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Diary of a working rider – en route to Hartpury!


Hello all,

Well it’s been a hectic week and all systems are go for the boys tour to the Winter Championships. I can’t decide whether I’m nervous or excited. Probably a combination of the two!

Since I last babbled on to you the horses have all had a steady week in preparation for their Finals. I’m a firm believer that their bodies don’t cope with working twice as hard because we have a major show coming up. Every day is the same for them. So we don’t need to hammer them because that quest not to be last is looming. They’ve spent the week doing some pole work, stretching and generally being pampered.

Both Flores L and Ivanhoe had a visit from my long-term friend and guru Chiropractor, Tomasina Spilman. She is my angel from heaven and is paramount in keeping them in good condition. She’s also very capable of giving me a good slap if I have a meltdown over a dodgy canter transition or not-so-square halt, when I’m panicking that it’s all going bottoms up!

Lucky Fabian deserted me over the weekend, as I was lucky enough to win a trip to Denmark through Elite Stallions to the Helgestrand and Blue Hors Stud open days. He has been fabulous this winter. Wading through mud every day to get the boys their turn out time and generally yielding pitch forks and poo buckets doing anything to help whilst I was at work. There was no way I dared give the boys the weekend off before the show, so it only seemed fair that Fabian should go (Though he owes me a day off now!)

Today has been chaos. Horses were ridden, lorry is half packed with enough Dengie Alfa-A Oil and Performance+ Balancer to sink a battleship. Saddlecloths, boots, bandages and rugs are cleaned and preened and Marilyn bathed the horses to within an inch of their lives. And I went to work hoping that my list has reduced itself whilst I was away. All under the careful supervision of Ladies Gloria and Dorothy the Danes who are very much looking forward to meeting their adoring public at Hartpury.

I do question the sanity of two adults, two horses, two Great Danes and a road trip for four, four and a half minutes of sheer fear, adrenaline and horror and a bill that could have paid for a weeks all inclusive in the sun. But that’s why we do this. We love the sport.

So whilst I am sat here updating you all on the preparations for the event, Fabian is making a weeks supply of chilli con carne for our friends that are eating with us this week in a quest not to run up a mortgage repayment in the café. The horses are shining in their stables, totally unaware of the fear I possess at the three judges of doom at C, M and E over the next week. The dogs are laid on the sofa that we haven’t yet arrived at and now are unlikely to get a seat on. And Marilyn is still restoring order to her gin collection.

Tomorrow we are heading down to Hartpury. I’ll look forward to updating you from the dark side.