I got a text message yesterday evening from my old friend Vic (when I say old I, mean long term…before she gets technical!) It read:

“Funny isn’t it … if you asked your 12-year-old self their dream, this would be it — that’s a pretty cool achievement…”

She’s known me nearly that long and I can safely say that she’s absolutely right. It’s easy to get lost in the anxieties, time constraints and obsession of preparing for a four-star, especially with two horses and forget why this began in the first place — I am determined to try and enjoy the achievement.

Talking of obsessions, it’s a good job horses don’t get human-like complexes and can’t talk sometimes. Daily I, apparently aimlessly stare at them pondering, and often discussing if their weight is right — are they too fat or are they too thin? I wonder if they look well and happy, regardless of the hour, even at 4am when leaving with other horses for an event. I’m drawn as if by a magnetic field to their stable door in order to run my hands down their legs almost every time I pass to check that everything is where it should be…and if not there is a sharp intake of breath, before a second feel to realise that I have been over analysing (so far). If they were human I reckon they’d take a restraining order out on me.

Splash

We’ve been having a great time with Richard (Davison) and ran through the dressage test last time we visited him on his grass jumping field. Both horses have been working well. I’m trying very hard to control Splash’s (Drumbilla Metro) exceptionally over-active hind leg in the canter — a nice problem to have you might say, but sometimes as a result he makes life difficult for himself, especially in the changes. Douglas (pictured top) needs to just relax, particularly in his neck. He is obsessed with anything outside the arena and a busy atmosphere will be interesting and I expect challenging. I’m looking forward to showing off the work we’ve been doing anyway.

We made a visit to Weston Lawns BS (British Showjumping) last Friday and both boys jumped well in the 1.15m and Foxhunter which was great, albeit with no intention of any prizes.

Both horses have had their last ‘serious’ piece of gallop work and they will have a pipe opener in the next day or two plus another physio session. They seem to be in a good place at the moment.

Being ‘in a good place’ is important for me too, and I have had a meeting with my brilliant sports psychologist, Jo Davis. She’s great for helping me keep a balance on everything and working out the best ways to approach the next week or so (as well as life in general), including approaches to warm ups and test riding. Equally, the other horses have been going well with Freddie (Mr Fahrenheit) jumping round Somerford CIC2* brilliantly, Ed (Edison) jumping his first advanced, Wally (Wallstreet VB) winning twice in nearly as many runs and the others being equally as helpful — excellent therapy in itself and good for the confidence levels.

Continued below…

With only a few more sleeps left, the big day for moving into the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is nearly upon us. I’m praying for no last-minute set backs and can’t wait to get there.
Simon