- Umberto in action at Olympia
I was lucky to get home from the UK, as I know so many others were less fortunate with the poor weather and as a result major airport disruptions.
A few of us took a chance and drove through the night following the Grand Prix in London and headed for Birmingham. We got the first plane home the next morning just before Dublin airport was announced to be closing - phew!!
I just love competing at Olympia. The atmosphere, the arena, the enthusiastic public and the Christmas feeling make this event so special. It has been a lucky show for me also and it was great to return this year and win two major classes with Umberto and Splendor.
I'm just at home for the next 10 days which is nice to get a break and get everything organised for my up coming shows in the United Arab Emirates and Spain. The horses fly to Dubai tomorrow and Im really looking forward to competing there.
Christmas for me is a lovely time to catch up with friends and family and just go on "a go slow" for a few days. I hope all of you enjoy the festive season and I will blog again on New Years' Day.
- In action with Umberto in the Geneva Derby
The World Cup show in Geneva is without doubt one of the biggest and best indoors in the world. It is staged in the Pal Expo arena, just minutes from the main airport and the riders’ hotel is right outside the arena. This year the show added a few extra classes to their schedule which gave great diversity for the spectators.
All my horses jumped really well. Larkhill Cruiser was in the winners' enclosure when I was part of a winning European team in a groups competition. He jumped great and was so fast against the clock.
Umberto won the feature class on Saturday. The speed derby in Geneva is the only indoor show I know of, that has a lake at one end of the arena and in this class we have to gallop through it. Great craic and the crowd loved it. It was a serious class though with 8,000 Swiss francs to the winner and 50 valuable world ranking points.
I also partnered Asturias to equal third in the Puissance, clearing 6 feet 6 inches- not bad for his first puissance. My most pleasing result came in the feature class of the weekend - the Rolex World Cup. It was a really tough track and Splendor jumped his socks off for just four faults to place 11th.
It's always exciting when you have new horses to ride and see how they improve and develop with good mileage.
Home just for a day then pack the suitcase again for London. The horses get there Wednesday and the international action gets under way on Thursday. It's always a great show and I'll certainly be trying to pick up a few ribbons before the Christmas break.
Check back on my home page during the week for a list of coverage of Olympia.
I think we all like to see the snow for a day or two, but the persistent bad weather we've been experiencing all around Europe in the last week has been pretty unpleasant to say the least.
For people in the horse world it presents all sorts of problems, not least trying to get feed to horses in the field and indeed water pipes in the stables freezing over. I think everyone will be glad to see the back of it.
I've been in Holland for the last few days working my horses as they head off to Geneva this week. Interestingly enough I've been driving in similar weather conditions to Ireland but the car I hired in Holland had winter tyres - it really made a difference, and as our winters seem to be getting more severe it's perhaps something I might invest in for next year.
I jumped Larkhill Cruiser at a training show in Roggel yesterday and he jumped very nice in the 1m35. It was good to be able to give him a pop in a show environment ahead of the next two weeks' competitions. I fly home tonight and fly back out to Geneva on Wednesday where I will jump Splendor, Umberto and Larkhill Cruiser, and Asturias in the Puissance.
Two out of those four are fully Irish bred, not bad heading to a 5 star show - things are looking up!
Check back next week to see how we get on.