Former international pony dressage rider Katy Willings’ latest update on her progress training for the Mongol Derby
I am currently up to my eyeballs in Def14As. For those of you uninitiated in American SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) filings, it’s the really, really long one, which describes, in eye-watering detail, just how much Executive teams in corporate America are earning. I will be plugging all the relevant numbers into a clever model which will spit out, hopefully before the bell goes (and the axe falls) on Friday night, whether these Free Market Titans make our client look underpaid or not. The deadline is already looking a trifle ambitious given the volume of extra-curricular stuff on the agenda, hence operation Data Monkey now.
I had a big weekend in the saddle, with four different rides (well, five if you include a quick guest-slot on Tucker on Sunday morning &mdash a straw-poll of two determined that the Mors L’Hotte double bridle suited him better). I have picked up another spare ride; on account of my silky skills in the saddle on Owl, I have graduated to her very zippy stable-mate Sky, a 21-year-old Arab who likes to party, and who piaffe-passaged round the local farmland to the amusement of her very generous owner Kate Parker.
I also had some sublime evening riding on Thursday night, just after my last bulletin. I arrived off the train to Basingstoke, where Mum had left me her car, complete with riding kit and little picnic basket of coffee and sandwich. Zipped round to livery yard where Logan, who I am stealing from Tamsin Thorne while she looks the other way and does her GCSEs, was innocently grazing as the sun set. I had a bit of a job locating the little fella as he had his fly sheet on in jousting charger style, but he gave himself away with a wary look in my direction and I fished him in and tacked him up. Church Brook Farm is a lovely yard in Tadley with beautifully manicured cantering tracks, which we took full advantage of as the sun sank below the horizon. Ah, the romance! Snapped out of it sharpish when a deer got up and leapt out in front of us, sending Logan launching sideways and me grabbing a fistful of mane. Drove home to Local Hero theme, all was right with the world.
This was in stark contrast with Friday’s morning session on Tucker, which was fairly sub-prime on account of my failure to wake up at the allotted time (5.40am). With absolutely no slack in the schedule, not waking up until 6.05 was a grave error and I rode like a chump. No romance here, just a barked reminder of how late I was running from Mum at 5min intervals. Tucker, at least, was on the ball and showed some lovely expression in his trot work, which is coming along in leaps and bounds now.
Also had my first personal training session with Bruno, erstwhile diet and fitness guru, on Friday night. I was tired, and it hurt. He might as well have picked up a big spade and just hit me with it really, but I have found myself absentmindedly poking myself in the abs ever since and murmuring appreciatively. The supine hamstring curls were miserable but it’s always fun at the end when you lie there and they just pull you about and say “now don’t try and resist” (no sir!).
After all that conditioning it was time to go out and undo it all, so I donned something that wasn’t a sports bra and went out in Angel. Now I had been labouring under the misapprehension that Jack Daniels does NOT cause a hangover, but I can absolutely confirm to the contrary. I felt like roadkill all day on Saturday, and was lucky to not start riding until 6pm. Kate Willings — being an idiot so that others need not. No, no, you’re welcome.