Its been a while since my last Facebook post and there’s lots of news, so apologies in advance for the mammoth post!
As many of you know the year got off to a difficult start, so I was really delighted to get out eventing in April after the doom and gloom on the yard in March. The relatively quick return to competition was entirely down to the dedication and hard work of the team at Stockley Farm, who did an amazing job to prevent the spread of the strangles.
The season was ticking along nicely, with Lorna Soame’s Andreas picking up two placings at both his runs, including a second at Aston Le Walls in May and qualification for the Gatcombe Intermediate championships in August in the process. We were all set to contest an advanced at Little Downham in June, when our hopes were dashed when Alfie sustained an injury following his run at Aston Le Walls. Luckily it was only minor, but still required a significant period of rest and rehabilitation which wiped out the rest of his eventing season.
Very sadly, this coincided with a downturn in my mother's health, but it did allow me to devote myself to mum and my family when they needed me most. Mum passed away in August and I miss her enormously. She was such a support and positive influence in both my life and my equestrian career. Due in part to mum’s poor health, I decided to reduce the number of horses on the yard earlier in the year and said a sad goodbye to Lorna Soame’s Zaldatus. We did manage to squeeze in a couple of events before he left, resulting in placings and a successful step up to Novice.
Ritson’s Opinion aka ‘Bird’ has also moved to pastures new and is embarking on a drag hunting career down in East Sussex. I know he’ll be delighted to ditch the dressage and spend his days flying over sizeable hedges. Despite his previous antics – he managed to hold himself together for all of his BE100s, bagging four double clears from four events, being placed at three… So you never know, he may continue his eventing career at some point in the future.
My five year old Happy Dayz is really living up to his name – his workmanlike approach and huge enthusiasm for life always brings a smile to my face. I’ve also been riding Charles Phillips’ PLS Ballinagore (Harley) another real crowd pleaser, and you can’t fail but have a cracking day out with lots of laughs with owner, Charles.
Four year old Rocky, banked a very respectable showing at the Hartpury Four Year Old Young Event Horse qualifier, especially given his low mileage during the season. He’s a big horse with bags of promise, so I’m not in a rush with him.
Confetti is now a mum of three, giving birth to her third foal in May. My stepson Freddie was keen to name her, so she’s called Olive or Olivia when she’s being naughty!
Chilletti – Confetti’s first foal out of Chilli Morning is now three and will soon be ready to break in. She’s not quite as big as I’d like and unless she somehow finds a bit more height over the winter she will be contesting pony classes when she is older!
Although the 2017 season isn’t quite over yet, I’m looking forward to next year and will spend much of the autumn bringing Alfie back into full fitness. I’ve no doubt that 2018 will have its moments being the first season I’ve competed without mum. Hopefully I will do her proud and she’ll be looking down enjoying every minute of it with me.
Photos are of Alfie, Bird, Bertie and Happy competing at various events this season