Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

Back home after a fantastic weekend representing Carleton Riding Club at the BRC Combined Championships.

We’d qualified in the 80cm Senior Team. Now you may remember, we had a bit of a mare at the Qualifiers and got there by default. So I was determined that we would hold our own at the Champs.

This was our second Champs. The first one wasn’t our finest hour. So again, I wanted to show we’re making progress at these big events.

So pleased to report we did! The Team came 10th overall. And we put a score on the board. OK so it was still the discard score but we did good.

Buddy was rather apprehensive and so was I wasn’t sure which Buddy I was going to get. When he had a spook on the way down as someone came out of a port-a-loo, I feared the worst. But after a good warm-up he soon settled and was flying the practise jumps.

Soon it was our turn to go. He was so busy shying at a fence, he took an ages to lock on to number 1. It was a tricky SJ course with 3 planks on a half circle and a bounce!! And lots of twist. I rode him forward with determination and trusted him to jump. And jump he did! We flew round in a fast time and a clear round.

Then it was off onto the XC element. He flew the first two, then had a nappy moment towards 3. I wasn’t having any of it!

We were clear till he slipped coming round the corner and lost impulsion. I know I didn’t ride it well so picked up 10 faults the refusal. Cleared it at the second attempt though. Knowing I’d had a stop, I took my foot off the gas. But he still came home with plenty in the tank!

Absolutely thrilled with my little boy today. It was a huge step up for us and he rose to the occasion. And yes, I burst into tears when we were done.

It’s taken blood, sweat and tears (not to mention the bumps and bruises) to get this result today. Not to mention the training and guidance I’ve received from some amazing trainers. Being away at camp definitely seemed to do the trick.

Now I know he can do it, there are no excuses.

Massive thanks to my wingwoman Sam for chauffeuring us, supporting us and listening to me bang on about how proud I was of Buddy. And to my team mates for making it such a fun weekend. Wonderful to feel so supported by a lovely club.

I know I’m not the best rider and Buddy isn’t the best horse, but today I felt like we were more than good enough to be there.

We shall sleep well tonight.


Combined challenge

Well we’ve arrived at Aston-Le-Walls ready for the Combined Challenge Championships. Buddy was nice and chilled on the journey and settled into his stable like a pro. It was a novelty being chauffeured to an event.

Took him for a wander round and did a bit of schooling in the arena. He was a little eyes on stalks to start off with. But he had his emotional support pony, Halo by his side.

We then went to walk the course for tomorrow. Nothing that looked too bad. But that’s just me. Buddy may have other ideas.

Finished off by cooking for Sam. Yes you heard me right, I cooked! And no-one died or was injured. Let’s hope it’s the same tomorrow…

Camp hangover

So yesterday my body ached. Today it was my brain! I woke up feeling decidedly fuzzy. A friend summed it up perfectly – a camp hangover!

Still got the last of the laundry done and dry. Honestly, going away to camp is like going on holiday with a toddler. So much stuff!

It was a lovely day, so I had lunch in the garden. Hugo had made a nest in the border. Every time I tried to get a photo, he came to see me. Not quite the idea.

On the other hand, Dodo was in full pose mode. He’s so handsome. Though I wasn’t quite so keen on him when he brought a mouse in the house. Thankfully for me, it was dead. Not so good for the mouse I grant you.

Now that I’ve cleared up after camp. It’s time to start packing for Champs. At least I’m not competing till Sunday so we can get there at a leisurely pace tomorrow. Fingers crossed everyone!


I have to admit, I was a tad tired when I woke up this morning. And a tad achy. All signs of a very good camp.

Other signs are a huge pile of laundry. I did four loads of washing today. And still have more to go. The good news is that I got all of the washing dry out on the line.

The kittens were very pleased to see me and wanted cuddles while I was working. Back to the laptop today for me. Buddy got a well deserved day off. Poor planning on my part not to keep today clear. The irony isn’t lost on me as a professional planner.

Buddy got cuddles too. And I got coffee. Lots of coffee.

Cover boy

Well that’s the first camp of 2023 done! And what a cracking camp it was. I’m shattered, but a really good shattered. Buddy still had energy to run round his field.

Maybe he had a sleep on the way back. It’s not like he didn’t do lots today. This morning it was course jumping. We got to practice dog legs too.

Sadly one of the ladies in our group had a fall, so we left the arena early. I’d untacked Buddy when I got a call telling me to go back in the arena to ride the entire course. I’d missed out as I was last to go, after the lady who fell.

Very quick tack up and back we headed. Buddy was a little confused. It’s a good job we’re used to competing. Quick warm up and off we went round the course.

After lunch, we had our final flat work lesson. This time it was no stirrups – in walk, trot and canter! Then canter serpentines with simple changes. Finally we had a go at flying changes. It’s amazing how far we’ve come with our flat work. Shows that hard work pays off.

All in all a very successful camp. I came way with more knowledge, exercises to try and a photo!

Now we know I love a photo. But I bloody LOVE this photo. Wonderful thing is that I didn’t know she was taking it. The photos from our shoot are just stunning.

But that’s for another day. As is the camp washing! Is it bed time?!

Resting hooves

Second day of camp done. And another awesome day. First up jumping. A very interesting exercise. Pip Nav was definitely needed for that. My little boy absolutely flew it. Such a great feeling.

We took advantage of the sunshine to have a post-lunch rest. There was a horse banging the door last night, so not sure many of us got a good night. Buddy was the exception! He excelled himself – his rug was covered in shavings.

This afternoon it was another flat lesson. We built on yesterday’s lesson and attempted counter canter. I saw attempted as it wasn’t our best. One to work on.

We finished our riding day with a photoshoot in the forest. Really looking forward to seeing the photos. I got a sneak peek of one and it looked like a magazine cover!

I can feel another montage coming on…

Poo patrol

First day of camp done. Buddy slept well judging by the amount of shavings he had on him. In time honoured tradition, he came out all guns blazing for our first lesson – poles. Bless him, Buddy much prefers poles when they are jumps. So it was a really good exercise for him as definitely made him focus.

After lunch, we had our second lesson – flat. That was a much more sedate affair where we worked on keeping his shoulders straight and collection in the canter.

We walked the horses up the track to cool them off. Buddy did a poo. Of course, it was as far away as possible from the stable. Muggins here has to walk up the hill with the skip to get it.

Cause I haven’t done enough exercise today! See if you can spot the poo…

Ease in gently

We’ve arrived at Forest Edge for the first camp of 2023. I’m a little giddy about it. Buddy was more understated.

Boys all settled ready for our first lessons tomorrow. We took them for a lovely hack round the forest to ease them in gently. I asked a walker if she’d take our photo. I didn’t realise she was on the phone. Made us giggle as she told whoever she was talking to that she was taking a photo for some ladies on horses. I guess for many people, it’s not an every day occurrence.

Now snuggled up in the Buddymobile, full of pizza and looking forward to tomorrow.


Well it’s not every day that you get a 50kg bale of haylage in your car?! The Comedy Car did good again. There was a bit of creaking on the way home.

Buddy will be a very happy boy when he sees this! I may need to ration it though so he doesn’t gorge himself on it. The camp countdown has begun. Off tomorrow and can’t wait!

Let’s hope this is enough haylage to get through 3 nights camp and a night at the Champs. It’s going to be a very busy week…

Fish Friday

Long overdue catch up tonight with my friend Colette. And on Fish Friday, it would be rude not to. I haven’t had fish cakes for ages. Forgotten how nice they were. These were bloody lush!

Dinner with a good friend is good for the soul as well as the stomach.