Katy Willings’ Mongal Derby blog: hitting my target

  • Going great guns this week. I had my first ever boxing lesson on Monday night at the gym and really enjoyed myself. I always suspected I would have a talent for it, and, apart from a few instances of failing to guard my face (tip: no point keeping your hands high if they are actually behind your head) I think Bruno was quite impressed.

    I caught him nursing his forearms later in the session, anyway – I reckon I duffed him up good and proper! Best bit is getting your hands all strapped up at the beginning of the session, which feels quite reverent and ceremonial, before you get your gloves on and give ‘em hell.

    I swam last night, off swing dancing tonight, cycling with brother Tom and hopefully riding a horse or two in the Shire on Thursday night. Will also be picking up my Mongolian visa tomorrow — if I run there and back for another cheeky session, I think that’s a ship-shape week’s training. Oh, and Bruno and I have our Friday night special too. Phew.

    I had what will probably be my last big weekend in the saddle on Saturday, racking up an impressive 7 hours across 4 different steeds, effectively meaning I was riding or grooming horses all day. Was heaven! I was withdrawn from the competition we had planned for Tucker and I on Sunday as my times were so late that I wouldn’t have got home until midnight. A shame, but maybe we’ll get another bite of the cherry in September, if I still have any skin on my backside.

    Most exciting of all, I am gathering footage for my video montage, although I am slightly concerned I have become the most vain and publicity-hungry girl ever in the history of mankind. I thought my mother was going to lynch me when I suggested she video me in my underwear, holding the horses, on Sunday morning (another Derby rider had the master stroke of a naked photoshoot for the free London Sport magazine; she has now smashed her fundraising target). And then chase me round the village to get footage of me running and riding. I have quite a lot of footage of her swearing and exclaiming “I can’t even tell if it’s bloody well recording!”

    If her videoing efforts are so poor they count as deliberate sabotage, I probably deserve it. She wanted to go to Hickstead to watch Edward Gal and Totilus. Instead she got to wipe green grass gunge off my arms as spat on me by Ella, and hang out by the back door waiting for me to run or ride back up the drive. Sorry Mum! For the record, I am well aware that horses are not toys, and none were actually harmed during the filming process. In contrast, those chin-ups you will be seeing really did smart.

    I have got to the bottom of my riding straightness woes as described in my last blog. I had put my pelvis out of joint so that one seatbone was lower than the other. What was very marginal on Wednesday night/Thursday morning (just aggravating enough to impair my feel and discourage Tucker from cornering properly), was really quite uncomfortable by Sunday afternoon, so I went to see the physio and got clunked back into alignment. The acid test will be plonking back in the saddle and having two seatbones instead of one sharp, bruised one – fingers crossed.

    In other news, I reached my fundraising target of £1,000 for Mercy Corps, which has given me such a boost. Thank you so much to everyone who has spared some cash for my fundraising efforts. I will be having a little garden party to celebrate at my flat on Sunday afternoon, hopefully to include the world premiere of my montage (and definitely the world premiere of my Lethal Ginger cocktail, which I think I am going to call Steppe’n Wolf).

    Pugilistically, Katy x

    You may like...