A Happy New Year From Carl Hester

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope that you all had a great festive period. We had a quiet time at the yard after a busy but amazing Olympia – Barney (Nip Tuck) had the most wonderful show getting nearly 80%, so our aim this year is to break the 80% barrier.

The New Year has kicked off with a bang. I was in Sweden for a demo on the 3rd of January and Charlotte is away in New Zealand for 3 weeks until nearly the end of January. I have been keeping fit riding all the horses and have also had the pleasure of riding Valegro while she is away. He has to be kept on top form ready for his first competition in Amsterdam at the end of January. This is the final qualifying leg for the World Cup Championships and the final is being held in Las Vegas in April. Charlotte and I will be going out there – I won’t be competing but will be ensuring she has plenty of support on the ground.

My international competition season starts in March with a trip to Doha in the middle east with Nip Tuck. It’s a long way but it’s an incredible show and the prize money is huge – so it’s well worth the trip. All the top show jumpers are going so it will be a fabulous atmosphere. With such a long way to travel we have to make sure that all the essentials are packed – so Nettex grooming products in the mini sizes come in very hand for my travelling groom Alan Davies. We will also make sure that we have plenty of Nettex electrolytes to hand as I have the feeling it will be very hot over there.

With only a handful of high profile international shows under his belt it’s still early days for this gentle giant so we keep him relaxed and happy at home with plenty to keep him occupied. During the summer Barney is turned out all night so during the winter months we try and get him in the field as much as we can to keep him calm but this holds its own problems. We have plenty of Nettex 7 Day Mud Away on him as we live in a very marshy area and also use Muddy Marvel to prevent mud fever on him and some of the others who need turn out.

I am travelling to Wellington in Florida in February to train Katherine Bateson who is based with me during the summer. The Wellington International shows are fantastic – not only is the sunshine a nice change from the grey winter days in the UK, but the organisation and facilities are fabulous.

We have a crop of youngsters that we are bringing on. Broken at the end of last year they are starting to be slowly produced. I have my staff take them to their first shows this spring so making sure they are all in good condition through correct feed management is important as many can drop condition due to the stress of the unknown. By feeding Gut Balancer in addition to their feed we make sure that they use the all of the goodness in the feed and it seems to help keep them balanced and looking great.

If you have made New Year resolutions then good luck with them – mine is to get over 80% on Barney and not to eat too much chocolate…….

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