Hi, I’m Dee Kennedy and I’ll be writing every week in the build-up to Badminton. I thought this week I would start my blog by introducing myself and telling you a bit about my eventing career so far.
I’m 31 years old and live in Cheshire with my partner Hayden Hankey, to whom I am engaged, and my son Jack, who is 7 years old.
We have a lovely farmhouse that stands in 10 acres, with 15 stables and a 35x65m manège with an excellent Andrews Bowen surface. We also have a loose jumping arena and have just developed a cross-country schooling paddock, including a water jump.
I have only been eventing since 2000 and I started with Big El, whom I bought as an 8-year-old. He had never evented before and was found for me by Peter Mellor from Yorkshire and successful Irish-based event horse dealer Carol Gee.
I have taken him from pre-novice through to four-star, with some of our more memorable achievements being two Burghley completions, finishing 21st last year (pictured). That was really exciting as it came only 6 weeks after my return to riding — I’d been recovering from a fractured neck that I unfortunately sustained in a fall at fence 3, The Quarry, on my first trip to Badminton last year.
Before that, Big El was successful at three-star level, finishing well at Bramham, Blenheim and Boekelo. In terms of public recognition, a great result was finishing second at the British intermediate championships at the beautiful Gatcombe Park in 2005.
For this season we shall start at Lincoln, Weston Park, Burnham Market and Belton. Fingers crossed it will all go to plan, as the start of the season is very important for horse and rider confidence.
I also have the 7-year-old Chequers Playboy, on whom I won a one-star at Aldon at the end of last season. I am hopeful of an exciting career for him — he is an elegant mover, bold cross-country and a good jumper with acres of scope.
In addition, I’m looking forward to starting competing next week on a very pretty 5-year-old mare by Poorboy, called Precious Z. And I also have the ride on a 6-year-old Irish horse, Chequers Superstar, who I have been hunting for two seasons. He has an excellent technique and is very careful and clever across country. They are both running in a pre-novice [BE100] at Stafford.
I am excited about Badminton this year and look forward to the feeling of being more familiar with the surroundings, which will help with the nerves! For the time being I am just enjoying the preparation and how well my horse has come back into work for this season.
Until next week,