- The packed arena at Olympia
It was super to be in London to witness another Irishman - Dermott Lennon - winning the Grand Prix.
I won it in 2009 with Rancorrado and before that Eddie Macken won it in 1987.
Obviously being a competitive person I always want to win but when I wasn’t in the jump off I was fully supporting Dermott’s efforts. He was world champion in 2002 and this week when I watched him in action its obvious what a horseman he is.
Overall I was pleased with my week in OLympia. Uniek was placed in both speed classes, O’Connell Street jumped clear but just one time fault in his first major class on Sunday night.
Blue Loyd had some good performances earlier in the week, being placed twice, but was far too fresh in the Grand Prix and I felt I hadn’t enough bridle in him. It’s often difficult when you get a new horse to know what bit, how much leg, what feeding programme etc., and I feel I learned a lot about him here.
He has all the scope in the world and is super careful but now I will concentrate on getting him riding better between the fences and teaching him to listen. I really feel he is going to be a top machine and am looking forward to 2012 already!
My horses fly to Palm Beach on Thursday where I will stay for the winter to compete in the Winter Equestrian Festival.
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and my very best wishes for 2012. Talk in the New Year.
- Part of the pageantry of the great London Olympia show
I’m writing to you on my way home from Porto in Portugal.
I was a little unimpressed with the show here. The arena was good, stabling and course building were excellent. However, there were so many national riders in the classes and it just went on forever.
I wasn’t in love with the ground and with a surprise invitation coming for me last week to compete in Olympia next weekend, I decided to pack up early and head for the UK.
Blue Loyd was double clear in the feature class on the opening day, finishing fifth. O’Connell street was third in a 1.40m class and Uniek was third in the Accumulator so they should be in top form for one of my favourite shows, London Olympia, which kicks off Thursday.
Follow me at olympia on my Facebook page where I will post regular updates.
- O'Connell Street jumped clear and placed 7th in the 1m50 at Salzburg
I’m writing on my way home from Salzburg. It's always nice to get home straight after the show.
My horses jumped really well with my 8 yr old O’Connell Street being placed in two classes and Blue Loyd jumping the 1.55m class on Saturday for just four faults. I look forward to getting to know him more in the coming weeks and couldn't be happier with his performance on our debut competition.
I’m home for a few days to train and work at Karlswood, followed by a quick turn around on Wednesday when I head for Porto in Portugal. I ride the same horses there, where the action gets underway on Thursday.
Check back next week for more news.
- Blue Loyd in his new home
Sorry it’s been a while but a lot going on presently but its all good!! As you can see from the picture I'm very excited about the arrival of a new superstar to Karlswood.
Just last Sunday night Blue Loyd, 11 year old bay gelding by "Landor S" arrived safely in Ireland from Norway. Formerly competed by Norwegian Nina Braaten, Blue Loyd has been impressive in all that was asked of him over the past year.
Last winter he was clear in several World Cups, then this season he jumped clear in the Nations’ Cup at the European championships in Madrid. Only last month in Oslo he jumped all three big classes clear.
I've had my eye on him for some time and I’m both thrilled and excited about actually having him in my yard. Blue Loyd will really boost my string of horses and be a great lead horse for Carpe Diem, Ballymore Eustace, Everything and O'Connell Street to follow in behind.
I plan to just do three more indoor shows this year, the first of them being a four star show in Salzburg Austria, beginning on December 1, which will be my first outing with Blue Loyd.
It’s amazing in this game how one wonderful animal can boost morale and alter one’s whole outlook on the season ahead. I'm very lucky to have been able to source this horse and very appreciative to those who have helped me make it happen!
i'm writing this to you aboard the Etihad night flight to Abu Dhabi. I'm giving a week long clinic in the U.A.E. and also have some pupils who are competing at the Global Tour Final in Abu Dhabi over the weekend.
Check back next week for more news.
- John Hickey and Cactus winning the bareback Puissance at Oslo
Hey everyone, just home for a few days following two busy weeks at Birmingham and Oslo. The horses were a bit greener indoors and it takes time to adapt both for them and us as riders.
Oslo was beautiful but boy was it expensive! Taxis ,alcohol, almost everything 40 per cent more expensive than here. The horses jumped super. Everything was clear in Friday’ s feature 1.50 metre class which was an amazing achievement for a seven year old.
Carpe Diem was clear in the Grand Prix but picked up a single time fault. In the World Cup qualifier he just had one down which I was thrilled with, as it's his first World Cup ever.
The horses stable with John Hickey, now in Sweden, who won the bareback Puissance at the show in style.
