Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The gloves are off for Barbury!

Throwing down the gauntlet!
We love this picture of AP and Zara which we took last week to promote The JCB Champions Challenge at the St James’s Place Wealth Management Barbury International Horse Trials in a few weeks’ time.

It has been great fun working with the team at Barbury on behalf of the IJF and our line up for the 5th July is a pretty awesome one with AP, Dickie Johnson, Sam Twiston-Davies and John Francome for the jockeys, taking on Zara, William Fox-Pitt, Mark Todd and Laura Collett representing the eventers with a team of show jumpers (yet to be announced) and the winning hunt scurry team from earlier in the day.
We took our sponsor, JCB, on a site visit a few weeks ago, and I was completely blown away by the amazing course that Nigel Bunter’s team at Barbury have built.  In spite of the fact that I ride out at Barbury every Saturday, I haven’t actually been that close to the cross country course before and the fences are not just huge, but really beautifully thought out and designed – with the famous Stonehenge fence, quite a lot of water and even a dinosaur…
Plus there is a sizeable lake in the main arena and it could be quite exciting/interesting/a little bit hair-raising watching the jocks and the others tackle that at speed racing against each other!
To get special priced IJF tickets for the Saturday or Sunday (Ed Chanin and Laura Collett IJF dressage display), ring 01672 516125 and quote code IJF14.

A colleague sent me a linked-in message last week to point out that I’ve been working for myself for eight years this month, something which I find pretty hard to believe!  When I first set up on my own in 2006 I had two beauty / fashion clients, one private island (for those suffering from addiction – later the casting venue for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Superstar!) and one horsey TV venture.  My original plan, was to slowly move away from the world of beauty and fashion, that had formed my career to date, and move more into horse racing where my passion lay, albeit with little experience at grass roots level.  So to be doing exactly that eight years later, and still I hope with as much enthusiasm as ever, gives me a real sense of fulfilment. Quite simply, I love it!

One thing about having your own business is that it is very hard to leave and take time out, especially when it is so continually busy, but it is important to try and switch off and remind myself that another world exists, so I am heading abroad for a few days of sun, sea and R&R next week. I am also planning a trip to the Somme battlefields in September, which is something I have always wanted to do, and which also ties in nicely with the First World War work I am involved in with both Philip Blacker (exhibition in November – more on that later) and our old friend, Warrior, ‘the horse the Germans could not kill’.

On the 9th July at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight we will unveil a Philip Blacker statue of General Jack Seely on Warrior. The proceeds from Racing Post’s very successful book, Warrior: The Amazing Story of a Real War Horse, have enabled the Seely family to commission this statue as a permanent memorial to this amazing horse in the place he was born and died some 33 years later.  When I go to France in September I will visit the site of the cavalry charge at Moreuil wood, which was led by General Jack on Warrior in 1918. There will also be another really exciting announcement about Warrior later in the year. This horse seems to have so much continuing lives!

My own amazing horses continue to give me so much satisfaction and I was absolutely thrilled to take them both out to do dressage a few weeks ago, both doing two tests each and scoring over 60% in all four.  For ex racehorses with ongoing issues, to get them to such a level – however lowly it is – is one of my greatest achievements of the last few years.  Sarah Mitchell-Sheppard, who has given us so much of her time in recent months, has done such an incredible job on working on both our skill and our confidence and I hope to be able to repay her efforts by helping her out as she sets out on her own business venture. Exciting times ahead!
My lovely (we got there in the end!) Lord's Bidding

My eager-to-please (even if tongue out as always!) Kings Troop!

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