What a lovely finish to the event season it’s been for me, going from 0 to 3 horses to compete! I have been extremely busy over the past few months, rarely able to have any relaxing days as the horses haven’t figured out how to muck out, feed or exercise themselves yet! Alongside managing 3 stables of my own, I have been freelance riding for a number of other people, including 2 full-time event rides, and still working for Lucy Jackson on a few days. It’s been quite eye-opening starting out for myself. Obviously, I knew that it wasn’t going to be straightforward (especially without Alfie out at a high level), but physically it’s exhausting, as well as pretty straining mentally as well. Making sure my yard is sorted, then spending all day either working for someone else or driving miles to ride other horses, always being under time pressure means that I’m constantly facing very long days, and my body has really been feeling it recently, especially after a couple of falls. I’m very lucky to have a wonderful bunch of friends/supporters & mum who help me out as much as possible and can keep me going – the people around you really are vital if you are to succeed in this game! It’s certainly rewarding that after all my hard work on me (and for other riders over the years) I now have a good number of horses to ride, and am always busy. It’s been nice to take some time where I can quietly work on my own horses how I want to, as it’s enabled me to really analyse my riding to improve. Of course lessons are very helpful, but if you’re used to someone always telling you what to do you can’t always understand why things work, or when to use various ‘tools’ in your riding as you can’t process everything that happens, so I’ve found that all my learning has really built up in the past few months to benefit me, and the horses. They are all going well when ridden, notching up some great results, as well as all looking in great condition. Some updates on my main horses: ALFIE is sadly still very much on the sidelines; however his last couple of scans have been very positive and he is now allowed to hack normally and do some schooling, including trot & lateral work – he feels and looks very well which is definitely making things quite exciting…! My new 4yo BILLY is making amazing progress after just 2 weeks with me! He is a stunning bay by renowned sire Kroongraaf, and I have very high hopes for him, mainly due to his exceptional brain. Watch this space! Sue Wynn-Jones’ GERRY has been learning all about jumping and has been a star throughout, going on lots of outings to see SJs and XC fences. He’s won a combined training with a 78.8% dressage; been clear and 3rd in his first 1.05m SJ; XC schooled up to BE100 tracks and a few Novice fences, and recently came 8th in his first ODE, with a smart 26 dressage and great jumping over very tricky NSEA championship courses! He is now sadly up for sale… Becky Diamond’s HUGO has done 2 events with me and we’ve had 2/2 double clears and 2/2 top 3 finishes, including a 31DC in our first 100 together over very big tracks at the NSEA championships too. He’s making great progress overall and looks amazing, so hopefully we can contain his excitement next year and step him up to BE Novice level! Jane Bailey’s ROCK SOLID has been running at BE100 and Novice level. We had a double clear at our first event, after just 6 rides together, then a 3rd place at Llanymynech BE100 (his best ever result) and then 3 qualifying results at Novice level, including jumping a massive Novice course at Dauntsey which was causing chaos! Also looking forward to next season with him as we’ll aim to consolidate at Novice and step up to 1*. I think there’s just 1 more event left for me, at Bicton with Rock Solid, and then it’s into the winter. Definitely no rest for me as I have even more horses to ride, and Alfie and Billy will be increasing their work as we move towards 2019… Hoping all stays on track from now. Alex...