I Can't Wait to Get Back in the Saddle

Brook Corey head shoulders website

by Brook Howells

We’re halfway through Corey’s two month holiday and I am already counting down the sleeps until I can get back on board. Unlike most riders I get a real rest from the horses at this point as living an hour away means it’s not really practical to visit that frequently. I soon start getting withdrawal symptoms though! We’ve dropped in a few times to have cuddles (and Sunday lunch with the parents) but otherwise busied ourselves in other ways.

Mum and Dad are doing a fantastic job as always keeping Corey and his best friend Danny well. Mum has moved Corey on to Dengie’s Alfa-Beet this week to keep the weight on him; he does tend to lose condition in the winter no matter how many rugs we stick on him. She’s also planned out the start of the 2014 season and indeed had done within 24 hours of the calendar being published – I’m surprised it took her so long! We’ve talked (and talked) about which events we can make, how we can get runs at courses we’ve not seen before, how we can get enough show jumping practice in to have at least half a chance of a clear at Badminton and what the fitness plan before that needs to look like. There’s a lot we want to do with him in the Spring so hopefully there won’t be too much snow and ice after Christmas so we can get all his walk work done quickly and on to all the training.

I’m trying to do more pilates and swimming to keep my own fitness levels up but I confess I am failing miserably at having the motivation to get off the sofa. When I’m riding I struggle to make time to do extra fitness work so my plan was to get into a routine that I could then keep up. I’ve got a few more weeks to make that happen but I fear my good intentions will stay as just that.

The big event of these last few weeks was the wedding of my best friend Laura to her dear man David. I was one of the bridesmaids, Al was the photographer and we have been really involved with the preparations for a number of weeks. Each bridesmaid was baking a tier of the cake and my tier was the base, a 12” fruitcake, so I’ve spent numerous nights practicing making scrabble tiles for the decoration. I’ve known for ages that I’m a perfectionist because Corey’s plaits are never how I want them, so the cake was stressful but it was worth it – the cake looked amazing once complete! Al and I have only been married for a few months ourselves and it was wonderful to remind ourselves of the commitment we made to each other back in July and the fun we had on the day. I got back into riding and competing so quickly after our own wedding that we’ve barely had time to reflect on it all.Brook Completed wedding cake 2 Dec 13

The other news is that the towing vehicle that gets us to events/training throughout the year broke down in September. Having made do with a very old landrover and hiring a little box occasionally, we took the plunge to buy a replacement and now have a ridiculous (in my humble opinion) Defender. It’s huge and I’m not entirely sure it needs all the extra additions Al is planning, but he is very happy to have a Defender to play with and I’m very happy that my incredibly time-consuming hobby is giving him something else to get excited about. I am admittedly quite excited about trucking to our first events of 2014 in it.

I’ve got just over three weeks to go before I can start riding again. The walk work we do after Corey’s holiday each year is not the most exciting prospect for me as I’m not really a fan of hacking, however I’m in the very lucky position of going on our belated honeymoon to New Zealand after Christmas. I’ve managed to wangle a holiday at just the time – leaving the hacking to Mum and my friend (and professional event rider) Tyler Cassells – then I can come back and start working Corey in earnest for Badminton. Mum will be keeping me updated on Corey’s progress whilst I’m away though, so I’ll keep everyone interested in Corey’s Badminton prep posted too – or even suggest Mum does a guest blog.

Merry Christmas to everyone and Happy New Year!

Brook

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