I keep thinking that life will start to calm down a bit but it doesn’t seem to work out that way!
I am writing this after two big weekends in a row, one working at Your Horse Live and one playing, perhaps a little too hard, at the annual UK Polocrosse Association awards dinner and ball.
Your Horse Live is one of the major events on our calendar as it gives the team and I a chance to showcase our work – something I don’t really get to do through competitions like most other trainers.
I was lucky to have a lovely stand-in in Cali, a young Spanish horse that had been with me for three weeks after Nicky. His owner, realised he wasn’t quite as ‘broken in’ as she was led to believe after she bought him from the continent.
Let go of your horse!
My first demo on Saturday morning went as planned and followed the theme of ‘let go of your horse!’ Cali showed some nerves but settled quickly as I explained how to introduce a young horse to a new environment.
Diesel was on top form showing off for the crowd with some liberty work and finishing with me playing some bridleless polocrosse.
Unfortunately I had to adapt my two Sunday demonstrations after the whole event went into an incredibly moving two-minute silence to mark Armistice Day at 11am.
Diesel, who was waiting to go into the arena, thought the bugle playing The Last Post was a hunting horn. Having been hunting once as a four-year-old and finding the experience incredibly overexciting – it was clear that my demonstration was rapidly changing into ‘What to do if your horse becomes over-excited!’
It was a shame after so much work with him at home that he wasn’t able to perform all the fun tricks, but the crowd’s feedback was that these demos were more educational because everyone who rides horses has those moments when things don’t go according to plan.
Q&A with Carl Hester and Paul Tapner
I also enjoyed my time on the Q&A panel with the likes of Carl Hester and Paul Tapner (pictured below). It was very refreshing to hear top competitors such as this having such common sense attitudes towards how they keep and train their young horses and I hope I’ll have more opportunities to quiz them in the future.
I’m not sure why anyone would want my autograph but sitting on the ‘signings’ stand was quite an experience too – perhaps they mistook me for Paul Tapner on account of my Australian accent!
As ever my team was fantastic and worked so hard with the demonstrations and on our stand, which was busy all weekend.
It was lovely to have my wife Penny there too for moral support, but I’m worried that my wallet might have taken a bit of a beating over the weekend as she came home with a lot of shopping bags!
On the home front, things are going well with all the horses and their training is going well. We are enjoying the new block of Cheval Liberte stables and already planning for the next phase of development of the yard.
I’m looking forward a Retraining of Racehorses clinic next week and our Christmas Coffee (or mulled wine!) Morning Demonstration at the beginning of December, before the family and I go to Australia for Christmas.
I’m also incredibly excited that an online project that I first started over two years ago is in its final stages of completion. I won’t tempt fate by talking about it until its up and running as it has been such a labour of love, but hopefully we’ll be able to get on that plane and have a celebratory drink to toast the beginning of a new venture in our lives!
Read more of Jason’s blogs
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