Starting where I left off - "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime" is truly excellent, go and see it if you possibly can. It is very true to the book and gives some insight of the daily challenges faced by people with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and those who care for them. We had a lovely relaxed afternoon in London meeting Anna, Tom, Alex and Sophie for a few beers in Soho, and a delicious dinner before going to the theatre.
It's always a good idea to go to a local training show after a big show, so a trip to Coombelands was planned, and was definitely needed. Luendi had a super spook at a rustic fence in the Newcomers and very nearly planted me on it, Espirito Santo jumped well in the Newcomers, and Doonaveeragh Emma did one of her scary Dessert Orchid impressions going into the combination in the B&C - always good to remind yourself that horses are great levelers. Sadly this was the final show for me with Espirito Santo as he has gone back to Hickstead to be sold and he has been replaced by Lava hof ter Zeedycke (Katlin) a very smartly bred four year old with Cassal and Libero H bloodlines. She is a real baby and I have already managed to fall off her, landing like a bag of wet cement, but she is now home, very happy with her new life, and improving every day.
The next show was Brendon's three day show at Pyecombe showcasing their wonderful new ring which is modelled on the garden ring at Lummen. This going to be truly fantastic, and it was great to be back jumping in Pyecombe's natural amphitheartre, and the Light team put on a fabulous premier show. Emma jumped well for a double clear in the 1.30 the first day, it rained so hard on Thursday that my saddle was too slippery to sit in so we didn't jump on Friday, and she just had a back rail in the 1.35 on Saturday. Luendi jumped really well on Thursday, but was spooky on Friday and so dropped back to Newcomers on Saturday, where she will stay for a little while to restore her confidence.
The plan was to go to Felbridge the following Thursday, but my lorry was not back from its plating, so I changed my plan to Felbridge on Sunday, a plan that failed because the show was actually on Saturday, so we had a lovely relaxing weekend instead and banked some energy for the South of England Show.
The weather makes or breaks the South of England so three days of dry, sunny weather was a real gift. It was lovely to be on excellent grass going, and very good practice for Hickstead. Luendi was unbothered by such a very busy show, and her rounds were unremarkable but good training for both of us. Emma jumped really well all three days, finishing with a fabulous round in the 1.40 in the main ring on Saturday, only just missing out on a place. Steff Gibbs helped me at Coombelands, Pyecombe and South of England which was fantastic, it saves a lot of energy having really good help and makes it much easier to concentrate on the jumping. Both Coombelands and Pyecombe weren't hugely successful so hopefully the South of England was more enjoyable.
Chloe, Natalie Macken and I had a fascinating evening on Monday as Chloe was invited to the launch of the New Hunter Equestrian Range at Apsley House. Shane was in Ireland so Chloe had a plus two - Natalie and I. This really wasn't real life! The clothes looked really good shown off by the very moody looking models, hopefully wearing them won't make you quite that miserable as the jackets were really stylish and fully waterproof. Entering the first reception room there was a huge Titian on the wall, the dining room, which seats 80, had a Rubens, a Caravaggio and several Valesquezs hanging on the wall. I have never been in the presence of quite so much male grooming - which is actually quite unnerving - and the waiters were all male models - it was certainly not my average evening.
We've had a busy, but relaxing weekend with two parties, Felbridge - where I actually was placed for the first time in living memory in the middle, and then a lovely Sunday. I am loving these long sunny days and am looking forward to the Hickstead Derby show next week.