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  • Samantha Lissington

Farewell to the festive season

Just like that it has been and gone! Goodness I didn’t think much had happened lately but turns out actually quite a lot has gone on!

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the festivities here in the UK, albeit in the absence of snow! I can’t remember who said it recently - but in the UK just as we hit the depths of minimal daylight hours, the Christmas lights come on and the world is a bit brighter again! We are thankful that we are on the other side of it being dark at 4pm!

Just before Christmas, Brayden was lucky enough to get a job interview with Sysdoc (London based), and we are very proud that he has just started as their new Marketing Manager! He catches the train from Hungerford every morning – a whole different world for us!

We have also had a new team member join us – Siobhan flew over from New Zealand in December and has settled into the yard well. She also has the (arguably enviable) position of being chief puppy sitter. Speaking of which, Kiara has more than doubled in size! She has stopped biting our feet (amazing progress) and can now do some impressive puppy tricks.

In early Jan Pip and I were greeted by the good news that Sooty had made it on to the High Performance Futures Squad. There are 11 riders on the HP squads at the moment, so it is exciting to be breaking into that next level with great company at the top. This will mean that Sooty will have some support this year and we will have access to all the squad trainings which is fantastic.

The ponies are just starting to get their early season clips and tidy ups – Sooty has had a week of hacking (at some points last week you could have called hacking an extreme sport!) Rui has been having WAY too much fun, he’s worked out how to get out of the paddocks, goes and rolls in the laneway (nothing but mud) and then majestically canters down to the stables where we have to spend the next 40+ minutes making him respectable and then putting all his rugs through the wash. He is always SO unimpressed when we clean him up again.

January had treated us to some beautiful days and some pretty average days. My daily riding attire includes fleece jodhpurs, x4 layers (including my Stormtech Jacket which I have barely taken off since getting it from Tech Clothing at Burghley last year!), balaclava, and helmet with attached ear warmers. It is quite the look.

We have done some water-blasting and will soon be redecorating a bit to give the place a freshen up – I’ve left a reminder up of what the walls used to look like (see pic).

Happy/Sad news that Bekham sold to the Caddigan family in New Zealand, I recently did a bit of a run down of our story – you can find it on my page.

In terms of plans for the year, at this stage we are aiming Rui for Badminton Horse Trials 2020 - Official Event Page, and Sooty for Tattersalls International Horse Trials & Country Fair - and putting our best foot forward for Tokyo. We will do quiet lead up events until those target competitions. Jock’s horses will be prepped for him for Tatts, and I am really looking forward to competing them in the early season.

Probably our biggest news is that Georgina Walker has had a bit of a quarter life crisis this month, and worked out that she wanted some more adventure in her life. Off the back of such a successful 18 months together in NZ, I just couldn’t go past the opportunity to try and replicate that. And so, on the 7th of Feb we are all very much looking forward to welcoming Georgie back once again as my right-hand lady!

In the meantime we are hanging out for the novelty of snow – which I am sure will wear off pretty soon but we will be sure to make the most of it!

Cheers, Sam


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