Francis Whittington Blog Winter 2017
Well it’s that time again… the end of the season. I can safely say this is one season I am not glad to see the back of. All the horses have been going so well this year, and all the plans we are putting in place for each of them are coming together.
We had lots of success at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials with Hasty Imp, 16.2hh gelding owned by Margaret Smith coming 10th in the ERM (CIC) 3*. He has loved competing in this series and he truly felt on the best form ever. This was a lovely end to his season.
We also took Nimrod II, 16hh gelding owned by Victoria Matthews and Carlchen a 16.2hh gelding owned by Spencer Golding for the 8/9YO 3* and had great results. Nimrod II was moving up to this level, being a new partnership this season neither of us knew quite what to expect. He performed a beautiful dressage test to lie joint 2nd, a couple of green moments in the showjumping when he first went in but then settled to jump a lovely, confident round. He was a star XC growing in confidence as we went around. He showed scope is no problem for him and as he gains experience at this level, he is going to be another superstar! Carlchen was good in the dressage, with a couple of little mistakes showing us what we need to polish up on ready for Boekelo. Showjumping was a foot perfect clear and a lovely easy clear XC for 6th place. Another double clear for him and he is raring to go for his last big one this year.
Next we were off to Waregem in Belgium with Evento, 16.1hh dark bay gelding owned by Sarah Arrowsmith who was the fastest XC of the CIC2* and had a brilliant double clear coming 4th. He makes the move up to 3* next season which is very exciting!
I was also lucky enough to take Sir Percival on a hack recently. I haven’t ridden him for many years and it’s clear he’s been very well looked after. I also know Easy Target is really well and enjoying his holiday with Catherine Witt which I’m thrilled about.
With all this going on I am really excited for my family holiday to Thailand coming up. Life is about balance and some down time is needed. I’m keeping up with the yoga to keep my body and mind sound and might even try some moves on the beach!
Then it’s the lead up to Christmas. I know most event people give their horses down time after the season and then pick up the fitness work in the New Year to get them ready for the season ahead. However I am not a great believer in complete rest for the horses. I believe they’re better off retaining some level of fitness and the young horses need to continue their education. So I give them some time out in the field each and every day to keep them relaxed and continue with light schooling for them all. I take them hacking and we do a bit of cross country schooling if the conditions allow – but more for fun to keep them interested.
I have finished this year feeling so fortunate to have a very talented string of horses, and some very exciting 3* horses for next year. I’m blessed to have a group of such incredibly supportive owners and sponsors. All in all things feel like they are really coming together and I am already excited for next season…
I hope the winter is good to you all and look forward to blogging about our return to competition in the spring. Roll on 2018!