What an exciting month…….time to party! training continued as ever in preparation for the Winter Championships, building on the work we have already done with Prince, but in addition to the horsey stuff I was invited to be a guest speaker at an Inspire event on the 7th in Worcester. The evening was the launch of Project Teen, Ella Stearn is an author who has written a book called ‘Yeah Right’, which tackles issues faced by young teenage girls. Following a traumatic event during her own teens, Ella decided to turn the event into something positive by creating the book and a campaign to help tackle mental health issues. The evening was held at the brick Room in Worcester, and I was amongst several amazing speakers, who all told their stories of overcoming adversities in order to become successful.
Unfortunately that week I had been suffering from a cold and had virtually lost my voice, but I didn’t want to let Ella down, so instead just had to cut my talk short and condense it as best I could. I don’t think anyone really noticed though that it was shorter, or that I hadn’t been able to play my video on the system. I met some fantastic people that evening from the local area, and one of Ella’s supporters SW&A Accountants pledged to double the amount raised that evening, which was a fantastic boost to the crowdfund campaign. Another interesting person there that evening was Richard Parsons, who thoroughly entertained everyone with his amazing magic, I’ve never seen magic performed close up, and was left baffled for days, tying to figure out how he did it, I also asked Richard if it was possible for him to magic up a gold medal Paralympic horse, but think that would be a tall order even for him. Anyway the evening was hugely successful and inspiring, and I was proud to be a part of it, if you would like to find out more follow the link to Ella’s site http://www.theluckytruth.com/author/ella-stearn/.
Prince had a top up treatment from sue Palmer in the week leading up to the Championships, and I was ready for my Physio session also, as they have had to be cut back from the weekly sessions my body had got used to, now I don’t get access through World Class, as its difficult to fund everything on my own now. However I have been trying to really work hard on the strength and conditioning (the boring but essential maintenance stuff) to try and ensure I stay injury free, but again have had to cut my session back to only 1 personal training session per week now, which means I have to work alone the rest of the time. This may not sound like a big deal, but it really makes difference, especially having a disability to have my trainer there to ensure my posture is correct and I am doing the exercises properly. Its really easy on your own to be slightly out with your position, especially for me as I cant feel my right side properly, which could result on working incorrect muscles, I’ve had issues with thing like the plank, where due to my asymmetry, I’ve overloaded my left shoulder and caused pain there. When David works with me he will continually monitor my position, and check my plan to see where I can increase the amount of exercise or load in order to progress and develop, so in an ideal world he would be there for every session. For those of you that are local and may use Urban Fitness, I would highly recommend using their personal training, have a look at their link Urban Fitness
Eventually the 18th of March was upon us, and we made the journey to Vale View Equestrian Centre for the long awaited Nirvana Spa Winter Championships. The Saturday was a Summer Qualifier and was a big class of the top combinations from across the country. Prince and I can 4th with 68% and the winner was on 70% meaning we were only 1 and 2% behind the top riders in this country, two of whom were selected as reserves for the Rio games. To say we were over the moon with prince was an understatement, especially as Chris Porterfield, who is one of our highest listed and most respected judges in this country stopped to speak to us at the end of our test to say how wonderful Prince was, and how pleased she was that I had managed to find such a special horse.
On the Sunday we had the Championship test, and Mom, dad, Sam and more importantly Prince’s owner Mandy were all coming to watch the competition. Prince had been a complete star the day before as the weather had been dreadful with driving wind and rain, lots of the horses were spooking, but Prince never batted and eyelid. Sunday was no exception and Prince warmed up beautifully for the test, on entering the arena as usual Prince grew a couple of inches to rise to the occasion……he loves being on show and the centre of attention. The test went well and he halted square at each halt, which was one of the things we had been working on along with the turn on the haunches, which were some of our best but still plenty of room for improvement, and his medium trots are getting fabulous. I think we managed to make Mandy very proud of Prince and I, although were out of the placings due to one judge having us on 69% just behind the top placings, but the other judge bought our combined score down to 66% by giving us what we all considered a stingy 63% for the test. Hey ho we were all thrilled with the way the weekend went and how Prince held his own against all of the big warmbloods. It was our first opportunity to see how he performed against the top combinations and we were more than pleased and have come away extremely excited for the months to come, as there is room for so much improvement still in the tank.
Id like to say a huge thank you to Mandy for allowing us to keep prince with us for longer, Leonie Smith for all her hard work with myself and Prince, Sue for keeping him in tip top shape, Toby for keeping him so well manicured and coming out last minute to refit a lost shoe, BettaLife for keeping his joints in top condition, Jo Beavis for looking after our saddle, David, Louise and James for keeping me physically fit and Countrywide for keeping Prince looking smart and warm at shows.