So it's been a while since I blogged last, but we have been having a really fun season with some lovely horses and as ever some great people to boot.
One of the highlights so far has been the Burnham Market International where Boz was 11th in the CIC***, Chapman was fifth in the Advanced and Tula won a 100 and Splash was second in the Novice! Boz continued to be his usual star self with some convincing rounds at Houghton Hall and Bramham CIC***'s. Splash or Drumbilla Metro who is owned by Merna and Catherine Merrett has had a brilliant season notching up 12 double clears with a 13th out of well over 100 starters in the CCI* at Houghton, a second in the Intermediate at Chomondeley and a double clear in his first CIC** at Somerford last weekend.
The young horses have been enjoying plenty of outings and I'm very lucky to have been riding some lovely ones. Carrie Dewes' Willy's Mayday, Polly Taylor's Mr Fahrenheit, Merna Merretts Trewardale, Jane Turners Longfield McDreamy, Christine Sloman's Rough Diamond, Maria Buckley's Pixidora and Debbie Curran's Vicky Z have all been really fun to do.
I've had to say goodbye to some old favourites which is always sad, but Oliphant who jumped numerous doible clears at Intermediate level has gone showjumping for the time being and Erythronium who was leading the foundation points table with so many wins at 100 level that I had lost count, has gone to Willa Newton to see if a lady rider will gel better with her at the higher level.
With Burghley just around the corner and other exciting prospects in the Pipeline, the 2014 season is still in full swing for everyone here at team Grieve.
So the British Eventing season has got off to a good start for us here at Team Grieve! Bramble and Tula have started well with wins at Isleham and Oasby respectively which is great for their wonderful owners, Christine Sloman and Georgie Jelfs. All the other horses have started well with steady runs at their respective levels and new ride, Drumbilla Metro (owned by Merna Merrett) went well to finish second at Oasby. He has been well produced by Debbie Edmundson and seems very straight and confident, particularly across country. Rod and Julia Gibsons Chapman, and Serena and Davina Greenwells Oliphant skipped round the Intermediate at Oasby. Both are really genuine horses who I'm really enjoying working with and have won significant amounts of money showjumping this this winter.
Both events were great fun for us and the organisers did a brilliant job in managing to even run at all.
It was sad to not see ClemTompsett at Isleham. He was too poorly to attend his beloved event and I wish him all the very best in his recovery.
I'm so very excited for this season and with some lovely horses to ride and the backing of such fantastic people I hope to do them all proud and make up for lost time last year! Until next time, over and out!
Imagine this...you are enjoying the time of your life, flying high, competing in the sport you love, running a small but productive business with an amazing support network behind you. You take yourself to hospital for what you believe to be a minor ailment and bang, you are rocked by the news that you cannot complete any of the tasks that are core to your business and career.
As I lay, miles from home, in a hospital bed listening to a consultant tell me that the surgery to remove the dangerously large blood clots that riddled my shoulder and arm had been unsuccessful, and that I would be unlikely to ride for three months, potentially six, I was alone.
I cried with despair as I tried to explain to him that the horses would no longer be there. Who would keep their horse with me now? My world, business and life would be in pieces. There are thousands of people in a lot worse situations than this all over the world, granted, but it's a dark place to be, nevertheless.
How wrong can one be? My amazing support network had jumped into action almost immediately. Bradders, my trusty companion, and my awesome mum were the first to pick up the pieces. Before I knew it all my owners had responded, almost insulted that I’d even considered them taking their horses away. Not one of these incredible people left me.
A plan was hatched that we would, with the help of my briliant grooms and riders Lucy Crocker, Amanda Hill and my great friends Harriet Herbert and Rose Bridgwood, keep the horses ticking along until I was back. It felt like we were all in it together.
All was going so well - then I received the news that a lump had been found on one of my kidneys from the CT scan I’d had whilst in hospital. It could be nothing, or it could be cancerous. Wow, I didn’t see that coming. I had several weeks to wait for an appointment, so put it to the back of my mind and concentrated on the horses.
I decided, with a certain amount of protest from his owner Maria Buckley, that my top horse Cornacrew should continue with another jockey. We chose Jeanette Brakewell and what a great choice, she is awesome. Jeanette prepared him for Bramham, but it was not to be. ‘Bozzie’ had sympathy pains and was withdrawn - and with Maria's strong belief in fate, she decided that he would wait for me.
