- The Globe arena in Stockholm
Just on the way back from Stockholm, queuing up for the Ryanair flight to Dublin. Not surprisingly, I suppose, Ryanair's Stockholm airport is a good 120km from the city! But I won't complain, for at least it's a direct flight.
We'd a very nice show here in Stockholm with a special Christmassy feel about it. I don't want to go into it too much now as it will be part of my article for the Irish Field next Saturday.
Both Splendor and Umberto were consistently placed. Umberto was 3rd and 6th and jumped very well each day. He's still green when going at the pace required to win at this level, but as I do more shows I've no doubt he will improve more quickly. He's without doubt one of the most careful horse I've ever ridden.
Splendor was double clear in the big class on the opening day, placing 4th, and today was clear in the Grand Prix and made just one mistake in the jump off to finish 5th.
My horses have a week off this week in preparation for the World Cup shows at Geneva and London coming up in the following two weeks. At these shows I will take these two horses plus a new horse I'm trying out over the Puissance wall this week at home, and if he's successful he'll go on the truck!
In addition I've bought a very prominent Irish Grand Prix horse who I'll be able to tell you about in the coming week.
Loads happening - it's great to be busy!
Just recovering from a busy week at home at Karlswood. The place was a hive of activity with several groups of clients, coaching and working our horses.
It was a very productive week and the great thing about my job is that I have a wonderful balance between travelling and being at home.
Tonight the horses left for Stockholm in Sweden where I will compete over the weekend. I'm looking forward to getting away again. I take Splendor and Umberto, both of whom were clear in the Grand Prix yesterday in Kill, Splendor placing third.
Umberto is a new horse to me, which I will compete in the second classes at the international shows in the coming weeks. He's fast and careful and has a super technique in front. I expect him in the winner's enclosure before Christmas!
Kill was a busy show yesterday. We took nine horses there from Karlswood and all jumped very well. There was a great buzz around the place and it was great to see so many people competing still at this time of the year in Ireland.
With not much else happening this side of Christmas on the national front we will wind down many of our young horses now, which allows both horses and staff to have a bit of an easier time over the next six weeks.
Ruth and I fly to Stockholm on Thursday evening. Check back on Sunday night to see how the show went.
- The very relaxing setting of the Lough Erne Resort
I've just got back from a beautiful weekend in the Lough Erne Resort in Enniskillen.
It's a beautiful setting, as you will see from the picture above, and it was great to be able to switch off for a few days. Ruth enjoyed the spa and I feel recharged and ready to get stuck in to my work.
I've got quite a good bit to do this side of Christmas, between shows, clinics and having to find horses for clients. In addition I'm planning my trip to the Emirates for January and also have to work out the logistics for the Sunshine Tour which I'll do in February and March.
I'm in the middle of restructuring my string of international horses and have bought some new ones and have also acquired the ride on a few decent horses as well. I'll be doing a new horses page on this site before Christmas where I will introduce my string for 2011.
I'm home for the next ten days before my next international show in Stockholm in Sweden. I'm looking forward to riding at home every day, helping Mark and Deane and getting a handle on how all the horses are improving.
Next weekend I'll be jumping at Kill International Equestrian Centre's two day show on Saturday and Sunday. If you're around drop in and watch the action.
- The beautiful city of Verona
I've just returned home from a productive week in Verona. The horses jumped really well with Splendor jumping clear in the Grand Prix and having just one fence down in the World Cup. I'm very fortunate to have the ride on Splendor until the end of the year as he is sold to an Egyptian friend of mine, Ahmed Tolba.
Ahmed bought the horse some months ago and because he is busy at college he left the horse with me to ride until he takes up the reins in January on the Emirates Tour. I plan to do a few more big shows with Splendor before the end of the year and as K Club Lady is resting I'll be aiming Splendor at some of the major classes at Olympia before Christmas.
As is often the case, when your top horse is resting all your horses below that are forced to step up a gear and usually do so better than expected. I jumped Arabella in the 1m50 section at the show where she was clear every day and placed 8th in the Accumulator, not bad for a 7 year-old!
The organising committee at Verona have really put a lot of effort in over the last few years to improve the show, and it now compares to any of the top shows around the world. One of the great things I love about going there is that Verona itself is such a beautiful city. Ruth came with me and we went a day early where we did some sight-seeing and even managed a visit to the house on whose balcony Romeo wooed Juliet, the Casa di Giulietta. Showing my romantic side!
If any of you ever venture to Verona one thing that is not to be missed is what I consider to be one of the best restaurants in the world called Il Desco. It's just a fantastic experience from start to finish.
I travel to Paris tomorrow to look at some young horses over the next few days and I come home on Thursday which is actually my birthday - I'll be 31 and Ruth and I will be going away on one of our rare weekends off to relax at a hotel in Ireland, which I'm really looking foward to.
Apologies for skipping a week with the blog, but I really haven't had a minute.
The show at Caen went well for me. Splendor jumped superbly, placing 3rd in the Grand Prix Qualifier, and just knocking the last fence in the Grand Prix itself.
Arabella, a 7 year-old mare I own together with Mary Hughes, really proved her worth and stepped up to this level extremely well. She was double clear in the 1m45 on Saturday, placing 6th.
Following the show I flew to Cairo where I conducted a four day clinic. I must say the Egyptian people are so friendly and a pleasure to work with. I was giving out about the weather being too hot - 33 degrees - but having spent the last few days here at home you'd nearly need a pair of waders to get around. It's hard to find a happy medium!
Like with any business when you spend a considerable time away from home there's always a mountain of paperwork to tackle when you get back, so I'm heading to Verona tomorrow to compete at the World Cup show. I'm really looking forward to getting back in the saddle and doing what I enjoy most.
My groom Frenchie has kept the horses ticking over quietly since I've been away, and I've no doubt they're in great shape. As Verona is a World Cup show, Ireland is allowed one nomination and Billy Twomey got the nod on this occasion. I was delighted to receive a personal invitation from the show and I will jump Splendor and Arabella again as well the super competitive PS I Love You.
Verona is a magical city and I'm delighted that Ruth is joining me for the week, where perhaps we may even get a chance to go and visit the homes of Romeo and Juliet!!
Please check out my new YouTube Channel which I'm uploading new stuff to all the time.