They say time flies when you are having fun - and I really do not know where the last few months have gone! I have been enjoying a fantastic run of form on all of my horses and in the past three weeks I have won four rugs, an iPod docking station, six bottles of wine, flowers and (aptly) umbrellas - the list goes on!
Hickstead was a great show for me, and I was catapulted back into the public eye with a third place on Diaghilev in the Masters Challenge, which was broadcasted live on Sky Sports. I feel extremely proud that I am back competing at a very high level on another horse that I have produced from the beginning of their career. Hickstead is a fabulous show and what a place to really hit form, the atmosphere in front of the huge crowd is just wonderful.
From Hickstead, I went to France to compete with Blazer B, Diaghilev and Chesterfield. It was Blazer's and Chester's first International show, and it's good to take young horses on trips abroad as travelling is something that they will have to do a lot of if they become top horses. I was very pleased with how well they all travelled, we left in plenty of time and took a few stops on the way so they all stayed relaxed and well. When we arrived in France I think the horses were delighted to arrive to some sun (Blazer B was wickering when he came off the lorry, very cute!)
The sun brought the best out in the horses. Second was my place for the week, Blazer was second in the Six Year Old warm up, Chesterfield was second in the Six Year Old Final, and Diaghilev was second in the World Ranking class! I also picked up seventh in the Grand Prix, a green mistake by Diaghilev at the first fence in the jump-off kept us out of the top three, but it was still a very creditable result.
The atmosphere in France was just fantastic. Showjumping in France is a very popular sport. Every prize giving was given so much importance, sponsors, organisers flocked to the arena to congratulate riders and their horses. My horses love going in for their laps of honour, and I really do think they know that they have done well. This got me thinking - in England, sometimes prize givings are dropped because of large number of entries at the show. I think this is such a shame for the sport when this happens as it almost takes away someone's achievement. I also think it is a shame when, in a big competition, riders just walk out rather than cantering around to show the crowd their appreciation. Take a county show, for example, when the public have payed good money to enter the show and watch and then the rider just takes the rosette with little enthusiasm. We want to get people enjoying watching our sport again and I feel a good prize giving is maybe the place to start.
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