Since last summer I have been keen to try and find a slightly more experienced horse to run alongside Emma. Even without a rather limited budget this is a very hard thing to find, and by the end of the summer Luendi had some good results both at home and internationally and looked nearly ready to step up to fill this role, which to a very large extent she did. However, once Lima was sold Shane turned his attention to the plan and found what he thought was a suitable horse with Andrew Saywell. I tried Benny on the Tuesday after Le Touquet, and Andrew kindly let me have him on trial while we said a very sad goodbye to Luendi who was part of the payment for Benny. Luendi is one of the most charming horses I have ever had the pleasure of owning and it has taken no time at all for her to find herself a lovely new home. I have always started my own horses from babies, so it is taking a little while for Benny and I to be really in tune, especially as he is very much bigger and slower than my busy little mares.
Before we went to Le Touquet I had also bought the lovely little five year old Catokyo from Alice Palmer. I had seen her jump in Spain and tried her twice: she is just my sort of thing - a small and forward thinking mare. If I had known we were going to find Benny I wouldn't have bought her, as four horses is one more than I really want, but perhaps it is fate as I absolutely love her, and she is progressing really quickly. She has also managed to step into Luendi's very special shoes as Mark's occasional hack which is an unexpected bonus.
Being right in the thick of the competition season it is not an ideal time to form two new partnerships, so we have trained, and been to Felbridge to practice and been to a quiet shows to work things out. This included a lovely show at the very impressive new venue at Cherwell Competition Centre near Oxford.