Farewell 2016…Hello 2017
December was rather hectic for everyone involved with Team Chapman. As the weather was unusually kind to us for most of the month, we were kept very busy with both the training and competing of our super horses.
We had a ‘travel’ hiccup prior to our first trip out of the month. My ever-reliable wagon decided to be ‘unreliable’ for the day, which caused us a bit of a headache! We were, however, lucky enough to be able to enlist the help of a good friend (and her trusty horsebox), which meant that all but one of our horses were able to enjoy a successful day of competition.
My favourite trip of December was actually our last one. We headed to Northallerton Equestrian Centre with a horsebox full of very ‘festive’ horses (adorned with sparkly tinsel), all ready to compete in tests ranging from Novice through to Grand Prix. The highlight of my day was a win in the PSG for Disco Fever (with a PB for him at this level). He is not the easiest of horses, so this was super progress and hopefully we are moving in the right direction with him; I’m looking forward to taking him to Premier League shows next year and will be hoping for him to progress further. The day was a super way to bring the curtain down on our amazing year of competing. It’s days such as this that remind me that I am so incredibly lucky to have a yard full of such beautiful and talented horses, who never cease to amaze and delight.
Whilst the horses and the daily running of the yard always come first, I did manage to enjoy a few days away throughout December. I was lucky enough to acquire a ticket for the Carl Hester master class at Leamside Equestrian Centre, which was brilliant (despite having been partying into the early hours at the hunt ball the night before!) My Mum and I had an amazing trip to London, which included an evening spent at Olympia, where we watched Valegro’s retirement ceremony; there wasn’t a dry eye in the house that night. After that, the Christmas period seemed to race by.
2016 was a brilliant year for me and I am so lucky to have such exceptional horses to work with. I also benefit hugely from the super team of people who support and advise me (in particular: my Mum and Dad, the TCE team, Millbry Hill, clients, owners and Ian Woodhead). I wouldn’t be where I am now without you all.
So, as we waved a very fond farewell to 2016…we began 2017 as we hope to continue…
My trainer, Ian Woodhead, spent a day with us on the 2nd of January. I rode ten fresh and giddy post ‘New Year’ horses. Whilst exhausting, it was most certainly worth the early start, the aching muscles, the worn out gloves and end of day tiredness; as the saying goes: no pain…no gain…
Not long after Ian’s visit, we took a trip to Addington for their first High Profile show of the year. We had a brilliant time and it gave me a chance to put into practice some of our recent training. As a result of this, and a new approach to warming up at shows, I had a major break through with DHI Work of Art (Norman, my gentle giant). We finished 6th in a hotly contested Inter 1 class and then we went on to WIN the Inter 2. I was over the moon with the attitude and the work ethic of this superstar horse. He earned lots of treats and we enjoyed a small ‘wine o’clock’ celebration! A few days later, we appeared in Horse and Hound… now that’s what I call ‘THE icing on the cake’!
Towards the end of January we spread our competition wings a little bit further than we normally would. We travelled to Crow Wood Equestrian Centre (near Burnley) for a midweek dressage extravaganza. Visiting new places can be a little bit daunting for some of our younger horses, but they all coped really well; we came away with some super results. A few days later saw us heading North to Alnwick Ford Equestrian Centre. It was a beautiful wintry day and the surrounding countryside was stunning. Another new venue for us, which the horses and I loved. We will definitely be returning to this venue.
So, that’s the end of our Team Chapman news for now. We are starting to think about our targets and goals for the months ahead, as well as putting plans in place for competing at the regionals. The year is already flying by…