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  • Samantha Lissington

Pre Covid-19

You would have thought I would have more time to write while hibernating over Winter – it appears not! But now in the early parts of (what is supposed to be) the eventing season, we find ourselves with an abundance of time – indeed even enough time to write a blog on a Sunday morning!

Pre Covid-19 feels like a century ago, an unrelatable era, but not without its own challenges and adventures. Here is my attempt to summarise the 6 weeks or so through until the world was turned on its head.

Our most exciting news has been Georgie joining us on this side of the world – she arrived on the 6th of February. I picked her up from the airport, we then picked up Wally the Whittaker from the paintworks (that bumper looks brand new!) and headed straight to the yard where we met with Christiana, Alice and Jack (team vet, physio and farrier) to go over the plans with the horses for the season. It was a nice opportunity to show some love to our horsehealth team and welcome Georgie to the fold.

In true Georgie style, with label maker in hand, the yard is immaculate, with a fresh coat of paint, our processes ironed out, and our whiteboards may be the sexiest thing you’ll see today.

Sidenote 31: Serious life hack – buy whiteboard line tape, it is quite literally the best thing since sliced bread.

Other exciting news – we have upgraded trucks to Sally the Scania! Wally is a legend but with a team of 10 this season we weren’t going to get very far with 3 spaces in the truck – so we’re trading him in for a much bigger girl (6 horse) who’s been there done that (aka an older lass but very nicely refurbished to fit in the same price bracket). I had to learn how to drive a split gearbox pretty quickly – but it’s so much fun! I also got my HGV licence sorted (thanks to the Prime Ministers Scholarship programme!) This was a relief after a mad couple of weeks of studying and driving to lessons and testing stations all over the show.

February and March have been a consolidation phase with the horses – we have gone to a bunch of dressage lessons with Isobel Wessells and Peter Storr and we are starting to get excited about Rui who has really benefited from this. While this may take a while to translate to results inside the arena, the homework is paying off, and I am really excited to see what we can pull off in 12 months or so. Also thankful to have been able to borrow a Childeric UK dressage saddle (thanks team!) which has been very helpful for my hip.

We’ve been out xc schooling a number of times, done some great squad trainings and even made it to a couple of practice dressage and SJ shows too. Plenty of fresh horses, early season abscesses to deal with, and the odd exasperated sigh from me when Sooty starts snorting at me in the warmup.

February had its fair share of obstacles to negotiate – including storm Ciara and Dennis (among others that I can’t remember). We tourists were also pretty excited to have our one proper day of SNOW – it was magical. And gone within 4 hours just after I had finished riding…

Sidenote 32: I have never before considered not driving due to wind conditions – I mean it didn’t stop me, but I didn’t anticipate not being able to get back IN to the property having left…

Our puppy is now 6 months old, and BIG! 23.1kgs to be precise, she is loving being around the barn and this week learnt to stay off the arena (much to her disappointment). We have been taking her to puppy classes which have been really fun – I only made it to half of them (but co-parenting for the win).

With 4 people and a dog in a two-bedroom flat, you could say things are pretty cosy, but for the moment it’s just good fun with great people. We had started up Thursday night activities nights – with a rota of board games, team meeting pub nights, team movie nights, and activity nights.

Little did we know our monthly pub nights were soon to be coming to an end!

Cheers, Sam

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