We started off the year with a surprise invitation to go to the first ever Al Shaqab CPEDI3*, Doha, Qatar. I jumped at the chance! It was a super amazing experience! Absolute luxury, wonderful facilities. Darcy obviously enjoyed it too- coming in second place across all the Grade 3 classes, splitting the World Gold and silver medallists. She danced her way through the competition.
Next big show was the BD Winter (Able-bodied) National Championships. We had qualified for the Medium Freestyle class, having won our Regional Championship earlier in the year. Good ole Darcy strutted her stuff yet again to Dino's music from last year's WEG to finish 5th overall, highest of the Para riders in the class and best British-bred horse. We would have finished higher if she hadn't had a sneezing fit half-way through the test, no idea what got up her nose!
Next major happening has been that I have a wonderful new sponsor - SEIB Insurance Brokers- are to be supporting me for the next 2 years as we work our socks off towards Rio 2016 Paralympics. I am so excited about the projects we have planned together, lots of fun, promoting a great quality brand!
In other news - I have a new baby!!! She is adorable!!! St Sheri (Bunny) is Darcy's mother's half sister and absolutely delightful. She is only 2 years old but huge already and such a nice personality. Another cracker from Morgan Equine!
There has been no rest since WEG as I had been preparing Darcy for the National Champs that happened this weekend. Darcy had had about 3 weeks off while I did final prep with Dino and was away with the Canadian team so she had had a nice little holiday - I do believe she felt that she had proved herself by winning all her classes at Hartpury CPEDI3* and was to be retired to be a fat broodmare!
Anyway, Darcy, Double Agent, really pulled up her socks and showed everyone that her Hartpury CPEDI success was not a fluke. She strutted her way to 70.8%,winning the Grade 3 by a fair margin and the Best amateur/owner/rider sash and she was the highest scoring British bred in the Para classes. I am so excited about the future with Darcy now!
Here is the link to 'My First Dressage Memory' Facebook video from the BD FB.
Well what an experience!!!!
Thank you to all of Team Equine Canada, Gareth Hughes, my sponsors and supporters for making this possible!
Check out the World Equestrian Games Nominated entries list! It is going to be an exciting competition! I am 1 of the 4 riders that have been nominated with 3 horses!
I took both horses, Double Agent and Bindro T to Hartpury CPEDI3* as part of Team Canada. Darcy was a superstar and she won all three of the Grade 3 classes with lovely big scores. It is very special to have the national anthem played for your success! Dino showed some fabulous moments and his brilliance but made a few little mistakes to finish 2nd and 3rd to Miss Darcy. The show was a fantastic dress rehearsal for WEG and I learnt a lot from the experience. As a team, we also did very well, finishing 2nd behind the Brits.
It has been crazy exciting here the last few weeks!
We have been away on the Canadian Team's European Tour for about 5 weeks, taking in 3 big CPEDI3* shows. Over that period, I have qualified both Double Agent and Bindro T for the WEG and also they have both met Canada's team selection criteria!
We kicked off with Deauville CPEDI3* in France, where we posted some good results even with a few teething troubles and I was still very much getting to know Dino (Bindro T). We qualified through to the freestyle final and had a wail of a time prancing about to Depeche Mode again.
After the show in France, I took both horses back to Gareth Hughes' yard in the UK for two weeks intensive training before heading back out to Belgium for Moorsele CPEDI3*. Moorsele is a lovely indoor venue, however, things were complicated somewhat by the massive carnival in the city that we were staying in, so that we couldn't park anywhere near our hotel! Again, both horses were really good and we had some good placings and solid scores.
Straight from Moorsele we went to Mannheim CPEDI3* - my favourite show! I love Mannheim, it is sooo big and sooo busy and everything a massive shiny international show should be! Both horses travelled brilliantly thanks to Pedens. Competition-wise, I had a strange show - On the first day Darcy did a fantastic test to finish 2nd to Women of the World (Paralympic Gold medallist) and Dino was a bit silly so a lower placing and then the second day my horses reversed themselves so Dino was 2nd to WotW and Darcy was in the doghouse! On combined scores Darcy just edged Dino out as my higher scoring horse so I did the freestyle on her to Dino's music! She was very tired and did a sweet but not so shiny test to finish 6th.
