I’ve not been up to much this week — I’m not getting lazy, I was ill! I was fine on Monday, but then Tuesday night I threw up about five times and was sick for the next two days.

The doctors said I have Biogastroenteritis, which is apparently this virus that’s been going around. Anyway, it meant I couldn’t ride for a few days, which was annoying as I was meant to be competing at Bromyard on Tuesday.

I attempted to ride five horses on Friday, but not very well. I had to though as I was off to a show on Saturday.

I took a livery horse, Sir Karl, who is competing at elementary level. He belongs to Sheila Barron, who is a long-term Talland client and spends months at a time in Malawi.

One of the staff will ride her horse whenever she’s away, and this time she asked me to take him through a few tests. He’s a big horse and she’s a little lady, so it’s not easy for her to keep him together. Because I’ve got long legs, it’s easier for me.

He’s strong in the contact and can get quite fixed, so we have to do lots of short, sharp transitions to get him to bend his legs and use his body. By varying the rhythm in the pace, he’ll develop the muscles he needs to hold himself together. If you can sit him back on his hindlegs like this, his rider doesn’t end up supporting him with the hand.

The other horse I took to the show, Zep, belongs to Aly Hanson, who has two Olympic eventers with Dag Albert. She wanted a baby horse by Anky Van Grunsven’s Painted Black, which is why she’s got Zep.

He was a bit full of himself in the second novice and I was flying through the air at some points — he just had so much energy and wanted to have some fun. He’d already finished second in his first test with 69%, he’s normally perfectly quiet, and it was only his third outing.

Other than that I’ve nothing to report but, having been recuperating, I’m planning to be back to 100% next week!

Charlie