I have some good news. Gary and I, together with my Mum have been looking for some time for a house with some land so we can keep Ollie and hopefully one day another one at home, and we have finally found it. We have bought an old poultry farm just around the corner of where we are currently living and whilst it has an enormous amount of work to do, it has 6.5 acres. It will be a long term project, but we are all hard workers and hopefully it will be worth it in the end. As I am sure you are all aware the biggest disadvantage of my disability is the lack of independence. This will mean for the first time in my life I can come and go as I please and not have to rely on anyone for a lift. I am sure after 33 years everybody is sick to death of driving me to the stables! So it also means that they get their freedom back as well, everyone’s a Winner!

Ollie has been going really well. We have been working on his self carriage and speed control. Every day we work on the transitions within the paces to make sure he goes forwards and backwards from my seat and doesn’t get short and tight in the neck. We do this in all the movements and vary whether he has his neck up or down so that he learns to wait and work without tension. When we get it right, especially in the collection work, it is an amazing feeling.

Last weekend we had a squad training session and the main emphasis was on test riding. On the first day we had to ride both our Championship and our Freestyle test and were judged by a Para judge. This was great to have a practice to see if our training is working. I was so pleased with him as he was so much easier to ride which meant I could prepare more for each movement. We ended up with 70% in the Championship test, which being a perfectionist I was a bit disappointed with! We then scored 80% in the freestyle despite mucking up both of our shoulder ins. Even I can’t complain with this result! This means I have now achieved 80% in all 3 Para tests so there is no reason why we can’t do it again and you never know maybe one day we will even better that… I also won the competition for achieving the highest combination of scores throughout the day against all the other World Class riders.

A couple of weeks ago I won, for the third year running, the Disabled sports award for our local area. On the same evening I had to give a 15 minute presentation on Para Dressage and, specifically, what it is I do. This is the first one I have had to do and considering it was in front of about 200 people it was a little daunting. Gary helped by doing a Q and A and he had prepared a short video. Once we got started it went really well and everyone was very complimentary afterwards. It was a great evening and I was very chuffed to win the award again.

So another year nearly over and a new one just around the corner. It just leaves me to say have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I will catch up again in soon.