Hi from Soest, Germany again, where spring is busy springing. After a hectic few weeks at home in NZ I am now back on the other side of the world, giving my best shot at being selected for Team NZ for the World Equestrian Games.
There was so much to get done at home as I am away for so long this time, trying to catch up on work and get the garden tidy. I have to admit I gave up on the garden although did manage to get the sprayer around the edges! Even Mask was feeling a bit neglected although had a couple of fun rides with Jess over some jumps, showing that he had certainly not forgotten anything from last winter.
Everything ground to a halt with the loss of my beloved cat Jack, after a year long battle with a rare skin condition, and subsequent diagnosis of diabetes, of which there was no way to treat both illnesses. It was very unexpected but in the end an easy decision to make. I still miss him every day, he was Aaron & I’s first ‘child’, he moved to Wellington with us, spent 3 months in a cattery in Christchurch and visited me while I was in the Burwood Spinal Unit, moved back with us and was always my boy, waiting in the laundry when I got home, demanding breakfast, lunch and dinner, sitting on the couch at night and on the bed of course. The house is very quiet without him, it is going to be a while before things are back to normal.
Mask, despite being only fairly lightly worked was making good progress and I was very pleased with how our cantering was progressing. All it takes is a bit of confidence in each other and we are away, and as a result the quality of the rest of his work was improved. Our last show at the start of March was a bit of a mixed bag, I made a few silly mistakes in our able bodied test, although the para test afterward was much better with a 68% result. Mask gets to have a wee break before having some fun with my neighbour Jessy who is also having a break after a stunning season in the show ring, being I think unbeaten at every show!
I departed for Germany on the 31st March, another long arduous trip, although a rather charming French flight attendant in Sydney and seeing the Sheikh’s racehorses awaiting loading at Dubai were some perks. Another nice surprise was the positively balmy temperatures on arrival in Dusseldorf, 24 degrees even!
I arrived at Team HB headquarters not long after Bella had arrived back from Barcelona where 3 of the horses were competing. Don was about to be ridden so I got to have a sneak peak at what to expect and I have to say he looked super! He was also relieved to see me as apparently he hadn’t been fed any carrots since I left at the end of October! That is his story at least…
Wednesday bought my first ride and I was very pleased to say that I managed fine. All of the focus I have had on my position and keeping my abs activated has paid off and I have been able to slot straight back in to the ‘good’ trot! We have spent the past few days getting to know each other again, and are making improvements already. With just under 3 weeks before our first competition in Belgium I have a good feeling that we can do what we have set out to.
It is not going to be easy (my first blister came at ride number 2!) but Bella & Javais have done a fabulous job of keeping Don ticking and preparing him for me. I am really looking forward to giving it my best shot over the next 8 weeks.
The weather was back to ‘normal’ today after a stunning week in the 20’s. Here’s hoping for some more sunshine as we ramp things up for Moorsele CPEDI3*!