There was something original and fun about last weekend’s show in Eglinton, Derry.
The organisers really manage to put the show back into show jumping by making it entertaining and providing exciting sport which attracts huge crowds. I really believe that it must become a priority for Showjumping Ireland to assist the shows by promoting the upcoming competitions in each locality.
I firmly believe that we are going nowhere until we rekindle the ordinary public's interest in show jumping. It can't be too hard to, say, go around the local estates and hand out flyers about an upcoming show. Local radio and media should also help to get the people out of their homes.
If we get 1000 people to come and watch a Grand Prix and have even 5% who then have a further interest then it will trickle down to all levels.
Eglinton manage this aspect of their show so well. The atmosphere is electric in the tight old fashioned arena. The organisers are welcoming and the spectators enthusiastic. I won the Grand Prix with a new mount Ulano ( see news story) and it was lovely to see so many people after the class who wanted to congratulate me for my London success.
This morning I was privileged to be honoured by my alma mater - Belvedere College. It was a great occasion for me as I hadn’t been back to the school since I finished 14 years ago. I spoke briefly to the pupils about the ups and downs that life throws at us all and the importance of seeking and finding light at the end of the tunnel, something I believe all of us can do.
I'm off to Caen this weekend in France- check back on Monday for more news.