Dear gorgeous readers,

As I write to you, I am sitting at my boyfriend (yes, actual real life boyfriend!) Mark’s dining room table. So when I last wrote, I had just been on date number one and now I appear to be in a proper, functional relationship! I love how life can change so suddenly, especially having been single for five years, which I was happy with and it allowed me to do things at the time that were very important for me, like working and training with Hasse Hoffmann in Denmark for those 18 months.

My dog Pringle getting cosy

My dog Pringle getting cosy

So these past few weeks have been busy with dates (of course), working towards a sponsorship deal, preparing Inky for his first advanced test, drag queen shows, teaching, becoming an ambassador for Kicking Horse and special family moments.

I have actually just got back from Cheshire. My good friend and fellow dressage rider and trainer, Annastatia Neale, had invited me up ages ago for a little pre-Christmas catch up. It was such fun. After arriving at her beautiful yard in Rudyard, we drove to Macclesfield and then took the train into Manchester for the world famous Christmas market. We ate and shopped our way around the market and naturally took loads of selfies!

Annastasia and I at Christmas market

Annastasia and I at Christmas market

I managed to get all my Christmas shopping done lastminute.com. Sadly, I also managed to break part of my parents’ present. Annastatia was passing me a Nutella-filled crepe and I dropped one of my shopping bags. I am going to try and fix it, but failing that, there are two other elements of the present that will just have to become the complete gift. The following morning was a lazy one and we walked down to Rudyard Lake for breakfast. What a stunning setting.

Breakfast at the lake

Breakfast at the lake

My main, four-legged, man in my life (I now have to be more specific!) is doing his first advanced this week. I am really excited and Euphoria E (Inky) and I have been working hard in preparation. His tempi-changes are much more secure and the changes in general are more expressive.

I did a little run through of the advanced 102 test, which we are doing at West Wilts tomorrow (Thursday), and it was all a little wobbly, but the four- and three-time changes were good. The following day I did it again and we both got a much better feel for the test so fingers crossed for Thursday and then we will have our prix st george qualification — EEEK! Lorain and Robert, who part own him will be there ready with Champagne.

It is so important when training the horses and teaching them new things for them to progress up the levels that you keep coming back to basics. Sometimes the foundations have to be a little more secure before more progression can be made.

I had a really fun night with my friends Lesley and Karim in Milton Keynes. Lesley’s brother is the tour director for the Musical Hall Tavern (MHT) drag show. I was invited backstage, along with Lesley and Karim, to meet the dancers and stars of the show (pictured top). It was brilliant! The dancers were amazing and the three drag queens were brilliant with their comedy, singing and performance in general.

It was Maria’s (my beautiful new sister-in-Law) birthday a couple of weeks ago and her parents came over from Portugal. This was a perfect moment for Mark (new boyfriend not to be confused with brother Mark) to meet my family.

Mark and I on Studland Beach

Mark and I on Studland Beach

Dinner was booked at The Pig on the Beach on Studland Bay. We drove down to Sandbanks and took the chain ferry across the water. Mark had booked a B&B a short walk from the restaurant so we could enjoy a relaxing day off the following day. It was a special evening, Maria had a lovely birthday dinner and everyone liked Mark. The restaurant was beautiful and I highly recommend it. The next morning, after a yummy full English breakfast, we went for a long walk on Studland beach. It is part of the National Trust and is stunning. The sun came out and as much as it was a little chilly, we still took off our shoes, rolled up our jeans and walked in the water! A couple of people did stop us to double check that we realised it was no longer summer. Even a few dogs came up to us inquisitively.

Splashing in the sea on Studland Bay

Splashing in the sea on Studland Bay

Later on we drove back across the water to have lunch with my parents which was a bit more time for mum and dad to get to know Mark. As I am very close to my family, this is really important to me. It is also just as important that bestie and boyfriend get on, so Elodie came round for dinner the other night. Mark cooked an amazingly delicious meal of lamb and I am pleased to say that Els very much approves! Anyway, enough boyfriend talk for one blog.

Elodie on the night she met Mark

Elodie on the night she met Mark

I am at the final stages of a sponsorship contract after telephone interviews, CV sending, answering questioneers and meeting in person. Hopefully in my next blog I will be able to share good news that I got it, but am yet still waiting to hear a definite answer from the CEO of the company.

Continued below…

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In the meantime, I have become an ambassador for Kicking Horse. Their clothes are fab and especially love their classy reflective jackets. No longer do you need to wear bright yellow or pink to be seen!

My goodie bag from Kicking Horse

My goodie bag from Kicking Horse

So my lovelies, that is it for now. I wish you all a very happy, healthy and safe Christmas and amazing and exciting 2017! Thank you to all of you who have been with me since I started my blogs for Horse & Hound back in Denmark in 2014. Rolling on into year three and I feel that it is going to be an absolutely fabulous one!

Body, mind, mastery quote: “You’re involved in the action and vaguely aware of it — your focus is not on the commotion but on the opportunity ahead. I’d liken it to a sense of reverie, the insulated state a musician achieves in a great performance, not just mechanical, not only spiritual; something of both, on a different plane and a more remote one” — Arnold Palmer

Until soon xx