The best of British Showjumping at Hickstead

Today I took my first selfie because I had been allowed to be incredibly selfish and take myself off for a day out without hubby and kids (well i did take the dogs with me). I indulged in a much needed hit of equestrianism with a day at Hickstead’s Derby. I have been going since a child and I love everything about it, the atmosphere, the huge arena, the huge jumps and the informality of it. After mooching around the tradestands, grabbing myself a couple of glasses of Pimm’s and checking out the different parts of the course, i completely revelled in my surroundings and the chance to do as i pleased without worrying about children (the only downside was having to clear up after both dogs who both decided to poop in high traffic public areas, i also had to take them into the toilets with me which was a bit of a challenge).

The Derby was about to start, so i found myself a good spot high up on the public grandstand and settled down to watch the show with one dog perched on my lap and the other perched next to me. After a while i noticed my younger dog had taken  a shine to the friendly chap sat next to me and before long she had helped herself to sitting on his lap, much to my embarrassment. I apologised but he said he didnt mind at all. After sharing a few comments about some of the rather hairy rounds that we had witnessed around the derby course, he told me that he was getting nervous as his own horse was due to jump the course in a while – last year’s winner, Caritiar Z ridden by Phillip Miller.

This put the excitement of the competition on a whole different level as i found myself rooting for this chap’s horse, i really wanted him to do well. You could have cut the tension with a knife as we watched the horse go round and it was a brilliant round with only 1 down, which put him in the lead with only four more horses to go. But Trevor Breen but in a good performance with only one down so there was going to be a jump off between the two horses – by now i really wanted Caritiar Z to win to achieve the accolade of back-to-back derby wins. He put in a good jump-off with only one down, but Trevor Breen’s horse was a fraction faster and pipped him to the post with one down, shaving a few seconds off Caritiar’s time.

The very nice chap sitting next to me took the defeat gracefully and was clearly proud to be the owner of a horse who made the Derby course look easy. It is people like him that we have to thank for keeping UK showjumping so competitive and so enjoyable – what a thoroughly nice chap. My dog rather liked him too.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.



What to do with a quarter of a million?

I fantasised last night.

No, not because I am reading Fifty Shades Darker (that requires no imagination at all) but because I was looking at my Lotto ticket with baited breath. I thought I had won, but it was my eyesight playing tricks on me, or my brain. So having not won the big lottery, I considered the next option still available on the ticket which is Plus 5 – the chance to win £250,000 all week. Some people would argue whether that is a life-changing amount or not. Well they are just damned ungrateful because I sure as hell wouldn’t  mind £250,000 (I nearly said dollars then for some reason the voice in my head that….says….each…..word……as……I………am………typing it switched in to a Texan Drawl – I have only watched one episode of the new Dallas and already it has taken effect.)

What would you do with that amount. My instant and very exciting reaction was “to pay off the mortage” the voice in my head said that in a David Walliams style “computer says noo” tone. My second reaction was “how dull can you get”? No, I would pick up the phone to Unicef (the reason why I blog) and ask them if there is a particular project that I could fund – one in the UK and one abroad. Now my husband is not as charitable as me and would have kittens if I turned round and said I wanted to donate some of it to charity. So, I would have to placate him with something that has wheels and goes very fast…….on the shopping list would be this……

 (Oh yes that’s me sat on the bike making it look even better         …I wish)

and then maybe something with a few more wheels………..

  (I wasn’t available for this shoot)

and then maybe something with really big wheels…..

After doing the necessay with the Kids (Disney etc) oh and i spose we better save some just in case they want to get massively in debt for 3 years, test the resilience of their liver and survive eating nothing but fish-finger sandwiches (university) ….My thoughts would then turn to my shopping list……

a horse that LIKES jumping, like this……

Not this….

And if I have any money left over a dinner date with someone like this…….

  But maybe not when he is like this…. (bruised eyes during filming)

Paul Walker can drive me to the restaurant, but this fella…..

can drive me home (very handy if you are remotely bulimic as it would be a challenge to keep your meal down).

My reaction might be a little like this…. mamma mia!

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please donate to my Unicef page if you can – the whole reason why I blog daily.


Why aren’t the BBC wetting their pants like me? Disappointed with coverage of SJ Gold

I can hardly contain my excitement!! However I was bitterly disappointed that the BBC chose to leave out the absolute headline of the day in their summing up which was that the Show-jumping team won gold – their first medal since the 50’s. What twat at the BBC decided to leave the showjumping out of the summary of the day. It is the holidays so I am out all day with my children and do not have the luxury of watching it on TV during the day. Once they are in bed (try to aim for 8pm) I can then relax switch on the box and check out what has happened. I am relying on the Beeb to keep me informed when I watch the Olympic highlights each evening but clearly they don’t give a shit about equestrianism.

Nick Skelton, Ben Maher, Scott Brash and Peter Charles

National newspapers seem to be better clued up on what the real Olympic headlines are as the Show-jumping team were emblazoned across every single tabloid and broadsheet on the news-stands today. WAKE UP BBC!!!!!!!

Thankfully BBC online is a bit more organised so I found out this morning that we had won gold and after a few determined searches was able to watch the highlights. Much to the amusement of my 6 year old and 8 month old as they watched me dance around the house in my nightie as I watched clear round after clear round (I was acting as if I was watching it live as I felt like I had missed out considerably).

Anyway enough Beeb bashing. This gold medal is just what British Show-jumping needed it is the answer to the sport’s prayers as it has been in the doldrums with dwindling TV coverage and sponsors for quite a few years now. Eventing has been centre stage for too long and it is time for Show-jumping to once again take the limelight and wow it is so well deserved – Nick Skelton and the team are an inspiration to all aspiring riders out there.

The dressage result is also fantastic – proof that we can be as precise and technically perfect as the Germans and the Dutch and that we know how to produce good gee gees.

Carl Hester

This Olympics just could not get any better…..or could it……could we really get individual Gold in the show-jumping too? I’m just getting greedy now aren’t I? Anyway I am off to watch it on the big screen at London Live in Hyde Park tomorrow thanks to Cadburys who gave us tickets following a competition and the chance to enjoy a tasting experience. I shall not eat all day tomorrow and just stuff my face with chocolate and ogle at the show-jumping (Mum is looking after the kids) i will be in heaven!!

Hope you enjoyed this post – if so it would be great if you could donate £1 or $1 to Unicef – the whole reason I am blogging.