The ups and downs of a three month wait are indescribable. It was frustrating beyond belief, but the road was smoothed by the overwhelming support of my team, owners and wonderful friends. To fill the time I fence judged and stewarded at events, drove the young horses to shows for Lucy to ride, cycled out with the horses when they hacked, and ran a couple of times a week, preparing myself for my return to competition. Towards the end of my recuperation I took Bozzie, rightly or wrongly and against medical advice, to some dressage shows. Burghley was still the aim, albeit a long shot.
My mum and sister escorted me to the hospital to establish a plan to investigate my lump, but the consultant opted to wait until I was back to full health as a biopsy would be too dangerous with the drugs I was on. So it was now a waiting game for the all clear to event.
On 12th August I saw my original Consultant, Mr Mark McCarthy, and waited to hear if he would allow me to ride. The pause while he pondered felt as long as the previous 3 months, and I could have hugged him when he said yes! I stood on the street outside Leicester Royal and cried, cars and buses streaming past, what a relief.
I jumped all the horses immediately. It's quite something getting back into the groove, and it wasn’t easy jumping again, but jumping nine horses each day certainly helped. I went show jumping and cross country schooling, so Somerford Park four days later, Bozzie’s first outing, seemed possible. We were back on track.
It was a nervous wait for the cross country. Being counted down was awesome, I was so excited. Then we were off. We landed over fence two and I remember thinking to myself 'yes we're back Boz'. As I turned for fence three he slipped and onlookers reported my beloved horse fell like a stone, crashing both of us into the floor.
I woke facing the sky, unable to move, on a spinal board. I was lifted into the ambulance, and there sitting next to me was Bradders, picking up the pieces once again. I remember little else, and nothing of the next four days. Thankfully I only had severe concussion, but was suspended from eventing, with the suspension terminating the day before Burghley.
I substituted the events I had entered for Showjumping shows, and jumped four hundred fences in three days with nine horses. I was not going to be defeated. Bozzie had been swimming and we kept that up while I galloped him too - he was on great form, it was the jockey letting the side down.
Two weeks later I saw a Neurologist and was given the all clear to compete again. Four days until Burghley, and not a cross country course completed since May. Could we do it? I rode three horses in the BE100 at Keysoe two days later where they all jumped double clears. Finishing second on Davina Greenwell’s Oliphant in the Arena Eventing Final the following day got my blood up and on the Monday Boz and I headed for the Open Intermediate at Keysoe.
He did a super dressage test, but I missed terribly in the showjumping which knocked my confidence and I went very steadily across country. We felt rusty but my wonderful horse popped through the fences easily.
The following day he was sound and happy, so off we trundled to Burghley, feeling rather unprepared - but I wasn't about to admit that to anyone. Burghley is intimidating at the best of times, but with so little preparation and knowing that there were many who thought me stupid to be there it was even more intimidating. At least I knew Bozzie would look after me regardless.
Warming up for the dressage, I could not stop smiling as I realised how lucky I was to be there. I followed William Fox Pitt, and as I entered the arena the crowd went wild as his score went up. I decided to accept the applause for us, and we started our test. We enjoyed every second. Matt Ryan interviewed me immediately after and asked why I smiled so much - but it was simply a miracle to be there.
I’d walked the course with my trusted friend Jeanette and received lots of kind good luck wishes. I felt pretty confident that we could do it, but as cross country day wore on my confidence deteriorated. Half an hour before I got on, for the first time in my life, I admitted to my great friend Marie that I wasn't sure if I could do it - was I stupid, was this a big mistake? The course was one of the toughest on record. But then I thought of my best friend in his stable, excited, ready and waiting. I couldn't let him down!
As I walked to the start I thought of how lucky I was to be there, and before I knew it we were off! The roar of cheering and clapping as we jumped through the main arena seemed to echo around the length of the course. The encouragement was indescribable. To complete the cross country at Burghley was simply out of this world on so many different levels. I felt so incredibly lucky. Boz trotted up sound the next day and, having show jumped, we finished the biggest three day event in the world. What an achievement, after all the traumas of the previous four months.
Now I need to arrange my biopsy, and another chapter of my story begins. Thankfully I know I have my trusty support network to help me on my way. Thank you to my wonderful friends, my wonderful horses, and in particular to my ultimate friend and hero Bozzie Buckley!
