So it turns out I may have cursed my Grand National pick, The Package, but never mind, it was an amazing race anyway and great to see such a small, close knit team win.
It was also fantastic for my brother, Harry, and his fiancée Ciara, to have Rock On Ruby run such an incredible and brave race in defeat to The New One in the Grade 1 Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle after his Arkle run at Cheltenham. He is a credit to them both and is a once-in-a-lifetime horse.
Onto my news: we had a very busy week with lots going on to get the babies prepared for their event debuts at Tweseldown unaffiliated on Saturday. We took them to Larkhill last Monday to school round the cross-country, which were still flagged up from the British Eventing (BE) fixture the day before. It was just what they needed and even better that they had to cope with some muddy conditions too.
We had a full on weekend so I’m very lucky to have a great support team behind me, headed by my mother and hard working groom Bridget Fox. Bridget does a lot of the driving while I conserve my energy (sleep!) and is indispensable!
We were at Tweseldown with the 3 first-timers on Saturday for the intro, where they exceeded expectations, behaved impeccably and had a great first experience of eventing. They all had little green moments, which I was fully expecting, but they will have learnt a huge amount from the day and I am very excited about their futures. Next for them is their BE debuts at Bovington on Saturday.
We were met at Tweseldown by Bridget’s mother, Wendy Sturmey, who had driven up Kitkat (Another Breakfast) and Myrtle (In Vogue II) in the hunting lorry for us to take on to South of England for the night while Wendy took home the babies. I am hugely grateful for Wendy for doing this as it meant we didn’t have to trek all the way home only to have to turn around again at some ungodly hour to head back to South of England.
Myrtle had another great run round her novice with a 32 dressage, even with some mistakes so I have lots still to get out of her, a silly pole showjumping and a lovely clear cross-country.
Kitkat’s enjoying himself again
I was most relieved that Kitkat seems to be heading back on the right track, he did an ok test for a 32, with a few moments of tension creeping in, then jumped a great round showjumping for an unlucky 4 faults.
He was buzzing to go cross-country and was seriously keen to get the job done, so I had to make him go rather slower than he would have liked. He jumped a great clear, but I think I need to experiment with his bitting a bit more to find the right combination as I didn’t quite feel I had as much control as I would have liked. Still I was thrilled that he enjoyed himself so much.
I have also taken up a new ride… Billy the bicycle (pictured on our first outing together)… I am in intensive training as I am taking part in the annual Coast to Coast 54-mile charity bike ride in aid of the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. A team of us called the Team o’ Tumblers made up of hunting, racing and the farming community are cycling from Watchet to Westbay on 18 May along with 600 other people.
It is a fantastic cause as the Air Ambulance has been out many times this season, whether to the hunting field or the gallops, and so this is our way of giving something back. Please, if you can go, onto http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/teamotumblers and support us. You never know when you or a loved one might be needing their services.
Full report of South of England in H&H this Thursday, 17 April.