It’s been a crazy week for us with a combination of early starts, ridiculously long days and a number of miles travelled — a pretty standard week really for most event riders.

Having said that, it was hardly a long trek to Frickley Park at the start of last weekend, with a grand total travelling time of 30 minutes from leaving the yard. Amanda and Craig Morris’ Roko Rock pulled out all the stops with a personal best dressage of 31 and yet another double clear to finish fourth in the BE100 section. He will step up to novice level next, along with Peter and Bernadette Harrison’s Cooley Outlaw (pictured top flying around Frickley Park, photo credit to the great up and coming James Brooks Photography), who also put in a PB dressage score and posted a super clear cross-country.

It was then from one 4am start to a 2am one the following morning to head up north to Burgham International Horse Trials. I have never been so happy to drive through torrential downpours, nor have my team ever got so excited to see grey clouds and be so willing to get wet all day. It was well worth the seven hour round trip though.

DHI Paparazzi had his first run since Bramham and felt pure class from start to finish, completing on his dressage score of 29 to come second in the open intermediate section for Sir John Peace and Ian and Heidi Woodhead.

DHI Paparazzi was on great form on his first run since Bramham Horse Trials. Throwback to Bramham, thanks again to JB Photography and putting the LeMieux Tecknique tendon boots and Tenzion fetlock boots to good use

Sir John enjoyed more success with his own and Charlotte Cole’s OBOS Colombus who finished closely behind in third, as did Joan Jones’s The Artist Almost Famous who was fourth on his dressage score of 30, barely even a mark behind the others. Over the duration of the weekend we raised just short of £400 for our chosen charities, so it was nice to top up the kitty.

Now we’ve regrouped and the horses have all had their first runs back following their respective spring three-day events, it’s now time for us to hit the gallops again a couple of times a week. This is particularly important for our Blair- and Blenheim-bound campaigners. When the workload increases and the horses get very fit, a lot of them can become run up and start to look very lean. I have to say since I’ve had the horses on the Baileys No.21 ease & excel and No.2 working cubes or No.11 racehorse cubes, I’ve had absolutely no issues with this problem. In fact, the horses have resembled me in the stomach region at times — more on the comfortable side with plenty to grab hold of, despite being very fit and doing lots of miles. I find that the ease & excel is magic stuff though and has improved every horse on the yard. I think this along with the TRM Curragh carron oil makes a special winning formula. If you decide to try it and your horses do well, you can thank me for that one.

With a change in the weather it was time to get out the Shires Tempest Original 200 stable rugs to keep the horses snug

With a harder fitness regime, we try and make it as easy as possible on the horses. Every morning they go on the TheraPlate before exercise and we also use this after a competition and on rest days. We combine it with a treatment from the Venn Veterinary Multi-Radiance Acti-Vet Pro Laser to give them as much help as possible and to treat any tired and sore muscles, like any athlete would get. Along with this, each horse has a regular six weekly treatment with ACPAT physiotherapist Beverley Berns. If you are expecting your horse to be an athlete and ride them in competitions, it is very important that you treat them like one. I’ve certainly had to learn this the hard way over the years.

Proud to be sponsored by Bates Saddles

The horses have also been incredibly spoilt this month and I’m very proud to announce that I have signed a sponsorship deal with Bates Saddles. I originally took the Advanta challenge in April, which I would highly recommend anyone to do. I was so happy with the performance of the horses and the results I got while trying it at Bramham and Tattersalls around some seriously big tracks, I would never go back. The saddles are so light and comfortable on the horses, and allow them to have total use of their bodies and freedom in the shoulders. The easy-change fit solution offers flexibility for achieving an optimal fit and ultimate performance for your horse. Each of the horses are now fully equipped with a Innova Mono+ dressage saddle and a Advanta jump saddle. The only thing that will take some getting used to for me is seeing so much ‘Bates purple’ when I walk inside the tack room. I usually only like seeing purple when I open a box of Quality Street. I am extremely grateful to the whole team at Bates Saddles for the opportunity.

With Bates Saddles’ Greg Walters and my head competition groom Jenny Walker

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We head to Aston-Le-Walls next for a couple of days with the majority of the horses in the open intermediate and novice sections. I have also expanded my fundraising campaign to take it to the end of the year and continue with the fitness goals for next year’s charity race at the same time. Thanks to some encouragement from a friend, I have entered a 5km and 10km run at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Anyone wishing to join me and Team Wright at the race and raise some money for great causes, feel free to come along. We certainly won’t be setting any Mo Farah-like records, but will highly likely do the MOBOT on completion.

Matt

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