Wow! What a start to the new eventing season! Oliphant (Oliver, owned by Serena and Davina Greenwell) and The Loudest Whisper (Chatty, owned by Merna Merrett) both performed superbly in their Novice sections at Isleham. The pair posted 30 and 30.5 tests respectively before both jumping super double clears to win their sections beating the likes of Pippa Funnell, Oli Townend, Ruth Edge, Francis Whittington and Piggy French!! I am so proud of them. Chatty has been hunting with the Cottesmore this season and it has certainly got her thinking more forward, and Oliver has won a couple of hundred pounds showjumping over the winter, so both have been busy! I hope they both keep up the good work for their wonderful owners! Mini Me had a really good early season steady run in the Open Novice to get her into the groove before the Intermediate at Oasby next week and Dont Stop Me Now (Dosh, pictured above) had her second taste of eventing which she loved, but again I went steady in the BE90, as she is not yet ready to crack on just yet. Rough Diamond XI (Bramble) Jumped a fabulous double clear in the BE90 Open to finish fourth. He really seemed to be enjoying himself, so I am very excited to see how he fairs this time! Erythronium (Tula) went beautifully in the BE100 Open to finish fourth, again with a double clear. I love this mare, she is such a show off and loved being out again. She steps up to Novice this week at Somerford. The ground and weather was fantastic!!! Well done Team Isleham!! So a great weekend...lets hope we can keep it up! Thanks to the wonderful team that came with me and stayed at home too and the wonderful friends and family that came to support!!
2012 has been quite a year for me and the horses. I never thought I would be able to say that I had completed Burghley CCI**** with a clear round cross country, qualified for Badminton and been the most successful BE90/BE100 rider of the year. As a kid the idea of being a successful event rider seemed so easy and the reality has been a road littered with hard work, enormous dissapointments, set backs, knocks and injuries to overcome over a number of years. My ego throughout has been massaged and destroyed in suprisingly regular swathes and the phrase 'its character building' has been uttered on more occasions than I care to mention. This has made this year all the more satisfying. But the people uttering such grounded words are my supporters who have been there at the best moments throughout, but more importantly the worst ones, helping me on my way.... and how brilliant they are.
Without such amazing support from such fabulous people I wouldn't be able to do this, financially, physically or mentally. You all know who you are and I thank you for all your support and encouragement. I think as a unit we as a team have enjoyed a fantastic year, having so much fun and a fair bit of success throughout despite the difficult weather conditions. Our move to the Fosters at Tilton on the Hill has been a brilliant one and I am enjoying every minute of being there. I have enjoyed riding for up to twenty two owners this year and every one has been brilliant and I have enjoyed riding for each and every one of you...amazinlgy, I'm not lying!! I'm not sure there are many riders who can say that, so I feel very spoilt on this front! Without all the back up team of owners, grooms, supporters, farriers, dentists and sponsors I could not do this fantastic job so thank you and I will try my best to make you all proud in 2013!
Happy New Year
Well what a journey it is to Pau! We set off Saturday evening, myself Boz and Georgie...having had a busy day with packing very early for Pau, cubbing, then eventing at Norton Disney before departure. Staying at Julian Stillers place was quite something! Such amazing facilities and the most amazing lorry which we very luckily were to continue our journey in. We left Jules' at 5am Sunday and caught the ferry from Portsmouth to Caen which took a good seven hours, before driving 5 hours to Poitier, where the horses stabled overnight, before the final 5.5 hour push to get here by lunch time yesterday (Monday). The event is super. Great facilities (apart from lack of toilet role...luckily we bought our own) and it feels reassuringly foreign to have palm trees by the lorry park! Boz travelled really well and is very excited to be here...our hacks have been a little wild and he keeps rolling in the muddiest patches when out grazing, much to Georgies disgust!!!! We're stabled next to the great Mary King with William Fox Pitt the next one down so I'm trying hard to remain unintimidated. Boz is now having a haircut, then some dressage training this afternoon. Andrew Nicholson arrived this morning, looking in determined mood, poor Joe Wise broke down on route, but got here eventually. I'll keep you updated of the goings on here at Pau, so check back soon! Take care,
We have just returned from the most amazing week of my life so far competing at the Landrover Burghley Horse Trials. My ride was Cornacrew (Bozzie) and we had an awesome time. Boz, myself and my beloved dog Twiggy arrived on Tuesday and set up camp with Georgie Jelfs grooming and the usual gang there to support!
With lots of free goodies to open, not to mention the fabulous park to ride around, I was having a ball already. Boz loves staying away and he settled in very well and is always so nosey as to whats going on. He is into everything!! Wednesday bought the dreaded trot up. Merel Blom was eliminated here just before we went in, but thankfully we passed with flying colours.
