I’m sitting in the Leicester General Hospital as I write. It’s nothing drastic (well, I hope not!), just my annual MOT.

I’m having an ultrasound and X-rays to make sure all is as it should be following a couple of years of what could be described as mishaps in my health.

I’m not feeling alone though, I have been scooting around the country taking horses for their end of season check-ups with numerous vets and physiotherapists over the past few weeks and my lorry has been in for her MOT too.

A few weeks ago, I was teaching at home when my pupil’s mother received a call that there had been a terrible accident out hunting. It transpired that her friend, joint master of the Cottesmore, Gems McCormick had been killed in a fall. Although I only knew Gems to say “hello” to it still sends shockwaves through everyone in our community. She seemed a lovely lady and my heart goes out to her family and friends.

On the horse front, most have been enjoying their holidays, but unfortunately I received a text from an owner exclaiming: “Need help at mine. Emergency”. I raced to her yard which is a stone’s throw from mine. Sadly, Roy, who was due to start his eventing career with me in 2016 (we were balloted from Oasby this autumn) had a fatal accident while attempting to jump out of his field at home. He was a dear soul and a gentle giant who will be very much missed.

On a happier note, Bob (Wish He Was Yours) and Otis are back. Bob looks incredibly well following recuperation at home from his serious colic surgery, and is now ready to start ridden work, albeit slowly — a fantastic result after thinking I would be lucky to ever see him again.

Otis is also back into work and looks a million dollars. He has come from his owner Tiffany Morgan Evans’ pre-training yard near Newmarket, as they are full with 108 horses, 60 of which are yearlings for breaking. I made a visit to her yard recently. Watching (and eventually being roped into helping) around 10 yearlings being long reined at the same time is quite something. They do an amazing job and their facilities are second to none.

I’ve had more time to be sociable in recent weeks, and it’s been wonderful to be able to catch up with good friends and family that I have rather neglected during the eventing season due to the all consuming nature of what we do.

We went to a Claire Lomas party in aid of NSIF (Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation) and I’m a little embarrassed to report that I was pretty useless on the snowboard simulator. However the evening raised £5000 so it was certainly worth it.

I jetted off to Mexico the following week where I had the most fantastic holiday with sun, sand and sea. I met some lovely new friends who being from London and completely unhorsey, couldn’t understand WHAT it is that I do, and once I explained, and showed them a picture of Boz jumping the Cottesmore Leap, couldn’t understand WHY!

After four years of helping me, Amanda is moving on to pastures new. She’s been a thoroughly good egg and one of the most reliable people that I have had helping me. If you know of anyone looking for a fun (if at times hard work) job as my head person then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We have 10 horses in work still, so enough to keep me out of mischief and some British Dressage competitions looming. I hope you’re all wintering well.

Grievesy