I never thought I'd say it, but its nice to be back to the rain! I had a great experience in the UAE for the last five weeks but for me there's no place like home.
The UAE legs of the Arab Tour took place at Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Al Ain. All situated within 130kms from Dubai. I stayed in Dubai for the duration and it was nice that many friends and family came to visit so we made a bit of a holiday out of it as well.
It's an extraordinary part of the world to experience and the people certainly don't do anything by half measures. Everything is big and spectacular and there seems to be a great 'can do' attitude about everything.
On the equestrian front I was amazed how the sport has evolved there. The riders have sought help from trainers from Europe and the USA and are very much keen to step up their game to the top level. The shows were well run with super facilities and great prize money. Last weekend in Al Ain, Arabella was 5th in a 1m40 and second in the small Grand Prix. Larkhill Cruiser was 2nd in the three big classes including the Grand Prix, which secured him the Leading Horse title of the UAE tour and me the Leading Rider.
Paul McAuley who runs Emirate Equestrian centre was a huge support throughout all the organisation and without his help it would have been impossible. I gave clinics at three different clubs and have been asked to return on a more regular basis to teach, which I look forward to doing.
I'm home now for a few days but travel on Wednesday to try a horse in Austria, then go to Milan over the weekend to give a clinic to 25 people. Gotta keep at it!
Check back next week for more news.