Globe-trotting, gym bunnies, manicures, long lunches & Downton catch-up…. an event rider’s winter starts here
Harriet Rochester’s Marlborough Downs Uncovered feature marks the end another eventing season:
This week my horse, Thomas, checked into his winter residence – a lush field of grass up on the Marlborough Downs, along with some of his equine mates who are there for a well-earned break after a busy eventing season.
With a relentless schedule of competitions for professional riders between the months of March and October, one wonders what can possibly keep these equestrian adrenaline junkie’s amused during all that winter downtime?
So after some digging about I discovered what some of the Marlborough eventing tribe are planning to help the winter months fly by…
|Andrew Nicholson Stables: Lockeridge
2014 highlights – triple wins at Landrover Burghley Horse Trials and at the Barbury International Horse Trials winner - riding Avebury.
Andrew wouldn’t admit that to avoid the winter weather he will often be found ensconced reading his new book Focused. However, he says;
“Going jump racing at Cheltenham is as good as any holiday for me. I also take some of the youngsters to hunter trials and give a lead to my nine-year-old daughter. We will steal a few days away as a family in between doing general maintenance around the property, something that’s a bit of a bore but necessary.’
“Before we know it, December will be here and the horses will come back into slow work and then we’ll be preparing to do it all again in 2015”.
Sir Mark Todd Stables: Badgerstown
Eventing legend and International Equestrian Federation rider of the twentieth century.
“I manage the Brazilian event team so I am off to South America in November and back again in December for some training clinics. I’m also off to New Zealand over Christmas and back via the States for more teaching."
"There’s no rest for the wicked, but I expect I will find some time to nip to the beach whilst on my travels.”
“Each snow season, I try to make an annual pilgrimage to the mountains. In order to help prevent any unwanted pre-season injuries as well as time on the piste, I always ensure there’s plenty spent experiencing and tasting the local après ski."
Jesse Campbell Stables: Ogbourne St Andrew
Up and coming New Zealand rider.
“When not riding the babies, I will be catching up on the back series of Downton Abbey and playing golf, we have a lad’s eventer’s trip to Prague planned in November – it’s tough going in the winter. I also love giving the England Rugby team stick and supporting the All Blacks. "
“I am off to New Zealand at the end of the year to see my family and also spending some time in Australia with my girlfriend, where topping up my tan is on the agenda”.
Rebecca Howard Stables: Mildenhall
Current Canadian rider of the year
In late November I’m heading over the pond to my homeland – Canada, where as well as catching up with my folks and sisters I have some teaching clinics planned in British Columbia.
Hands take a real beating across the competition season so my winter guilty pleasure is a regular manicure from Kreem boutique, Marlborough.
I am also a dedicated follower of Shaun T – a Will Smith look-a-like. Him and his T25 video works out are a great incentive to help me out of bed during the winter mornings. If it’s not Shaun T – then I head to the gym.
Tim and Jonelle Price Stables: Mildenhall
2014 highlights: 1st Luhmuhlen 4 star (Tim and Wesko) and 4th in the World Equestrian Games (Jonelle and Classic Moet)
As well as being an ace pilot on a horse, Jonelle is renowned as a dab hand in the kitchen and the Price Sunday’s roasts have become legendary in the area.
“What off season?! Looking ahead our winter looks pretty hectic with lots of travelling. Although, in previous winter’s us Kiwis have mastered the art of a long indulgent lunch, generally generously sponsored by numerous renowned wine regions from around the world”. Jonelle explains from the final four star event of the season at Pau in France, where she finished 4th riding Faerie Dianimo.
“Last year Tim and I went to Vietnam. It was great to experience a totally different culture and be so far removed from our daily lives. We plan to be in Germany and Sweden in November for some indoor competitions and then we are going to Puhinui, New Zealand in December for their big spring event and to spend Christmas with our families.
“As much as we enjoy the lower intensity this time of year, it’s always good to get back to the horses”.
Whether it’s winter months with the latest TV period dramas, indulging hours at the beautician’s or some globe-trotting – rest assured, come early 2015, the Marlborough event riders will be ready to roll and hungry for the competition season once more.
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