Blog September 1st 2011
Well talk about an amazing few months, and it just keeps getting better and better! I’m absolutely delighted to be chosen for the European team- there is no greater honour than representing your country, especially at championship level. The Irish face a particularly challenging Championships this year, as it is our last chance to qualify a team for the London 2012 Olympics… But considering recent form from every one of the riders on the squad, we have every reason to be confident of coming away with Olympic qualification at the very least, and hopefully a few medals to boot!
The couple of weeks since Dublin Show has been anything but quiet for me- Puissance had a few days of well-deserved rest while I struggled with the two wildly excited 6 year olds who thought that their week’s holiday shouldn’t be coming to an end! However they both settled back into civility in time for the young horse championships which took place in CoilÓg Equestrian Centre, where the lovely Penny Lane finished a creditable 6th in the 6/7 year old championship.
Puissance then came back into work; it was important to start building him up to peak fitness so that if we were selected for the championships that he would be fighting fit and raring to go! As well as being worked hard every day and doing plenty of canter work, I began bringing Pardy swimming at the Curragh Equine Pool located just half an hour up the road from me. Swimming is a great way for horses to build up fitness, conditioning the cardiovascular and muscular systems without subjecting the joints to added stress and strain.
As well as the fitness aspect, Pardy’s overall health is being closely scrutinised by vet Marcus Swail over the next couple of weeks and regular visits to Will Hayes’ equine spa ensure he feels as good as possible!
Last weekend saw the final of the Superleague Nations Cup series take place in Rotterdam. Although I wasn’t competing there, I went out to watch the Nations Cup and the Grand Prix as the course builder, Santiago Varela Ullastres, is also building at the championships in Madrid in a couple of weeks’ time. It was useful to see how he was thinking and the take he had on lines and distances. He seems very fond of setting an extremely tight time allowed, and while his style of building was tricky and technical there weren’t monstrously big for that level either.