Photo Credit: Tess Carmichael
Update provided by Tess Carmichael
We’ve been trying to get a bit more back to normal with our competing, but everything has changed quite a lot – with COVID, then Brexit and then EHV. Regulations and requirements change constantly!
We’ve managed to do a couple of trips which I’ve been really pleased about.
At the start of May we went to a show at Tops International Arena in Holland. I took three horses: Bangle, Atlantis and Kojak. We battled the many crazy weather changes of Holland—from snow to 26 degrees when we left! It was our first show since the EHV outbreak, which involved careful monitoring of the horses and PCR testing for them before we left. I’m glad the swabs for our coronavirus tests aren’t as big as theirs! Overall I was really pleased with how they went. Bangle and Atlantis jumped the medium tour at 1.25. Both of them jumped clear every day earning a second and fifth in the final and a second and third on the last day. Kojak was great, too, in the 1.35 classes and had a 5th in the speed class on the second day.
We went home for a week before Bangle and Atlantis went to our first Globals since 2019! I’m so happy to be back at these amazing shows and feeling really lucky to be able to watch the world’s best riders. We started in Madrid which is the where Bangle was an absolute star, coming second the first day and then had a win the second day in the medium tour 1.25 classes. Atlantis was clear the first day in the 1.25 and then stepped up to the large tour 1.40s. Both of us are a bit rusty at this level as we didn’t do so much last year and the classes were really strong, but I’m very pleased with how he jumped.
We then moved onto St. Tropez! We had a great start, and Bangle finished third in the 1.25 and Atlantis sixth in the 1.40! Unfortunately, the second day didn’t go quite so well. A great time, but unlucky four faults with Atlantis in the 1.40 speed, and I then had a bit of a dramatic fall with Bangle. I made a bad decision in the ring, and she was incredibly brave and tried to look after me but I took a tumble and she also was a bit injured. She had a bad cut to her fetlock in an awkward place which needed staples, but hopefully she will be back at shows soon. Atlantis was a saint on the final day and took a very nervous me around the 1.40 GP for one down. I’m incredibly grateful to him for helping me build back my confidence.
Final show of this little tour was Valkenswaard again. Normally it would have been LGCT Cannes, but due to Covid restrictions they moved it to be held at Valkenswaard. Although it lacks a beach and sea view, that was no hardship! Valkenswaard is undoubtably the most incredible show ground I’ve been to. They have thought of everything for the horses and riders to make life as easy as possible. The stables are all permanent and large, there are wash bays with hot and cold water on every aisle, and there are many places to exercise the horses. They’ve also recently changed their main sand ring to grass, and it’s amazing even surviving a huge storm on the middle day. I just jumped Atlantis and he was great, helping me build my confidence after the fall was still making me feel a bit unsure. Starting with a clear in the 1.35 and a great quick round but for four faults in the speed on the middle day.
We’re all home again now and getting Kojak and Carl ready for our next trip. We leave next for Paris and from there go onto Monaco and then Valkenswaard again. Also, very luckily I’m still able to train with Scott Brash which has been amazing. He’s such a fantastic rider and horseman. I don’t know how I’ve managed it but I’m making the most of it! He’s been great and is very supportive – pushing me out of my comfort zone. After having such a quiet year last year I’ve really valued his help to get me back up and confident again.
The horses continue to look amazing on SUCCEED – thank you. It really does support them so much especially with all the traveling they do.