Welcome to my brand new Horse & Hound blog!
For those who don’t know me, I’m the children, junior and young rider showjumping chef d’equipe — or team manager if you prefer. I also have lots of other “jobs” in my normal working day and over the next few months I hope to give you an insight into what goes on in my life.
During the winter season I’m busy keeping an eye on established combinations and new ponies/horses and riders at the indoor Premier Shows, as well as the sunshine tours held outdoors.
The brilliant new Team Murka and World Class Olympia qualifiers have taken young rider jumping at the Premier Shows to a new level. And, true to form, the young riders, as well as some of the juniors, have really raised their game. These qualifiers have had big, technical tracks and it was a pleasure to see my riders show the course-builders just how good they are. I have had a great time watching these classes and can’t wait for the final at Olympia in December.
The “big boss” Rob Hoekstra and Clare Whitaker were out in Spain on the Sunshine Tour keeping an eye on the younger generation out there, while Di Lampard, who is now on board to help with the young riders, was watching the form in France. So, all the preparation for the coming season is well under way… now let’s get going!
First stop France
The Barbizon show centre belongs to the Bost family (Roger-Yves Bost is one of France’s leading showjumpers) and they always make us most welcome.
My journey started early Thursday morning and, although I would normally drive out to this show, car failure meant the late booking of a flight and the hiring of a car. Now, that bit is easy, but getting out of Charles de Gaulle airport is quite another matter. If I went up and down the fly over and the underpass once, I must have done it five times. Sat-nav was useless, hire car awful and my French left a huge amount to be desired. Oh well when all else fails, follow a bus!
We had children, ponies, juniors, young riders, seniors and young horses at the show. A very professional and successful job was done by all so well done to everyone and you can read the full report in next week’s magazine, out 14 April. On another note, Georgia Tames’ horse was taken ill on Saturday and we wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see her back on the road very soon.
So back to Paris airport, wrong terminal, wrong car hire return, trolley that did not work, baggage overweight (and that was without the bottle of champagne I had been given to pass onto Tim Stockdale!) and as usual running late for a flight.
If that was not bad enough, my flight to Manchester (I had to go straight to Equine Pathway training rather than home) was full of children that had just left Disneyland and were dressed in everything from a Tinkerbelle dress to a full size Tigger romper suit! Not only that, but they were a little excitable and loud!
However, if we can keep going with the standard of riding I have seen this winter and this weekend it is going to be a very exciting season. I hope you have enjoyed my first blog, and I look forward to telling you all about the viewing trials at Wales and The West. Everyone is welcome to come and watch: 29 April to 2 May, come and introduce yourselves or even get the schedule — there may be a class for you!
Until next time,