I am writing this sat in a boathouse in St Just in Roseland, Cornwall, where I am having a few days holiday with friends. The boathouse (pictured top) belongs to the Batten family, who have run Aldon Horse Trials since it began 34 years ago. It is a beautiful place and very peaceful. The weather has been pretty kind to us and we’ve had some lovely days on the beach, but it has not been anywhere near as hot as the rest of England — just typical!
My horses are being kept ticking over by my hard working groom, Bridget Fox. She came to us last autumn having previously worked for Richard and Daisy Trayford of Exmoor Eventing. She is a real asset to the team and keeps everything running smoothly while we are away. Currently my parents are in the south of France where the temperature is a crazy 37 or so degrees! Our 4 fat hunters have just come back into work this week too, so I think Bridget will be glad to have us all back.
Before I headed down to Cornwall I had dressage lessons with Emma Fisher on Kitkat (Another Breakfast) and my new ride Leo (Soltair Justice). Kitkat is going beautifully at the moment so I hope he keeps on his best behaviour for Gatcombe! Leo is a very different horse and it is going to take me a little while to find his buttons, but he is so willing and had improved hugely by the end of my lesson. He is an exciting project to have and it’s so satisfying when you can feel the improvement in such a short time. I am really looking forward to having my first run on him in a couple of week’s time.
I also went to ride out for my brother, Harry, on Saturday. He took out his National Hunt training licence as the youngest trainer in Britain last October and is based at Seaborough, Dorset, 20min from home. I did three lots for him; I rode my first ever 2 year old and did a bit of flat work in the school, which was very different to my eventers. They all need the same basic training, getting them to lower their heads and use their backs. He was very sweet and well behaved for such a baby!
Then I rode a horse called Karinga Dancer out on the roads; a lovely big type who won his last three hurdle races so is an exciting prospect for the season. We went out with the stable star, the 2012 Champion Hurdle winner (and 2013 runner up), Rock On Ruby, who is looking fantastic after his summer at grass! And finally I took a 4-year-old mare that has been recently broken in by Ryan Bliss, who runs a breaking/pre-training yard, for a canter up the gallop. Harry sends his unbroken horses to Ryan and they come to him later on when they are cantering up the gallops happily. I will be working for Harry most mornings from the beginning of August, riding out three lots before coming home to do my horses in the afternoon. I am really looking forward to it as it will be so good for my fitness and I love going up the gallops!
That’s about it from me this week; I have Wilton on Sunday with Kitkat in the OI and then will be building up to the Open Championships at Gatcombe the following weekend.