Gaby Cooke’s blog: getting my nails done versus cross-country

  • I’m sorry it’s been a little while since my last diary. As you all know everything under the sun, or rain even, has been cancelled due to this glorious weather. What a nightmare it has been.

    I was hoping to have all the ponies out the past three weekends. Withington was the first to be cancelled for me, which was probably the most frustrating of them all.

    This was meant to be a first advanced run for Broadway Star (“William”) and I was hoping to have a nice run around in order to qualify for Chatsworth CIC***. The first minor nightmare – luckily, I was hot onto the case and managed to get moved from the CIC*** to the normal advanced within about five minutes of the abandonment of Withington being announced.

    As the heavens stayed well and truly open, and with sneaky weather updates from someone in the Chatsworth area, I thought I ought to put an entry into Little Downham advanced, just to cover our backs. Especially as Mr William is now number 1 in the yard! Thank goodness I did. However, I’m slightly concerned it’s been about six weeks since he last ran, not the ideal preparation at all. We’ll just have to take each phase as it comes next weekend and see what happens.

    Back in ‘winter training’ mode

    As for home life, we’ve taken all the horses out jumping every week and spent a lot of time in the m ©nage building showjump courses and simulated cross-country. It virtually feels like we’re back into “winter training” mode, reminding them all they can still jump skinnies and angles after their holidays.

    My two five-year-olds are entered up for their debuts. First stop is Houghton Burghley young event horse, then swiftly on to Shelford BE90. It will be fun to see what they get up to – or maybe not so much…

    My two darling four-year-olds have left the ground (when they’re meant to!) for the first time this week – both seem to have taken to all the pole work very well despite the ghastly weather.

    It really has been unbelievable; I think we went pretty much three weeks with one day when the sun came out. I have to say I was starting to feel rather Hobbit-like, hiding away from sunshine. The joy of feeding the horses in early morning sun on that one day was just glorious.

    The dogs are ‘making dens’

    My little doggies have not been impressed at all either; the devilish duo of Snowy and Ivy have been hiding inside, they have reminded me so much of rainy days when I was little. My brother and I, much to my mum’s horror, use to tip all the sofas upside down and cover them with blankets. I don’t really know what the attraction was of “making dens” or even the point of the game…? What happened after tipping the house upside down is now beyond me, all I remember was that it was great fun!

    Ivy has been spending all her time under a blanket with a few circuit training sessions with Snowy round the kitchen, playing catch me if you can. Before long she soon returns to hibernation under the blanket, of course.

    With all the cancellations and horses out jumping during the week, we’ve found ourselves having two Sundays off from riding. I felt rather like a lady of leisure, heading to the gym mid-morning after mucking out, putting my feet up in the afternoon and watching a film, I even had my nails done – still in shock about that one!

    However, it won’t last long and I’m certainly getting itchy feet to get all the ponies out competing again. As much as I loved having my nails done, you don’t really get the same kick out of it compared to going cross-country.

    Let’s just hope this is the end of the abandonments, and we can all get back into the swing of thing. It will be interesting to see what happens with Olympic selection after the disaster of Badminton being cancelled, I’m guessing everyone will be Bramham-bound!


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