With less than four weeks to go until my first attempt at the Mitsubishi Motors Cup at Badminton, plans and dairies are all set and if all goes to plan we will just tick over to the big day: 30 April.
Here’s a little about me… I had ponies at home growing up that I produced, however my first pony Topper was not so straightforward. A few people from my old Pony Club, The Garth Hunt would not attend a rally if him and I were going, as put it this way, he would be loose! However he taught me to ride and pick myself up and get on with it.
At 16 I went to Henrietta Knight, the legendary National Hunt trainer, where I learnt more about being a horsewoman than I could ever imagine, plus she loved Cconnermaras! I then had a stint in Australia riding out, coming back to Newmarket where I became apprentice/conditional jockey for David Simcock. I had 76 rides and nine winners.
I now have a pre-training business, where I break in yearlings and prep thoroughbreds for clients before they go into training. A typical day for me starts at 5am when I feed and check the horses and prepare the board for the horses’ exercise that morning. Then we ride out on Newmarket Heath, which is as picturesque as the pictures, even in the snow! Around lunchtime I grab something to eat and head out to do my team of greys. Then it’s back to evening stables, which involves a couple of hours where horses are checked, brushed over and put to bed. During the evenings I usually catch up on office work while watching Netflix — there is normally a series I get addicted to; the latest one being Dirty John!
My event horses are kept at a rented yard, which we also use to give our racehorses a break at too. Last winter we put a manége in, so I have no excuse now not to get the dressage spot on! It’s only a stone’s throw away from the gallops so normally I try and give my eventers a good canter over one mile to a mile-and-a-half once a week on the all-weather or grass, as long as we’ve had rain! — I prefer to train the horses and run them on events on soft ground rather than hard.
My Badminton ride, Murph, is turned out daily, has one day off each week, jumps once a week either at a competition or at home, do flat work twice and the rest of the week he hacks. I try to get them out once a week to an event or training. Murph also does the odd Mount & Moorland working hunter class just for a change of scenery and to keep him fresh! He has done two events this year; the BE100 at Poplar where he was extremely fresh and thought a lot of himself, doing a beautiful flying change to get a score of 33 in the first phase. He then jumped clear in the showjumping but then unfortunately misread the water across country, but a good first run nonetheless. He went back there a week later to do the Pony Club horse trials where we did the novice and he won on his dressage of 26! Since then we have had a lesson with Caroline Moore, who described him as a freak of a six-year-old as she said: “he has jumped all the things my intermediate horses have been this morning!” The video at the top of this post shows Murph going up the gallops (my riding out saddle even suits him!), followed by clips of him jumping his first Newcomers class at Keysoe, training at a Palace House in Newmarket and cross-country schooling at Keysoe.
The next three-and-a-half weeks are all planned. On Sunday we will go showjumping to Arena UK and next Friday Murph will go to Burnham Market for the BE100.
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