Happy New Year everyone! I hope you have all had a brilliant Christmas and are as happy to see the back of 2012 as I am.

Last year didn’t go to plan for a lot of people, and the weather played a big part in that. I am currently writing this sat in my kitchen watching the snow fall outside. So I’d like to say we are in for a more predictable 2013 as far as weather goes, but the truth is, we could be in for just as much of a rollercoaster this year! I like the phrase lightening doesn’t strike twice, but I think flooding can… so we’ll leave it there.

I was given a wildcard onto the World Class potential squad in 2011 after some good results at four-star on Zero Flight. I wasn’t re-selected onto the programme this winter as Louie (Zero Flight, pictured) missed most of the season with a small injury and my other top horse, Gentel Lux, was also injured right at the end of the year, meaning she’ll need to take this season off. The World Class programme was a brilliant experience, and I don’t think that will be the last time I am on it, but business and horses must go on regardless, so we are looking onwards and upwards!

As Lux is having the year off, and most of the other horses are competing at the same level, we have decided that this year provides a great opportunity to build and run my business from home. I have rented stables and facilities since finishing university, and have learned so much along the way. There is still a long way to go, but building a yard at home makes sense for my business as well as feeding that desire to have something of my own! It will be a long process (we are still in the planning stage) but I am confident that with time and effort it will become exactly what we’ve always wanted.

Competition plans for 2013

The horses are all looking good after their winter holidays too. Louie is looking great and is on track to compete at Badminton this spring. In his old age (he is now 16) he is getting a little cantankerous about dressage schooling and much prefers his hacking, but still feels about four years old when he starts jumping.

Crunchie (Kilcannon Credit Crunch), owned by Watling JCB, is seven now and will aim for a spring two-star. I swear she has grown a little bit more over the winter and is definitely getting stronger, so I can’t wait to get her out competing again. I would love her to qualify for the Le Lion d’Angers seven-year-old World Championships this autumn.

Quality Purdey, owned by Dominic Baum, is a new mare to the yard, having arrived just before the end of the season last year. She is now seven, and although she has only previously showjumped she is taking quite naturally to the dressage and cross-country. Like Crunchie, she is a gentle giant, knocking on 17 hands. She’ll aim for a spring one-star, along with the pint-sized Arthur (Silver Birches Arthur, owned by Andrew Carvill). Arthur came to me in July last year and although only 15.2hh, has a giant personality. He competed successfully at BE100 last year, so will move up to novice and aim to complete a one-star this spring.

Smartie (Smart Lady, owned by the Pearson family) is also gearing up for her season with my student Milly Pearson. Milly is planning on competing her in school holidays and completing her first one-star this year. We will just keep her going and “switched on” in the interim.

So it’s a busy year ahead, with lots of new challenges, but hopefully at the end we will have a new yard to be working from and be looking back at a very successful year’s eventing.

Lauren

Read Lauren’s other diaries