Update from our sponsored rider Sophie Spiteri
Well it's been quite a while since I last wrote a blog! Mainly because things have been manic at Gwernant HQ. Whoever decided that working a full-time job, doing a master’s degree and retraining several ex racehorses would be a good idea!
A lot has changed since I last updated you all so here goes! I'll start at the top. In February, I lost my beloved ex racehorse, Archie, after a 6-month battle with ongoing lameness. We found that he had torn some cartilage in his fetlock that was never going to repair itself. I had to make the heart wrenching decision to put him to sleep. Gut wrenching as it was, I knew this was the only option I had left for him after months and months of trips to the vets, various scans and nerve blocks, this was our final option. It was devastating blow to lose my beloved boy at the start of the season, but I feel it was the kindest decision for him. He was not a horse that enjoyed being out of work or stabled, so I had to do right by him and put my feelings aside.
The yard was very quiet for a few weeks and Silmi did his best to keep everyone smiling with his silly antics and strange faces.
Before Archie was put down, I'd made the decision to buy a horse that I could event this season so that I could keep getting out and about. Even if I hadn't had to have Archie put down, I knew he would never be able to event again. Que the arrival of Archfield Day Dreamer (Aka Twinkle). Twinx is a 16.2 Chestnut mare by the well-known, Wish Upon A Star stallion from Grantham Stud. She is a Trakehner stallion and her mother is a Thoroughbred. She is an incredibly talented mare and to say that she has taken some getting used to, would be the understatement of the century. Having ridden ex racehorses solidly for the last 10 years, I have found it difficult to ride something that has all the buttons in all the right places! We are now getting to grips with each other!
Next came a bit of a surprise in the shape of a 17.1hh HUGE thoroughbred called Big Bad Brian. I had decided that after losing Archie, I would enjoy Silmi but would take a break from the ROR's. Well, that decision lasted all of 3 weeks. I had a phone call out of the blue from a trainer in Ireland who had just come back from the races and had to find a home for a big gelding whose owners could no longer keep him. One sleepless night, a road trip to the ferry port and midnight pick up later, Brian had arrived on Welsh soil. Brian is the kindest, most easy-going creature I have ever met. Not only is he bold and beautiful, he is very talented. He completed his first ever one day event last month with me after having raced just 6 weeks before that. He is now enjoying a summer holiday out at grass to put on some weight and take on board everything he has learned since finishing racing. He will come back into work at the end of July where we hope to catch the end of the BE season.
Silmi is still, well, Silmi. He remains a pocket rocket that is enjoying a slightly slower pace of life after various traumas last year and old age catching up with him. He is thriving on the Multiflex gold and is really showing any signs of being a racehorse that's run over 70 races, that is now approaching 17! Shhh! He has somehow managed to qualify for the ROR national championships in August to be held at Aintree, so he won't be hanging up his show jumping boots just yet! More on this next month!