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Looking forward to 2021!

It’s that time of year again where I have a year end catch up with our sponsored rider, Eilidh Costelloe. It’s the third time we’ve sat down for a chat, through that’s about the only thing that’s the same. After all, neither of us could have ever expected to be having a conversation like this, because neither of us could have anticipated what 2020 would bring – when the world would turn on its axis and we would be facing unprecedented changes to our lives. It’s hard to process just what we have been through this year. Perhaps we won’t process it, either personally or collectively as a society, for a long, long time to come. Even more so that we are facing much tighter restrictions again come Boxing Day. 

At the start of the year, none of us had ever heard of the word ‘social distancing’ (I will be glad of the day when we don’t have to hear it again! 😫) None of us wore masks to the shops and we didn’t have a tequila perfumed cloud of sanitiser constantly surrounding our person (unless maybe we’d been on a big night out and woke up the next day oozing alcohol from our pores 😂) Those days seems so far in the distant past now.

The world is still so uncertain. The future still unknown. But all we can do is keep moving forward. Keep taking one day at a time. And keep enjoying our beloved four-leggeds. What would we have done without them this year…..? 

Here Eilidh tells us about her fears as a business owner, how her goals and training changed, and her hopes for the future. 

Wow Eilidh, where to start? Neither of us could have ever imagined the conversations we would be having at the end of this year! 

How did you feel when we went into lockdown back in March? What was your biggest fear? 

Lockdown, the word of 2020!  I guess just like everyone else felt at that time, hoping it wouldn’t last long and in a few months time we would be back to normal, little did we think almost a year later we would still be in the same situation! I had the horses all fit and ready to start eventing, but quickly realised that wasn’t happening in a hurry! I also felt the pressure to try and make the right decisions as a yard owner too, on how best to handle the situation. That was my biggest fear, making a wrong move as a business owner. My dog had just had a litter of puppies so part of me felt a bit of relief that I wasn’t away every weekend so I could enjoy having the puppies and that really helped the lockdown boredom, playing with puppies in the garden with the lovely weather we were having at the time. 

Look at those gorgeous puppers!!! 😍😍😍

How did your goals/mindset change? 

My goals changed a lot. I hoped to travel to Germany in June to compete in Lumuhlen 5*. Without any of my prep runs in April and May, I started to see that goal disappear. But I didn’t feel overly disappointed or pressured to make new plans, as the uncertainty just made it impossible to plan anything. I don’t remember feeling frustrated, probably because everyone was in the same boat so it wasn’t as if I was missing out! I just made the most of the time, doing yard improvements and spending quality time with the young horses, while giving the more experienced horses an easier time. Also just being thankful the business stayed busy and we all stayed healthy. Long may that continue. 

Eilidh spending time with her youngsters at home 

How did you have to adapt the routines of your competition horses? 

The horses routine changed for sure, I stopped doing any fast work as they didn’t need to be event fit for the foreseeable. I hacked and just enjoyed less structure to their working week. I think they enjoyed it too! I even turned my 6yr old away, decided he hadn’t had much of a break since he was broken in. The 4yr olds enjoyed a lot of attention over the summer bringing them on quicker than I would normally have time for. 

What was your biggest challenge? 

Biggest challenge… tbh I can’t think of any. I count myself lucky compared to a lot of people. With lots of people I know losing their jobs, losing a relative to Covid or being stuck in a small house in the city with no outside space. I counted myself very lucky to have to go to work every day for the horses and living in the countryside. 

What was your biggest achievement? 

I did get out to a few events in the latter part of the season having some good runs. Most notably a great ride around the Burgham 4* track with Buddy. He felt fantastic and no worse off for the delayed start to his season!  Another achievement was designing a website for the business – been on the to do list for years! Check it out…http://www.eilidh costelloe.com

What have you learnt from this year? 

I have learned how important sleep is! I always functioned on minimal sleep, working long days, eventing every weekend and the odd social, left little time for a good nights sleep. This year has seen little of the above and I feel much better and healthier for it. (Or it could just be age related! 🤔) The break has done me good!! 

The puppers weren’t the only ones catching up on their sleep! 😴 

What are your plans/hopes for 2021? 

I was really looking forward to 2021 and started planning all the events with the event calendar now released. But this latest lockdown and January not looking much better, won’t get us off to a great start with lack of January training shows etc. However, if we get to start as planned, I hope to travel to Germany in June to compete in the 5* again. The younger horses will all be aimed at the age classes and nationals at the end of the year. 

How is our favourite big guy Buddy doing? 

