Sophie brings us an exciting and reassuring update…
Following treatment at Newmarket, box rest and lots of care, there is better news on my top horse Reece (Valerius) who has increased his walking, to the point I can sit on him. Although after a very frisky moment in the field whilst trying to hack, we have resorted to smaller spaces for a while!
Elsewhere it’s been an exciting start to the competition season. Deauville CPEDI*** went really well at the beginning of April. I only took Jorge as William did feel quite ready for his international debut. Jorge smashed out personal best performances on the first two days, which turned out to be career best for me too! He then returned home and got a personal best at Keysoe Premier League (able bodied) in the Inter 1, to win a big class.
In Deauville I also had two of my clients competing - Izzy Palmer on my horse Touchdown M, and Georgia Wilson on her own Chico. It was only Izzy’s second international abroad, and Georgia’s first, so it was quite a big deal for them. I remember when I first started going abroad to compete, it’s quite daunting. You don’t know many riders there and a lot of them are seasoned campaigners, many have done major championships too. I remember my first one and Ann Cathrin Lubbe and Philippa Johnson were competing, they had just come back from Athens with gold and silver medals. I was completely in awe of them, and still completely respect them as riders and competitors, feeling honoured I had such great role models to aspire to.
As Izzy was riding Touchdown, I know him quite well, I’ve had him for 10 years, and despite his seven-year break in the middle due to injury, I can tune into him quite well. This is also the third season I’ve trained Georgia on Chico, so we have established a good warm up routine. I’m allowed to ride Chico for a maximum of 30 minutes each day as Georgia rides at grade 2, so we just had to stick to that plan. When you have a plan, I think it relaxes everyone involved including the horse. The time you start doing something different just because you are at a bigger competition and the pressure is on, things tend to go wrong! Same sh*t different arena, as Charlotte Dujardin famously said.
Both girls did a great job. The horses are both prone to getting a little nervous, and sometimes it’s hard for riders to take control and be the confident one when they are in a pressured situation but they both proved the training they have put in and produced solid tests. It’s a really proud moment for me when the riders I train come out of the arena and everything has come together at the right time to pull off a great performance, but I also feel very proud when sometimes things don’t go according to plan and they are able to deal with it independently and make the best of the situation. That’s my goal in my coaching, not that they are reliant on me for every step, after all, they are on their own in that arena!