Shaun Mandy’s dressage blog: a change I just didn’t want to face

  • Dear gorgeous readers,

    I have been putting off writing for some time now as a big change has happened in my life and I simply have not wanted to face it. Mark and I split up a couple of months ago. It has been really tough and I’m not there yet, but I do feel that I am getting stronger. I really did think that he was the one and so I suppose coming to terms with it will just take its time.

    We have all been there and yes, quite frankly it sucks, but life is about moving forward and treasuring the moments and memories you’ve had. Thankfully, I have had a lot of other things going on to help distract me — of course not to mention my fabulous family and friends who have really been there for me.

    Pringle and I are now living in the picturesque village of Garford, where for the time being I am renting a room in a good friend’s home.

    So just before we split up, I had booked a flight to the Seychelles as Mark was going to be out there and we had planned for me to go out for a week. Obviously this was a trip I was quite looking forward to and did not want to throw away the money already spent. Fortunately for me, my bestie, Elodie came to the rescue and joined me! I did have mixed emotions while we were there, but what a beautiful destination and we had a fun time. Having my best friend with me was amazing as Els knows me so well and was able to pick me up in my low times.

    Elodie and I in the Seychelles

    We had great fun exploring the main island, Mahe, with our little hire car and enjoyed the white sandy beaches with their stunning technicolour blue waters. For the first time ever, I experienced snorkelling. We did a glass bottom boat trip which consisted of popping over to another island, with a BBQ on the beach and swimming with the fish. It was great fun, especially once I stopped inhaling water! In true Elodie and Shaun style, we made some holiday friends too. This time with a lovely Dutch couple, Martijn and Nick. We enjoyed a fun day on the beach together drinking lots of wine and are now naturally friends on Facebook and they will be coming to visit us soon in England!

    We flew via Dubai with Emirates (love them) and there was a moment when we thought we might not make our connecting flight. We had been marginally delayed leaving London and as we were approaching Dubai airport, slight panic was setting in as looking at the time and seeing when our connection to the Seychelles was leaving, it was going to be tight. I have done the Dubai stop over quite a few times due to my clinics in Durban and also know you have to go through security again and so I was praying that our gate was not going to be far away from our arrival gate. Well, it could not have been further away — literally the other end of the airport. Fortunately they priorotised us through security where the man casually said, ‘you need to hurry to your gate, but you can still walk, just fast.’ Well, we sprinted like mad people, clinging onto our bags and belts! Thankfully, a very kind airport man on one of those golf buggies, but for airports, told us to jump on and he drove us to our gate. We never would have made it even if we had trained for a marathon. It was so far away and felt like it took about 20 minutes to drive there. Once we were securely buckled into our seats heading to the Seychelles, a stiff drink was in order and I’m not sure what the time was, but that is the joy of airports and planes, the rules are different!

    Upon returning home, I sold my gorgeous six-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Parry to friend and fellow dressage rider, Jayne Lancashire. I would have loved to have kept him, but finances said no and at least I know that he will have a great time where he is.

    A couple of weeks ago, Inky and I got our personal best score in the prix st georges (PSG) at Hunters and won it with 68.15% (pictured top). This was a real breakthrough for us and one of those moments where you really feel that all the hard work is starting to pay off. What made it more special was that I had just had my third member of the Team Inky Syndicate buy a share. Good friend and South agent for Bloomfield Horseboxes, Ben Ambrose is now a proud owner in Inky!

    Dinky and I after our win

    Yesterday we had another good day in the PSG and were second with 67.23%. I am lucky to have a great trainer, Ulrik Molgaard, who I am thankful to with regards to Inky and my progress. I am now looking out for a whopping sponsorship contract, so will be taking calls!

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    When I wrote last, I mentioned the problem with the yard I was at and that I was looking to relocate. Having sold Parry, it made it easier with just Inky and Judy Peploe has very kindly put him up. I am so happy to have Inky there and be able to work him in a brilliant arena. It is a lovely, happy and relaxed environment. Even though this is a temporary move, it is a great stepping stone for what is to come within the next five months. More will be revealed soon…

    Well my lovelies, I must dash as Pringle is demanding her doggy dinner and then I have a couple of lessons to teach. I am loving this heat wave, but am grateful that I have some evening lessons today.

    Body mind mastery quote: “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place” – Nora Roberts

    Until soon xx

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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