Buddy is fab, feeling great! He has been doing bits of training and had little holidays in between, keeping him ticking over and happy. 

How are your baby ponies and homebreds progressing? 

All the youngsters are great. I have two 4 turning 5yr olds that I’m excited about. I have sold a couple of shares in each, which will be great fun to have their owners follow them at the events and enjoy following their journey as much as I do. If anybody is interested in a ‘leg’ of an event horse it can be really affordable and a fun way to be involved the the sport, without the overall costs or commitment. Even just being an owner for a year is an option. Give me a shout!! 

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and all be it sedate New Year, fingers crossed for a more ‘happening’ 2021 for everyone!! Oh and I sent my husband to Country Ways for my Christmas pressie, I highly recommend this as the lovely CW’s girls definitely pointed him in the right direction!! 😝🎁🥂😘

A big thank you as always to Eilidh for taking the time to chat. Here’s hoping our next catch up is more like our old ones 🤞🙏

Stay safe everyone and wishing you all a very happy (and safe) New Year 🎄❤️

Lynne x 

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To Better Days…

Wow. How are we all doing?! It feels like an age since l wrote the last blog. Indeed it might have been an ice age for all I know, because time seems to move in some weird parallel Corona universe just now. Most of the time I have to remind myself what day of the week it really is and weekends don’t actually exist as a real thing anymore. Not the way they used to anyway. Easing of lockdown feels like looking at a mirage of a past life. You can glimpse the wavy outline of it, but it’s still a long way off in the distance. Even more so with Aberdeen city having to go back in to lockdown. Like a weary traveller finally quenching their thirst with a few drops of water, only to have the bottle snatched away again. Sometimes I find it hard to remember what life was like before the world shifted monumentally on it’s axis. The spectre of Covid still looms large whatever we do, casting it’s shadow over every aspect of our lives. A miasma over our memories, clouding our ability to recall how things used to be. How things used to feel.

The only place where I really feel myself is at my livery yard with my horse. In all honesty, I don’t know what I would have done without it. Having Leo gave me a purpose to my day, a focus and a structure when I needed it most. It gave me a reason to get up and out of the house when I would have been in danger of languishing in my own torpour otherwise. I was furloughed from my role here at Country Ways and working from home in my other job. And as us horsey folk know, we are used to being busy. Very busy. On the go all the time. We don’t do well sitting around. Especially indoors. At home. It was a huge adjustment and a major shock to the system. But still being able to see Leo and continue riding was for me, and I’m sure for many others, a mental health safety net. I have no idea how I would have coped without it. My two hour slot became a sanctuary, a small slice of normality where I could feel myself.

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From the outset I decided to take all the pressure off. After all, there were no competitions to train for and no lessons running. I didn’t even put my dressage saddle on for weeks. And when I stopped putting myself under so much pressure, everything mysteriously went so much better! Magic eh?! 😜 (My coach will definitely laugh at that! 😂) Now when I say pressure, I don’t mean the kind of pressure that comes from being a top rider out competing every weekend. I am very much an amateur hobby rider! But I mean the kind of pressure that we all put on ourselves to be better. If you are a perfectionist like me (as so many of us horsey folk are!) then nothing is ever good enough. I always find that we are supremely tough on ourselves. And we really should cut ourselves some slack. Because this sport is tough enough. And we run the risk of robbing the joy of it from ourselves. Lockdown meant that for the first time ever, I just had to enjoy Leo for Leo. In that moment, because that’s all there was. It was the ultimate exercise in mindfulness. And it’s no coincidence that he ended up going better than ever. It served as a real eye opener for me and made me really reassess my priorities. I realised with a depth I hadn’t understood before how lucky I am, and what a privilege it is that these animals allow us to indulge our hopes, our dreams, our passion, through them. My time in the saddle became the greatest gift of escapism when I needed it most.

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Though I won’t pretend it was always a profoundly mindful experience. Sometimes things went the other way and I had zero motivation to do anything. When you have nothing to aim for, the drive can disappear. On those days I felt so ‘meh’. Everything seemed an effort and I just wanted to sit in my pyjamas, eat chocolate and binge on Netflix. I would also quite happily never do another Zoom call again in my life. I guess that’s the nature of the rollercoaster we are on just now. All we can do is hold on tight through the lows and catch our breath when we start to edge up that climb again.

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I am incredibly fortunate in both my horse and my livery yard, Aberdeen Riding Club. Leo is ridiculously funny and daft, but also incredibly kind. A wonderful combination for putting a smile on your face 😄

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And ARC is, quite simply, remarkable. Sally and her team continue to work tirelessly at every stage of lockdown to make sure the very real mental effects of being deprived of horse time and lessons can be mitigated as much as possible. Not easy when Scottish government guidelines on coaching have been so confusing and disappointing. And the effects aren’t just mental. They are of course financial as well and there are some riding schools and individual coaches that might not survive this crisis.

