Kilteel, Co. Kildare

Blog December 1st 2011

November was a quiet month on the jumping scene. My last show of 2011 was Cavan International  with Astilbe B, and after taking a couple of days to settle down he jumped really well which was a great way to finish the year. The atmosphere at the show was fantastic with some great jumping in the international classes; the puissance in particular was a great crowd-pleaser!

So now all my horses are on their well-deserved break over the winter, and will come in in a few weeks’ time to get fit for next season’s jumping. Although I take it that they are raring to get going again,  as every other day one of them jumps out of the field! Maybe a few derby classes will be in order for 2012… Hopefully their new diet will return them to their usual sensible selves though; equine nutritionist Nia O’Malley of Red Mills has set out a detailed diet plan for all my horses using the Red Mills Horse Care range, so they will be in top form when they come back into work in a few weeks’ time.

I’ve been making good use of my quieter days by learning to drive the truck- my long-suffering dad volunteered to teach me the basics, but quickly assured me I was competent enough to go for professional lessons… I’m not sure whether that was true or whether he preferred that I risked someone else’s life on my learning curve! But having had a few lessons now I’m feeling pretty comfortable about it.

Meanwhile Christmas has crept up on me yet again and with only 15 days to go, it’s really time to get presents, trees and decorations sorted. My dad and I are spending Christmas in Mallow with our extended family, which I’m really looking forward to. Another Christmassy event is the Show Jumpers Awards ball, which takes place tonight; always a great way to celebrate the year’s achievements with friends old and new. It’s to be broadcast live on this evening, so if you can’t make it tune in to catch the awards ceremony!

Another formal event I attended this week was The Echo Amateur Sports Awards ball, which took place in the Louis Fitzgerald hotel near Newland’s Cross. Following my performance in the Aga Khan, I was nominated as the Sports Star of the Month for August, and I received a lovely trophy from The Echo for my efforts. It was particularly special for me as I was the first Show Jumper ever to receive the award.

I also finally have some definite news on the training-front. I’m spending this coming week in European Gold medallist Rolf-Gӧran Bengtsson’s yard, where he is based in Germany alongside trainer Bo Kristoffersson and Swiss rider Clarissa Crotta. I’m very excited about the trip, I’m extremely lucky to be going to a yard with such top-class riders and facilities and I’ll be making the absolute most of it. It will be a great way to get up and running for 2012!

So that’s it for this year, wishing everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2012. I hope Santa is good to you!


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