Coral Keen’s eventing blog: No rest for the wicked

  • I’m not good in the winter and thrive on being busy. There’s always paper work to do when you run a business, but coming in when its dark at five with several hours to while away is making me feel a bit lost.

    I actually dread this time of year so I’ve decided to change how I do things. I’ve joined a gym and will be keeping up my fitness as I find this really helped me mentally and physically this season.

    Normally I’d finish on the yard at six and then head out on my bike for an hour, or go for a swim or run. So when the competition season starts again in the spring, the plan is that I will be as fit as a fiddle instead of fighting the extra pounds I will inevitably have put on from spending too much time indoors!

    The horses have all come in earlier too, so although it won’t be as hectic as during the competition season, I am still riding six or seven a day, and I’ve increased my teaching.

    Being sociable

    There’s a gang of riders who all live quite nearby so we’re going to be a little more social than usual and last night (30 October) I had supper with Lissa Green which was lovely.

    We’ve also decided to try and have more of a “normal Sunday” in the yard so we’ll get the horses done and then head off to the local pub for a long Sunday roast before coming back to put them to bed.

    Emily, my head girl, is taking three very well deserved weeks off from Sunday and she’s going to go to Dubai. We’ll all really miss her, but hopefully she’ll come back refreshed and revived. She really deserves a long break as she always works so hard.

    Meg, my working pupil, has just come back from a week’s holiday and enjoyed the opening meet with the Wilton where her dad is the field master.

    I’ve been giving her lessons every day on her own horse which she events at novice level and she’s hoping to go to a CCI* next year. We’ll be working hard on getting Meg’s horse going well so that he’s ready for his spring campaign.

    Bumpy landing

    I had a lovely time in Dubai and was looking forward to coming home with a spring in my step but unfortunately I caught a horrible sickness bug on the aeroplane and was really quite poorly.

    It made the journey seem never ending and I can safely say it has put me off flying for a while. I was wiped out for a few days which was not how I wanted to come back. The idea was to return feeling recharged!

    As a result, the horses came back in slightly later than anticipated, but the advanced horses have all had a good six weeks off and have now started their training programme.

    On Thursday, my mum came up to give me a hand for a marathon day of clipping – we managed nine between us and they now all look very smart.

    I took April to a hunter trial at Larkhill on Sunday. She’s our second homebred by a lovely stallion called Sylvester, a KWPN Dutch warmblood. She’s only cross-country schooled once in the past but it was too good an opportunity to miss as the ground is always good at Larkhill and the fences are very inviting.

    I wasn’t really sure if I’d get around or not but we went off in our little lorry and she was really good and didn’t play up at all. I was really impressed with her. She was immaculately behaved except for a little buck in the warm-up but that was only playful.

    She cantered beautifully in between the fences on the BE90 course and then wanted to have a really good look at them and jumped several from a standstill. But she will have learned a lot and she slept very well that night!

    Our lorry has gone off to be resprayed ready to sell and my new box is currently being built by Empire Horseboxes and it will be ready in February. It’s lovely to have an opportunity to tailor make our lorry to how we need it to work.

    Star of the future

    I’ve been busy teaching some of my liveries and some local girls including Lucy Mayne who is an absolute joy to teach. She’s such a gutsy little girl and it’s exciting seeing her coming up through the Pony Club. She’s definitely a star for the future – you heard it here first!

    I also really enjoy teaching clinics, both jumping and flatwork and it’s lovely to see how just a few words can improve and inspire people.

    It’s exciting to be back on Derby (Wellshead Fare Opposition – pictured). He’s just out walking and trotting on the hills at the moment, but it’s great all the same. His eyes lit up when I got the saddle out.

    When the horses are out, its almost as if they feel a little bit unloved and they have all seemed very keen to be back in work.

    Corrine Bracken is coming today (31 October) and I will jump five with her, and a few others riders will also join us.


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