- Winning the Grand Prix in Tripoli with Irish Independent Echo Beach
I'm just enjoying my weekend off at home following my three days in Tripoli last Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday. I received an invitation from the Libyan Federation through an Irish-based company called LibDevCo, which I was delighted to accept, and I must say the people, both spectators and organisers, were very welcoming.
The weather was beautiful and I stayed in the centre of the city which is very interesting to walk round and see a completely different culture. I really enjoyed my few days in Libya and the horses jumped really well. Splendor won a class, Echo Beach was second in the Grand Prix qualifier and then won the Grand Prix, following which I received a very special and prolonged ovation from the crowd.
I returned to Ireland on Friday where I joined William Micklem at an evening that he called 'The Go Rules' which was in aid of the training fund for Paralympian Joan Salmon and which was held in Spruce Lodge in Co. Wicklow. Joan Keogh's new place is a fantastic venue and I was delighted to be a part of a very special evening, and where I spoke about my own experiences. When you hear the story of Joan Salmon it makes you realise what a wonderful person she is and explains why she is an inspiration to many.
On Saturday my older sister Susanna got married in Dublin and she went off on her honeymoon today, so that was a busy and enjoyable few days.
My truck is leaving tonight for Lyon in France where I will compete Rancorrado, Complete and Irish Independent Echo Beach. That show begins on Friday. Check back on Monday for more news.
- With Baloufina at NEC, Birmingham
The Horse of the Year Show at the NEC Birmingham concluded on Sunday. It was a very successful week for the show, with superb coverage by Sky Sports really making the event accessible to millions of homes around the world. It reminds me once again how important tv coverage is and the power that it has. It is something we must endeavour to do within the sport - to get as much tv coverage as possible in order to source new sponsors and to give something back to the ones we have.
Overall for me I had quite a good weekend. Splendor was placed three times, Complete twice and Baloufina finished a close second in one of the big money classes of the week - the Speed Horse Championship. She jumped an amazing round, very fast, and was just pipped at the post by Ellen Whitaker by .4 of a second.
Back at home this weekend I will jump Rancorrado and Markopoulo at the Grand Prix in Cavan. Rancorrado has had just a month off since Spruce Meadows and I want to get him going indoors to be ready for the Lyon and Verona World Cups which are coming up back to back over the next few weeks.
Check back next week for more news.
My indoor international campaign got under way last weekend at the CSI4* in Moorsele Belgium. Splendor performed really well, jumping clear in the big class on Thursday and also jumping in the big class on Friday night for 4 faults.
Complete finished second in the speed final and both these horses along with Baloufina will make their way to Birmingham where the Horse Of The Year Show at the NEC begins on Thursday. Also joining them at Birmingham is a new horse for me called Calista. I have her to compete in the Puissance on Saturday night and while I'm told the mare has jumped a big wall before, it'll be our first time together, so fingers crossed.
Mark Kinsella will also be riding PS I Love You and Irish Independent Echo Beach at the show.
Tune in to Sky Sports where you can watch live coverage of the show every night from Thursday to Sunday.
You can see my schedule for the winter on the NEWS page, and check back here after the weekend to see how we got on at the NEC in Birmingham.