India, Local Shows and a Big Change
The day after Addington Mark and I flew to Kochi in Kerala, Southern India. I spent 8 weeks in India when I was 21 and have longed to go back. India is full spectrum of sights, sounds and smells, so it’s hard to choose a favourite bit, but Kerala would be very high on the list. It was Mark’s first trip, so a bite size 8 days to start. We managed a whistle stop tour starting in Kochi, followed by a trip up to the tea plantations in Munnar, a night on a houseboat in Allepey and a few nights by the beach in Kovalam before flying back into cold, wet January. We ate fantastic food in lovely street cafes and came back refreshed. So much has changed in the huge economic success that India is, but essentially little has changed with the lovely friendly people in this exquisitely beautiful country.
After such a lovely week in India it was time to get back out to shows. We started with a Thursday show at Felbridge. I jumped Askeaton in the 1m, as 3 is a lot in one class. She jumped a lovely double clear. Khalissy jumped a great clear in the Newcomers to finish 4th, Breakdance jumped well in the Newcomers and Arietta jumped a lovely double clear in the Foxhunter. Off we went to Coombelands the following Thursday where Khalissy picked up another Newcomers placing, Askeaton was 2nd in the 1.10 and the others jumped well for a pole apiece. Thinking all was going brilliantly we were back at Coombelands the following week for a slightly poley day of rather indifferent riding.
Sadly I once again have found myself without a full time groom, and while I have had some fantastic freelancers helping me over the past month, you can only be as good as the team behind you, and I don’t do so well with a constantly changing cast. I have been thinking for some time about having two horses and keeping them at livery. Not only making it easier for us to organise our time, and spend more time with Anna & Sophie and their families, but also getting the added support of being part of something greater than myself. As often happens this all came together very suddenly. I had a couple of frustrating days trying to manage to get to training and shows by myself and falling very far short of doing my best, which coincided with Trevor & Caroline Breen having room for Arietta and Askeaton, so they are now are now living there. . Khalissy is sold and departs for her new home on Monday, and at the moment Breakdance is still at home.
I am really enjoying the tremendous support that I’m getting from Caroline and Ryan Harvey. Something I’ve really only dreamed of! After just two weeks I’m noticing that being part of a system is benefiting me. It’s hard work - thinking and working differently, but it’s good. I’ve still had two to ride at home so I’m not seeing the time benefits yet, but slowly it will all fall into place, and the longer days make life so much easier. I took Breakdance with me on Thursday this week for some grid work and can see that whether he is at home or at the Breens he can benefit from the system too.
We’ve been to one show at Felbridge since the horses moved. In the 1.10 Breakdance actually jumped beautifully, but I chose to circle in two difficult distances, rather than push him out of his rhythm. Askeaton jumped beautifully, but she is very experienced and can shorten and lengthen to accommodate strange distances, especially over much smaller courses. Arietta jumped a good round in the 1.20, just struggling in two strange distances. I do wonder why at mid-week shows early in the year we need such testing courses. Mostly these shows are full of professionals producing horses for bigger shows later in the year. It would be so nice if we had more training shows with simple courses where the heights didn’t get so big in the jump-off.
As always many thanks to my supporters
Saracen Horse Feeds, Just Equine Ltd, Protexin Equine, NDS Equine and MacWet Gloves, and to the large cast of helpers this month, Lauren Andrew’s, Frankie Walker, Alana Spartow, Cookie Porter, Beverley Eatton, Ellie Colllins and Rachel Lyons and of course the team at Breen Sport Horses.