Things have been getting into full swing for us here over the past couple of weeks in preparation for the upcoming eventing season. We’ve had a few changes and some really good outings.

My dressage drive has not disappeared and with the help of Harry Payne, I hope that I am making good progress in that department. I feel like a jack of all trades and master of none at the moment though, as I’ve been trying to hold my own against my showjump and dressage rider counterparts in their specialised fields. However, I think I’m doing quite well on that front, with some rosettes, money and plenty of excellent experience under my belt to prime my team and I for the shortly upon us eventing season. We’ve had our first cross-country school at Little Downham too, which was awesome.

>>> Simon Grieve’s eventing blog: A very extreme way of avoiding dressage

I went showjumping last Saturday with five horses, and all jumped exceptionally well which was great fun. I really enjoy my jumping and would love to do it full time if I wasn’t such an eventing geek!

The following day I was off to some dressage again with four horses. My thoughts were all over the place as, if I’m honest I was a little jaded from the previous day. These thoughts started with (in true brat style) “I hate dressage”, as I had to inconveniently lengthen my stirrups, and when one of the horses began pogo-sticking around the warm up bronking I thought, “I hate dressage saddles”, as I struggled to maintain my balance. Then I went into the elementary and had the most super ride, winning the class and suddenly thinking, “I really love dressage” — talk about a turn around!

>>> Simon Grieve’s eventing blog: Country boys raid the big smoke

One of the best parts about British Dressage for me recently has been the fact that very often I have been the only one in my section which makes winning obviously all the more simple. However, there is always something that needs improving in a dressage test so therefore, often times rather frustratingly, the pursuit of perfection will always be a losing game. A non-horsey friend of mine recently pointed out when I explained dressage scoring to him that:“Basically the winner is the least bad?” which is certainly one way of looking at it.

A lorry landmark

The first of February was a landmark for me. It was the final payment to the bank for my lorry. It has taken me years to pay the bank back, but rather than sit back on my laurels and take a financial break, I have decided to take the plunge and upgrade, so I have borrowed again — scary stuff.

>>> Simon Grieve’s eventing blog: MOTs all-round

My old lorry, Bertha, is unbelievably reliable and has been an amazing servant, but the lack of living makes it difficult to stay away and keep supporters comfortable too. As a small child in assembly at school I used to pray: “Dear God, please make daddy buy us a horse lorry with a living”. Sadly dad never delivered on that front, and therefore it’s taken about 25 years for that prayer to be answered and (with a little — ok a lot — of help from the bank), I have had to do the job myself.

The new lorry is fantastic. It has the most super horse area with brilliant partitions and the storage is second to none. The living has heating, a cooker, microwave, TV, shower, toilet and is a home from home. It’s taken a long time and a lot of hard work getting here but that makes it all the more satisfying! Now I just need to name it — all suggestions welcomed! Take a look at more pictures of it on the Simon Grieve Event Team Facebook page.

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With the first event just around the corner, I can’t wait to let you know how my team of lovely horses get on in their first outings — I’m determined to do them proud.

Simon