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That’s it for Summer
That’s it for Summer

The September Show at Hickstead always feels like the end of summer to me. BE Khalissy went almost straight out after the show and is in a lovely field up on Ashdown Forest with Ludger, a 5 year old belonging to Trevor Breen. I think that a proper holiday away from the yard, so that they can’t monitor our comings and going’s, is essential for youngsters and they are really enjoying the late summer grass and some sunny days up there.

I had been looking for a horse to replace Heidi for a couple of months, but I had decided against another three or four year old. It's been quite a frustrating search, but happily Billy Arietta has now arrived with us. She is a 7 year old by Plot Blue out of an Animo mare, bred by the Billy Stud. She has jumped a few 1.20's, but is actually quite short on mileage. She is a much bigger type than my usual nippy little mares, but has the most wonderful temperament and will be a little more like Askeaton to ride, which I hope will help me with her. I have taken her to one show at Felbridge where she jumped a lovely round in the 1.10, so once we get to know one another I think we will have a lot of fun. She is a delightful character and we are all very fond of her already. I will tick away with her over the winter so that we have a proper partnership before we try anything too ambitious.

I had hoped to do a few more shows with Askeaton, to get used to riding her differently and to try and regain some confidence before turning her away for a holiday. Sadly, however, we had a major communications breakdown when training at Trevor's last Tuesday and I ended up lying in a pile of poles feeling very bruised. I am well on the mend, and Askeaton is still at Trevor's so that he can get her to understand what he wants, and then it will be easier to teach me when she already has the right buttons on her. We have nothing important planned till the Spring now, and I can work away slowly at the project without pressure. I went to ride her yesterday, and she certainly seems to be getting on well, changing my riding is proving a little bit more of a challenge, but we will get there. This has all highlighted the huge importance of having a trainer that you really trust, and who really supports you.

This has been a short, and very pressurised competition year. The horses have been great, they put in some good results at the beginning of the season, and some nice results towards the end of the summer. I feel a bit disappointed that I haven't progressed quite as planned with Askeaton, but that's the way it goes with horses, I think she's exceptionally talented and I'm sure if I can just master a technique that helps her more we will be on our way again. It's been great to see Hurricane Heidi going so well for Michelle Hoad. They've set up an incredibly successful partnership in a remarkably short time and it will be wonderful to watch them go from strength to strength.

As always many thanks to those that make this possible, Mark and April at home and at shows, support and training from Trevor Breen, and the wonderful companies that give me product support: Saracen Horse Feeds, Protexin, MacWet Gloves, Just Equine, Premier Performance CZ & Gillett Cook - it would all me a lot more difficult without you.

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