Life recently has been all about revision and exams. Following the disappointment of not competing in Compiegne and being out of selection for the Young Rider European team with Sonny’s injury, I decided that fate was telling me to concentrate on my A levels and get studying! I have always been good at ‘winging it’ but A levels are different and actually quite important!
As my parents had already booked the week of Compiegne off, they decided to not waste the time and found a last minute trip to Barbados instead! With only a few days notice it was quite an adventure and my brother also was lucky - managing to sneak in on the action too - before he started his summer job.
We decided to give Sonny as much time as he needed to make sure that his splint fully recovered. There was no need to rush his recovery and the general rule of thumb is a splint needs at least 6 weeks for recovery but we added an extra couple of weeks to ensure that there was no heat and the splint was ‘inactive’. Plus it fell right in the middle of my exams so waiting a bit longer before bringing Sonny into full work made sense.
With Sonny off work, I have been using any free time getting to know my new horse Bo. He has the loveliest temperament and is very well behaved for a four year old. He just needs lots of repetition in his schooling to make sure the basics are 100% correct. He is already well balanced for his age and his upwards and downwards transitions are established so I am concentrating on transitions within the pace, changes of direction keeping his balance and also introducing a little bit of leg yield to get him moving sideways off my leg.
He is so talented I want to make sure that I build him up slowly and not ask for more than I need until he is stronger. Sonia told me to imagine myself riding a Prix St George test on him in the future and to make sure I ride him straight enough to do a row of tempis! He’s obviously not ready to do changes yet but by having them in the back of my mind should help me train the basics really well. He is such a quick learner I was able to teach him the walk to canter transition in one schooling session.
Three year old Izzy has been backed this month by Michelle and Pip. We like to back the young horses ourselves at home then we can take our time and do it with minimum stress to the horse. Izzy has taken it all in her stride and within a week she was being led down our drive with Pip onboard. She’s now trotting and hacking out - so far so good, without putting a hoof wrong! We have had her since a foal so its very rewarding to see her as a ‘big girl’!
Recently I was very fortunate to do a photoshoot with my friend, fellow rider Chloe Vell for the new range of Valegro clothing. The shoot was at Carl Hester’s yard and was great fun to work with Carl, Chloe, Ben and of course the special Valegro himself! Sadly, I wasn’t required to run through a bit of piaffe and passage on Valegro whist I was there. I did offer! It was the first shoot I have done with a group of models, a horse and about 8 dogs! I really enjoyed it and it is quite a privilege to be involved in the project coming up to the Olympics.
This is my final Horse Hero blog and I would like to thank all the readers for following my journey over the past three and a half years. I hope my story - with its many ups and downs - has been interesting and informative. It’s certainly been an exciting journey for me, from my pony dressage career through Juniors and now onto Young Riders and I have had some fantastic experiences on the way. A new chapter begins for me as I have finally left school. Hurrah! For the first time in seven years I am not competing at a European Championships this summer and plan to enjoy the rare quiet time producing my young horses and training my 'best friend' Sonny towards Grand Prix. I begin university in September and hope that I can continue to compete my horses towards the ultimate goal of representing GB as a senior over the coming years. (If you would like to continue to follow my journey, I have an active FB page and Instagram - erinwilliamsdressage & erinwilliams190.)