I’m certainly finding my feet at Grand Prix now! Dynamo “Into the Blue” is working his way to being a complete superstar. He’s still ‘in the making’ but a superstar nevertheless. He has gained over 74% this year already and over 70% consistently. It is this consistency that has led us both to our first Team GB selection! I have never been as nervous as I was the day I received my senior flag after trot up at Hickstead this year. Then to nearly win the Grand Prix is stuff dreams are made of! I must say, second place and best team member was another dream come true. To help Team GB come second in the Nations Cup was serious cause for celebration!
To help me cope with anything that was thrown at me were my wonderful friends, Matt Frost and Gareth Hughes. They always keep me in good spirits! Also my friends from the Showing world all came to watch. I’d been judging the Show Hunters the day before which was wonderful, I still love being involved in Showing and now to be riding at the level I am in Dressage is simply fantastic! With that and amazing results in Le Mans, Saumur, Hartpury and Bury Farm I think Dynamo has earned his winter break! Although we made the list for Olympia, I am reserve and hope to get there next year which will suit me better. I have done some serious damage to my knee that needs surgery so no better time to be getting that fixed.
My wonderful owners Tonya and Bill Wood have been at my side through thick and thin. My reward to Tonya was training her to finish fourth in the Working Hunters at the Horse of the Year Show. Having never qualified or ridden there before, I guided her all the way from her brilliant season and then, of course the final at HOYS. I’ve never been so nervous! It’s far easier riding yourself. But Tonya rode to orders and did an amazing job and I was honoured to be her groom/trainer that day.
I have just returned from a few days in Geneva where I was invited by the Swiss to come to their amazing show. I am a huge fan and friend of the Swiss Chef De Quip Geneviève Pfister, she and I have so much in common from old Eventing days and Showjumping too and now Dressage! Gareth Hughes is their team trainer so we managed to spend some time together and enjoy top class Dressage. Watching Isabell Werth warming up - not just herself but her clients, to whom she gave great attention to, was humbling to see. She is incredible, and a very nice person to chat to. What a show Geneva is! I have been invited to ride there next year, which I certainly hope to!
Sadly, although I have had many great things happen to me, some of my friends have not been so lucky. Dear friend Tim Stockdale, who I appeared with on the front cover of Horse & Hound a few years back with Olly Townend, lost his battle with cancer. The news shocked us all. Tim and I used to bump into each other regularly. He used to tease me about doing Dressage, but I won him over and he was very respectful of what had come of it. Then, Tim’s golfing buddy and really old close friend of mine, Showing rider Rory Gilsenan has just been diagnosed with a stage 4 brain tumour. I cannot tell you how horrendous this is for himself and my dear friend Vanessa his wife.
This really puts things into perspective for me, and I’m sure everyone feels the same. Remember to tell people you love them and be there for the people who mean a lot to you. Life is for living, take every opportunity that comes and enjoy everything possible.
I’d like to conclude this blog with a special THANK YOU to Saracen for their continuous support. They manage to keep the show horses in great condition, looking their best and the dressage horses in tip top shape which is absolutely down to such great feed. Looking to 2019, I have some serious novices coming through so I will be busy!
Take care of yourselves,