As we look to the future, who knows what that holds to be honest? All I can tell you is that I hope it involves standing in grassy fields chatting in long queues at chip vans waiting for bacon butties! Early morning coffees for those crack of dawn starts on competition day! BBQ’s and drinks around lorries and trailers with makeshift marquees! Oh horsey summers how I have missed you this year. And not least of all because this month most of us would have been heading for our annual trip to Blair. How I wish I could rock that marquee with my supreme dance moves and outstanding singing voice 😂

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In the meantime, I’m back in the shop and it’s been awesome to see some of you back! 😍 It helps to lift the current miasma and reminds me of how much I love to hear about your horses and how everyone is doing. It reminds me that we are still one big horsey family and that we are navigating our way through this like we do everything else; together. Though we may not all be in the same boat, we are in the same storm. Let’s just hope we can start to paddle further beyond the shore soon.

Lynne x

In dark times…

I’ve been mulling over what to write about for the blog. And while I plan to keep writing posts, not only so we have something else to read about, but also as an all-important means of maintaining a connection, I wanted to address how I, and I’m sure most of us, are feeling right now.  Because, like everyone, I am feeling more than a little sad and scared. I actually started writing this post last week, but things have changed so quickly and so often, that I’ve had to redraft it more than once. Not a problem. I love writing. It’s my passion and it’s something that (mostly) comes pretty easily to me. Trying to articulate how we are all feeling just now though has been much harder. And I can only try. It is my hope that it can offer some comfort and support in knowing we are all in this together. That we are not alone. Here goes…

For the last week or so, I’ve had a Harry Potter quote replaying over and over in my mind. Now this isn’t necessarily unusual, given how big a Harry Potter fan I am 😉 But if you are unfamiliar with it (then shame on you, educate yourself for goodness sake 😜), the quote comes from a scene where the Minister for Magic is addressing the wizarding community in the wake of the world’s evilest wizard trying to overthrow society and all that is good within it. The Minister begins by addressing the people thus:

These are dark times, there is no denying. Our world has perhaps faced no greater threat than it does today”.

‘These are dark times’. It’s stuck in a loop in my mind at the moment. I have no doubt we are all feeling the same way. And I thought by writing about it, we might get a sense that we are not alone in this. Because it is big and it is scary. As humans we are innately hardwired to control our surroundings. It’s how we ensure our survival. And so when so much is out of our control, and the jigsaw pieces of our life no longer fit together, we struggle. We struggle to not go to work, to not see our friends, our family, and for us horsey humans, not to be able to do the sport we love. Because of course for us, one of our biggest fears is whether we will be able to see our horses and keep riding. Even if we can’t compete for months. We can get over that. But as long as we can still see them. And that’s probably hard for a non-horsey person to understand.

They are just a pet after all right? But we know they are so much more. They are our sanity. Our salvation. The bond we have with them speaks to us on a deep, unconscious level. It connects us with our soul. With who we really are. And in a world of chaos, that is a stabilising force. An anchor. Like breathing. And when we are all so scared of being washed away, that anchor tightens and pulls more than ever.

I have seen this anchor at work first hand at my own livery yard and riding club, Aberdeen Riding Club (ARC). Never have I been prouder to be part of a club that does everything in its power to keep providing us with horse time. Within the constantly shifting landscape of government guidelines, it responds and adapts. Always adhering to the guidelines, while at the same time using bucketloads of initiative and hard work to facilitate time with our horses. Sally (the boss lady) and her team understand better than most the value to our mental wellbeing of spending time with horses. It’s the club’s raison d’être. It’s why they work so hard to make riding accessible to everyone. And I mean everyone.

