What a year it has been already and I feel it is only the start.
This time last year we were in Kentucky at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, where I finished seventh individual on Clifton Promise. Since then I've relocated to the UK where I have based the Paget Eventing Team at Dunsfold in Surrey.
We've got 10 horses in work, but we're at the end of the European season, so things are starting to wind down. At the end of the month I head back to New Zealand to start a new season with the Clifton eventers there. So much seems to have gone on since I moved here in February with Clifton Razz and Clifton Signature. Promise was already here.
In April I got the ride on Clifton Lush and we've since formed a solid partnership, picking up some good placings. We had an eighth at Burnham Market three star, followed by an excellent win in the three star at Bramham. We'd planned for a fast cross country and be super competitive – it all went perfectly to plan.
Things didn't go so well at the four star Luhmulen in Germany where I had a nasty fall in the cross country, ended up in hospital and missed the opportunity to qualify for the Olympics. That was so disappointing but thankfully neither of us were injured.
In between those two events I had a quick trip back to New Zealand to ride a team of Clifton horses at the Taupo three day nationals where I finished in the top 10 with two horses in the three and two star classes.
In late June Promise has his first proper outing since the World Games and while he and my other horses were all raring to go, it was a bit soon for me and I ended up back in hospital.
A long trip to the South of France with Razz paid dividends where he qualified to compete at a run of top events, including the three star at Blenheim.
July was probably one of the most exciting months so far when we headed to Aachen in Germany for the teams event at the World Equestrian Festival. Promise and I were given the big job of going first for the team. We hadn't been in this sort of atmosphere for 10 months and we'd only done two small events in that time, so it was a big ask. He was exceptional – as I knew he would be! We finished on our dressage score of 52.5,e one of just four combinations to do so, and the team finished second.
It was Lush's turn to shine at the British Eventing Championships where he flew around the cross country to finish with the fastest time of the day and finish third. Only four horses in the history of the event have been under the optimum time on this track. The Kiwis cleaned up there with Andrew (Nicholson) first on Nereo and second on Avebury, with Mark (Todd) fourth. It was a great day for us all.
Razz had a great outing at the Hartpury International, his first three star start.
Burghley was our next big one – it's known for being a jumping competition with a very demanding cross country. Promise and Lush were both clear in the cross country with Promise picking up two time faults. We were 15th and 16th going into the showjumping where Promise had an uncharacteristic rail finishing in 12th spot with Lush clear and finishing in fifth spot.
I rode Razz in the three star at Blenheim Palace where our team of mostly inexperienced horses stepped up to win gold.
It's nearly the end of the season now – we have one more three day event at the end of the month before I head back to New Zealand to start my Southern Hemisphere season on Clifton Eventing horses.
What a year – long may it continue.