Hi everyone, well it's been a bit of a 'yo-yo' over the last few months. In December we trained hard for our viewing days with the pony Selectors in January, and the training went brilliantly.
During training, Tricia came up to check the fit of Leo's new saddle and watched a training session. It was so helpful to have the opportunity for Tricia and my trainer Andrew Fletcher to talk together and discuss the technicalities and complexities of getting the right saddle mix for me as a rider, and Leo as a pony. To share aims and objectives really helps, I feel so lucky to have such a great team around us.
Then early in January, we went to see the GB selectors for a weekend of Pony Team Test Riding, and it was our first opportunity for them to see him post his operation and rehab. Leo was going better than ever so suffice to say I was full of high hopes...... right up until the point that Leo decided he was having the best most entertaining time of his life in those specific 7 minutes!
Leo had a nice easy time over Xmas as he had a cough which we were struggling to get sorted out. Maybe the lack of competitions during this time was the issue because he had warmed up beautifully, I felt on our 'A game' .. right up until we entered the competition test arena. When Leo then decided he was TERRIFIED of the three spare white boards that had been left at different places around the edge of the outer arena walls (useful when you're a dressage pony and supposed to be used to such things! ). So, he then did everything in his power to evade going anywhere within 30 yards of any of them. We had 180-degree spins, mini gallops in the opposite direction, and even a few rears .. he completely lost the plot resulting in me having to retire during the test as he was just a complete idiot. In his eyes though, he was having simply the best time ever.
The judge was truly lovely in her de-brief and said it's happened at some point in their lives to all riders, and her advice was to not do anything any differently, forget about the day and move forward from tomorrow.
Leo continued back in full work and training, and all was going well, so at the end of January, we were back off to see the selectors again. Our key objective was to hold it together, so while between us we made a few too many errors in our test, I was still genuinely delighted by how he held his excitement at bay and behaved, and all our hard work in training was showing.
So, for my latest news, I am hugely proud to tell you that Leo and I have been selected to represent Great Britain at the CDIP at Keysoe in March. Two and a half years ago we were starting out together, he was just 6, and I was 12. We were riding at novice level, and it's been a roller coaster journey coupled with the last year out following his injury and operation. However, for him to have come back even stronger and to now be selected to represent his country so quickly since being back at PFEI level is amazing, and it's an opportunity that I am very grateful for.
A huge thank you to Tricia and the team at Childeric UK for their ongoing support, they have sponsored me as a rider for over four years now, and have always been so helpful and supportive even when things have not gone quite to plan. So, it's really exciting for us to be going to Keysoe with Leo. He gets his first ever GB flag, and regardless of how it goes I really couldn't be more proud of him, nor could I be more thankful for the team around us that all play such a critical part in making these dreams come true.
We will keep you updated how it goes, in the meantime keep your fingers crossed for us at Keysoe in March,