Olympic Obsessions

I love the Olympics. I am always looking forward to the next one and whilst they are on I watch as much sport as I possibly can. The gymnastics events are always a favourite with me but I also love watching the althletics, swimming, diving, triathlon… Basically, if it’s on I will probably watch it. I am very much looking forward to seeing the sport climbing for the first time in a few days time – it looks so exciting! Of course, the time difference is a bit of a difficulty this time around but all last week I was getting up early to see the sports in which I was particularly interested – and catching up on what I couldn’t see in my breaks. At home, I have the luxury of more than one screen which has proved very useful more than once. The triathlon mixed relay very inconsiderately clashed with the last session of eventing dressage and I just had to watch both of them!

Naturally, my main interest is in the equestrian events. Most of the pure dressage took place while I was at work but I had a fortuitous day off for the team final (so exciting!) and everything else was seen in little snatches. I have fallen in love with Charlotte Dujardin’s ride Gio and I loved every minute of the competition.

A lot of the eventing takes place at far more unsocial hours and I booked some annual leave this week just so I would be able to watch it – and we have even decorated the fireplace in Team GB colours to add to the atmosphere. It was definitely the right decision to take as I am utterly exhausted – because of course I have other sports to watch and can’t have a lie in to recover! I don’t regret a thing though – so far the competition has been incredibly exciting and tomorrow’s showjumping should be amazing to watch. I have also been loving the midnight feasts!

Team GB have had such a brilliant few days of competition – although I found it very stressful actually watching their cross country rounds last night. Competing myself is far less nerve wracking but they had three wonderful rounds and I am keeping everything crossed for them to do well tomorrow and bring home the gold.

Managing the Heat

We have been having such a heatwave this past week! The ponies have been spending as much time as possible in the shade and the riding has taken a bit of a hit as well. When we did manage to get out it was always for something very gentle to keep down the temperature. Having said that, on Friday morning I took Galahad out for an early hack only to find that the dog had tagged along too. She isn’t really safe on the roads without a lead so our hack turned into a schooling session – albeit one that was still not too strenuous.

The evenings have been so much nicer and cooler this weekend that I have been able to get out again after work. Both ponies have enjoyed some lovely hacks – at least, I enjoyed them and I hope they did too!

I have also been very much enjoying the snippets of the Olympics I have been able to watch in between working. I will watch pretty much any Olympic sport but of course I am enjoying the dressage and am so looking forward to the team final on Tuesday which just happens to be my day off!

Book Review – ‘The Girl on the Dancing Horse’

I had been very much looking forward to the publication of Charlotte Dujardin’s autobiography The Girl on the Dancing Horse so I was thrilled to receive a copy from the publishers.

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Most people with an interest in horses will think they know Dujardin’s story but this book shares many moments I had not read before and every time I had to put it down I was kept wanting to read more.  It is very well written with lots of anecdotes and plenty of humour – things that I need from a biography.

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Dujardin gets her emotions across well too.  I was lucky enough to get tickets to the second day of grand prix at London 2012 so I saw her ride there.  The atmosphere was incredible and I have never been anywhere that felt remotely like it.  Reading about it again genuinely brought a tear to my eye and when I got to the chapter about Valegro’s retirement I was properly crying.

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The book also looks forward though.  I loved reading about Dujardin’s younger horses and her plans for the future and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

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The bookmark seemed appropriate!

This is a book which should be on any equestrian’s bookshelf.  If nothing else, you come away with a very positive message – anything is possible if you want it enough and work hard enough.  That is something we all need to know.

Days Off

Yesterday was an off day for me riding wise.  I mentioned in my last post that I have been watching a lot of the Olympics recently and as it is in Korea most of the coverage is overnight here.  Which means that I have missed quite a bit of sleep over the past few weeks.

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I am one of those people who need about eight hours sleep a night – although I’m not very good at making sure that I get that!  I have therefore been suffering a bit from lack of sleep and yesterday I ended up not riding at all.

Sometimes that’s okay though.  The ponies don’t care – as long as they are warm and fed they are perfectly happy.  There are some days when it is important to take time to recover.

Not that I didn’t spend time with the ponies.  I still had stables (and a sheep pen!) to muck out and a dog to exercise.  She tried to be helpful too by carrying a whole section of hay across the yard.  I was not impressed and neither were the ponies who exploded!

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It was a beautiful day and I very much enjoyed my time outside.  The time to rest definitely helped too and this morning I was back to business as usual.

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