Friday, January 14, 2011

Express Eventing

Potentially, I’ve always been a little bit addled, but it seems to be more so these days. With budgeting in force for the last few months I’ve had to curtail the frequent coffee shop runs in favour of coffee at home, which is certainly not as glamorous but then, horror of all horrors. I ran out of coffee. Fours days later and about four thousand cups of tea later, I’m nervously twitching as I sit here in the apartment wondering where my next caffeine fix is coming from. Now normally when the cupboards are bare of my magic cup of energy, I make a pit stop at reception in The Ormonde Gym and persuade them that an espresso is essential for a decent workout.

These days however I’ve been riding out the horses at seven in the morning with my friend Sarah. So gym time is now late in the evening and even I can’t justify a double espresso at ten at night (as much as I’d like to) Sarah is the driving power behind Express Eventing, the new competition at Raheen Na Gun Stud. It’s a new format of competition for young horses that allows them to tackle all three phases of eventing in a more simple training style format. Yours truly will be judging the dressage, which will be good news for some and less than for others!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011










Some of the beautiful pictures taken by Equus Pix at the last Raheen na Gun Stud Combined Show

Monday, January 3, 2011

Five am!


It’s five am. The streets have finally gone quiet. The last few late night revelers have wobbled their way home, some singing to all that can hear, some hunched over in their own internal world. It’s so late there’s not a soul to be seen and not so early that people are awake yet, apart from me and the birds. Even though it’s pitch black, the birds outside the window are already chirping quietly to announce the dawn that daylight says is still a few hours off. I’m known for early rising, (not necessarily for my morning manner, as it can be as dark and brooding as these five am Irish winter mornings) but today doesn’t find me up early. Actually sleep has been eluding me for a few days now. It’s certainly isn’t that I’m not ready for a full nights slumber, or that pressing social engagements have kept me partying late into the night. It’s worry. Now I can honestly say I’m not gnawing my finger tips with worry but every time I shut my eyes and try to drift off into the place of serenity, my mind has decides to fight me on it. I’m sure it’s similar to everyone else’s story, with everyday living costs rising and incomes shrinking, it is definitely a puzzle as to how to keep things going and to survive in the “impoverished” manner I’ve become used to.
Whether it’s horses being sold, being sent to do some show jumping or just given to someone else, this crazy horse world that we know and love has left me slightly deflated and wondering, are all my normal non horsey (and even some of the horsey ones) right? Should I give it all up for a proper nine to five? Over the years I don’t seem to have come and closer to figuring horse clients out. While most on the whole are a delight to work with. Some, time and time again leave me speechless. I’m not sure they know that even after the time spent in the saddle, my every waking moment is spent on their horse. Wracking my brain and all my faculties (even if they are limited) to see how could I make it even better? How can we allow this horse to achieve what he was destined for? Musing and dreaming about a long future where a horse is nurtured and is encouraged to blossom into a mature happy athletic creature. If I’m not spending my waking hours and there are many these days, figuring out how their horse ticks, I wonder about the tack, the feeding, the shoeing and every other little nuance of that horses life. They say live in the moment but you can’t help but allow yourself to step a little further down the path and picture them at their next show, their next regionals and hopefully their next nationals.
One thing has come of all these sleepless nights, I have passed through that place of battered and bruised confidence and have seen stirring of that old determination that has gotten me this far. That belief that no matter what happened, no matter what setbacks, it was all still possible. Quite often I say to my riders, or clients in the gym, “It may be difficult but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible” I’ve noticed that I need to stop just saying things off by rote and start listening to my own pearls of wisdom, even if they are few and far between. It’s time to dig deep and stay grounded and move ahead and if that little part of my brain is digging its heels in and not letting me listen I can turn to the words of someone wiser. Robert Dover, when he’s not busy being a superstar coach and clinician told me last week, “Do good things and good things will come” which I’ve written down and stuck on the fridge. While it’s sinking in, I’m off to make a cup of tea and sit in the window and wait for the sun or lack of sun to make it’s appearance over the skyline. It’s just me and the chirping, my mother always said I was for the birds!