Hi all,

I must admit I was both jolly surprised and super-excited when I was asked to join the H&H blogging team. I have been wittering away for a little while now on my Facebook page about my day-to-day life and to my surprise it seemed popular among people other than those who know me well and have to be nice about it.

I will start by telling you a little about me. I live in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, and share a yard with my partner, Chinese event rider Alex Hua Tian. He has, in the past, been the subject of many of my posts. Mainly because he is away a lot so he can’t do a lot to stop me writing silly things about him, and he is very laid back so rarely gets cross about it, so that doesn’t stop me either.

I am a dressage rider and trainer, my life revolves around winning rugs and sashes and also getting my picture in Horse & Hound. I suppose now I can put pictures of me up all the time?! I have quite a few horses in training at my base, Pinfold Stables. From young horses that I have bred to older advanced horses that belong to a great team of owners. My current top horse is called Davidoff, or The Hoff to his friends. He is owned by Chinese dressage rider Sarah Rao who has another three horses here that she competes. Sarah has been based with us for a few years now. She is aiming to compete for China at Asian Games and hopefully, one day, an Olympics.

This time of year is a bit crazy. Alex is currently about to miss a flight back from Jakata where he has been competing at the Asian games. He did very well and won a bronze medal — so long as I also have a decent present on his return tomorrow, it should be a happy reunion after him being away for three weeks. While he has been away, I have been busy trotting his event horses in circles in preparation for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) and a couple of other international shows before the end of the season. This has been done with varying levels of success and enthusiasm. As well as this, my work rider, Natasha Taylor has two horses qualified for the summer dressage national championships. Also myself and Miss Rao have several big shows planned over the coming months — the plight for sashes and rugs is never ending!

Alex Hua Tian CHN riding Don Geniro, during the Show Jumping phase of the Eventing Competition at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodoro near Rio, Brazil on 9th August 2016

Alex at the Rio Olympics

My horses are all actually being surprisingly well behaved at the moment. This is rare that they are all being good at the same time — usually I am having an emotional breakdown about at least one of them. Even Radar (who you will hear a lot about) isn’t being too mental at the moment. He is one of my home-breds and is eight-years-old. He has been a total nightmare, has spent many an hour with all four feet in the air but, over the past few weeks, we’ve managed to attend some shows, not terrify anyone and even win a couple of mediums. Our current challenge is mastering the flying-change. Teaching him these has given me whiplash on numerous occasions. Hopefully the judges will see this as enthusiasm and expression rather than a UFO hitting the bonnet of their cars. He has the most gorgeous personality in the stable, so aside from selling him to a petting zoo, I am stuck with him purely because no one else would want him.

You will also hear an awful lot about Bodger, my dog. Alex thinks he is his dog but he forgets him all the time and I feed him so… He is actually the world’s finest dog. He does currently have fleas but that is only a short-term problem and then he will be re-instated to world’s finest dog.

I will be travelling to WEG in a couple of weeks to offer Alex some assistance in the dressage, inform him that every fence on the cross-country course looks unjumpable and ask my favourite question repeatedly: ‘but do you actually think you and Boris will be able to jump that jump?’ Hopefully I will be able to give you guys a bit of an insight into being ‘backstage’ at these big events. Alex will be delighted for me to have another project to focus on other than building tension before cross-country day.

Until then, Sarah x

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