Pretty trotting

After a longer than expected hiatus, Buddy and I entered the boards today for a spot of pretty trotting. I worked out that our last pure dresssge competition was December 2019. I’ve done camp tests and ODEs since then though.

So this was a big deal for us. Well me. We’ve been working hard on our flatwork so I was hoping to see some improvements. But as I drove there, I told myself today was about having fun. And if I got over 60% I’d be thrilled.

Things didn’t run smoothly this morning. It took me longer to plait and the Buddymobile needed another jump start again. But we were off only about 10 mins behind schedule. The A11 was crawling along. So I was behind when I arrived at WHW.

Still got tacked up and onboard in super quick time. I’ve been riding a lot in sticky jods recently, so to switch back to non-sticky took a bit of adjusting. I slide quite violently when I asked for canter. Poor Buddy wasn’t sure what to make of it all!

Still we entered and the test went rather smoothly. I was really pleased with Buddy as he’s only ever been to WHW for jumping. He did all the moves at roughly the right places. And didn’t spook at anything.

Really pleased with 64.21% (6th place). And we got a 7.5 for our first centre line.

Then it was a bit of a wait for the second test. I lost track of time chatting so Buddy had a very short warm up. It was all going rather well till my brain decided to go AWOL and I totally blanked. Error of course for me then. Like I can afford to throw marks away. Doh!

Picked it up again and finished the test. I was expecting a very low mark. So 58.46% wasn’t too shabby (10th).

All in all there were lots of positives to take from today. And I know where I need to improve.

First thing I need to do is buy some competition sticky jods. Then I need to sort out my nutrition as I felt the tank empty. Two bits of toast isn’t enough it seems for a full day out.…



I was clearing out the photos on my phone and found this. It made me smile. It’s so easy to look at our flaws. Harder to look at all of the wonderful things that we do. And how amazing we really are.

It made me reflect on the things that I do for others and myself. I’m very proud of the way I live my life.

I’ve been hard on myself recently as I’ve felt really tired, drained and not my normal sparkling self. Asked the Chiro to check me today when I was working there. Apparently when I face planted, I compressed my jugular. So that would explain why I’ve been a bit off. Not enough blood to my brain!

After the adjustment, I felt like she’d turned the lights on. I was bouncing. Full Tigger-mode! The body is amazing, it really is! And so are you!


This beauty landed on my doormat today. It’s the latest magazine that I’ve been editing for one of my clients. It’s a moment of mixed emotions – pride and trepidation. Trepidation as I always spot mistakes. The beat myself up for missing them.

But given I was working on this at the same time as my parents were in hospital and the conference in Wales, I’m very proud it went to print on time.

So far the feedback from ADSHG Members has been positive. Fingers crossed it stays that way. Otherwise I’ll be crafting an apology email…

Comes together

There are many times when I question my life choices. A 4:30am alarm call on a Sunday morning is definitely one of them! Think Buddy was questioning them too when I turned up at stupid o’clock. He looked a little confused to be honest. Breakfast on the Buddymobile made it more appealing.

We were heading off to the Suffolk Equestrian Centre in Bury St Edmunds for RC Arena Eventing. Another new venue for us. And our first time doing Arena Eventing. But not our first time representing Carleton RC.

I wasn’t sure how today was going to go. We haven’t had the best build up if I’m honest. I’d dropped back to 70cm to give Buddy a really confident run. It proved to be the right decision.

After walking the course, I felt really positive about it. There wasn’t anything that I felt would be an issue. But this is Buddy. So anything was on the cards. And there were lots of questions. Including a water splash.

I had to stop watching the early rounds as there were so many eliminations and issues. So I told Buddy we were there to have fun!

He warmed up like a dream. Then when it was our turn, he wasn’t sure about the white barriers or standing in the rain by the ring. In the ring, everything came together! My little boy flew round! Even when he wasn’t sure, he trusted me and stormed round for a clear round, including the 80cm joker fence.

Flew a little bit too much as we were 8 second under the optimum time. Still good enough to take 5th place individually (out of 49) and to help the team take 4th place (out of 12).

To say I came out with tears in my eyes is an understatement. And the biggest smile you can imagine. Days like today are the reward for the hard work, bruises and disappointments.

When it comes together, it’s worth more than gold.

The Champs

I felt this needed its own post. There’s a lot to cover, so brace yourself. It could be a long one. I am so proud of Buddy. It’s the furthest we’ve travelled. Our first stay away competition. And my god it was a big one!

I’ve been to big horse shows before. Hell I grew up near Hickstead and that’s pretty big. But I hadn’t expected it to be as big as it was. Our first NAF Five Star British Riding Club Championships was very special indeed.

We had a long wait as we weren’t jumping till 3:45pm in the first round. But that didn’t mean I had an easy day. I walked backwards and forwards trying to see all the other Carleton RC members in action. I also did a stint stewarding one of the dressage rings. Which turned into two rings as there was a no-show for thier steward. Good job I’m used to multi-tasking and love a clipboard. Two clipboards and I was in heaven!!

Finally it was our time. Watching everyone else do so brilliantly, I really wanted to do well. More than anything, I just didn’t want us to embarrass the club.

Buddy warmed in beautiful. However, the collecting ring was heaving and he got rather tense. As did I. Quick pep-talk and we settled. He had ants in his pants and wanted to get on with it. And when we entered the ring, he did. He stormed round the course, hardly looking at anything. Sadly we had 4 poles. But that’s OK. He did what I asked of him and it was a very buzzy atmosphere. With 5 rings running constantly and an awful lot to look at!

Then it was onto Round 2. Now when I qualified, it was run over the same course. As this was the Champs, it was a different course in a different ring. That ring was running early (whereas my first round was running late), meaning we didn’t have long to wait before it was our turn again.

The downside to walking both courses together was that I’d spent so long visualising how I was going to ride the first course, I’d forgotten how I’d walked the second course. As a result, it didn’t had the flow I wanted. And sadly we were eliminated. The commentator made a comment about a sad end to my day. Not a bit of it!! I was thrilled with the day as I wasn’t totally sure if I’d actually get Buddy in the ring!

I must have been the happiest person after getting eliminated.

Once more, my team mates did amazingly and our team came home with 7th place out of 22. So not only did we compete at our first Championships, we came home with a placing!

Next year, we will be better.… I’ve already said I want to do it again. Thank you for all the messages of support. It means so much.

Buddy is tucked up in bed. And so I am. We will both sleep well tonight.

London 2012

This photo came up on my memories today. It was 10 years ago that London 2012 started. At the time, I was working at Aviva, running the internal celebrations campaigns for the Diamond Jubilee, Euro 2012 and London 2012. It was a huge challenge, but an incredible thing to be part of.

We had red, white and blue bunting in every location (including Belfast), office street parties and of course, office Olympics.

Little did I know that it would be my last year with Aviva. So much has changed in the last decade. Back then my biggest worries were would London 2012 be a success, would Team GB win any medals and our employees play on the Xbox.

I’m so proud of achievements I’ve had in my career. And the things I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of.

I‘m also incredibly proud of the way I’ve faced everything that I’ve been through in that decade. I’m a very different person to the one in this photo.