January

I was extremely lucky to escape the country for a week over New Year, which served as a fantastic freshener post winter training, and pre 2014 season pep up.  One of my best friends from school is editor of Conde Nast Traveller in Mumbai, so a couple of others and I decided to make the most of her Indian acquaintance by going out to visit.  We spent four days in Goa, including an epic New Year beach celebration, followed by a couple of days wining and dining in Laura’s favourite Bombay spots.  All in all it was a truly fantastic getaway, and I look forward to exploring India much more, at some point in the future.

Arriving back to the cold is never pleasant, but at least I had the consolation of riding to look forward to.  It sounds a bit strange, but I do tend to miss the yard if I’m away for longer than a week.  It was straight back into full running as soon as I returned though, as the World Class team came for a yard visit the following day, and within a week I could almost have believed I had never been away, bar a nice tan as a faithful reminder!!  As I wrote last month, I am really lucky to have some fantastic horses this year; Out of Africa is still heading the string, and although there is a big gap level-wise to the others at the moment, I really think they all have a sparkle about them.  Lady Bamford has given me Dubai Cruise to ride, who has been campaigned by my friend Ritchie for the last couple of seasons, but who also did well with William F-P before that.  He seems to be a lovely, very genuine horse so we will be aiming for an Intermediate towards the end of the first half of the season, and will have to see what happens after that.

The two day World Class training served well to sharpen everyone up, and despite Cooley Castle showing a little too much exuberance I was really proud of the boys.  Following on from that we thought we’d stretch the happy vibe to our first competitive outing of the year… which it is safe to say epitomised a ‘washout.’  Perhaps it was optimistic to rely on the outdoors at this early time of year, but I thought given that we operate outside every other day, we would survive.  Which I suppose we did.  But I’m not sure I’m going to be so keen next year…!  It was grim, to the absolute extreme, and all I can say is THANK YOU to the kind organisers of Weston Lawns for letting me keep on my waterproof trousers – and coat – for the duration of dressage and jump-cross.  The outing claimed 4 coats, 2 stock shirts, 2 pairs of johds and all of my gloves – and that was just my personal collection.  Poor Cara and Rosie made a pretty good pile themselves!  We did however come home with a handful of rosettes, which did perk up the return trip thankfully.  Onwards and upwards to February hopefully?!   

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