Shaun Mandy’s dressage blog: a rocky start but things are looking up

  • Dear gorgeous readers,

    As I write to you, I am sitting next to the range in our front room looking out onto the garden which is currently a winter wonderland! Yes it is the first week of March and the beast from the east together with Storm Emma is here. Pringle is happy by the fire and Mark is working from home today as there is no point risking it on the roads. I feel a baking day ahead and possibly a movie and, go on then, a glass of wine, why not! These lock in days don’t happen very often so I intend to take full advantage of it.

    I am sorry I have been a little quiet. I have had a bit of a rocky start to 2018, but things are starting to turn a bit of a corner and spring is nearly here, which always helps.

    Mark and I at the top of the Rock of Gibraltar

    Christmas was amazing and Mark and I spent it in the mountains of Andalusia. The views were breathtaking and I found it really refreshing to be having a Christmas with a difference. We had a little hire car and did days out including visiting Ronda (a must!) Marbella and Gibraltar.

    The locals in Gibraltar

    For New Year we moved up to Seville. This is a place I highly recommend visiting. We found a great apartment through Air B&B, with a rooftop terrace overlooking the city. The weather was around 21 degrees, so great for walking the streets and sitting outside in the sunshine. Apparently summer can become unbearable with the heat so autumn and winter is a time better to visit. I have never seen so many people sitting outside eating and drinking and staying skinny! I suppose as it is part of their everyday culture and they know that the next day will be a sunny one too and they can do the same, there is no desire to binge. I also noticed that beer is always served in a half pint.

    Our balcony view from mountain house

    We arrived in Seville on the Friday and spent the weekend seeing the sights, tasting lots of different tapas and had fun hiring bikes and cycling around too. It was packed and so we were expecting New Year’s Eve to be heaving. We planned to come back to our apartment early afternoon, have a bit of a rest and then hit it large for the evening. Well, when we walked out our front door onto the streets of Seville that night, it was like a ghost town. Everything was shut and all the people gone. No restaurants , bars or clubs open. Luckily we found a little corner shop, bought a bottle of bubbles and our 12 tinned grapes each (Spanish tradition) and headed back to our apartment. We saw the New Year in on our rooftop terrace with fireworks going off in the far distance. The next day, our landlord told us that in Seville on New Year’s Eve, people go to private parties or outer suburbs for firework displays.

    Cycling around Seville

    For the past six months, my big, gorgeous Oldenburg six-year-old has been living out at my friend, Jayne Bibby’s, yard. She looked after him so well and I am very grateful to her. He was diagnosed with a cyst on his stifle last summer. Fortunately it was on a growth plate and the X-Rays now show it has gone, so it is time to crack on!

    I decided to work towards selling a few shares in Inky and creating a syndicate to be a part of Team Inky and the exciting journey ahead. I am really happy to welcome Sue and her daughter Lauren (pictured top) as new shareholders in him. I still have a further 30% I will sell and look forward to welcoming a few more owners to complete our team soon. It is a great time to join and with premier league competitions starting soon, we will have fun times out.

    Parry and Inky reunited

    I did some test riding with judge, Anne Keen, the other day and Inky and I rode through the Inter 1 test for the first time. There is lots for us to work on, but it was great to feel we are getting stronger.

    Continued below…

    Tomorrow I am supposed to be training with Ulrik, however, the forecast is not looking any better and as much as we would be in a lovely indoor, I am not sure I want to be travelling on the roads with such precious cargo!

    Inky and I in our first competition of the year

    Well my lovelies, I feel that is time for some baking to start… or maybe just some banana pancakes!

    There is a move taking place soon and I look forward to telling you more when I next write

    Until soon xx

    Body Mind Mastery Quote: Greatness lies not in being strong but in the right use of strength. – Anonymous

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