Dear gorgeous readers,

We got it! A wild card to the British Dressage Winter Championships and so Euphoria E (Inky) and I will be there on Thursday 7 April!

This past month has been full of ups and downs including a great picture and write up of me and Inky in Horse & Hound magazine, joining the “Gain train”, an engagement and my dad ending up in intensive care.

Pringle snuggled next to me as I write

Pringle snuggled next to me as I write

It is 12.40pm on a lovely Sunday afternoon as I write to you. It’s a beautiful spring day, but I do not intend on leaving the house and neither does Pringle as she is tucked up in bed with me! This week has been even more busy than usual as my fabulous groom, Hannah has gone off to the Caribbean for two weeks! My dear friend, Vanessa, is being a star and working for me every day while Hannah is away, but it still does mean 5am starts and going through to 7pm without stopping. I am quite skilled now in eating my lunch while tacking up a horse. I think I may be checking myself into the Caribbean upon Hannah’s return!

>>> Shaun Mandy’s dressage blog: It’s go, go, go

So my dear dad gave us all a bit of a scare and had a seizure a couple of weeks ago. When he was a young man, dad had a brain tumour removed and from then on he had to be on medication daily to prevent seizures. He is a fit and healthy man and thought that he would wean himself off the tablets as he no longer wanted to be dependent on them.

He got permission from a doctor over the phone without even a consultation. The doctor merely said that if he had not fitted within the last three days of reducing his medication he should be fine. A week later he was unconscious, attached to a respirator in intensive care in Bournemouth Hospital.

Pringle playing on the beach while we visited dad in hospital

Pringle playing on the beach while we visited dad in hospital

Fortunately, the day it happened mum was with him. They were going for a walk when mum picked up on the signs and started walking him back home. By the time they got to their neighbour’s house dad could not move or speak. Brod (their neighbour) was reversing out of his drive when mum waved him down and they got dad into Brod and Geoff’s home. Mum called 999 and the paramedics were out in minutes. Just as they arrived and managed to get dad positioned on the floor, he had his seizure. He could not breathe for quite some time and lost consciousness. After receiving the call from mum, I dropped what I was doing and raced down to Bournemouth. It was a horrible feeling driving down there not really knowing what to expect. When I arrived an hour and half later, my brother and mum were waiting in the special room they have for family members. We were not allowed to see dad for quite a few hours as they were working on him.

>>> Shaun Mandy’s dressage blog: Everything happens for a reason

When we were eventually allowed in, dad was lying there attached to all sorts of machines and tubes and pipes like I’ve only really seen on TV. I could not help myself and burst into tears. I felt overwhelmed with emotion and had to leave the room.

A beautiful sunrise at home

A beautiful sunrise at home

Anyway, dad woke up the following morning and by the next day was out of hospital, back on his tablets and playing table tennis again! It was surely a stressful time, but reinforced to me how precious life is and to treasure your loved ones.

On a cherpier note and one that was a great tonic for my dad having just come out of hospital, my brother Mark and his beautiful girlfriend Maria got engaged on Good Friday! Maria’s parents were visiting from Portugal. Mark took Maria for a walk on Southbourne Beach, around the corner from my parent’s home where both sets of parents were having tea, and got down on one knee! While in Portugal for Christmas, Mark had asked Maria’s father for her hand in marriage and so he knew it was coming, but it was a lovely surprise for everyone else.

I have actually just got off the phone to Mark and he and Maria are on a day out looking at wedding venues. They have not decided though whether it will be in sunny Bournemouth or sunny Portugal. I am voting for Portugal! Wherever it is, I’m just excited about what hat I’m going to wear!

Inky and I making our Horse & Hound debut

Inky and I making our Horse & Hound debut

Inky and I won two medium tests at Summerhouse with 71.2% and 70.1% which is when we got our Horse & Hound write up. This was my first appearance in the publication which made it more special. Poppy got a mention too as she was third in her debut test at advanced medium.

>>> Shaun Mandy’s dressage blog: It’s all about the half halt

I have just started being supported by Gain Horse Feeds and am looking forward to seeing how my horses feel and look on their feed. They are loving it already and Alan Nolan from Gain has been brilliant in working with me and letting me know what each of my horses require.

The yard cat helps me out while I teach in the indoor school

The yard cat helps me out while I teach in the indoor school

Well my lovelies, it is now time for me to catch up on paper work for the business. If anyone would like to come and be my PA, I have a beautiful desk you can work from and can pay you with Pringle cuddles!

Until soon xx

Body Mind Mastery Quote: “I’ve had many troubles in my life, most of which never happened” – Mark Twain