- Ballymore Eustace jumping clear in the Grand Prix qualifier in Dundalk on Saturday
I had a hectic but a most enjoyable week. It started last weekend in Barnadown in Co. Wexford, where I was one of six coaches putting the 24 finalists of young riders through their paces over four days.
The students took part in training sessions in their region through the SJI. The energy and enthusiasm showed by the SJI regional reps was quite simply amazing. All the effort and work that they put in on a voluntary basis purely for the betterment of the sport is nothing short of an inspiration. As for the students themselves, their attitude and openness to learning was fantastic. Ian Fearon one of the most respected coaches in Ireland asked me to come along and I'm so glad I did as it was great fun working with each and every one of them.
Luckily for me I have some of the best staff in the world. My horses were all ready for me when I returned from Barnadown on Thursday and I worked them then for two days prior to one of my favourite shows in Ireland which took place yesterday and today. The Horseware Ireland Louth County show has always been a successful show for me having won the Grand Prix there 6 times prior to this year.
On Saturday I won the Grand Prix qualifier with the 8yr old mare Accorada. Larkhill Cruiser was fresh from his month's break and jumped super, cruising around to slot into third. Onira, a new ride for me, was also clear, as was Ballymore Eustace in his first ever Grand Prix in Ireland.
In today's Premier Series Grand Prix, Onira just had one rail down, Accorada was electric again and produced two sensational rounds to finish fourth. Larkhill Cruiser knew the pressure was on and when riding him in Ireland I feel that he is a celebrity and everyone is watching him! He did his usual trick - quick from the off and a flyer to the last to secure my 7th victory since 2000 in the Grand Prix at this particular venue. Tom McGuinness whose land the show is in has been a great supporter of mine over the last 14 yrs through his company Horseware and for whose support I'm very appreciative of.
The horses travel to Maubeuge in france this week. I take Splendor, Larkhill Cruiser and Trebox Accorada. Check back next Monday to see how we went in France.
It’s been a busy week and this week coming I also have a lot planned. Juggling between riding, teaching, planning next shows and dealing with customers all take up a huge amount of time.
I find it works best to make a plan early each week to try and organise each day precisely, otherwise it all just gets too much.
Also I love to do "normal" things when home away from horses and last week together with Ruth and some friends we went to see Adele at the Olympia, theatre - it was great.
This week I started coaching yesterday at the four day Mackey SJI bursary clinic final in Barnadown. Together with five other coaches we deliver the intense training week for the best kids from around the country.
On Tuesday evening I plan to take Larkhill Cruiser to an event course to train on banks and going into water as we hope to jump the La Baule Derby next month.
I have some customers at the end of the week, followed by two days’ jumping in the Horseware Louth County Show. My horses leave for Europe the following day. I've also bought tickets to see D'unbelievables in Vicar Street this week which should be great craic.
A balance in everything we do is important. It's good to be busy and it keeps the mind sharp - going to shows will be like a break in comparison to my home routine!!
Great weather really makes all the difference to everything. People are in better form, the horses enjoy their time in the paddocks and there's a real feeling out there that Ireland is the best place in the world when the sun is shining.
We've been blessed with beautiful weather this week and long may it continue.
Over the past week I've just been bringing my older horses back into work gently ahead of their next competition which will be in two weeks' time in Dundalk. It's a nice time to be home working with younger horses also and I have four new 4 year-olds, two 5 year-olds, a 6 and a 7 year-old who all look quite special and it'll be fun to work with them and watch them develop.
Today I spent a few hours in Thoroughbred Remedies promoting the hat company Charles Owen, whose riding hats I'm wearing. I will be at Equipet in Ashbourne this Thursday the 14th from 6.30 until 8.30pm doing the same. If you're thinking of changing your riding hat, take it from me - don't look further than Charles Owen.
If this great weather continues I hope to have all the fences out on our grass jumping field in Waterside this week. Over the next few weeks I intend to take new photographs of our stables, our horses and team.
Check back soon.
- Basking in the Spanish sunshine last week!
There's no place like home. As you know I've been travelling for the last three months and it's great to return home and have all the horses back at base. The last few days was all about unpacking from Spain and planning each horse’s schedule, work programme, doing farrier and feed lists.
My next show will be Dundalk in three weeks’ time after which the international horses will travel to Europe where they will stay for the summer.
I've organised a yard that will act as a base between the shows and where I will be taking some students and clients with me to train and do shows for the summer.
So while it's a three week break from shows there is always plenty to organise. Also last week I spent two days teaching in Cornwall which I enjoyed. It's great to have a break from shows also as it allows me to get my office and other items all up to date. I even have my piece written for my column for next week’s Irish Field- super organised!
Please check out the gallery page where you can see pictures from Spain and watch my YouTube channel to see some of the rounds from Spain.
Next Sunday afternoon I will be at Thoroughbred Remedies on the Curragh from 2.30 pm promoting Charles Owen riding hats. They are really safe, extremely comfortable and a fraction of the price of other hat companies. If you need a hat I couldn't recommend them enough.
Have a good week,