It may be the off-season for eventing, but I thankfully have lots of other things to keep me entertained during the winter months.
Hunting and racing come high on that list. I took my five-year-old eventer Archie (Arise Cavalier) for his first couple of proper days hunting (pictured top out eventing earlier this year). I have certainly thrown him in the deep end by taking him out with the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale on a Saturday.
He has really impressed me with how he has taken to it. He’s behaved far better than I could have hoped for and seems to be really enjoying himself. He jumped his first hedges and felt really bold so this is going to be invaluable education for him. He will have a handful more days before Christmas.
I have been busy riding out for my brother (National Hunt trainer Harry) and the yard has been in very good form with the horses running really well.
They have had some good winners — most recently with a win at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting in the mare’s listed bumper with the lovely Bitofapuzzle with Noel Fehily on board.
I think the most proud owner lately, though, has been my mother who owns a half share in the exciting young horse Zulu Oscar. He won a novice hurdle race at Taunton last week with Ryan Mahon on board (pictured below). After his rather disappointing first start over hurdles, where he unshipped Noel Fehily at the first fence, this was a much more pleasing outing! Fingers crossed we have an exciting winter ahead with him.
I also had a very last minute trip over to Ireland for the Goresbridge Go For Gold Sale with Carolyne Ryan Bell. We booked our flights on Tuesday afternoon and flew out on the Wednesday. Nothing was purchased, but I have never been before so it was a great experience to see how it all works and to get to see and ride some lovely young horses.
I am off to the Eventer’s Ball at Newbury this Friday as well as hunting with the Warwickshire on Saturday and I’m attending their hunt ball the same evening, so I am definitely packing in as much social time as I can while we aren’t busy competing every weekend!