Saturday, 25 February 2012

Start Your Engines & Get Your Games Face On!

Inonothing's First XC Outing Since WEG2010
It's time to paint your face different colours, scream loudly, and get ready for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The hype is building, the press is buzzing, and everyone's out cross country schooling - the most exciting eventing season of recent times has begun! Eventing news and comment has started to wind up again over the last few weeks. It's like everybody has just come back from holiday with renewed vigor, and with less than 2 weeks to the start of the new season proper who can blame them? I've spent the last few months beavering away on the day job, both here and in the US, trying hard to dodge the cold snaps either side of the pond, and failing mostly. I'm pleased to say I'm in the final sprint to the finish of a career defining project, but have managed to grab the occasional day to ride myself.

Whilst I happily potter round the school at home on the great white charger, the rest of the eventing world is hard at it. The Americans are out competing in the sunshine state joined by a few foreigners seeking Olympic qualification, and the UK circuit has gone into overdrive and is out cross country schooling or galloping. Visit any of the main schooling grounds and you'll probably bump into half a dozen professionals either schooling their own during the week or running clinics for the amateur riders at the weekends. I was lucky enough to spot the first cross country outing for Badminton 2010 winner, Inonothing, since his injury at the Kentucky WEG, and it was great to see the horse happy and relaxed going through some simple exercises over fixed fences with Paul Tapner. (follow their progress on the Badminton website)

Blyth Tait
It might be a few weeks until the UK season gets underway, but entries for Badminton are rolling in from the 4 corners of the globe, and some of the greatest British riders are in Ireland at Ballindenisk embarking on their Olympic selection campaign. Oliver Townend, although surprisingly seen as something of an outside chance for the Games, leads the CCI3* after the Dressage. I'm so pleased to see Miner's Frolic back from the brink and sitting in 2nd place. This horse really stands out as a leader in the crowd, and I do hope he returns to his best form. It looks like Blyth Tait hasn't completely given up hope for London and has Santos sat in eighth place heading to the cross country.

After a week of cabin fever, locked down in the day job, it's great to finally feel Spring and the eventing season is within reach. I have 4 more crazy days next week, deprived of natural sunlight, at the World Mobile Congress in sunny Barcelona of all places, so provided I don't go completely la la, I shall be back to cut my teeth on the 2012 season at one of the opening events, and dare I say it we really could do with some rain - can you believe we have drought warnings in February. I may even get to see my children, who I swear think I'm just the milkman or someone!

This is it guys, get your games face on and prepare for battle!

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