Blog December 10th 2012
Blog December 10th
December already- where has the time gone?! The past couple of months have gone very well. My three young horses (Texas M’Aurea, Penny Lane and Cathleen Horsenaes) have all been sold to great new homes. Penny Lane has done extremely well with new partner Alexa Pessoa and they will both be travelling to Florida for the winter. This leaves me with just Astilbe B and of course Puissance, and as there are no big shows now in Ireland til February when the Bluegrass Spring Tour starts up, I travel today to Florida (I’m actually writing this from 37,000 feet up!) for the next couple of months where I will be joining David Blake at Pine Hollow Farm to do some riding and training. This is a really exciting opportunity for me and I’m really looking forward to catching up with family and friends in the States as well as getting a good dose of horses and sunshine. I think it will be strange (but definitely not unpleasant!) to spend Christmas in warm sunny weather. Hopefully Santa will still be able to find me…
I spent the last few weeks catching up with Irish friends before heading off to the States, which included a day out hunting with the Galway Blazers- such an amazing experience, even in the pouring rain! I’d like to say a huge thank you to Mike, Paddy, Tim and Kate MacDonagh and Jackie Lee for looking after Poppy and me so well and showing us such a great time with the Blazers.
I also took a trip over to London where I got to meet my new nephew- George Joseph O’Keeffe (Joe), born to my brother Johnny and his wife Sally just a couple of weeks ago. My other brother and his wife (David and Erin) and my aunt (Anne), all living in the States, travelled over also and it was lovely to get to spend time with so much family- it’s rare that we all get together at once as we’re scattered all over the world. Backgammon is an old and competitive tradition in my family, and much fun was had in the attempt to be crowned family champion!
I arrived back from London just in time to attend the riders meeting called to discuss the position of Chef d’Equipe of the Show Jumping Team with Horse Sport Ireland. The amount of internationally-based riders that made the effort to attend was incredible- 4 riders travelled from the States, 5 from Europe and another 11 Irish-based riders turned up. It was really encouraging to see how united every single one of us is in wanting the very best for our sport, and our determination to give the Irish Team every chance of qualifying and winning a team medal at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. This is something for which a plan needs to be made by the Chef d’Equipe this coming year-Britain did a fantastic job of turning around their equestrian teams in all three disciplines in just a few years, and with the focus and drive shown at the meeting I have no doubt that the Irish will do the same of Rio.
In other exciting news, I am delighted to announce that Tredstep Ireland have come on board to sponsor me for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. They have a beautiful range of long boots, jodhpur boots, gaiters and chaps, and I’m really looking forward to wearing them this coming year. Tredstep are also launching an exclusive range of competition jodhpurs- so watch this space!
The long-awaited arena is now complete and is absolutely fantastic, I couldn’t have asked for a better one. Equestrian Surfaces undertook the construction from the very start to completion, and supplied the ‘Eco Artiturf’ surface which is brilliant- and made entirely from recycled materials. Check out the picture below!
That’s pretty much it for my news from the last couple of months; I’ll write an update on Florida very soon. I’d also like to thank my former groom Brian Bartley for all his hard work this year, and wish him the very best in his new position as travelling show groom for Jessica Kurten- a fantastic and well-deserved opportunity!