Coral Keen’s eventing blog: Crafty canines and Foxy Frolics

  • Christmas has been and gone, the festivities are over for another year and we are well into a new year. I do hope it is kind to everyone.

    I am really pleased with where I am with the horses in preparation for the start of the new season. I hope to have my first run at Oasby in the second week of March.

    Corinne Bracken came over last Saturday and I jumped all the horses. They all went well and I’d actually really struggle to know who to give the gold star to. Corinne and I have mapped out a training plan for the next few weeks.

    My dad and step-mother own a lovely dressage horse called Don Carissimo who has recently come back home as Olivia Oakley has taken over the ride with a view to competing him in under-25 grand prix. Before that he was very successfully competed at PSG level with Matt Hicks. It’s lovely having Don at home and my dad rides him a bit too which he really enjoys.

    Olivia is only 21 but she rides with maturity far beyond her years and it is so inspiring watching her ride Don. I’ve asked her to help me with Derby through the winter and it has already made a huge difference.

    We’ve worked on him being more in front of my leg, lighter in contact and pushing through in his transitions.

    Read another of Coral’s blogs

    Hard not to ride

    This year I decided to give the horses three days off over Christmas, starting on Christmas eve, and I found it really hard not to ride them. Every year the control freak in me comes out and I decide to just give them Christmas day off, but I stuck to my guns this time.

    Traditionally Gemma Pudney always comes over on Christmas eve, we go out to our local pub and then she helps with the horses on Christmas morning. This year, a night out was off limits, as I still haven’t quite got to grips with all the bugs and infections I’ve been coming down with as a result of having no spleen, but she came on Christmas morning and we sorted out the horses before having breakfast together and opening a few presents.

    Australian event rider Ben Leah joined us for Christmas lunch as we got to know him quite well when he shared a lift with us to Blair.

    After a wonderful feast, we all went to the yard to finish off the horses, with, or so we thought, our dogs Phoebe and Lily the Beagle in tow, dreaming of all the wonderful things we would be making with our enormous turkey, which we had only eaten one third off, over the next few days. Turkey curry, bubble and squeak, turkey sandwiches, coronation turkey…no cooking for a few days anyway!

    But alas this was not to be for when we returned the turkey was half devoured in Lily’s bed and the dog was nowhere to be seen, and eventually skulked back to the house later that evening, tail between her legs and with a rather large belly, knowing she was in trouble!

    I worked for a couple of days at Olympia for Horses in Sport, the owners of which have become quite good friends over the years. They always have everything you need at events so I am always popping on to their stand. Olympia is such a special show it was lovely being there and gave me an opportunity to catch up with my sponsors.

    Foxy Frolics

    I also went to the Wilton Hunt Ball which was themed Foxy Frolics. Having been a member of the Wilton Pony Club it was really nice catching up with a lot of old friends and it was lovely getting dressed up just before Christmas.

    This week the horses all had their flu jabs, which meant 24 hours without sweating, so we used it as an opportunity for me to get some paper work done and the girls to do some trimming!

    I’m off skiing with a load of girlfriends for a week and the girls will do hill work while I am away. I feel quite ahead of the game and I think I’ve used the winter really well and made some positive changes, which will hopefully pay off with some good results when we get going again.


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