I’ve never done a ‘blog’ before and can’t see myself becoming the next YouTube ‘vlogging’ sensation so don’t get too excited, but what I will promise I will try and do is give you an insight into what goes on in my world!
Well, a lot has happened since the end of the 2017 season. After the very sad loss of the wonderful KBIS Starchaser in December and the retirement of The Chenko Artist earlier last year things were all change, my team as I knew it was no more! Quite a scary prospect really as you spend such a long time building a relationship with a horse – learning every little quirk, their likes and dislikes and then suddenly it all just ends. It very much felt like the end of a chapter …. but with every ending chapter is means it is time to move on to the next chapter.
It just shows how life can change so quickly as unbelievably if you fast forward just a short time after such sadness and a few ‘life can be so unfair moments’ I suddenly became the luckiest girl in the world.
It is at this point I can introduce you to the two new horses in my life. I am extremely lucky to have gained the ride on the Lady Joseph Trust’s LJT Simply Red and Brenda Reddy’s BamBam. I cannot thank The Lady Joseph Trust and Brenda Reddy enough for the incredible opportunity to ride these beautiful horses.
LJT Simply Red is a nine-year-old Danish Warmblood who was found on a trip to Denmark with Mette Assouline of Assouline Dressage. Mette has a wonderful eye for horses and had found a long list of successful dressage horses, with Para superstar Athene Lindebjerg being one of the most famous of recent times with countless gold medals to her name… not much to live up to Red!
BamBam is a 12-year-old KWPN gelding who has done a full circle back into the Para world. He was initially campaigned by multi-gold medallist Natasha Baker in Para classes before spending a number of years competing in the able-bodied world.
The Para Winter Nationals Championships are held in February which is quite early in the year. Star was qualified to go but sadly with him not being here, it meant it was time to get to know BamBam very quickly and try our hardest to get qualified in time! Having had him not even three weeks we set off on our mission to get qualified. So two competitions in four days and we did it! A very quick learning curve for both of us as my aids will be so different to what he is used to due to the weakness down my left side. We had the odd communication misunderstanding but nothing major. It was all change for both of us but he was such a star.
I was very very lucky that BamBam also came with a qualification for the BD winter regionals at PSG level. Quite daunting as I have only done a handful of these in my life and the way that timings were going to work the first time I would do one together with Bam would be at the Regionals themselves!
Well, he was a total legend – a few wobbles in the tempi changes as my left leg was probably telling him to do something totally different to what we actually needed to do but we still finished a credible 7th.
Later that week we then set off further North to Myerscough College for the Para Winter National Championships. We had a warm-up class on the first day before the Championship itself on the second day. This was mine and Bam’s first stay away show together so again a learning curve in terms of how he would be on the second day, how he would be in the temporary stables etc etc. They are all things he has done many times before but when you are still in the phase of contending with the ‘first times’ you are never sure until you have done it. In the arena where it really mattered, he was absolutely super. We finished second to Sophie Wells on her 2017 European medallist C Fatal Attraction on both days with a personal best score at a Para National Championship for me so I was absolutely delighted. It certainly was a very busy week but we all learnt a huge amount and it gave us lots of homework to do…
After a whirlwind of competitions that all came very quickly it all then got a lot quieter for a while to allow us to concentrate on training and get to know both Red and Bam a bit more before the next batch of competitions came along….well that was until the BEAST FROM THE EAST made an appearance. The least said about that the better! I think everyone involved with livestock was well and truly fed up with the white stuff. It made everything such hard work, my feelings went out to those with lots of animals to look after, it really was not the Spring we were in desperate need of.
We were due to go to our BEF World Class Podium Potential squad training at Stow on the Wold in March but unfortunately, the day we were due to set of it simply was not safe to drive. High winds and drifting snow really is not the weather to be driving the precious boys around in. There is always another day.
Something to think about in terms of driving our precious cargo around – do you have breakdown cover in place? I think it is surprising how many people drive around with their horses with no means of getting them rescued to safety should anything go wrong with their vehicle. I certainly wouldn’t dream of setting off anywhere without it. KBIS Insurance provides comprehensive cover that includes home start, roadside assistance and recovery of my horses, passengers and the lorry.
I’ll leave you with a little video of me and Bam out for a hack on a lovely day which hopefully means it is the start of spring!
Until next time,
Charlotte, Bam and Red x
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