Simon Grieve was one of two winners of the Horse & Hound 'next top blogger' competition. Below is his winning blog entry, complete with video.

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For me, the months that have preceded the 2015 eventing season have been filled with fun and games as well as some pretty tough times. I’m not only talking of the mud and extreme weather that has been bestowed upon my team and me, nor the somersaults (with tuck or pike) that I have performed in far from classy fashion from one or two of our cheeky conveyances, but medical issues too.

Having a cancerous lump in my kidney was not high on my wish list for this winter, but thanks to an incredible surgeon-controlled robot, an enforced kip, and some incisions in my side, it was removed in time for the festive season. Evil and destructive, cancer is horrendous. But I am lucky in my experience that it was detected early and the NHS was exceptional.

Emotionally I found it very tough, but also that it can spark and rekindle love, friendships, equality and a joy for life. It made me realise who and what is important, as well as make me think that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously and enjoy the short time we have on this earth. As my great mate Amy Gilmartin said: “We’re here for a good time, not a long time Grievesy!

Post surgery, it took six weeks before I was even remotely able to get on a horse, let alone do something productive with one. In classic equestrian style I intended to ride seven horses on my first day back. I rode two and then, being so sore, struggled to get off the second. There was no way I could ride another five. Clearly getting back into the swing was going to be a little less seamless than I had anticipated!

Building my riding time up slowly was frustrating, yet necessary, but it wasn’t too long before I was jumping fences again… my number one love (behind my wonderful partner of course, cough cough!).

Hopping in my lorry therefore, and scooting off to a British Showjumping show was even more exciting than ever. Bumping into Di Lampard and congratulating her on her new appointment as Team GB Show Jumping Performance Manager was an added bonus. What a good solid choice. With her exceptional training talent, her matter of fact manner and her unerring will to win, I cannot think of anyone better.

I have been lucky enough to attend a few British Eventing Pathway training days with some horses recently. This is a brilliant concept and the training I have received, particularly from Lizzie Murray and Phillip Surl, has been exceptional.

To have that depth of talent, both equine and human, in one place at the Pathway is staggering, if slightly intimidating. I for one, find it hugely inspiring and I’m all too aware I need to up my game to keep up with them. However, with a really great team of horses and some super people involved, I’m looking forward to making every effort to up the ante, and to enjoy eventing in 2015 more than ever.

Grievesy

PS: Thank you for Nico Morgan for use of some of his brilliant photos in the video