Our first Demo and Open Day sponsored by Gain Feeds and Countrywide Stores was a huge success and despite the chilly Feburary weather there was a great crowd to enjoy a jumping demo with Wasting Light (Archie), and flat work with the super new addition to the yard - Colorfast (Kenzo)
Archie was showing off several techniques which help to get a better shape in the air and to slow the jump down, particularly important after cross country, followed by jumping beautifully around a course built by my trainer and eyes on the ground Robert Snaddon. He has strengthened up brilliantly over the winter and it was great for his owner Cressida to see him in action, and win a Bucas rug in a fabulous prize draw organised by Gain. He is just 9 this year and is going from strength to strength.
I decided to do the flat work demo with a new addition Colorfast (Kenzo) previously ridden by Oli Smith. He is my new favourite toy! He gave an exhibition out hunting in December and helped me jump the biggest hedge I've ever ridden at, and he has now followed that up by giving an absolute exhibition in dressage. He moves stunningly, can jump amazingly, is brave and blood and I think he is the next star. He is also looking for an owner so any interest is more than welcome! I really don't want him leaving the yard.
Lucy Parker then put on a yummy lunch of soup and sausage rolls, and hot port for those that needed something a little stronger than tea and coffee to keep warm! It was great to see so many owners and sponsors, as well as friends, new and old, and to be able to welcome them to the yard and meet the stable stars. We had planned on doing a parade of the horses outside but an executive decision to move it indoors was a wise one. Paddy got his moment in the limelight once again, and absolutely loved it. He thinks he is planning a Rio comeback, after just saving himself for a couple of years, but I don't have the heart to tell him he isn't qualified....
I can't thank Alan Nolan, Anne Priestman and Charmaine O'Neill from Gain feeds enough for helping to organise the day, along with Mark Hawkins from Countrywide and all my other sponsors - Tredstep, Mervue, Bucas, National Saddle Centre, Horsezone, Luck Greayer and Empire for their support of the day.
The real upshot is that Sycamore Farm looks immaculate, as do the horses - for which huge thanks is due to a massive team of helpers - my brilliant Head Girl Claire Benfield, Charlotte bacon, Hollie Bradshaw, Laura Grantham, Mango Guterres, Tabaitha Baird, Stephen Hurcombe, Jack Cox. And of course Simon for all his help in getting organised.
It was a really fun day and I'm already looking forward to the next one!