Tim Stockdale’s Olympic Games countdown diary: 16 days to go

  • I’ve had quite a busy week. On Tuesday, I worked ‘Ruby’ (Fresh Direct Corlato) in the indoor school because the weather wasn’t very good.

    It’s a bit annoying, because I’m not getting to do much acclimatisation training, but she is on good form.

    She really wants clipping, but it’s been so chilly at night we’ve been having to put any extra rug on her. It’s not really helping the cause. Of course, she can be clipped once she’s in Hong Kong.

    In the afternoon Ruby went for her weekly swim and I had some physio myself to make sure everything is ok with me.

    On Wednesday, I set up quite a complicated grid at home — I didn’t realise how complicated until after I’d worked Ruby.

    It was three bounces at three feet, one stride to a four feet high and five feet wide oxer, followed by one stride to three more bounces.

    The idea was to let Ruby do some intricate work with a big power jump in the middle. She’d worked hard over it but was bright, athletic and sharp.

    At the end of the week I was at a four-day show with some novices and young horses at Weston Lawns. Each day, I had to get up early and work Ruby and one other before we left.

    It’s nice to ride early in the morning, but it’s still not helping with the heat training. She was also getting some work when I got back from the show — it was a hectic four days. I just missed out on qualifying for the Foxhunter final, too, with Kalico Bay.

    The show also gave me a chance to give my new hat a run out — make sure it fits well and is comfy to ride in.

    It’s got a great big Union Jack spray painted on it. It’s very in your face and completely obvious which country you are riding for. I think the best way to describe it is hideously smart. I really like it. I’m very proud of my flag.

    On Monday I went to do a cover shoot for Horse & Hound at dressage rider Laura Bechtolsheimer’s with her and Daisy Dick. I got back in the afternoon and gave Ruby some work before doing a few interviews for a job we’ve got on the yard.

    The show jumpers go into quarantine on Saturday, so I spent some time going through paperwork and making sure everything is ok for that.

    Then I went to try a horse. It’s quite odd because I have to be very careful. I can’t risk getting on a horse that could be dangerous or do something stupid.

    I once broke a collar bone riding a horse in Belgium a few weeks before the World Championships, and I don’t want that to happen now. Basically, it’s about using common sense.

    I’ve had a lot of text messages and calls over the past few weeks of congratulations, support and people wishing me well. I’m really grateful to them as it means a lot.

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