I love Puissances and John is a real specialist, not moving an inch over 2.05 metres!! Fantastic achievement for him and interesting to note over 1000 likes on Team Ireland Equestrian’s Facebook page of John’s picture clearing the wall without a saddle. It captures the imagination of people in and out of the sport, which we all need to do more of.
The horses travel from there up to Helsinki for the next show where hopefully we can get in the ribbons.
Check back next week for more news.
- The Real Club de Polo as seen from the air
I forgot just how good this historic show is, set in the middle of Barcelona city in the beautiful Real Polo Club.
Both my horses were in great form and earned their keep. Ballymore Eustace was second and sixth in the middle classes and Carpe Diem was second in the Grand Prix qualifier and fifth in the Grand Prix. Im so happy how he’s developing as it was still only our third show together.
The main topic of conversation over there from my international peers was how devastating it is that Ireland didn't qualify for London. It’s a topic I have tried hard to keep my opinions to myself on as I don’t feel it is helpful to the sport to add fuel to the fire.
However, when one comes home to hear and read the tripe and spin, from even some of the riders, it really sickens me. Head down for the moment but at some stage it may be necessary to lay out the facts to put an end to the gross inaccuracy and misinformation that is being thrown about presently.
Im so excited to be going away tomorrow for a week’s holidays away from horses. Im sure after two days I’ll be itching to get back but it’s nice to re- charge the batteries now and again!!
On my return I travel to the Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham and I will keep you posted how that goes
It was a great shame that Ireland were unable to qualify last week in Madrid for the London Olympics.
We must take a serious look at ourselves and figure out a way to work towards achieving medals at championships. Ireland has several riders in the top 100 in the world ranking and individually our results are superlative, this has not however made us a team that other nations fear.
Ireland will possibly have two individual slots at the London games and I would welcome clear and transparent rules in place that gives everyone with a potential Olympic horse the chance to qualify, as opposed to the positions going to the people with the highest world ranking, i.e., the people with the most horses who do the most shows.
This Wednesday I fly to Barcelona where I compete with Carpe Diem and Ballymore Eustace.
Check back over the weekend to see how we got on.
- Carpe Diem in action at Gijon
Hey everyone, I’m writing this in Madrid airport on my way home from Gijon. It was a super show as always and without doubt one of my favourites.
The facilities were excellent, the packed crowds who love their gambling created a wonderful atmosphere and the artistic fences designed by resident course designer Avelino Rodriguez Miravalles rounded off the perfect spectacle.
My horses all jumped great. Ballymore Eustace has really developed this summer and was clear all three days in 1m45 classes and placed third and sixth. Splendor was unlucky in the Grand Prix qualifier, having the fastest time but sadly lowering the second last. He went on to finish eighth in the Grand Prix, having a fence down in both rounds but jumped well and will be ready for Madrid should anything happen to anyone else and if we should be required.
Carpe Diem jumped outstanding all week. I aimed him at the main class on Sunday where he jumped a double clear in classy style. He's an exciting animal who I’m really looking forward to big things from.
Back to Karlswood for the week and help my team get organised for Cavan which start next Tuesday. My horses have two weeks break ahead of Barcelona.
It has been nice to be at home for the past few weeks. Apart from the fact that so much travelling can become a pain, being in the stable every day gives me a chance to get on top of things and steer the ship back on course!
Having over 40 horses in work is a huge undertaking and from time to time it’s important to take stock, in more ways than one!
We have made some changes at Karlswood in terms of the staff and the services we offer to our livery clients. I will be doing a new page on this site about this in the coming weeks but in essence the courtyard of 23 stables is being run solely as an upmarket livery yard where we offer top class service in a world class facility.
We had a good day yesterday in Boswell where Goldex won the 1m30 speed and Everything who won the Boomerang final in Millstreet the previous week was second in the Grand Prix.
Next Friday the horses travel to Gijon, which begins the following week. I take Ballymore Eustace, Splendor and Carpe Diem.
Often the week right after the Dublin show can be a bit depressing as the hype abates.
This year we took no break and packed the trucks with 13 horses and four riders and headed for Millstreet. We cleaned up.
Mark won the Accumulator with Rocco and I was second with Goldex. Deane was runner up with Captain Rossi in the four year old National Discovery final. Everything won the Boomerang qualifier and final. Onira was fourth in the Derby and Ballymore Eustace and Carpe Diem were first and second in the Grand Prix. It was really a great show.
Millstreet has always been a lucky show for me and this latest visit was a reminder just how special the place is. It's by far one of the finest equestrian facilities in the country and it would be great to see it being used to its full capacity and appreciated by the wider equestrian community.
I’m home for two weeks now and will jump next Sunday at Boswell Equestrian Centre in Co. Wicklow.