Kilteel, Co. Kildare

Blog November 12th 2011

The weeks since Madrid and the World Breeding Championships for Young Horses in Lanaken have been much quieter for me. Six year old Penny Lane jumped in the Kill Indoor Championships a couple of weeks ago, where she jumped plenty of clear rounds in 1.20m/1.30m level and finished runner up in the 1.20m final. It was a great show to finish on as both she and Puissance are now on a break. This has given me time to focus on Astilbe B (a.k.a. Spud!), another six year old I got through Ashford Farm and Swiss-based Irish rider Niall Talbot, which I have had since July. He is quite green for his age and the weeks of jumping he missed while I was away competing with the other two haven’t helped, but it’s great to finally get down to work with him and he’s showing great promise already. I found him quite spooky and strong in the beginning, but after some training from Erik Holstein he was transformed into a gentleman once more and has been steadily improving in each round that he jumps. I’m looking forward to having two cracking seven year olds for next year!

As well as spending time on bringing Spud along, I am also planning on travelling to a yard in Europe or America for a few weeks to do some training myself. With just the one horse in work and the bigger national shows finishing up in the next few weeks it’s an ideal time for me to head off and make good use of the downtime. Finding a suitable yard and trainer has proven difficult, as most of the top riders are still competing weekly at 4-day shows which doesn’t leave them much time for training! I’m hoping to have something sorted in the next couple of weeks though so watch this space for an update.

Another project I will be working on in the next few weeks is the annual Showjumpers Ball, due to be held December 10th in the Killashee House in Naas. As one of the very few female committee members it was inevitable that I get roped in to the organising of it, but luckily Maureen Bagnall has everything under control as always and it’s already shaping up to be a great night, with extra awards in place for this year. Speaking of awards, there is one award decided by public voting- Show of the Year. So if there was one show that you think deserves recognition for being outstanding make sure to get your vote in!

The ball is an event organised entirely by The Showjumpers Club to raise funds for their popular Spring Tour at the beginning of next year, and it is a guaranteed fantastic night and a great excuse to ditch the jods for an evening! Anyone interested in going should look up the SJC website or Facebook page for info on tickets and voting (

Whilst the competition season is quietening down on the horse scene, my father Nick has been away twice in the last few weeks representing Ireland playing bridge. His first competition took place in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he and his team finished 2nd of around 60 teams and he also finished 3rd in the pairs competition partnering Adam Mesbur. More recently he was also a member of the team participating in the World Championships in Eindhoven, Holland, where unfortunately despite starting very well they didn’t qualify for the final round. His next fixture is in a few weeks’ time in London for the invitational Lederer Cup competition.

In other news, I’m delighted to announce some new sponsorship from ComfyBed, an Irish-owned company which manufactures top-quality bedding from recycled wood fibre. This bedding really is the bees knees and so easy to work with! I am really looking forward to promoting ComfyBed in the future. And as always I would like to say how grateful I am for all the support and sponsorship I am receiving, particularly during this difficult economic climate.

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