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Jane Gregory’s Olympic Games countdown diary: 18 days to go

Last week was all about planning and getting ahead. Faced by the prospect of being away from home for a month, I really want to get everything organised so that I can focus while we’re away in quarantine and in Hong Kong. The thought of leaving a farm, a yard, staff, dogs, the house and garden for a whole month – well, it feels like a very long time.

We live on a working farm, most of which we rent out, but I like to oversee everything from checking fencing to making sure we’re not at the end of the farmer’s rota to making hay if we do get this promised heat wave next week. I like to be involved on the yard when I am home. Whether this is sorting out washing, packing or feeding, it is amazing where the time goes!

I’ve been riding the other horses as much as I can, giving them some intensive training so that Amber, who helps me, can keep them ticking them over while we’re gone. I want to make everything as easy as possible for the girls — with the time difference it’s not going to be easy to stay in touch, though if there’s an emergency they know I’ll want to know. I don’t like things sugar-coated!

Sunday is normally the horse’s day off so, although I’m not a great writer of lists, I started to plan what would need to be washed and packed for both quarantine and Hong Kong. There’s a lot to think about; the weather here isn’t great at the moment so they are in rugs, but Hong Kong will be hot and who knows what it will be like in Gloucestershire next week. The flight itself is 13hrs and the plane will be cold, but you don’t want them to get too hot as they’ll become uncomfortable and that’s when germs spread.

I need to get new equipment for quarantine too as the regulations for cleanliness are very strict. I think we need to be responsible with things, like getting new sponges for example. If you take an old sponge from the lorry into quarantine who knows what germs you could be taking in.

The team physiotherapist has been down to Wiltshire to check Lucky Star over. She had only seen him once, at CDIO Rotterdam, and wanted the chance to see him relaxed at home so that she knows what is normal for the horse and therefore has the best chance of catching anything out of the ordinary. She checked him all over and we’re both happy with how he is so we’re hoping there will be very little to do other than keeping him comfortable. She was pleased he’d lost weight and is very fit.

Lucky Star’s stable diet is oats. In Germany he had good quality crushed oats, but I’ve been struggling to find those here — they’re bruised or rolled most of the time. Because he’s a fussy eater, and may well lose more weight on the way to Hong Kong, I need to know he will eat what we’re feeding him once we get out there. Having opened all the bags at our local feed store I’m happy I’ve found something that will work for him.

My evenings have all been taken up with correspondence; I feel it’s so important to respond to everyone individually, and I’m no computer expert but getting much better on my emails now! I’ve had messages from all over the place, which has been a wonderful surprise. I had one from a lady in Denmark, who knew all about Lucky Star’s breeding and told me all about his dam line; another from a groom in Ireland who’s looking after a horse we sold years ago; and another lovely letter from Domini Morgan, who now lives in Spain — she wrote to say she was trying to find someone with Sky so she would be sure she could tune in to watch us at the Games. It gives me a really positive feeling to have so many people wishing us luck for Hong Kong.

Jane

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