The Perils Of Show Jumping Sport - 13

So I'm back in an unseasonably warm and sunny Ireland! A little bit dazed with jet lag but actually, it's not as bad this time as it was after out return from Canada this past summer; we just seem to be staying up very late and struggling to get out of bed in the mornings, as opposed to last week at Spruce Meadows when Sam and I struggled to stay up past 8 pm and were first out the door in the mornings!

But what a week it was! With the drama of the snow storm at the start of the week, to the gradual thawing on Thursday/Friday and then the glorious sunshine of Sunday for the
Masters Class, we really had all the seasons in one week!!!!

For the WKD Team it wasn't as successful a trip financially as the summer one but Sam still had quite a few minor placings which has kept his points up for the Longines FEI Rankings which is of course, valuable in its own way. Sam has also finally got to ride down a bank at Spruce - with the fabulously versatile WKD Pepperpot taking on Sunday's Parcours du Chase to go down the banks, over the table top and through the devil's dyke, an extremely fast class but great fun to watch.

Suma's Zorro was the last of our horses to jump on Sunday - and what a class the 1.5 million Masters was! Let me put it this way, as I said to Sam, surely no track will ever again look big!! This was massive - and peaking over at the track built for the second round. Well let's just say I wasn't really that gutted Sam didn't get through! The triple bar line on three strides to a double wall of white planks looked particularly attractive!

It just wasn't to be our day though as when Zorro entered the ring Sam suddenly noticed he had a free hand. His rounder connecting the gag to the rein broke!! Luckily he was able to grab the bridle and with the help of the President of the show Linda Heathcot Southern - herself a former top show jumper - they managed to jerry rig a connection to the bit; not really the ideal start to jumping the biggest track of your life! Unfortunately it just meant that Zorro was a bit stuck over the bigger oxers and she had the last part of the massive triple combination down and another big blue oxer on the line home - but my goodness she jumped. If we ever had any doubt about this mare's talent or scope, the last few weeks have laid these thoroughly to rest! I think all being well these two will have some fun when she starts back after a few weeks break as this year has really been the making of this partnership - so watch this space!

But what a dream weekend it was for the hosts Canada; first up winning the Nations Cup helped by the amazing double clear of local rookie Ben Aslin, and then at the other end of the age scale, the evergreen, amazing captain Canada himself, Ian Miller, winning the Rolex Masterd. He is the most brilliant ambassador for the sport - always smiling and ready with a witty comment. Ian is really one of our sport's legends in a place where legends are made.

So it's back to reality for the WKD Team after an amazing month of jumping with the elite...Next up for us is four weeks chasing the last of the sun at the beautiful Champions Tour in Vilamoura, Portugal, from September 25 till October 19, with the younger ones and the second string (I hopefully will start to jump again too after my nice sojourn being manager/chief cook and bottle washer lol). The most amazing people are the Portuguese, always warm and friendly - who like the staff at Spruce Meadows, go the extra mile to make their competitors lives easier.

I have been so fortunate over the years to travel to so many shows - and believe me when you arrive at certain places like Spruce Meadows or Vilamoura, to be greeted with a smile and a welcome back hug means so much; yes they are providing a service we are paying for - but for these teams it's about more than money or profit - it's about the sport....the horses...and the riders. It's about creating something together that people will want to come and watch and return to time and time again....and for me these are the places I want to be!!!

Let's hope the results follow us and we can make something to write about. And knowing us, there's usually never a dull moment along the way!!!

Until next time, take care everyone, and if you see us on our travels do stop by and say hello :) xx



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