The start of the winter for me always consists of lots of hunting with the younger horses and the older horses get turned away. I currently have three five year olds to compete this season and then 11 year old Whisper. Popeye and Fly have been doing lots of hunting which I believe is an integral part to a young horses training to be an event horse.
They learn to stand still, gallop and jump anything and everything that you point them at out of all sorts of ground. Then there is Bo who is a stallion by Jumbo owned by Donna Jones.
Now January has come I am easing off the hunting and starting to put in the ground work for the season ahead. Popeye has already been out to his first SJ show and continuing this weekend with some British Dressage and unaffiliated JAS. Fly and Bo are slightly further behind but they will be out competing in a few weeks time, ready to start the season by mid April.
Whisper is just about to come back into work and she too will be out every week doing British Dressage and British Show Jumping. She is at a higher level than the others and as we all know eventing is fairly expensive so I won’t be taking her out until I am happy with my results at BD and BS at advanced and foxhunter level; that way when I hit the eventing circuit she will be in full swing and ready to be competitive.
I will be aiming Popeye and Bo at the young horse classes and hope to qualify them both for the BYEH final and the Lycetts Young Horse Championships. My aim with Whisper this year is to get competitive at CIC3* and then do a CCI3* towards the end of the season. This will be a new step up for both of us and although it has been a long time coming we will still be inexperienced. The help that I will get from Mark will play such an important role in this transition and I cannot wait to start my training with him towards the end of February.
Charlotte Dujardin is still such a vital cog in my team and I have been training with her over the winter with the naughty Popeye.
Finally my new yard is now almost complete. Since moving back home after my accident in June there has been lots of work at Lower Dolley to make it the best possible set up for my team! The new stables are complete and now just need a lick of paint. The paddocks have been re fenced, there is a wash down area with hot water and soon a solarium, I have a new cottage for me and Pringle (my naughty whippet), the feed room is almost complete and there will hopefully be a new tack room. It’s looking pretty good!