- Piazza di Siena at Villa Borghese, Rome
The historic horse show held in the unique setting of the Piazza di Siena at Villa Borghese is usually a favourite with all the riders.
This year however the show was hampered by the late pulling out of a sponsor and the replacement of the organising committee and under the circumstances I suppose we were lucky it went ahead at all.
However it should not pass without them knowing that it was far from the usual 5 star standard and would not be acceptable in usual circumstances.
The entries had to be paid by each rider rather than the usual way of offsetting them against monies won; no pick up at the airport so everyone had to pay 80 euro each for taxis.
Presumably to try and strengthen revenues they had national classes during the day and the final international class as late as 10pm one night, which is madness as you could only use the warm up arena at 6am which meant not only riders but grooms and horses had one day running into the next with little rest.
All in all it was a below par event which I hope will not filter down to other shows who think they can get away with same poor standards for what’s meant to be one of the calendar’s showcase competitions in the year.
We had a difficult Nations’ Cup with Niall Talbot’s unfortunate elimination following a fall, while an uncharacteristic high score from me in the same round put the team seriously under presssure.
My horse took off a stride early at the water and then the round unravelled. We got it together in the second round and had just one down but it was all too late. This week in St Gallen we will be bidding for a top three finish to help our low standing on the league table.
Sometimes when things go poorly it’s a great test of mettle and usually the cream will always rise to the top - lets see!
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La Baule was always going to be a tough show with high expectations following our victory there last year.
All the horses in the team jumped really well but unfortunately we gave away a couple of easy fences in the opening round which made it hard to climb back in the second round despite clears from myself and Jessica. (See news story HERE)
I was very pleased with Blue Loyd as we are still getting used to each other at the highest level but he felt easy around the whole course. In round one I rode too quick to the treble and knocked the vertical going in but in the second round we were more relaxed together and jumped a super clear.
Da Vinci’s Pride was fourth in a fast 1.50m class on Friday morning and KEC Alligator Alley jumped clear in Thursday’s Grand Prix qualifier and had just one fence down in his first 5 star Grand Prix on Sunday which I was very pleased with.
The horses and myself drove to Belguim last night where they will have a weeks rest ahead of the Rome leg of the series in 10 days’ time.
All in all it was a productive show that I feel we will all build on.
All settled here in La Baule. I worked my three horses this morning and they feel in super shape. They all passed the veterinary inspection this afternoon and are all set for the opening day of competition tomorrow.
Da Vinci’s Pride will hopefully be competitive in the 1.45m division, KEC Alligator Alley will be aimed at the 1.50m tomorrow and Sunday’s Grand Prix, and Blue Loyd jumps the medium class tomorrow with the aim being Friday’s Nations Cup.
Its pretty busy at the show this afternoon with everyone arriving en masse. It’s exciting to be at the opening leg of the Nations Cup Super League and let’s hope team Ireland can repeat last year’s triumph.
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- In action at Louth County last weekend
Today will be hectic as my three top horses travel to Europe and it’s a lot to organise a three month road trip! They are all in great form and jumped out of their skin in Dundalk at the weekend. They were perhaps too fresh and even bucking between the fences but with so many top shows coming up and a lot of travelling to do, I'd prefer them on their toes for now.
I plan to be home in Ireland at the beginning of each week which allows me stay on top of business in Karlswood as the horses make their way across Europe to the next show. See the news page for my schedule.
I will put regular updates on Twitter and Facebook and post pictures and videos of our travels.
- Dublin Show - not that far away now...
It was only three weeks ago that we returned from Florida and I was relishing the chance to have a break.
Three weeks later and I’m dying to get back going at the major shows. I have been competing some new horses while being at home and I feel it’s good to keep riding as it keeps you focused and on your game.
Da Vinci’s Pride was super again this weekend winning the Spring Tour Final (click here). Next weekend we jump at Dundalk which has always been a lucky show for me. Following that my top horses head for Europe. Blue Loyd, KEC Alligator Alley, and Da Vinci’s Pride. I will keep them on the continent for the summer months with the plan to return in August for the Dublin Horse Show.
