The Light family and their team ran yet another fantastic show at Pyecombe over the past weekend and Monday and Tuesday. I used to absolutely love the old grass ring at Pyecombe, but the family have done a brilliant job of upgrading the whole showground to make a fantastic modern show centre, running classes from 80cm right up to Area Trials, providing opportunities for every level, and for us it is just under an hour away, so it really couldn't be better.
This was also our last show with Charlie Purgal and her lovely horse Touch of Orlando (Star) who have been staying with us on their big British adventure from Jersey. Charlie has now started a new job with Ben Dalton and Charlotte Packham and her quest to follow her dreams is under way.
Charlie started us off with an immaculate clear round in the Foxhunter on Star followed by Kvint jumping a good clear and both horses were placed - so we couldn't have got off to a better start, especially Charlie who was preparing for the Newcomers Second Round on Sunday
Benny then jumped a lovely double clear in the 1.30. He has been feeling in absolutely great form, and certainly very nearly managed to buck me off in the warm-up. He was so jolly that Tessa Talbot was very keen to know which kind of rocket fuel I was feeding him - Saracen's Enduro 100 - and no other competition mix has quite the same effect.
I then jumped Doonaveeragh Emma in the 1.30. She was doing a really lovely round until the last two fences in the jump-off, she had one down, and then despite my efforts to make her jump into the double conservatively decided that one stride was better than two, then changed her mind and we very nearly ended up in a heap! No harm done - and hopefully a reminded to her that the rider isn't always a total idiot.
Sunday didn't start so well when Kvint was very obviously sore. He had worn back travel boots for the first time on Saturday and absolutely hated them and has given himself a good bang, so he has gone from the very exciting to the very easy list in a very quick jump. He is much improved now and back walking so we will take each day as it comes and he'll be back soon.
Charlie jumped a fabulous round in the Newcomers second round, just having a late rail but looking so good, and so ready to start her new adventure at Ben's. Mark and I were very sad to say farewell to her on Monday. It certainly isn't goodbye.
I then took Benny and Emma for the 1.30 and 1.40. Benny's adventure was short-lived. I have no idea quite what happened, but we must have got to the first fence on a terrible shot, so he fell into the fence, I fell off and then he rather rudely stood on my hip! Luckily he bounced off and I seem to be very little the worse for it. I perhaps wasn't my best jumping Emma in the 1.40 and we picked up a few faults, but she jumped very well.
Monday was the day of my big adventure - my first 1.45 with Emma. First I took Benny to jump the 1.20 for a confidence boost in the morning - he was a very good boy for a double clear. Hopefully a good job done. Then Steff and I went back in the afternoon with Emma. The course was big enough. The 1.40 the previous day was big - so I wasn't expecting a soft ride. Emma warmed up really well and I was just a little bit quiet to the first fence trying to get that perfect shot. She just tipped it off behind and then I got my bum in gear and she jumped perfectly, but sadly we didn't get to go in the jump-off. How exciting though - she has just been the most brilliant little horse. From a fat, feisty three year, through our various ups and downs, she has always been keen, happy, careful, forgiving and enthusiastic. She is the sweetest horse you could ever have to look after and once again the bar on the dream has risen, and I am looking for new challenges.
I never underestimate how incredibly lucky I am to have her, and to have a husband, Mark, who makes it easy for me to follow my rather selfish dreams. Nor do I undervalue the incredible hard work and input of both Jo Marsh-Smith - who taught me so much about producing horses, and continues to be a really enthusiastic and knowledgeable supporter, and Shane Breen. Who, apart from Shane, would have helped a rather amateurish housewife the wrong side of 45 to follow her dreams this far. Sure, there are as many bad days as good days, not all the horses are Emma, none of us are always good natured, and I have been known to be really unreasonable and even get-off the horse, but we still haven't got to the end result and the support from a good trainer is invaluable. The team that drives towards these results is inevitably not small, even in a tiny yard. I couldn't do it without Steff doing the horses so well, and becoming increasingly experienced. We have a great farriers in the Casserly's, great vets in both Cinder Hill Equine Vets and Arundel Veterinary Hospital, and Caitlin McCaffery is a very good chiropractor who knows our horses extremely well. Marie Pearcey, Hove Chiropractic and John Harris, The Corner Retreat, also, along with Caitlin, do a great job of persuading my old bones to hang together and carry on. You also need great friends and family to share the successes, help you laugh about piling off at the first fence, and help you keep your feet on the ground and remind you that this isn't really real life. In return it is great to support them and delight in their success.
Catokyo is currently at Arundel Hospital having a bone scan. She does seem to be improving very slowly, so all our fingers are crossed for her. She is the sweetest little horse, and I have so enjoyed her career so far, so let's hope her injury can be resolved and she can come back into work.
Yesterday Mark and I had a really lovely day at Wimbledon. We watched Cilic defeat Muller in a hard fought five sets, and sadly watched Djokovich leave the tournament due to injury before settling down with Anna to watch her wedding video and laugh and cry over her big day and have a delicious Thai take-away - all ordered off the i-phone without a single conversation. The wonders of modern technology and living in London.