I’ve not been competing this week, but it’s still been busy. Last Tuesday (8 July) I went to my Olympic kit fitting with my groom Kirsten Kemp, who’ll be coming to Hong Kong with me.
We travelled up to the Birmingham NEC and were escorted around as we tried on loads of stuff — you’ve never seen anything like it. If you were into clothes, you’d have died and gone to heaven.
I tried on a number of outfits — parade wear, formal wear, sports wear, wet weather wear; you name it, it was there. And of course all of this was in Team GBR colours. And I got four pairs of shoes to go with my different outfits.
After this, we were escorted to other side of the hall where all of our stuff was assembled and a man checked it off and packed it in four big bags, along with baseball caps and Team GBR bandanas. I almost needed the horsebox to bring it all home!
On Wednesday I was teaching most of the day and got soaked, and I worked Coralto (Ruby) in the morning and afternoon. Talk about humidity training — it was certainly wet, but there was a distinct lack of warmth.
The following day I rode Ruby in the morning and then she went for her weekly lunchtime swim at racehorse trainer Paul Webber’s.
We try to vary what Ruby does as much as possible to keep her fresh, so on Friday morning she went for a gallop. I use some gallops near home which have a hill or a half-mile flat semi-circle. I’m very conscious of not risking any injuries at the moment, so I just galloped her on the flat on each rein. She thoroughly enjoyed it.
In the afternoon I worked her in the indoor school, where it’s a bit stuffy. It’s nothing like what we’ll get over there, but when the sprinklers have been on and it’s warm, it does get a bit sticky.
On Saturday Ruby did some gymnastic work; nothing more than two feet high, with lots of bounces and a few verticals. We do this to make her think and it just lets her know where her feet are.
It was a lovely day on Sunday, so Ruby got to go out in the pen. We have a few at home — they are about 20m by 10m with a fence about six foot six high, and are very safe. It’s not big enough for her to gallop round, but she can have a stretch. At this stage, I can’t risk turning her out in the field and her injuring herself.
On Monday I rode Ruby in the morning, before going to Newmarket to have a final check up with Andy Bathe at Rossdales veterinary practice. It was just to make sure everything was ok as we are on the last lap now — he checked her heart rate, breathing, scoped her throat. Andy said he’s never seen her in such good condition. That gave me a lot of confidence knowing she’s in good order with absolutely no niggles.
Then last night I had my own jabs — typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis and so on.
I figured out the other day that Ruby’s done 16 competitions this year — that’s about two a month, so she’s not been extensively used, but every one she has done has been quality and, with her being so enthusiastic, it’s all shaping up nicely for the Games.