Well, that’s a wrap as far as the eventing season is concerned. I know people say it all the time, but I cannot believe how fast this season has gone and even how quickly 2015 in general is going. Scary!
I would like to start off by wishing William Fox-Pitt well in his road to recovery after his nasty fall. It seems unbelievable to think that two of the best event riders in the world, Andrew Nicholson being the other, have suffered serious falls this season. I just hope more than anything that we get to see them back to their brilliant best in 2016. They are a joy to watch and learn from.
As far as 2015 has been for me, I cannot complain too much. I have competed nine different horses in 44 events with no eliminations, two wins and 20 top 10 placings.
However I have suffered from horse injuries with my top two horses. Kitkat (Another Breakfast) and Ruby (Rubabell Cruise), have been out for the majority of the season but they are back in full work now and we are looking ahead to the 2016 season with them. This has meant that I have concentrated mainly on young horses.
Archie (Arise Cavalier, pictured), a six-year-old owned by my father, has really flown the flag for me much of this season. He has had an incredible year, the highlight being clinching a third place finish in the CIC*YH6YO at Camphire on his fantastic dressage score of 38. He also had a top three finish in his first intermediate at Aston-le-Walls. Hopefully he has a seriously exciting future ahead of him.
Unbelievably for me I haven’t had an international three-day run this year. This is the first time since 2007 that I haven’t and thinking about it now it is a bit of an odd feeling, but I hope that 2016 will make up for it.
Effie (Augusta Firefly), a five-year-old owned by Nick Engert, has also been a star for me this season. She started her eventing career in July and from six runs picked up two wins (BE100 and BE100Plus) and two other top five places with no cross-country jumping faults. I am really excited about next season with her as she is a real trier and should make the step up to novice level easily.
As far as this winter is concerned for me it’s going to be pretty much the same as any other; lots of hunting with the Blackmore & Sparkford Vale and the Cattistock (which will give me my adrenalin fix) and working for my National Hunt trainer brother, Harry, riding out the racehorses. I love following the racing and he currently has 70 horses in training so it should be a busy winter. There will also be plenty of training, showjumping and dressage shows to keep me busy when the eventers come back in off their holidays.
I must say a huge thank you to my support team including my trainers Emma Fisher and Hannah Biggs and my sponsor Unicorn Saddlery, for all their help over the past couple of years. Philip Ireland comes out regularly to check my saddles and make sure all the horses are able to perform at their best, my vet Keith Jones at the Kingston Veterinary Group, my farrier Neil Watts, my horses’ physio Ginny Ince, our very hardworking head girl Bridget Fox, who is into her fourth year with us, her daughter Charley, who has also been a big part of the team coming to events and helping out, and our second girl Kelsey Powell, who keeps charge of the yard when we are away. Of course, last but not least, my very supportive and encouraging parents who I couldn’t do any of this without.
I will finish by announcing some very exciting news. I am thrilled to be able to welcome a new sponsor to the team, Hermione Gayton, who is a chartered veterinary physiotherapist (ACPAT cat A member). Hermione has worked as a specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist in the NHS for a number of years. Having evented, worked in racing, and played polo, Hermione is also a very experienced horse person. She is going to be regularly treating both the horses and me. She is so passionate about what she does and is great with the horses. I’m sure she will be an invaluable asset to the team over the coming seasons and I’m really looking forward to working with her. Take a look at her facebook page.