When you've competed at the CSIO at Aachen for six days as I just have you certainly know you've been there. Every morning your body is aching and you're just physically drained! Yes, it's a really long week with the jumping starting on Tuesday and finishing on Sunday, but the Irish in general did exceptionally well overall.
Baloufina had four starts, she was placed three times and won the Speed Derby in great style. Rancorrado was exceptional in the Nations' Cup, where he jumped for just a single time fault in round one, and in the second round had just four faults to help the team secure a creditable fifth place.
Denis Lynch made history on Sunday, becoming only the third Irishman ever to win the Grand Prix of Aachen. He and Lantinus jumped three superb rounds to clinch victory and I'm sure in time it will be one of the most memorable days of his career. I was genuinely delighted for him.
When I was flying home on Sunday night I was thinking about Denis's victory and the thought came to my mind of the ups and downs of show jumping and the challenges it presents. What I mean is that on Thursday Denis was very unfortunate, as the same horse pecked on landing in the combination during the first round of the Nations' Cup, and unfortunately unseated Denis, resulting in elimination.
So if you can imagine, here we are at one of the biggest shows in the world and due to bad luck he gets eliminated - you can only guess at how that must have affected him. But then think how mentally focused he must have been to get stuck back in and end up winning the Grand Prix. In this game you can be up one minute and down the next. Even from my own point of view, I was best of the Irish in the Nations' Cup but then in the Grand Prix I had a couple of fences down. But I have to lift myself up from that and work towards the Global Champions Tour in Estoril next week. In show jumping at this level you have to be strong mentally or you might as well throw your hat at it.
This week, as I said, I go to Estoril in Portugal for the Global Champions Tour on Saturday night, which will be live on Eurosport. I jump Rancorrado and Irish Independent Echo Beach and as we're only four weeks away from the Dublin Horse Show the planning and preparation from here on in is vital as Dublin - the RDS - is always my main goal.
As I said before, Aachen is one of the best shows in the world but there's no place like home! Dublin supersedes it, and you know what - the ground is better too!
Check back next week and I'll fill you in on Estoril.