An update from Paul, one of our sponsored riders

The kids returning to school in September always marks the end of summer. The nights are drawing in much earlier, and everything begins to be just generally wet all the time. This year has been very different for everyone in many ways, but hopefully we are getting closer to a more normal world. COVID has certainly changed many things, and for me, it gave me an opportunity to stop and reflect on what I was doing, and where I am going – something that is very much over looked when busy juggling day to day life. I think every rider across all the disciplines has had to deal with kick starting their motivation at some point over the last 12 months, with the winter of 2020 being particularly difficult for many. The resumption of competitions has brought a bit more normality back to our industry, and although quite a manic May, June, July and August in terms of qualifying periods, winter championships, summer regionals, area festivals etc. September now seems a slightly quieter month.

Felix has been going from strength to strength, and becoming so much more established in his advanced work. Our training through covid has certainly helped us to consolidate and build towards the harder movements. Maybe there is a Grand Prix in him. I sill have lots to learn, and the saying “the more you know, the more you realise just how much you don’t know’ is so true at this level. He is an older horse, and has not been straight forward, but he always tries 100% for me in everything he does, and that has to be one of the best qualities a horse can have.

My niece has been doing super with her young pony this summer. She has joined the pony club and is loving it. She has not long been off the lead rein, and is now cantering by herself. One day we may even put her on the back of a pony. 😀  Ellie has done intro tests, clear rounds and little one day events, certainly getting the most out of the summer holidays. Pony club parents are definitely kicking in; My sister now eats like an Olympic athlete, and her husband is slowly coming to terms with the fact that enough is never enough when you have a daughter with a pony. I enjoy rocking up to events, watching her win a rosette, taking a nice picture and then driving away again. I’m very keen to continue this arrangement, it works well for me.

The next few months will be training months for me. Continuing to develop my horses through the levels and to head into the winter with a strong team of horses ready for next year. This will be my 3rd year being supported by Thinford saddlery. I remember being fitted with my very first riding hat and jodhpur boots from Diane and Rebecca when I first started riding, and am proud to be supported by them all these years later.

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