What would life with horses be without its ups, its downs, and a healthy helping of whiplash as we ricochet back and forth between the two?
After her impeccable performance in Paris last month, Liberty and Glory decided it was time for a mid-season holiday. The fact that she didn’t call a team meeting or consult the work calendar before booking out meant that we had to do some slightly tricky decision-making at Casa de Crisp, and in the end, we opted to let Coolys Luxury take her place at the British Open Championships at Gatcombe.
And what a week he had! A great first-phase score of 27.6 put him well in contention from the word go, and from then on out, he never faltered, jumping two classy clears to stay in the hunt in a competition that saw just over half its starters complete. Unfortunately, he’s just not quite as quick as his stablemate, and so time penalties ultimately moved him down to sixth place – but we were absolutely thrilled with the old boy, who more than held his own in a class that featured five-star winners, world champions, and international team horses. This makes two top-ten international finishes in less than a month for Cooly, and so – with the support and guidance of our wonderful sponsors at Lingfield Vets, High Weald Horse Hydro and Baileys Horse Feeds we’ve decided to let him have one more crack at his favourite event, Burghley.
It was looking like a double-feature for a while, but Lori decided she rather enjoyed her impromptu holiday – which she’d earned herself with a minor knock – and so we’ve made the tough decision to save her for another competition. Making the big calls with horses is an indescribably tricky job, particularly in cases like this, when the horse is absolutely sound, and healthy, and happy. Lori is working well at home and she feels great – but we’ve known her since before she was born, and as a result, we can tell when she’s operating at 99%, rather than 100. Sure, we could get her to Burghley, and we could almost certainly get her through it, too, but at what cost? Eventing is a high-risk, high-reward sport – and Lori has so much to give, and is so much a part of our family, that it’s not worth putting her wellbeing on the line for the sake of a run, even if it is the biggest and most sort after run!
In the little bubble that is the eventing world, it’s pretty easy to let stuff like this weigh you down, but I’m lucky enough to have a busy and brilliant family to keep things in perspective. Baby Hermione continues to be the smiliest baby in Sussex, and she’s getting more and more opinionated each day – now that she’s on the verge of figuring out this crawling business, she’s pretty convinced she’s ready to run the whole show herself. Harry and Hugo have been out and about at Pony Club rallies, and doing really well, too – Harry and his pony Tam have qualified for the Pony Club regional area showjumping in Cambridgeshire at the end of the month, alongside teammate and pal (and fellow child-of-an-eventer) Max Whittington. So – for now at least! – Burghley isn’t the most important competition on the Team Crisp calendar.
There’s been a bit of excitement at Mayfield Fire Station, too, where I try to make myself useful whenever I can. It’s a fantastically rewarding if not demanding job and after a big recruitment drive, we are looking forward to welcoming a few new recruits who are now in their final stages of the process and will be looking to join us at the station later in the Autumn which is great news for the community as we can hopefully increase our availability now. After losing part of our farm to a fire a couple of years ago, I know all too well how important a quick response is, and it’s really great to see our merry group expanding.
Speaking of new recruits, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom around the stables – we’ve been delighted to take on a couple of really exciting new horses for some great owners. It’s all early days, but Valentino King has been showing off some considerable talent at home, and his owner has fit in so quickly with our close-knit team, so we’re all excited about all the things to come. We’ve also got a really classy youngster in for me to back and produce, for another great set of owners. When you run a small team like ours, it becomes a bit more like an extended family, and so getting new people in who slot in so well is really heartening. And what sort of horse person isn’t guilty of a bit of dreaming when a new four-legged partner arrives on the yard?
My next update will be post-Burghley – what a thought! – which means we’re heading into the tail end of the season and my teaching schedule is starting to take over the calendar again. We’ve got plenty of clinics coming up, plus opportunities for one-to-one training – just give our ‘TeamCrisp Eventing” Facebook page a like to stay in the loop.