So, December is here and has brought with it some lovely cold weather. My riding now requires at least two pairs of thermals under my breeches. We had our first flurry of snow recently while my shavings from loyal sponsor, Build Base, were being unloaded. Not really the festive wintery scene we needed!

The winter is an opportunity for us to revisit the basics with the horses, as well as upping the level of training. My trainer Angela (Weiss) and I have been looking at my position, how it affects particular movements on each horse, and how we can improve that. Using the biomechanics tools, strength and conditioning and video analysis means it’s back to basics for me too.

Some of the younger horses will start learning new things, particularly changes, while there is a gap in competitions. Just fingers crossed the weather doesn’t put a stop to our training this year. We do somehow need to find a roof! Last year we were hit hard when the arena flooded and then froze, so I really hope it isn’t as bad this year. The title of one of my H&H blogs last year was “My kingdom for a roof” which still rings true.

I’ve got a few talks and award ceremonies lined up. I presented a local sports awards recently, which went well. It’s not something that you think would come from being a medallist at London 2012 (at least I didn’t) and public speaking at events was not something I felt comfortable with at all. Even the thought of going into a room of people on my own was horrendous, however this is something I have certainly got use to during the past couple of years. I was even happy to give a talk at my sponsors’ Toggi and Champion bi-annual sales meeting recently. Mind you, as they are a really lovely bunch of people, it’s easy not to feel nervous with them.

We are also trying to push the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) to complete the paperwork so we can get started with our sessions. With so much interest generated from the few fundraising events we have held so far, it would be such a shame to not move forward with it sooner rather than later.

Finally, I hope all H&H readers have a very merry Christmas. And a happy and healthy new year to you and your horses!

Sophie