Another birthday, another year older; what have I accomplished/failed to accomplish this year? How can we make the next year better? What have we learned? While Chiara and Fantom are having their well-earned autumn holiday, now is the time to reflect on the 2018 endurance season. Yikes, where has the time gone?

For both horses there were particular highlights and lowlights; such is our sport. For little Chiara the highlight has to be her success in the two-star at Royal Windsor. While 10th place is not amazing, her ability to pace herself covering the ground effortlessly and being fresh at the end, was a good achievement. On the flip side, our attempt at our second two-star at The Masters as part of the British team in the Nations Cup was not so successful and there are definitely lessons to be learned.

Chiara at Ascot

Fantom bombed out of a one-star at Euston Park earlier in the year with mild tying up symptoms after only a few kilometres but, and this a big but, at our last race in Wales over 160km we came second in the national championships so ended on a high.

There will be lessons to learn and more work required to improve the good parts. I’m looking forward now to planning the next season.

I’ve just been doing my autumn session of ragwort murdering with my special formula. After the spring session, there was hardly any to see so now, feeling very self-righteous, I am investigating something to use on the docks and thistles, but there may just be too many docks.

As for the leaves in the school, I received several good suggestions since my last blog and a huge amount of leaves have been blown, raked and scooped out, but today another huge amount has fallen!

This week I went to see the surgeon who operated on my back and I am now good to go back to running and core exercises — deep joy!

Seriously, it is really excellent news and I now have the winter to get fit again so that I can help my horses a bit more in competition.

Another incentive is that I’ve just read the proposed FEI endurance rules for next year and the maximum weight for three-star would be 70kg — I am going to have to turn into a lettuce-eating greyhound to ensure that the horses don’t carry any more than they have to (I wonder if I can put my saddle on a diet too?!).

It is now the beginning of the party season. I just love getting dressed up and partying the night away with my horsey and non-horsey friends, and the first party was for Halloween, so dressing up was absolutely the right thing to do. I was reminded the next day that I had told people that I would ride around the village dressed up as a vampire the following day — I’m sure I didn’t really say that, did I?

Our Halloween fancy dress

Today is a wet day and I mean really wet. Luckily this time it was known about for days in advance and all outside work was completed the day before, meaning a rest day for both the horses and me. Well, how can you rest when your house is full of cobwebs, spiders (who are convinced it’s now winter) and a few million dog and cat hairs and, of course, Horse & Hound magazines strewn around the place? Horse people often, I think, grow blinkers when viewing their house when the sun is shining and there is time to ride/groom/spend time with your horse, even poo picking and mucking out. But on a day like today, there’s no hiding from the housework.

Continued below…

At the weekend I found myself helping at a new Endurance GB pleasure ride in the west of Cornwall. It was a leisurely affair over a wonderful route through woodland, farmland and private tracks and, as it isn’t too far away from me, might be useful as a little training route to add variety in the spring. It was wonderful to see local riders and horses of all shapes and sizes enjoying the countryside and, for many, their first taste of endurance riding. These pleasure rides put on by EGB throughout the country are an excellent introduction to endurance, enabling riders and horses to do a short distance without having to worry too much about the speed and to enjoy wonderful marked routes that, in many cases, are not accessible to the public.

Annie

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