We are sociable creatures by nature too. We need input from others to feel safe. To feel loved. To feel connected. Social distancing and self-isolation are not in our nature. We wouldn’t survive long as a species on our own. It’s hardwired in us to seek out others. To find safety in numbers.  And I think that’s one of the biggest fears we have at the moment too. The social isolation that comes from being cut off from not only our horses, but from the friends who come with them. The horsey community, as well all know, is a tight one. We are part of a big extended family, we all know each other one way or another. We spend more time with our ‘barn friends’ (to paraphrase my American friend), than we do most of our other friends. Horses are all consuming. They take up so much of our time that there isn’t much left over for anything or anyone else. It’s why we end up so close with the people we livery with. They are the people we often spend most of our time with. And we all know how time at the yard seems to go at a different speed. That ‘I’ll only be an hour’, actually means you’ll probably be at least 4. Time seems to operate on a different continuum at the yard. How many times have you caught yourself looking at your watch and thinking ‘god how can that be the time?! After you only meant to sit down for 2 minutes, then ended up having a coffee and a chat and a wander (this is especially true for me – as anyone who knows me will know! 🤣) Our ‘yard time’ is an escape from the stresses and strains of daily life. At ARC we call it ‘the bubble’. A protective layer from the outside world. The fact that it’s the only place where I have actually felt normal at all lately is testimony to this. I need not even explain how it feels to be in the saddle.

So while we naturally feel vulnerable with everything that is happening at the moment, we need to remember that we already have everything in place to be the most incredible support system to each other because this is what we do anyway! We celebrate each other’s triumphs and commiserate in our failures. We are well rehearsed in this! We are good at this! And though it may look a little different than we are used to, these support systems do not simply disappear. If anything, this is when they really kick in. So get the House Party app downloaded, make the WhatsApp chat, get FaceTime on the go. At ARC, Sally has invested in video conferencing equipment, as well as filming daily stable management videos that can be accessed anywhere by those stuck at home, so that all the club’s members can still feel connected. I’ve been watching them and they really do help! (not least because I am now becoming aware of all the bad habits I have picked up over the years! 🤣) Beyond this, they also offered help and support to the wider Culter community (not just the ones with horses!) Offering support to the elderly and vulnerable, to be a drop off and collection point for groceries, or offering to phone people just for a chat if needed. Everywhere you look just now, there are so many examples of kindness, big and small, so many acts of humanity in the face of this crisis. In a weird way, despite the physical isolation, we are more emotionally connected to each other than we ever have been. We have a renowned sense of compassion and care for each other.

And this is something we are going to need plenty of. Because as of today, a lot of people are now facing the unprecedented prospect of not being able to see their horses at all as their yards go on complete lockdown. It’s a scenario almost impossible for us to comprehend in its surrealism. As if someone ripped the carpet out from under your feet, the impact so visceral that it feels like a sucker punch to the gut. A screenplay of ‘what if’s’ racing through our minds. Because no one knows our horses better than we do. All their subtle quirks and intricacies. Their many likes and dislikes. I know my boy likes a carrot when he is caught in and then one again when he is turned back out. I know the scratchy spot on his tummy. I know he is a lazy mud monster most of the time and his favourite past time is to stand and eat yummy haylage with his pals. But I also know he is a horse and he will be fine. It will be us who fret and worry. It’s us who are largely the neurotic ones and it’s them who put up with it (it’s what makes them such good therapists!) I know that whether your livery yard is on full lockdown at the moment or working a rota system with all the concurrent protocols, there are going to be incredible staff and amazing friends working together tirelessly to carry on looking after them. And I also know that horses, if nothing else, make us resilient. The sport is tough and we are tough and friendships are fierce because of it. We will get each other through this too. And, when we come out the other side, by god we are going to have one hell of a party. Because we all know us horsey folk are fierce drinkers too! 🤣

I’m lucky to have just come back from my allocated slot where I get to see Leo. The yard, normally a centre of hubbub and noise, had an eerie quiet and stillness about it. But, as hard as all this is, we know why we have to do this, and why it is so imperative. We will save lives this way. And we will never take the same things for granted ever again. Not least of all our horses.

As I sign off tonight, I want to leave you with another Harry Potter quote. This time from Albus Dumbledore. And if you don’t know him, then we really can’t be friends 😜

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light”. 

Stay safe.

L.C x

The Next Level in Rider Safety

MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and up until recently, I had never heard of it, which is surprising because the technology has been around for some time now and is an established safety feature in cycling and skiing helmets. Indeed the more I learn about it, the more surprised I am that it’s taken so long for MIPS to filter into the equestrian world (but then I suppose a sport that relies so much on the premise of tradition doesn’t always lend itself naturally to change!)

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Research began in the late 1990’s by leading Swedish brain surgeons and scientists looking to design a helmet that could reduce the rotational forces that can result from certain impacts. Now, clearly I am not a brain surgeon 😂 So bear with me while I try and explain the science behind the technology! The key concept that differs is the idea of mitigating against rotational force, as opposed to force from a blunt impact. Accident statistics show that the most common injuries occur where an angled impact causes rotation of the head and brain (so when the brain is jiggled around in our head, as opposed to a single blunt force). Think of a jam jar full of water. You swirl the water around and around and then put it down. The jar then acts as a stabilising force to diffuse the movement of the water. MIPS essentially acts as the jam jar by seeking to mimic the brain’s own built-in protection system. Two layers inside the helmet rotate against each other, allowing the helmet to slide under angled impact and reduce the impact of rotational force (essentially protecting the water in the jam jar from being shaken too aggressively).

