After a great break back in New Zealand, doing the NZ season and catching up with friends and family I was more than ready to come back for another crack at the UK season!
I arrived back on the 11th January to find the weather was much nicer than I expected – I had been told to expect much colder than what I was feeling but I’m not complaining.
It’s great to be back on my horses and to start getting organised for what we hope is my big year!
My team – including Lucy Miles (head girl), Hollie Swain (working pupil) – and I will have 12 competition horses this year. Two of those – Clifton Promise and Clifton Lush – are already on the shortlist for the London Olympics, with Bulletproof on the long list.
Hopefully, when it comes down to the final call, all three horses will be fit, sound and on form for the selectors to choose which horse they need for the team.
So far this year, the horses are a little on the fat side and a tad on the wild side, but I guess that’s a good way to be at this point of the season! We have had our first squad school for the year which went well, and it was great to get help from our legendary jumping coach Luis Alvarez Cervera. Everyone in the team is on form and in good spirits, it’s special to be apart of it all!
The first main targets for the year will be Kentucky with Clifton Promise and Badminton in May with Clifton Lush. Kentucky is not confirmed yet, so if we cant get there, they will both go to Badminton. Before we hit that top-flight competitive trail though we will be doing a few quiet runs to ensure everything is in place and ready to be seriously competitive.
I also have a new member joining my team – six-year-old Clifton Dikara, a 16.1hh chestnut gelding who’s coming out from New Zealand shortly. He’s an exciting young horse who we are all looking forward to working with!
I’ve had a bit of media attention lately too, which has been great. I watched online the Close Up piece on TVNZ in late January and was really pleased with how it was all presented. It’s great to see our sport featuring more and more in mainstream media. We also had an Australian film crew at our recent training day.
So my big year is cranking up very quickly. I am loving it and looking forward to each and every challenge as it comes along.