2019 started in a challenging light for me, and I am thankful I am able to draw on the positives and try my best to ignore the negatives... and with a bit of patience I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel! Winter is always hard with horses - the cold, wet, short days. I always think if you can keep going through February, you can see your way to the end.
I had a little whoopsie out hunting a month into the hunting season. Unfortunately, hunting comes with a little ground uncertainty, with my lovely young horse trying to bounce in and out of a ditch resulting in us both coming down. I ruptured all of the ligaments between by scapula and collar bone. All I can say is thank goodness for Turmeric as I have been getting through plenty of doses with the added support of Curcumin and Vitamin D.
The challenging time followed with 'fill in staff'. When you get the good ones you have got to hold on to them tight because there are plenty of less than ideal to sift through inbetween. I have got some truly wonderful girls in my team now and it really does make the world go round. Emma has been my absolute rock!
As I am getting back riding (ssshhhh, don't tell my consultant) my mood is definitely lifting. It has been great for me to concentrate on my dressage as I promised to not leave the floor until February - which I am proud to say I didn't! It has been very hard when you have so many wonderful training ideas you want to play with. I am working hard on Smokies changes as they have always been his Achilles heel; getting Pete that little more pizazz as I am hungry for winning marks this season; and the intermediate horses are ready to sparkle. All the horses have come back to jumping feeling so strong and wonderful.
We have all been working hard on our core stability. I am trying to get as much Pilates in as I can and I can really feel the horses benefitting too. We have been taking the horses to the water treadmill which seems to be making a huge difference; and my physio is taking on a more detailed routine too. She has been coming out and helping me with lots of long-reining over poles and lots of exercises to improve their way of going including using proprioception exercises, self carriage and push from behind. I am determined to show what my team can achieve and am so stoked for this season!!
Last weekend I took a lorry full of my favourites down to demo for the Horses Inside Out conference. It was a great party for them to get out of the yard and has highlighted the need to get my superstars out for some match practise!! With the wonderful facilities at my fingertips it is so easy to use the home competitions but the horses do need a change of scenery every now and then.
We started the babies out cross country schooling on grass this week and I am so excited by how awesome they have come out. They are so trusting and brave and with such ability. The biggest problem this brings is me now not wanting to part with them... I am leaving it up to fate which I produce up through the levels and which ones will be snapped up and sold before I get the pleasure.
It is hard to make concrete plans, especially as nothing has touched grass since the end of November but it would be great to think that Smokie and Pete will be competitive at the new 4* level this season and our journey to 5* is in place. The three big lads (Cappie, Cannon and Lordy) sitting behind them are hopefully going to be pushing on confidently to the new 3* level this year Hopefully Lordy will be doing the seven year old 3* Championships by the end of the year and pipe dreams include Cappie perhaps getting a run in the eight and nine year old series but only time will tell.
Whichever youngsters get to stay with me will be produced towards Novice level this season. I have a new Novice horse joining the team who will be aimed at Intermediate level; and Mac who finished last season with a couple of 3*'s will hopefully be aimed at Advanced level. I have the best team of horses I have ever had so the journey is sure to be an exciting one!!!