The Perils Of Show Jumping Sport - 31

Well I know it's been a really long time since my last blog, but a bit like dog years, WKD time seems to pass a little differently and before you know it half a year has passed and you never saw it go!
It has been a very busy time for us, a lot of changes in our horses with some firm favourites moving on to their new homes and some exciting faces joining the team.

Another big development was our decision to retire the amazing limelight de breve to stud; it's very difficult when you have a top competition mare and decide when to call it a day and start to breed, the breeder in me was very anxious to start the process of creating the next generation with her fantastic genes but the competitor in both Sam and I held us back, as limelight truly still looks a picture and I think this year was jumping even better than ever! But it's a finite thing with horses and we wanted her to go out on a high career wise and not simply fade into the background. So with several wins and placings in Arezzo it seemed fitting after that tour to call it a day, with the mare fit, healthy and happy.
(Although Sam has threatened that if she doesn't go in foal quickly he will have her back in work.... So watch this space!)

I suppose it's been with my horses that there has been the most changing about; the beautiful Irish mare hhs mastermind, that I jumped last season with and had so much fun in spruce last year, has gone to new owners in Italy and in her place I have a really exciting eight year old west falian mare called amigo Cascada, she is a stunning big bay mare and I am very hopeful for the future with her this season and so far she has not disappointed!

Another mare to join the team is an eleven year old bright chestnut called wicked crush. So far I have had the ride on her and have had some lovely rounds on this scopey, sharp and careful chestnut daughter of Sandro boy, but Sam will share the ride with me in the forthcoming summer series in spruce meadows in Calgary.

Another addition to the team is a 13year old Kannan mare, Dina, owned by long-time supporter and friend of Sam and I, Karim Abdel Fattah, she is a big strong mare who will hopefully fit into Sam’s string after spruce and we are very lucky to have been given the opportunity to look after and compete such a beautiful mare.

In preparation for spruce meadows we have had a whirlwind few months, with the team competing in Italy and France throughout the spring to get the horses fit for the season ahead and a quick trip to jump at home in our local 2* show in Belfast, where WKD diva let her class come to the fore as she and Sam jumped an amazing two rounds to claim the big class on the second day of the show.
Now nine diva has matured into a real machine of a mare, tough and gritty, she attacks every fence with power and precision and Under Sam’s expert guidance nothing looks to be an effort to this feisty chestnut.

But she is merely the princess in waiting to the queen of our yard, the fantastic sumas zorro is back in action and I think she’s even stronger and better than ever! Last season she had a really really hard work load, as after the sale of her team mate pepper pot to the US she had to pick up the slack, with diva trying her best to help, but at only eight we did not want to ask too much of her.
So we took the difficult decision after a lack lustre performance from her in Barcelona at the nations cup final to give her a complete rest and take her out of competition for at least two months which is a long time in the career of a top horse especially with the chase still being very much on for places at the Olympics in Rio, with the mare very much in contention. However the horses always have to come first and we could see that zorro was trying her best but she was physically and mentally burnt out. So a field break it was and quite a lot larger but happier zorro came in from the field in January and the last five months have been all about bringing her slowly back in the game; with her recent appearance at Chantilly LGCT show, she jumped a beautiful double clear to take third in the two star Grand Prix, it looks like we made a good decision and we really hope that this year at spruce meadows she can show everyone that she may have been away but now she is back with a vengeance!

We will take six horses to spruce this year, amigo cascada, championes and Townhead casita for me and sumas zorro, WKD diva and wicked crush for Sam (and I when I steal her hehe); as I write they are on their way to the first stop on their journey to Calgary, overnight in England, then Luxembourg on Sunday and finally take off from Luxembourg airport on Monday night to arrive in Calgary on Monday evening hopefully all ready to start Wednesday....

For us riders however the trip is not going QUITE as planned..... Sam’s Canadian visa still has not appeared despite having applied weeks ago and as we are due to fly Monday afternoon from London I am starting to think that maybe this year I am going to be flying solo with FaceTime help from my teammate, the thought of which is actually starting to give me nightmares!!! It's a bit incredible really that even our jack Russell Sally has the right paperwork and passport to get into the country but poor Sam might not get in on time....!!

They say bad rehearsal good performance so I am really hoping that the gremlins will truly have wreaked enough chaos in the last few weeks to leave us alone in spruce and we are going to have a successful five weeks, we definitely need a bit of luck!

Anyway hopefully that's everyone up to date with the WKD team comings and goings, please keep following us on Instagram -sycamore stables - where I will try to post photos of our Canada trip and our Facebook pages where I hopefully will have all the latest results and news to post, if there is a team and not just little ole me!!

To all our Muslim friends a happy and peaceful forthcoming Ramadan and if anyone is in Canada, please call over and give your support to the team. That's all for now take care Xx


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