I plan to be home in Ireland most weeks to take care of Karlswood and am lucky that I know when I leave that it runs like clockwork under the experienced and capable hands of Ross Mulholland.
This week at Karlswood we say farewell to Mark Kinsella who has been a loyal and valued member of my team for many years. Mark is setting up his own stable in the Naul in north Dublin and I wish him every success.
This week the focus will be on organising every detail and the logistics for my horses’ summer trip. Life is good, I can't complain, but I’ve a feeling it could be the calm before the storm!!
We are finally getting back to normality and over the jetlag!
It has been fairly busy as always despite the horses that were in Florida being on a break. i've been busy and have acquired two new rides (see HERE).
The past few weeks has been hectic with many people coming to Karlswood for coaching and I must say it’s been fun. I'm already looking forward to my next trip which takes place at the start of May and we head for Le Touquet in France.
Blue Loyd and KEC Alligator Alley are in fantastic form and enjoying their break. They will both jump in Louth county show at the end of the month.
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It has been a long but highly enjoyable three month circuit in Florida.
The horses acquitted themselves superbly in the final week at WEF. (Click HERE for news.) I came here with the goal of developing Blue Loyd as my main target and I feel that has gone according to plan. It has been long for all of us - man and beast- but for only April 1st we have achieved a lot and I feel that we are set up well and in a strong position for the major European shows which kick off in May.
I have sold some horses and already acquired a new horse. He has jumped Grands Prix in Australia and I’m really excited about getting to know him next month. Thats what often keeps us going - the change of faces looking over the door at you! Its often a challenge to find new top horses but I believe you always will and thats why I’m never afraid to sell.
I know i am extremely lucky and am grateful to all my team such as grooms, riders, owners and supporters, but I really want to thank my beautiful wife Ruth for all her love and support and putting up with me all the time!
The whole entourage returns to Ireland this week for a well earned Spring break.
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- Blue Loyd in action in Florida
I can't believe we are heading into our last week of the tour.
it's been really great and we've loved every second of it. Time has flown but we are ready for home at the same time.
All horses have been great and really earned their keep. Everything, Carpe diem and Calvaron will all be staying this side of the Atlantic and I wish their new riders every success.
It has been an amazing experience on so many levels and I've learned a great deal. The Nations’ Cup was the highlight for me where the Irish Team finished second and Blue Loyd and I jumped a double clear in our debut performance together on the team. I'm looking forward to April at home where I have a lot of coaching planned and horses to try.
Both Loyd and Alley jumped great again this weekend (see news page) and we'll be putting our best foot forward for the final weekend coming.
Alley will be aimed at Thursday's and Saturday's 1.50m while Loyd will be jumping Saturday’s $500,000 final Grand Prix. All has gone so well so far and anything extra in the final week will be a nice bonus!
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- KEC Alligator Alley in action at the weekend
Hard to believe that we are into week 11 of the 12 week Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in Florida.
It’s been a super trip with all the horses improving and picking up a few bob along the way. Last weekend KEC Alligator Alley jumped out of his skin to place second in the Grand Prix (see video HERE).
Blue Loyd has had a break since his double clear in the Nations’ Cup and this week I take him to another show in Ocala where there is a Grand Prix next Saturday. The week after he's back to Wellington to try for some of the big bucks in the 500k Grand Prix on March 31st.
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- Blue Loyd in action on Friday night at Wellington
The Nations Cup week is always very enjoyable in Palm Beach and with no shortage of Irish support the team gave it their best shot.
Everybody played their part but unfortunately the German team were that bit better on the night and we had to settle for second. Blue Loyd was class, jumping one of only four double clears in the competition.
I can’t believe we're two thirds of the way there in this 12 week circuit. Tomorrow I fly home for one week to both catch up on matters there and also give the horses here a break.
I’m really looking forward to going back even for a week just to go to the yard and feel some bit of normality again! It’s great here but not the real world in any shape or form!
I'll go to the show in Broadmeadow next weekend to help Mark which I'll enjoy.
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