Well this is it, Christmas is over and the first BE competitions of 2017 are entered. This year has gone so fast it is easy to forget that it was less than a year ago I was handing in my dissertation, marking the beginning of the end of my University life. I have graduated from Uni with a 2:1, despite sitting my finals with a broken collarbone. I have made lifelong friends and am now loving University Riding from a team trainer perspective, rather than a rider. So far this season the teams have had a brilliant set of results with 4 team wins and a team 2nd out of five competitions. They have also picked up several individual placings at each competition which is a really positive start. Hopefully they will continue the good form next term and we will qualify three teams for regionals for the first time ever.
I am trying not to let myself get excited for the 2017 season yet but I am finding it really hard. I have three gorgeous horses that are raring to go and feeling fantastic. On that note I must introduce you to the new addition to the team, Greenlanes Hudson, Hudson, owned by Peter Greenaway of GreenLane Stud. He is a 4yo by Zambesi out of a Calvados x Voltaire mare and is with us to produce as an event horse. So far he is looking like a very exciting prospect for 5 yr old classes in 2017.
Smarty made the trip over to Germany safely and is very much enjoying being back with Amy. They are hard at work, preparing to take the eventing world by storm on the continent next season and I have no doubts that they will!
Coco continues to be his enthusiastic self, he has been out show jumping and been placed in a Foxhunter at Addington. See the video by CLICKING HERE. We have kept him in work as we feel that is more beneficial for a horse like him who is much better for being busy and he will be 18 next year. He is entered for two days show jumping at Bury Farm, trying to have some fun jumping some bigger tracks. It is a great idea apart from the fact that we will be staying in the lorry, in January!! He is also going to the JAS at Merrist Wood as although it is only the Novice, it gives him a bit of fun. Currently the plan is to crack on eventing him next year. But we will play it by ear and pick and choose our events, as long as he feels good he will keep eventing.
Joey has been a superstar and not put a foot wrong so far. He has jumped round his first two shows at Parwood British Novice, having a very unlucky pole in the jump off and Pyecombe 90cm Arena Eventing where he flew round but jockey error meant he had a silly pole. You can see the video of him by CLICKING HERE. Then today he managed to pick up his first ever rosette. We went to Felbridge BE90 Combined Training where he did his first ever dressage test, he was a little wobbly and inattentive at times but you would never have guessed it was the first time in a dressage arena. He was given a very generous mark of 28.5 but an exciting start with lots more to come. He then popped round the jumping making it feel so small for a lovely clear which was good enough for us to finish 2nd in a huge class of 30! You can see the video by CLICKING HERE.
Hudson had been out to a couple of shows before we got him. He has proved what a lovely, level headed young horse he is. He is so bold and easy to ride, but at the moment being a big weak baby he makes the odd mistake and has the odd rail down but he is fundamentally a horse that wants to leave the fences up. We will give him time to grow into himself and give him the best chance of reaching his full potential (which we think could be rather special).
A quick note on Lily, who is back in hacking work without shoes on and is feeling really quite good. I am cautiously optimistic that she will be back out jumping in 2017 but we will take each step as it comes. She currently has a very fat tummy and resembles a New Forest pony on the moors, but she is very happy!
So that is all for now. It just remains for me to say another huge Thank You to everyone who has helped me this year. My fabulous sponsors Simple System who are on the end of the phone with advice whenever it is needed. The horses look great and as a result they are able to perform to their best. I am sure I would not be where I am without their invaluable support, just knowing I am able to contact their fantastically educated feedline gives me so much confidence. What is even better is it is not just me as a sponsored rider that gets the access to their feedline, but anyone who needs advice can give them a ring and receive their knowledgeable answers. To my parents and particularly my mum who is groom, lorry driver and general superhero. It also helps she is a very good equine chiropractor and keep my horses feeling tip top! To my aunt and uncle, Liz and Kari for their ongoing support with Coco and of course a lovely yard that I can base myself at. To Morganne and Dan who kept me sane (well as much as that is possible) throughout my final year at Uni and still are now, lifelong friends I hope. To all those that helped out when I had broken my collarbone, Jenny Wijsmuller who helped keep the horses exercised, Laura Wijsmuller and Nathalie George who drove me to uni and back for my exams and to Freyja Cox for coming eventing with me and being a brilliant groom when Mummy Wood went on holiday! Finally to my long suffering boyfriend, Rob, who not only has to accept the fact I am out riding horses all day, but when I go and see him in the evenings, I am normally so tired I fall asleep (although maybe that is a positive)!
Anyway, enough from me.. I am sure you are all bored (if you have even made it to this point). If you have, pour yourself a drink and raise a glass to 2017. Whatever happens, I am going to take the positives from the year and employ the attitude of the inspiring Hannah Francis. We are not going to let her be forgotten as she has inspired us all.