I just checked into the hotel in Aachen, Germany, where today we had the veterinary inspection and the training class. Everything went well and I feel I'm ready for the week ahead. Last weekend I competed Splendor at Hoofddorp. It was a CSI2*, only about 15 minutes from Amsterdam airport. Splendor jumped really well, finishing 2nd in the main event on Friday and 6th in the Grand Prix.
Interestingly enough the venue is actually hosting the Junior and Young Rider Championships this week and I'm sure it will be a success as the all weather sand ring is top class.
Back to Aachen - it's always a show I love to do. It's my sixth time coming here. The German public really love their jumping and are a very knowledgeable crowd. This week I have Rancorrado, Complete, Irish Independent Echo Beach and Baloufina to call upon. With it being such a long week, with six days of jumping, it's important to plan it well so that they peak during the whole week.
The main focus as always for me at these CSIOs is the Nations' Cup. It takes place on Thursday, with the second round in the evening under lights. I will ride Rancorrado in that, Capt. David O'Brien rides Kiltoom, Denis Lynch rides Lantinus and Billy Twomey Je T'Aime Flamenco. We've been a bit unlucky in the Nations' Cups to date. You really need three horses jumping clear rounds to win. It has gone so competitive that recent Nations' Cups have been won on a team total of 4 or 8 faults. I feel we have a big chance in the Cup and all the team realises we have to put our best foot forward in order to get higher up the league table.
As with any major event you plan, you prepare, and you get mentally focused but in the end you also need a little bit of luck on the day. I know I have a few people up above looking down who'll be wishing us well, so fingers crossed for the Irish team next Thursday. You can follow the updates here on my news page throughout the week and check back next Monday for a full report.