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Winter into Spring update

02nd March 2015
Last year I was a bit quiet on the blog front, too busy is always the excuse right? Well yes I am busy but everyday I spend an hour and a half on a train (to and from work) so I should really be able to knock out a few blogs every now and then!

In terms of riding and photography it’s been a quiet winter. In November my wife, Lisa had a knee operation to fix a long term problem. All went well but for the following months I became even more of a carer than usual. For those of you that don’t know Lisa has some long term conditions with means she had limited strength and mobility, however she fights on, working full time and gets around at events in her mobility scooter. No one would believe where she's taken it without getting stuck, although at Osberton last year she did run out of power in the middle of the XC field and I had to run back to the car to get the spare battery.

Lisa and Trad

The week before Christmas just as Lisa was getting stronger our lives were turned upside down by the arrival of Otto, a German Shorthaired Pointer puppy. We always wanted a dog and in particular a GSP so when I found out that fellow eventer Robbie Alman-Wilson breeds her own we couldn't resist. Having never had a dog before it was a baptism of fire with sleepless nights and plenty of tears! However 2 to 3 months in, his training is going really well and we wouldn't be without him, I can't wait to get him out at events soon so he can meet everyone – he loves people!!

Otto growing quickly

So with all that going on poor old Trad got a bit neglected. Luckily Dad has now retired so he has been hunting and riding Trad more and for a few weeks I got my trainer and friend Jenny Gray-Wallis to school him for me. She even had a lesson with Ian Woodhead and did a couple of dressage competitions, qualifying for the unaffiliated championship at Addington! As I expected Jenny was able to get him going fantastically, proof that he can do it if ridden properly.

Jenny and Trad at Addington

I was able to start getting back in the saddle in January as Lisa and Otto were able to look after each other and since then I've been concentrating on schooling. Trad is feeling better than ever on the flat, so Jenny’s mini boot camp obviously worked.

We've done a small amount of jumping. One session at the yard and two rounds of JAS at Bury Farm - this went brilliantly! I did the BE100 & Novice classes and jumped 2 clears with just a few time faults. In the Novice I finished 7th meaning I qualified for the final at Hartpury, however I decided not to go as it was a long way for a 1 minute round of jumping.

Video of JAS at Bury Farm

A couple of weeks ago we went XC schooling at Attington Stud, with my long term instructor Jonathan Chapman, which was brilliant! Trad has grown in confidence over the last two years and was very keen, taking me to all the fences including big ditches, trakehners, corners and water.

Video of XC schooling at Attington Stud

Our next XC schooling was unfortunately cancelled due to wet weather but as I'm not out competing until April there isn't a panic yet. My plan is to do an eventer trial at Keysoe in a couple of weeks time and then some more XC schooling, probably over the Easter weekend.

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