Once we had recovered from Sophie’s wedding, and the little bout of Noro Virus that we managed to share around it was back to work and time to look forward with the horses. Before I started to jump Kvint and Emma I took them to Ed Lyall at the Sussex Equine Hospital for an MOT. I think it’s a good idea to start the season knowing exactly how the horses are having had a rest and with their initial fitness work under their belts. Both horses were in great shape, particularly Emma who has come back into work as good as I can ever remember. The following day Caitlin McCaffery came to check them from a Chiropractic point of view and found them all in excellent shape.
Hurricane Heidi and Askeaton both went to Felbridge for their first show back. Both were extremely over-excited, but both jumped very well. I took Askeaton, Kvint and Emma to David Simpson for our first training session. It didn’t start brilliantly as I fell of Askeaton while I was getting on! and the girls were very, very unimpressed with the pigs, but they all jumped really well and It really helped me get back into the swing of things.
The following Monday Elli Birch and Nick Gunn from Boots and Hooves Photography came to do a photo-shoot with us. This was very exciting, although probably not the most lovely day as rain kept stopping play. Heidi and Askeaton thoroughly enjoyed being models for the day, Kvint was a pretty good model, and Emma seemed to find it a little bit boring!
Photos by Elli Birch and Nick Gunn - Boots and Hooves Photography
The result was that we not only had a lovely day, but I have got some absolutely stunning photos of the horses at home which I am thrilled with. I would recommend Elli and Nick to everybody. They have taken brilliant photos for Shane and his sponsors as well.
The next morning I got up at 4.30 to go to Parwood with the horses. The holiday was truly over! All the horses jumped really well, especially Askeaton and Kvint who jumped clear. I was a bit casual on Emma in the 1.30, but once I got my act together she jumped brilliantly.
We then went to Cornwall for the further celebrations of Mark’s 60th Birthday. We stayed at Coombeshead Farm, which is owned by some great friends of Tom and Anna, Tom Adams and Lottie Mew and we had the most lovely weekend. We caught up with Sophie and Alex, who we hadn’t seen since their honey moon and also did the Mark Lewis whistle stop tour of Northern Cornwall, visiting Crakenford Haven, Tintagel, Boscastle, Port Isaac and finally viewing sunset on Polzeath Beach. I suspect the pouring rain and gales help us complete our tour before dark.
Having had a lovely weekend I then was off to Parwood again on Tuesday, for a slightly mixed day as Heidi failed to understand one fence in the discovery, but Askeaton jumped beautifully again, Emma jumped well in the 1.30 and Kvint also jumped a lovely round. I took Heidi to Felbridge for a school on Wednesday and she was fantastic, so definitely it was a misunderstanding rather than a problem, but it was well worth making sure she had a good round under her belt before Christmas.
I had a lovely day at Olympia on Friday, watching fabulous show jumping and catching up with so many friends. We have just had a lovely weekend with Anna, Sophie, Tom and Alex, having an early Christmas as the girls are both with their in-laws this year. A very different Christmas for Mark and I with a house that won’t be bursting at the seams and nobody to cook for. We are looking forward to Christmas Eve at the Breens and Christmas Day with my brother David, very spoiling for us.
We’ve had an exciting year in so many ways, especially with Sophie and Alex’s wedding and Anna and Tom will be welcoming a baby into the world in May. I’m really looking forward to 2019 with the horses, starting with a trip to Sentower Park at the beginning of January. Once again many, many thanks to my sponsors. Saracen Horse Feeds, our horses always look so shiny and well, MacWet Gloves, Precision Joint Solution, and Just Equine. Many many thanks to Pippa and Jess at Stride Management who give me so much help and support, and to Mark, Steff, Camilla and Izzy.