With that over and done with it was time to focus on some dressage. Terry Boon has been helping us for a couiple of years now and came to help for the week. He was brilliant and Bozzie and especially I gained alot of condidence from him being there. Our test was on Thursday at lunchtime so I hoped it would not be too atmospheric for us. We warmed up really well, but as we both went in the arena I felt him tense up which in turn made me tense up, and therefore we took a couple of movements before we got into our flow. Despite a rather tense pirouette and a buck in one of our flying changes I was pleased with our efforts and we scored an adequate 61.2 which had us relativley well placed at the end of day one. It was such a thrill to be in THE Burghley arena and a somewhat surreal experience. I had dreamed of that moment for the last 22 years and to experience it was something very special and that I will treasure for the rest of my days!
The one thing you can guarantee at Burghley is that the cross country will be big. This year was no exception with every fence bar fence one posing a challenge, whether it be in technicality, bravery or shear size.
we shifted down the order on Friday owing to some amazing tests, and somewhat better weather! I was otherwise engaged on Friday in the Young Event Horse ring where I had three rides. The very green Prinses was very green, but Frank Diamond and Cekatinka went really well to finish third and sixth respectivley. Cekatinka won best mare and I had a very busy time which took my mind off what was to come, not to mention getting my eye in a bit!!
Jeanette Brakewell kindly walked the course with me on Friday night which was brilliant and such a help. She is one of the all time greats and a thouroughly good egg!! I have to admit I did not sleep that well on Friday night, but was so excited on Saturday morning. I took Boz for a hack in the morning, watched a couple of the first horses to go and after what felt like years it was time to get on and get warmed up. The adrenalin was seriously pumping by this point and I was really looking forward to it. Once out of the start box we settled into our steady rythmn. I was aware I did not want him to tire towards the end and wanted to look after him, whilst also still trying to be attacking. I had the most amazing time out there. Bozzie is a superb jumper and just ate up the course. His bravery and sensible 'can do' attitude make him a pleasure to ride. Our only really hairy moment was at the Rolex combination where we misjudged the first skinny and had to go long at the last minute, wasting valuable time. We were held at about half way just before the infamous Cottesmore Leap owing to a fence repair. This refreshed him and he finished brilliantly and full of running. To ride that course was a dream come true and I feel so honoured to have had the opportunitiy on such a special horse! A clear round at Burghley is something that I will never forget! Thank you my trusty friend Boris!! The course caused huge amounts of trouble which was spread around the whole track and there were not many finishers!!
Owing to our time faults, we were a little down the order after cross country and jumped in the morning for showjumping. Three down did not reflect on his jumping as he went very well, and as it turned out three down seemed to be the average over a very tricky track. To recieve our completion rossette was fantastic and I am still on a high now, although its back to it with horses now running at Keysoe and Burnham Market. Hopefully the Bozzies of tomorrow!!! In the mean time Bozzie is back to what he love best, eating and ....
Thank you my special friend!!!
Well, we have been trying to dodge the rain, but despite the inevitable cancellations we have managed to get the horses out...and winning! Minime III and Chatty(left) got a run at the wet Catton Park where I was fortunate enough to come first on Mini with Chatty not far behind in the Open Novice. Both performed good tests and jumped their socks off. They're really nice horses and I'm really excited about the future with them. With events being cancelled left right and centre we have braved a couple of showjumping shows, and Oliver has been the star of the yard, winning Arena eventing at Vale View and the Newcomers at Keysoe. He is such fun to jump and I really feel we have forged a good partnership now! The others have been good too, although it is always a bit boring jumping non competitively on a ticket!! Bullards Pale Ale (Below) jumped brilliantly at Vale View Arena eventing to finish second out of about 60 starters. She is a cracking mare and will make someone a really good horse, as sadly for us she is for sale. We're hoping to get her out Novice eventing soon..weather dependant!!
We have a new sponsor. Equibright is an exciting new type of bedding, dust extracted and made of wood and straw fibre. It is unique, in that it has compressed clumps which release fresh bedding as the bed is disturbed when mucking out and when the horses walk on it. Tula has been using this bedding for some time now and we find it very manageable, clean and absorbent. It beds down extreemly well and and Tula looks ever so cosy which is the most important thing!! Find out more at www.equibright.co.uk, or get in con. We have been out and about with the horses, and new addition Bullards Pale Ale otherwise known as Ali, owned by the lovely Tania and Caroline Bullard has been excelling herself, finishing second in her first BE100 at Little Downham. Minime III was third at Draycott and the others have been ticking along nicley. Tommy Steel finished a brilliant second in the 4 Year old BE90 at Brand Hall, a lovely event and we have been trying to avoid the bad weather, and not allow a couple of cancellations to dampen our spirits! Catton Park this weekend with six horses and the addition of new Working Pupil Nicky Polson riding as well means it's going to be an exciting weekend!!
Simon Grieve - rider, groom and general dogsbody!