I had a hectic but a most enjoyable week. It started last weekend in Barnadown in Co. Wexford, where I was one of six coaches putting the 24 finalists of young riders through their paces over four days.
The students took part in training sessions in their region through the SJI. The energy and enthusiasm showed by the SJI regional reps was quite simply amazing. All the effort and work that they put in on a voluntary basis purely for the betterment of the sport is nothing short of an inspiration. As for the students themselves, their attitude and openness to learning was fantastic. Ian Fearon one of the most respected coaches in Ireland asked me to come along and I'm so glad I did as it was great fun working with each and every one of them.
Luckily for me I have some of the best staff in the world. My horses were all ready for me when I returned from Barnadown on Thursday and I worked them then for two days prior to one of my favourite shows in Ireland which took place yesterday and today. The Horseware Ireland Louth County show has always been a successful show for me having won the Grand Prix there 6 times prior to this year.
On Saturday I won the Grand Prix qualifier with the 8yr old mare Accorada. Larkhill Cruiser was fresh from his month's break and jumped super, cruising around to slot into third. Onira, a new ride for me, was also clear, as was Ballymore Eustace in his first ever Grand Prix in Ireland.
In today's Premier Series Grand Prix, Onira just had one rail down, Accorada was electric again and produced two sensational rounds to finish fourth. Larkhill Cruiser knew the pressure was on and when riding him in Ireland I feel that he is a celebrity and everyone is watching him! He did his usual trick - quick from the off and a flyer to the last to secure my 7th victory since 2000 in the Grand Prix at this particular venue. Tom McGuinness whose land the show is in has been a great supporter of mine over the last 14 yrs through his company Horseware and for whose support I'm very appreciative of.
The horses travel to Maubeuge in france this week. I take Splendor, Larkhill Cruiser and Trebox Accorada. Check back next Monday to see how we went in France.