Happy New Year to you all! We are already halfway through January and the eventing season is fast-approaching us.
I have had a very busy and fun-filled winter. I managed a little holiday to Mexico at the end of October while the horses were also having a break. I have never been to that part of the world so it was a fantastic trip and lovely to catch some sun before the English winter!
Otherwise it has been pretty full on with lots of hunting and riding out racehorses for my brother, National Hunt trainer Harry, when I’ve had the chance. It has been great to see William Fox-Pitt out hunting with us a couple of times.
I have had a few horse-buying trips to Ireland too. I went over to the Monart sale, which was fantastic and although I came home empty handed it was a really good experience. I went over again after the sale to visit a few yards and I have had two lovely young ones arrive, both sourced by Chris Hunt of Global Event Horses. The first is a rising five-year-old by Lux Z called Leo (Sportsfield Global Warrior) who has now done a couple of day’s hunting and we’ve found him to be a little bit of a superstar! On his second day out he was tackling some of the Blackmore Vale’s most fearsome hedges without any bother (pictured)! I am very excited to campaign him at the Burghley Young Event Horse (BYEH) series this year.
The second new horse is a rising four-year-old by Emperor Augustus (just my third on the yard by this lovely sire now!). He is called Casper (Lismakeera Global Emperor) and even though he has only been backed for four weeks, he is behaving impeccably. He will have a quiet-ish year learning the ropes and have lots of little holidays throughout to develop and grow. I will also look to take him to some BYEH classes.
The other horses are all back in work and most have had their first jump and are ready to go out British Showjumping and dressaging. I have also had my first lessons of the year with Hannah Biggs and Emma Fisher so it really does feel like we are in full flow again now. I have four days training with Angela Tucker in February, which was very kindly lined up for me by my very supportive owner Nick Engert. Angela is such a respected trainer it will be very interesting to see what she picks up on and I am sure I will come away with lots of advice. I am really looking forward to it.
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I have done most of my event plans for all the horses, or at least plan A is sorted anyway — it’s inevitable that plan B, C, D maybe even E will have to come into action though! But it’s great to set some short and long-term goals for the horses.
I keep myself pretty fit over the winter but at the same time I find I get quite stiff with all the hunting so I’m looking forward to getting out to some pilates for riders sessions put on by my sponsor, Hermione Gayton. My horses do all their gymnastic exercises and stretches so I think it’s very important I do them too!
I have a very exciting team of horses lined up for this season so I can’t wait to see what it brings.