“It has been a while since my last blog so I will start at the Summer Nationals and slowly work my way to now. As you may or may not know, Flo and I qualified to compete in the Advanced Medium restricted as we came second at the regionals.
We managed to finish a solid 7th in a hot class with a few costly mistakes, unfortunately Flo got some stage fright in the walk pirouettes meaning we got some 5s although one judge still had us finishing in 2nd! To say I was proud is an understatement, to put things in perspective, this time last year Flo was spending everyday on his back legs and now we are working towards PSG… it is insane to think about how far he has come in under a year!
After our success at the Nationals, Flo had a well-deserved break from collection and we just hacked and stretched (which his tummy definitely appreciated as he became slightly plump). While Flo was happy chilling and taking things slow, DJ and I really started to get stuck into his training. DJ has grown in muscle and height, annoyingly so have I, so it’s a good thing he is big because I’m now roughly 6’’1 (185 cm)!
We have been working on moving him up to a more advanced level especially improving his reach and cadence in the half passes.
It has been amazing to have the keen eyes of David Trott and Gareth Hughes helping us develop as we have now started to work on passage and piaffe, which seems to be a cake walk for DJ along with canter pirouettes. His natural ability to collect and extend makes him the best candidate for Grand Prix as he finds everything quite easy, that paired with his awesome trainability makes me wonder how on earth I managed to find such a rare powerful horse.
I have also been very busy off my horses as this year I have been accepted onto the AASE and EXCEL programmes. The Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) is a course taken at Hartpury that teaches us about many vital aspects of being a successful athlete such as nutrition, physio and psychology of both horse and rider.
So far I am thoroughly enjoying the course as it allows eventers and dressage riders to mix and amazingly one of the eventers was a friend from the Arezzo Europeans in 2013. I hadn’t seen them since then so it was great fun to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in around two years as well as meeting new ones.
Flo and I have been accepted onto EXCEL and I am so excited to start the training camps in December. It’s an amazing opportunity and allows access to services that I otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to.
Both courses are allowing me to expand my horizons and see what it really takes to be a successful rider and hopefully how to make a career out of it. Many people would argue I am taking on a lot this year, as I’m also going through 6th form and A levels, which presents its own challenges. But with the help of the school, family and my friends, I am sure I will make it through in one piece!
Over the winter months we have been training hard with both the horses. Flo has been working on his collection and engagement from the hind legs and he has even got the hang of some passage steps!
Flo is thriving working on his changes and he gets cheekier every day. He has now worked out how to undo the haynets and the sugar pot so it’s safe to say he has developed quite the sweet tooth.
It may be because he feels entitled to some tasty treats due to his amazing work ethic.
The amazing improvements of Flo and DJ are partly down to their supplements from Red Horse products with their purity and affordable prices
I feel very privileged to have such fantastic support. I am extremely lucky to have the backing of some brilliant companies with a real passion for the sport.
I have recently started working with Drybrow and if you don’t know them you should!
They provide clever hat liners that absorb sweat that prevents those attractive red marks on your forehead.
This weekend I also had a visit from the wonderful Wisch and his new rider Jessie.
We went through her floor plan and dressage to music and I had such a great time working with them both.
I wasn’t the only one that enjoyed Wisch’s stay as Flo and DJ spent many hours playing with him over the fence, but who can blame them, as he absolutely loves his cuddles!
I am now mentoring Jessie and Wischie, I wish them the best of luck for the season ahead and can’t wait to be a part of their journey. Hopefully she will have as much fun doing Pony teams as I did.
I’ve recently had a visit from my sponsor, Paul Morgan, who fitted DJ with a gorgeous Antares saddle, making this his 5th saddle in less then a year!
If DJ isn’t spoiled I don’t know who is. Paul supplies Parlanti and Antares, both are brands that I am absolutely in love with and I feel very lucky to have such a dedicated support team surrounding me.
I’m off to Australia to spend Christmas with family and wave my brother off as he sets sail in the Sydney to Hobart boat race. I am really looking forward to the season ahead and will keep you all updated
Until next time,