Time out has really started

As the horses are on down time they are still being hacked a few times per week and then having time off as and when I am away.

The arena has been redone this week and it’s amazing how much bigger it looks with light coloured surface rather than the black sand and rubber mix. This has coincided with more days off for me and at the beginning of the week I went to stay with some great friends where I was based for 4 years near Cambridge and I used to ride for them. It was great to have a good catch up and see all the others who are still there. I played golf at the driving range which I haven’t done for many years and actually I really enjoyed it. I was quite surprised how it all came back to me. They have converted one of their barns into a couple of boutique cottages - they have been done to such a high spec - true luxury so if you ever need a break or somewhere to stay near Cambridge I highly recommend them - www.Cambridgecountrycottages.co.uk.

On Friday I was a towny for the day. We all went up to spend the day with my sister, Missy, who lives in London. She moved to a new house a couple of months ago so it was great to see where she is now living and have a good catch up and spend a day en famille without a horse in sight!! It was nice to experience the delicious food at the OXO tower and then fit in a bit of shopping. Despite it being a super day I was glad to get off the tube and trains.

I don’t know how people do it day in and day out - it really is not for me. I must remind myself what the tubes are like when it if freezing cold during the winter and we are trying to exercise the horses!!!!

To finish off our week our neighbours for 18 years in Cambridgeshire came to stay for the weekend. They have become great supporters of me this year and are now very much part of the support team and have been to a number of competitions to cheer me on. It is so lovely to be able to share all this with them as we used to keep our ponies in their field and make shift stables in one of their barns. Andrea used to watch me jumping in the field from her kitchen window whilst she was doing the ironing!!!! I never knew this until after we left. They saw us from the beginning and it is great they are now able to continue to follow the journey and be part of it.

More Filming

Wednesday brought more filming which we did at Boomerang while the arena was being redone. We had a successful day with all the horses bar William (Ballycoog Breaker Boy) who completely threw his toys out of the pram about the wallabies. He has worked up there before, although not for sometime, and as a result we couldn’t use him for filming after him dumping me on the floor!!! Luckily Dom (Stardom) our 5 year old stepped into the breach and was mature enough to not bat an eyelid and get on with it. I think he needs to have a word with William.

Time to Trot…

It feels so good to start trotting Vinnie again - yet it feels mad that we are already preparing for next year when others have only just finished at Pau!!! He feels amazing and the last couple of days have been the first real chance to test his winter shoes. They seem to certainly allow him to use his natural power from behind more effectively - the only problem is he is wanting to be really extravagant and exuberant in his stride so I am having to make sure I keep his trot small so therefore preventing him from over stretching his soft tissue!

Super Ted……

Today was the day that Ted arrived. He is my first venture into backing a horse. He has been well managed and handled and has had a saddle and bridle on but no one has sat on him yet. He is a really nice mover and is 4 years old so I am hoping he will be mature about being backed!! Time alone will tell. As we are moving in 3 ½ weeks I am not going to sit on him until after that - we shall spend the next few weeks getting to know him, walking in hand and settling him into his new surrounds. He is another much smaller stamp of horse and I am looking forward to the winters training.

I am off to Sunny Spain for 5 days at the end of the week to stay with friends at Oliva Nova. I went a couple of years ago and it was such fun. I will do my next journal in 2 weeks by which time we will have started the painting of the yard before we leave and hopefully moved more kit over.

Lindsey Hopkinson