Wow – we are nearly at the end of 2017 and what a busy year it’s been
The FEI World Cup Dressage Finals in Omaha seem such a long way back earlier this year in April. Nip Tuck’s performance at this show to get us on the podium in 3rd place was a great achievement. Everyone who knows this great horse knows that his size, his temperament and sensitivity make this a wonderful accolade. He had some down time after Omaha so he didn’t have the best preparation for his other big outing in August – The European Championships in Herning.
My highlight of the year has to be nearly getting an individual medal at the Europeans on Barney. He was the stalwart of the British team achieving 5th in the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special and an amazing 4th in the Freestyle.
Back on home turf we had a very successful run at the BD National Championships. We had 11 horses there over the four days and Alan and the team pulled everything together with unbelievable precision. All the plaiting, grooming, bandaging, travelling went without a hitch and some great results for the yard.
I competed my great friend Kathryn Bateson’s horse Alcazar in the GP and the Freestyle – which we won. It’s the first time I have ever ridden him in a competition environment and it was a real privilege as he is a fabulous horse. Although we didn’t get the overall title of National Champion I was thrilled with his performance.
Hawtins Delicato is now being prepared for his Grand Prix debut next year. He will go to Olympia to take part in one of my demo’s - giving him the experience of big atmosphere without the added pressure of having to do a test!
I will ride him at Liverpool in the Inter I Freestyle and then hopefully this will have him ready for his GP debut early in 2018. We haven’t decided which will be his first show yet, but I am hoping to have him qualified for WEG which is in Tryon, USA next September. Both Charlotte and I will try and qualify two horses for the Games ensuring that we have plenty of horsepower. She will have MSJ Freestyle ready for GP and also aiming her at WEG too. As they are young horses and it’s their first season at GP we need to get them out and doing a few GP competitions to prepare them for when the international competitions start from April.
We also have big hopes for one of our other horses Ekitof (owned by Isobel Barber), who has been the big surprise of the year! He has been a bit of a wild child throughout his younger years but he won the Adv Med championship with Charlotte and the plan is for me to compete him at small tour in 2018.
Our other horses are all doing well – but we did have a rather unfortunate incident earlier this year with the lovely mare Bella that I bought from a point to point yard a couple of years ago. She had colic and was operated on and to this day we still don’t know what the cause was. It is the first case of colic we have had for years so it was upsetting for everyone on the yard. She is such a talented horse and this is a minor setback in her career, but she is looking better than ever and she once she has returned to full fitness she will be back competing next year.
Uthopia and Valegro are enjoying their semi –retirements. There is Utopia young stock on the ground and we will be watching their progress as they move through the ranks. He will be at stud again next year and we have sold quite a lot of frozen semen to the likes of Australia and the USA so it will be interesting to watch the horses in these countries develop too.
Blueberry is helping my pupils learn their tempi changes (when Charlotte lets them ride him) and enjoying his hacking and doing the odd demo.
The young horses are being competed by Sadie Smith and both Nutbush (Gus) and Goldfinger have both been doing well winning. Gus has been doing young horse classes and novice as he is 5yo and Goldfinger has had a good season at Advanced Medium and will move up the levels next year.
I won’t be competing at Olympia this year – but I will be hosting a demo which is always great fun and an opportunity for me to help people understand my training methods. I hope to see some of you there.