I had an awesome time at Mannheim especially as Dino's owner Eve Little came out to see him compete and my Canadian connections were over to see me compete for the first time ever!
Now I am back home trying to catch with everyone and everything before the next push for Hartpury CPEDI3* and on to WEG!
Lots has been happening since I last updated this!
Firstly, I have very kindly been given the ride by Evelyn Little on her wonderful horse Bindro T (Dino). he is absolutely fabulous and I am so excited to have this opportunity. With both him and Darcy on tour, I will have some very serious horsepower in my arsenal for my European Tour campaign. Here is a photo of Eve winning a National title on the beautiful Dino.
I have decided to sell the wonderfully gentlemanly George (Clouney OK). With the weather and everything this winter, I haven't been able to get him as ready for the Canadian Team's European tour starting in March as I would like and as I will be away for the best part of 2 months I feel that it would be best for him to find a new, lovely home. I have sent him to Jess at Butler Eventing to widen his horizons and I think he is loving it! Jess has been taking him out hacking, to lots of shows and even Arena Eventing! I really hope we can find him a great, forever home, but if not, I will crack on with him once I come home from Germany.
I was chosen by the Equestrian Social Media Awards to go through to the final round! I am thrilled to have that honour and hopefully I will have got enough votes to be in with a shout.... fingers crossed!
Last Friday, I was invited to be an after dinner speaker for the NFU Mutual Annual Dinner. It was a little daunting, especially after the fantastic political speech done before mine by Adam Quinney but I made it through. It was a fantastic experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it once I got going. Congratulations to the one clever chappy who managed to solve the Rubix cube! During the evening, those in attendance raised a considerable amount of money and pledges of fodder to help the disaster-struck farmers of Somerset - here is the link if you would like to help these struggling farmers and their livestock.
This Monday, I had the honour of being made the Patron of Sport at my local special needs school. I had a great morning seeing all the fantastic students, the brilliant facilities and the inspirational staff. I love the way that the students can learn and contribute to the school through their sensory garden, tree nursery and work experience. It was a fab opportunity to also meet the local company Alltech who are the big sponsors of the World Equestrian Games in Normandy.
Finally! Darcy (Double Agent) and I had a fantastic day at the BD Winter Northern Regional Championships where we lifted the Novice Open title!!
I couldn't be more proud of her, 2 of the 3 judges had her to win by a country mile! She was brilliantly behaved all day and even in the Prize Giving! I believe that I am the first Grade 3 Para to win an able-bodied Regional Championship.
She has now qualified for 3 Championships at the BD Winter National Championship! The Pet Plan Finals, the BD Nirvana Spa Open Para Winter Champs and BD Blue Chip Novice Open Winter National Champs!!!! It is a shame that the Winter champs are so soon after we get back from Deauville CPEDI3* but I am hoping to be able to squeak in the Novice Open class!
I am so pleased to have been nominated for the Equestrian Social Media Awards! I have been recognised for two categories, 4 - Best use of SM by a Professional Horseman and 22 - the North America regional award. So at the risk of sounding like Donkey in Shrek - Pick Me! Pick Me! - please take a minute to vote for me, your support would be fantastic! Thank you!
I would like to welcome Safemix Equestrian Bedding on board!
A massive thank you to Safemix for providing my horses with their beautifully soft, dust-free shavings and shredded wood fibre bedding! I am sure they are going to love this cushiony, comfortable bed. And I am going to enjoy it's easy to pick up shaped bales, ease of mucking out and knowing that my horses get a good night's sleep.
Just such a beautiful photo I had to share!
Thank you so much www.davidneve.com !