Little Penny) and her progress with both David Simpson and Helen Cruden in Vilamoura in Portugal. She won a 1.30 in the first week with David and went consistently well for Helen in their first show together in the second week. We have also heard from Homer who is a huge success in his new home with the Wynnstay. There was even a back view of him in the Horse and Hound in the New Year.
I have just got back from a lovely day's racing at Sandown and am really looking forward to my annual visit to Cheltenham on Wednesday. I have a very spoiling day with my youngest brother David and I absolutely love it - it is about the best day out ever! The rest of the week is spent cramming as much work as possible round the racing. Hopefully Crofton Manor will have their TV working so I can watch Bob's Worth in the Gold Cup on Friday.