- Check the clinics page for more details
I've just finished doing two demonstrations, one in Killarney at Woodlands Equestrian Centre and one in Sligo at Keash Equestrian Centre.
Both venues were very well attended, and along with Mark Kinsella we put on a 90 minute display showing three different horses. The message I tried to get across during the demonstrations was to practice good quality work and doing the basics well would lead without doubt to further success.
One of the common questions that came up at both venues was that people asked me what were the correct distances to build between grids at home and in general there seemed to be a need for more information to help people with regard to building fences in the correct place.
Because of this, I have decided to make a new page on the website offering various exercises and giving a general guide as to the distances that should be built. The only problem now is finding time to do it!
I expect it should be up within the next fortnight.
Workshop 3, which I ran at Waterside on February 13 was a great success with 20 participants taking part. Everyone had a lesson from me, an indoor session with Johnny O'Connell working on strengths and weaknesses, and there was also a module with Liam Moggan, sports psychologist.
In the afternoon, following lunch, I gave a tour of the stable and then I put Mark Kinsella through his paces on the very impressive 8 year-old Sandy Lane. The participants were then treated to a unique presentation by William Micklem and a talk from leading racehorse trainer Jim Bolger.
Overall it was an action-packed day and the feedback was very positive. I have only five places left for the next Workshop 3 which will be the exact same format as above, on Saturday April 10th, so if you're interested drop me an email to reserve your place.
Check back next week for more news as I head off on an interesting adventure this Monday.
Just returned from Abu Dhabi where things didn't quite go according to plan.
I have to say that for the first time running the show the organisers did a good job and I've no doubt the show will develop and improve for next year.
The trip itself was difficult enough for the horses. Not so much the flight itself but more the transport from the airport to the show in horseboxes they weren't used to, and in extreme heat - I think the horses found that tough. Thankfully though for the return journey we were able to commandeer, through an Irish contact in Dubai, a truck that would be more similar to the ones the horses travel in all the time.
Rancorrado jumped amazingly well in the first round of the Nations' Cup. He clipped the back pole of the middle part of the combination, and I have to take the blame for that as I sat too quiet. As I was warming up for the second round he over-reached on landing after a fence and I was therefore forced to withdraw.
He'll be fine in a few days, but because of the bruising around the over-reach I took the decision to withdraw him from the rest of the show. Sometimes these are hard decision to take and some would argue that he would have been OK if I'd jumped him, but it's a long season and I wouldn't take any chances with a horse as good as this.
In the end the Irish team finished 7th in the Nations' Cup and we were able to donate our €4,000 prize money to the relief fund for Haiti, as promised. It's just a pity we couldn't give more.
For sure it's a pain in the ass to have travelled all that way and only to have jumped one round but I suppose I can't complain given the run of success I've had lately. The horses are coming home now and will have a four-week break which gives me the opportunity to give my clinics around Ireland and abroad and indeed present the workshops at Waterside, the next of which is taking place this Saturday, the 13th.
As I won't have much competition news to report on over the next month, I will continue to write a blog offering various opinions on different aspects of the sport.
- The four members of the Irish Nations' Cup team in Abu Dhabi:myself, Dermott Lennon, Cameron Hanley and Billy Twomey
Apologies for being a little bit late with the blog this week. Everything was a bit out of sync with flying to Abu Dhabi last Sunday night. All the irish horses arrived safe and sound and we had a veterinary inspection and the warm up class today that went well, without any glitches.
The showgrounds are in the Polo grounds in a place called Ghantoot which is halfway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I think the best way of explaining the surrounding is if you can imagine the main ring and the stand at the RDS Dublin being dropped in the middle of the desert. It's fantastic, remarkable what can be done and how the people here are so keen to promote the sport and raise the level.
There's three days of jumping, starting tomorrow, and finishing with the Grand Prix on Saturday, which carries a prize fund of 300,000 euro.
On Friday the four of us line out in the Nations' Cup and as always at a Nations' Cup show this competition will be our priority here this week. All of us in conjunction with our Chef, Robert Splaine, were chatting about Haiti and the horrendous situation there following the earthquake. We thought was there anything we could contribute to help relieve the situation for some of the Haitian people in any way. I suppose we're quite lucky, we get to travel the world and go to these shows and get opportunities to jump in major competitions.
Though we may sometimes complain how hard this business is, nevertheless any problems we may have pale into insignificance when you contrast them with the awful situation in Haiti and it is for this reason that as a team we have decided to donate any money won in the Nations' Cup competition on Friday to the charity GOAL, so that they can make sure it sure it is properly used.
Hopefully we win, fingers crossed, check back on the news page for updates.