I’ve been absent for a little while, so it’s good to be back – I hope you’ve missed me. It’s been an eventful winter. Without the ups and downs though, you wouldn’t appreciate things when they are good though would you?
The yard has been ticking over nicely all winter and early on I started going showjumping and enjoyed my first FEI show at Keysoe where it’s mandatory to stay over which was brilliant fun. I also got to go to Olympia in a supporting capacity behind the scenes. It’s great to be involved in a different discipline to such a high level and see how everyone does things differently. The showjumpers are a great bunch and I really enjoy being surrounded by such fun and accurate riders, so I find it all very inspiring — I look forward to doing more and have been out most weeks this winter.
This year I have less horses to compete which is intentional as it gives me a chance to give them more time. All the horses that are on the yard at the moment are super and I want to really enjoy them. This year, I’m hoping to take the lovely Splash (Drumbilla Metro) to Badminton which is hugely exciting. The ever popular Douglas will aim for Bramham, along with the super fun Edison. The very gifted Rutman, is back and I hope he will contest his first three-star as will gorgeous Freddie (Mr Fahrenheit). Our special boy Wally (Wallstreet VB) will continue to progress up the ranks and establish himself at intermediate and two-star level — he’s not straightforward, but very talented. Bertie (Bonhunt Bertie) and Bob (Wish He Was Yours) are younger, but really exciting for this season — it’s going to be fun.
So with all this excitement in store, I decided that I needed to improve my fitness (especially for three-day events) and have started swimming. I swim four mornings a week before work. It’s great for my back which is weak and also for cardio fitness, not to mention a good warm up for riding every day. It’s impressive how many people are there at 6.30 in the morning, chomping at the bit to get in the pool.
On the first day I started in the slow lane and was very quickly lapping a number of incredibly welcoming grannies — they made me feel great when one referred to me as a ‘young’ man (she’s my new best friend!). On day two I moved to the medium speed lane where I felt at home, but was catching up with people, so on day three I ventured in to the fast lane. Whoa! Big mistake, as here I met ‘Torpedo Girl’. She swept past me as I was doggedly on to my 20th length and then made me feel completely inadequate, as she lapped me about five times, whereupon Michael Phelps’ twin dived in and began unceremoniously lapping me too. Not to be hard done by, I got my arse in gear and have been slowly improving — and endeavouring to keep up with my speedy colleagues, who as it turns out are lovely, and Torpedo Girl in particular has been advising me about the best way to improve my fitness in the pool. It’s a bit like eventing — being surrounded by those who are better or more experience really encourages you to push for more. Never be afraid to ask for advice, as people are more often than not happy to help.
I’ve also joined a CX WorX class at the gym, which focuses on strengthening your core. It’s brilliant fun and has me smiling all the time… especially when I get it wrong — I’ve even roped my house mate Jess and Grace who works on the yard in to coming too (although they make me laugh even more with their face pulling in the mirrors). Anyone wanting to join us, we’re in Oakham every Wednesday night! It’s really fun and great music.
The eventing season is far from over for Simon as some of his up-and-coming horses show great promise
Isleham was meant to be last weekend and I had really hoped it would run, but the weather was horrendous. Bertie, Bob, Wally and Freddie should have been running there. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this season will be a goody. I for one can’t wait!
If you want to keep up with the goings on at the yard and at events (or even to find out how I’m getting on against Torpedo Girl at the pool) then follow me on Instagram @simongrieve or the Simon Grieve Event Team Facebook page!