Hi there!

I hope you haven’t all floated away these last couple of weeks – it really isn’t the weather for horses. If you’re very lucky, you’ll be spending your whole days outside in the howling wind and rain, looking for sandbags to stop jumps from blowing over and trying desperately to push your wheelbarrows through the seriously thick mud. I say if you’re lucky, as to me I still have the best job in the world, even if it does involve several outfit changes in one day!

So, what have we been up to in the last fortnight? Our training has been coming along really well, and Mary is getting much stronger in the canter, and this is really showing in her jump. I managed to venture to a local competition, as it’s all very well doing all this training, but it’s pretty pointless if I’m not putting it into practice in the ring! We took Mary to T&P Equestrian, an outdoor venue just East of Reading, and I must say, it was the friendliest show centre I’ve been to in a long while. The warm up and arena was harrowed between every class and the course was one of the best courses I’ve jumped in a long time, and in a relatively tight arena they made it feel very spacious. We jumped the 1.05m first, and I was far too relaxed, which isn’t something I normally struggle with when taking Mary to a show! She jumped fences one and two beautifully, and at the point of take off at fence three, I knew that she’d not even looked at it, resulting in a half jump, putting down and then promptly reversing, taking the jump with her! When asked to jump it again, she very honestly popped straight over it, and then jumped around the rest of the course clear. A frustrating rider error, as usual!

In the Newcomers, I was simply after a double clear, as I have my sights set on the Newcomers second rounds in the spring. We already have one double clear out of four, so to pick up our second double clear at this show was great, and to finish second and in the money was a bonus!

I also managed to watch the Prague Play-Offs, or the Global Champions Tour super Grand Prix (from the comfort of my sofa rather than in Prague itself, sadly!) and I have to say the Explosion W must be one of the most impressive horses on the circuit. I must admit to having heard a rumour that the horse had been sold prior to the show in Prague, and I was gutted to think that Great Britain would be losing our gold medal hopes for the 2020 Olympics. To hear that the horse has been purchased and the ride is being kept with Ben Maher was simply brilliant news, and I can’t wait to see what other titles he’ll be collecting. I did hear in the commentary that Explosion W has over a 90% clear round rate… I’d love to know if there is another horse out there who is this consistent even at the lower levels!

So, in the run up to Christmas, not a lot changes for us! The wooly hats and fleecey tights are out in ernest, and I’m hoping to get out to one or two more shows before the New Year is upon us. I’m hoping to be looking to jump our first Foxhunter together in the not too distant future, something that I’ve not done in over eight years.

As always, I’ll keep you updated. Stay warm, and I’ll speak to you all soon!

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