Cold weather and a broken leg are probably not a great combination, and the first five weeks of my recovery just seemed like hard work. The only person who really enjoyed me lying on the sofa with my leg up for half the day was Twiglet. In retrospect I can certainly say I did too much too soon, including riding at four weeks, which just left me tired and sore.
Homer had a well-deserved, but very unappreciated few weeks in the field with a friend, and with some really good help and lots of lunging we managed to keep the girls ticking over, and Shane Breen kindly gave Emma and Ferro a jump before he went to Vilamoura for the Atlantic Tour five weeks. It was lovely to see them jumping so well, especially as I haven’t seen anyone else jump Ferro for four years.
I managed another morning of teaching the Old Surrey & Burstow Pony Club in half term. My enthusiasm was somewhat dampened by the fact that it was snowing when I got up, and started to look like a blizzard as I arrived at Felbridge. However, I had 12 really rewarding pupils. All the riders were enthusiastic, listened, tried really hard and were brilliant at keeping themselves on the move. By the end of each session, mostly by reiterating the principles of good corners, getting straight and keeping a good canter, two very different groups of very different ages were jumping a course in a most professional way
The real turn round in my recovery was kick started by a week in Antigua at the beginning of March. Sunshine and swimming made me feel so much better and stronger, and definitely helped me cope with the weather on our return. I went from wearing a bikini to full thermals in 24 hours as we were completely snowed in.
I had my yearly trip to the National Hunt Festival at Cheltenham: as always a fantastic day’s racing, and this year a very good test of my leg. The hill at Cheltenham is not confined to the course itself, and you have to watch how you go even when you are perfectly sound.
Since then it has been full speed ahead with physio, fitness training and riding. The horses all seem in great form and I have been gradually building up my jumping. I have been swimming for fitness and strength and am about to add cycling and the cross-trainer, and have been doing my physio exercises to get more flexibility in my poor damaged ligaments which were not helped by four weeks in a cast.
A good test of my progress was a lesson on all three girls with Shane Breen yesterday. The horses jumped really well, and I felt very nearly back to normal and although I felt a bit tired this morning the leg has loosened up well with riding. Although I feel a little bit more shaky than normal if the horses are a bit sharp, I seem to be brave enough when jumping and am happy to ride forward to a stride. I haven’t been jumping very big at home, so I was good to jump some bigger fences yesterday, and some good lines and distances.
I had bravely entered for Windsor, which doesn’t seem quite so ambitious now, and hopefully will contest the national classes at the Chepstow CSI** the week before Windsor and then Bolesworth Castle before the Hickstead Derby meeting. Time is flying by but I hope to have all three horses at their first show since January this weekend.