We had a quiet time at the yard over Christmas, my trusty managers Fiona and Alan shared the duties, although I did have to muck out on Christmas Day – but they had made up all the horses Saracen Christmas Dinners for the horses!
The New Year has kicked off with a bang. I was in Flyinge in Sweden for a demo on the 3rd of January and Charlotte is away in New Zealand for 3 weeks until nearly the end of January. I have been keeping fit riding all the horses and have also had the pleasure of riding Valegro while she is away keeping him on top form and ready for his first competition which is in Amsterdam at the end of January. Lizzie advised he looks in fabulous condition at the moment and I think he knows it...
Amsterdam hosts the final qualifying leg for the World Cup Championships, the final being held in Las Vegas in April. Charlotte and I will be going out there – I won’t be competing but there to support her from the ground.
My international competition season starts in March with a trip to Doha in the middle east with Nip Tuck. It’s a long way but it’s an incredible show – so it’s well worth the trip. All the top show jumpers are going so it will be a fabulous atmosphere. All of the horses have all been on great form recently. Barney (Nip Tuck) had the most amazing show at Olympia getting nearly 80%, so our aim this year is to break the 80% barrier. With only a handful of high profile international shows under his belt it’s still early days for this gentle giant so we keep him relaxed and happy at home with plenty to keep him occupied.
I'm travelling to Wellington in Florida in February to train Katherine Bateson who rides Jane Clark’s horses (Jane also owns some of Ben Maher’s showjumpers). The Wellington International shows are fantastic – not only is the sunshine a nice change from the grey winter days in the UK, but the organisation and facilities are fabulous too.
We have a crop of youngsters that we are bringing on. Broken at the end of last year, they are starting to come on nicely. Feeding them is always interesting to start with as you never know who is going to be a good doer – or who needs support with body condition. We always have Lizzie Drury, Saracen's Senior Nutritionist in regularly at this time of the year, so she can help Fiona my Yard Manager get to grips with their nutritional needs and formulate their individual rations.
If you have made New Year resolutions then good luck with them – mine is to get over 80% on Barney and not to eat too much chocolate…….