It’s a funny thing, that bit of the season after Badminton. Badminton takes up so much of our focus – and the preparation for it takes up so much of the early part of the year – that its sudden conclusion can feel like a bit of a shock to the system.
Luckily, it launches us straight into the busiest part of the season, and although we’ve not been quite as flat-out as usual, with our two top horses enjoying a well-earned wind-down, there’s still been plenty to get on with. Coolys Luxury, our good old boy who has done so well at Burghley over the years, was retired on course at Badminton, prompting a bit of a shift in priorities for him. On the one hand, he’s seventeen years old and doesn’t owe anyone anything – he’s been responsible, after all, for some fantastic adventures, some hard-fought results, and an enormous amount of joy for all his connections. On the other hand, he’s feeling as fit and well as a five-year-old, and I think if we announced to him that the time had come to curtail his competing, he’d be so offended that he’d never speak to us again. So we’re exploring the concept of compromise – something we’re well-versed in with a mare in charge of the yard!
This season, Cooly will be swapping the three-days for short-format internationals, like the Event Rider Masters series. Finding a job that suits the horse in question is such an important part of producing successful, happy horses – and a lot of the time, that decision, and the job chosen, has to evolve throughout the horse’s career. To get the ball rolling, we took him to Houghton International in deepest, darkest Norfolk, where he went up against a seriously big, strong class. Houghton runs the UK’s leg of the Nations Cup series, so it’s always an interesting class to ride in – not only do you find yourself competing against the best of British, you’ve also got strong contenders from other countries in your section, too. Cooly, for his part, excelled himself, making light work of a technical track in slightly unpleasant conditions to finish just outside the top ten. He’ll head to Jardy, just outside Paris, for the ERM next month with Liberty and Glory, while Vendome Biats and Winterdown Royale will enjoy a trip to Barbury.
I can’t remember a Barbury that wasn’t boiling hot, so we’re crossing our fingers that we’ll see a few days of summer when it rolls around! In the meantime, we’ve been delighted to welcome Lingfield Vets to our family of sponsors. They provide meticulous care and top-notch attention to detail to our four-legged team members, which gives me peace of mind and lets me focus on the big job of producing results. As we head towards the second busy patch of our year, we’re spending more and more time at High Weald Horse Hydro, too, where we make great use of the aqua treadmill to increase fitness and build strength without risk of injury. (If you’d like to reap the benefits for your horse, you can – and you can use our discount code, TEAM CRISP, to save some money, too!)
A bit more time at home has also meant that I can fit in more clinics and lessons, which is great fun. We had a great evening lecture-demo at Oldencraig Equestrian Centre on 20th June with Lingfield Vets, and we’ve got some cross-country clinics coming up – just find us on Facebook (Tom Crisp Clinics) to stay up-to-date, or to get in touch and book a lesson. After a bit of an argument with Facebook, we’ve had to re-start the page – I’m not sure what sort of criminal activity they think we’ve been using it for, but I suspect they’ll be disappointed! Hopefully our next update will come from the comfort of a sunlounger, rather than from within several jackets – there’s only so long that any of us can find comfort in saying, “well, the ground really needed the rain!”