It must be a sign of getting older but I'm just about recovered now, a week later, from the Dublin Horse Show. It's a long tiring week both physically and mentally and I felt absolutely drained for the most part of this week.
It's nice having the horses at home with no big shows on for a few weeks. Every day they went for hacks and to the paddock and just be like horses again. So often during the year you're minding them and afraid to let them out but we're very lucky at Waterside as we have very safe compact paddocks where all my top horses go out beside each other. They certainly enjoyed their week off!
Next weekend myself and Mark Kinsella will jump in Boswell at Ashford in Co. Wicklow for two days, Saturday and Sunday. My international horses leave the following Wednesday for Gijon in Spain, and Boswell will be their warm-up.
Last week I was officially confirmed as part of the Irish team for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games with K Club Lady. The show jumping takes place between the 4th and 9th of October. I will plan each step and jump between now and then very carefully so as to arrive in the best possible shape. I'm absolutely thrilled to be going to WEG, and it's a fantastic reward for my owner Dr. Michael Smurfit. He only purchased the mare last April and believe it or not, she is his first ever show jumper. Double clear and victory in the Nations' Cup at Aachen, clear and placed second in the Aga Khan, and now heading to WEG - not bad for your first horse, and I'm extremely grateful to him.
It's only seven weeks until we start jumping in Kentucky. While I try to think of the championship as just another show, which it is, I can't help be a little more cautious in my planning. One train of thought would be to keep jumping her in big Grands Prix between now and then as there is no point in wrapping her up in cotton wool. While I agree with a part of that, and obviously horses can get injured even working at home, I do believe there's no point in going looking for trouble and tilting at windmills.
I plan to give the mare two nice shows at Gijon and Madrid without pressure and also I would like to practise turning back against the clock in some smaller classes as the opening day at WEG is a speed leg. Everyone has their own theories, and different plans suit different horses, but for me the Irish team has achieved one of its main goals this year, which is staying in the Meydan Series.
The other goal is a team medal at WEG, and I strongly believe that if we arrive there in the same vein as we did in Aachen, we're certainly in with a shout. I for one won't be chasing the gravy train between now and then, it might work, it might not but at least I can say I did my best.
Check back next week for more news.