CSI 5* Madrid is one of the best-kept secrets in the show jumping calendar. I suppose I shouldn't say it too loud but when you ask people which is their favourite show very few say how good Madrid is, but I think that's because some haven't been and the ones who have been don't tell anyone as they want to keep it for themselves!
First of all the show is set inside the grounds of Club de Campo. This is one of the biggest clubs in Europe with many sports being catered for in one centre just outside the city of Madrid. The arena is rather special for a couple of reasons - first of all the ground is as close to a golfing green as you'd ever see, and they also make their own fences, and what I like about them is that they're not the same old jumps we meet at every show every other week. They're a bit bulkier, with a slightly heavier pole and cup, and I find the horses jump fantastic in this ring, and also you feel you can really ride at the jumps.
The weather was great for the most part and the classes were very competitive. Complete jumped out of his skin all weekend, winning the Grand Prix Qualifier where he beat the Olympic champion Eric Lamaze and Hickstead. We were very unfortunate in the Grand Prix itself, Complete having his heel on the tape of the water for 4 faults, and then we went on to place 10th the following day in the King's Cup.
Madrid's also a beautiful city and I went into the centre one night for dinner with some other riders, but I didn't try any traditional Spanish food, but played safe in the Hard Rock Cafe which you will find in Christopher Columbus Square and where you always get a good steak.
The Irish team jumps in Rome this week, and I wish them all the best. I'll be competing at the CSI2* in Mullingar, before travelling out to St. Gallen to join the squad the following week. Anyway, I 'll report back before then. Don't forget to send me any questions you have for the 10 Questions Page. I'll be answering those questions next week.