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The end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 has been a bit of a whirlwind for us!
Last year was pretty crazy too! We treated and trained more horses than we ever have before, 55 horses have graced us with their presence! This means that we have worked with over 150 horses and been lucky enough to back more horses than many people have the opportunity to even ride.
As we were winding down our work to have a proper break over Christmas, we were also packing as much as possible into our days!
Olympia was hugely exciting! We went on the Sunday evening, so got to see the finale! Sometimes, depending on when Christmas occurs, we are already hunkered down for our festivities by this point, and only surviving on cheese and alcohol! To travel several hours to London for Olympia was unexpected, but absolutely incredible!
There’s something so magical about Olympia, who knows if it’s because it falls just before Christmas, or the way that you leave the cold, busy streets of London - where people don’t look you in the eye, let alone stop for a chat - and enter a community of people who care about the same things that you do.
One thing is for sure though, Olympia has something that no other horse show seems to possess.
This year was certainly no exception and the last moments raised the roof and brought the audience to their feet.
The evening performance began with a brilliant display of horsemanship from the younger competitors of our sport. The under 25 show jumping was close and spectacular! We have been rooting for some of these riders since cheering them on at Hickstead in the summer, and it was amazing to see what these riders brought to the arena!
The dog agility final was so exciting to watch and the commentators did a brilliant job of getting the audience involved to cheer on such brilliant animals and athletes!
The Shetland Grand National was brilliant fun and riveting to watch! Gosh there are some talented little jockeys in the world!
The magical Jean-François Pignon and his massive team of horses were breath taking. The way he uses his ‘wand’ to guide the horses, as a conductor would with an orchestra. The horses were so visibly unafraid of the whip that they were quite happy to let their guard completely down.
It’s easy to gasp when you’re supposed to or laugh when the ponies are being cheeky. But the very art of Liberty is incredible! It’s hard enough to let one pony loose in a school and hope they follow your cues. Jean-François had more than 10 in the stadium, all attuned to his body language! It was just a phenomenal display of horsemanship.
To end Olympia 2019, we had the most amazing jump off that we’ve ever witnessed. It was like something out of a movie! Let me set the scene: It’s the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix, the first round was intense and captivating! We’ve just seen Holly Smith do an incredible jump off on Hearts Destiny. Oh no! Edwina Tops-Alexander has just beaten her time with an insanely fast jump off! There’s no way anyone can beat that with only one combination left to ride… Is there?
Scott Brash came into the arena on the stunning stallion, Hello Vincent. They were cool, calm and ready to go. The audience held their breath. The clock showed Edwina’s time and Scott’s time appeared below it as he began the round. They cut every angle and came down the penultimate combination. He was ahead of Edwina’s time! The crowd began to cheer, as though they just couldn’t help themselves! Everyone in the grand stand screamed the team on as they galloped down to the last oxer and then the sound magnified further as they flew it, the clock stopped and they won!
There was an amazing feeling in the stands, as though we had all been a part of Scott’s victory, though of course, that belonged to just horse and rider!
We all sang Christmas carols before leaving Olympia feeling more than ready for Christmas; uplifted, and very, very festive!
Before we could really settle down for Christmas, however, we had a vetting! This was the day before Christmas eve. The horse’s new owner really wanted him to get to her yard before that time where everything shuts down, between Christmas and New Year, where no one knows what day it is.
We had to get back from where we had stayed after Olympia and head home. The horse had lost a shoe… We have many of ours barefoot but with one shoe on and one shoe off, no horse will pass a vetting, purely because they will be unlevel! Quick call to the farrier and some serious begging! He came to put the shoe on while we were still on our way home, our amazing team held Taz, and did the yard!
Taz passed the vetting and the transport was on the way to pick him up and take him home to Leicestershire when the lorry broke down! Everyone was off for Christmas but we had messaged JB Transport about the situation and he agreed to take Taz up on Christmas Eve!
It was probably the latest we have left things, but Taz was in his new home before Christmas, and we could finally settle down and enjoy the festivities.
On Christmas Eve, our mum came over and we did our usual little Christmas with her, and had some friends round.
Christmas day was our usual routine of craziness! It’s a really special day for us and we enjoyed spending quality time with each other, eating, drinking and being merry!
Lauren and I were lucky enough to receive some amazing equestrian items; some much needed, all much wanted! We decided we would do our first ever vlog about this which we really hope you enjoy!
We spent New Year’s Eve with amazing friends who we spend every New Year’s with, but it never gets old! Part of our evening is always spent chatting about our goals and catching up, but we also inevitably do something crazy, and this year was no different, we were singing karaoke (badly, and at the top of our lungs) until about 3am.
The funny thing with New Year’s Day is that we always feel refreshed, even when we’re hungover or have been up all night, so should be feeling a little worse for wear. There’s a real beauty in that fresh start.
We set a few goals for the year but our main one as a business is to just keep growing! Our 2019 was so incredible; we all agreed that if we could have another year even half as good, it would be amazing!
January has been brilliant, we’ve had some lovely horses in already and are working hard to make our dreams a reality.
How has everyone been doing? Have you made any goals this year? If you need a hand making your goals count, check out our recent blog on just that > Goal Setting - How Effective Is Yours?