Being in charge at Horse & Hound has been a very different experience for me — I’m certainly not a journalist! But I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s made me think a lot more about what goes into putting together a magazine like this each week. I hope you enjoy reading the finished product as much as I did.
Despite my recent new editorial duties, I haven’t given up my day job — I’m now competing on the Atlantic Tour in Portugal, having been on the Spanish Sunshine Tour before that. There’s a huge British contingent out here — there were 57 riders in Spain and, when you consider the other tours going on abroad at the moment, there must be well in excess of 100 riders out of the country at this time of year.
That’s making a big difference to the events back home and I feel sorry for the organisers of the Premier Shows in the UK — they are really suffering, but I’m not sure what can be done to help them.
We’ve been coming here for about 10 years and there are more and more people joining us each year. Obviously the weather is a massive factor, but you can also bring lots of horses, jump as much as you want every day and there are classes for young horses, amateur riders and everything from 1.30m to 1.50m for the professionals, with rankings classes every week and decent prize money.
My daughter Louise and I have brought 12 horses from six-year-olds upwards — some young ones and some new ones, and it’s a great education for them. If you have one bad day you can drop them down and get them going again. There are 13 rings, grass and sand, and they change the arenas around so the horses are seeing different things. It’s all about the experience. The numbers in each class can be the downside though — we had 115 in the small grand prix this week — meaning everything takes longer than you think. But it’s a small price to pay for several weeks in the sun!
Ref: H&H 2 April, 2015