What it also does is replicate the action of our scalp. During a fall, the scalp helps to dissipate energy from an impact by stretching. But the scalp only has so much stretch in it and once it reaches its stretch limit, the brain will continue its movement, causing damage. A MIPS liner seeks to increase that stretch limit and mitigate against the likelihood of brain injuries. For example, the MIPS Charles Owen helmets increase stretch movement from 12 to 24mm and the technology is now incorporated in the Charles Owen My PS peaked helmet and the MS1 Pro jockey skull – both of which are now available at Country Ways.

mipsMIPS is a cause close to my heart (or perhaps I should say head!) I know all about sustaining a serious head injury and the life-changing impact it can have. I wish now I had been wearing a MIPS helmet when I had my accident, but I fell head first down the stairs in my house and honestly who can say they would ever think to wear a hat in their own house?! A fedora perhaps if you were feeling fancy, but the chances of you having an actual helmet on would be slim to none! The chance of having one on when you are riding are 100% however (or at least they should be). And whilst you can never guarantee the outcome of an accident, you can take steps to reduce the potential damage. 

Testing of MIPS helmets has shown marked improvement in the type of falls that you would see at speed, typically seen in disciplines that include cantering or galloping. And because the technology is inside the helmet, a MIPS hat looks the same as any other. It feels the same too (having tried a few on myself!) Some people have asked whether the helmet will feel like its slipping around on their head when they are wearing it. But because the MIPS liner system only kicks in at high speed, it’s only going to do its job (ie stretch and move) when it needs to. And that’s when you are having a fall at speed. And that’s when you want it to work!

If you’d like to find out more about MIPS, then pop in past Country Ways. We are hosting a’ Get set for the season and rider safety’ event this weekend with 10% off your purchases. With free fittings for all hat and body protectors and a free Charles Owen hat bag with any Charles Owen hat purchased*.

LC

 

 

*Whilst stocks last. Offer excludes Samshield, sale items, gift vouchers and some other items. See our website for detials.

The Journey to 5*

Our roving reporter, Lynne Clark, rounds up an exciting year with our sponsored rider, Eilidh Costelloe.

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So it’s that time of year again when I get to catch up with Country Ways sponsored rider Eilidh Costelloe (though I can hardly believe another year has flown by already!) It’s always such a pleasure to chat with Eilidh, because not only is she super talented, she is also incredibly candid about her experiences. There is no pretence, no bluff and bluster. Just a humble honesty about the rollercoaster journey that is horses. Indeed whatever level we may be at, we all know horses can take us to the highest highs and the lowest lows. It would be easier for a professional rider to disguise the swings of the pendulum of horse ownership and competing, but in Eilidh, we get a refreshingly honest insight into the trials and tribulations of competing at the very highest level of eventing. 

This year, Eilidh went to her first 5*. I’ll say it again. FIVE. STAR. Because how awesome is that?! It’s an incredible achievement and one that only comes with a bucketload of talent, hard work, determination and a network of support from family, friends, coaches, specialists and sponsors. And of course, not forgetting a formidable equine powerhouse as your partner in crime – our favourite lionheart, Buddy.

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Here Eilidh talks about how it felt to go to her first 5* and the tough road it took to get there, the first year of running her own livery yard, the exciting new youngsters in her string and her plans for the future.

“Wow Eilidh, what a year it’s been for you! You said you wanted to complete a 5* before your 30th birthday, which you did! How did that feel?”

“Yes our first 5*, happy memories as I type this…. Well, I got to ‘compete’ at a 5* but not ‘complete’ after our early bath in the water jump!! Which sounds horrid however at 26c heat and the pressure of taking on a serious track, it was quite a refreshing end!!! Haha (finding a positive!!) In all honesty, I didn’t think it was going to happen as we had sooo many set backs this year. A tweaked check ligament made us start the season late, then when we did start at Richmond in May, we ended up in the vet hospital after Buddy inhaled some hay in the lorry on the way home and went into shock and then got pneumonia! Was a scary night! Sigh. A massive vet bill later but a horse that survived! None the less we made it to Bramham in June, which was an amazing experience and a seriously tough beefy track that took no prisoners! We completed and learned a lot. But once again Buddy decided we needed another scare and a vets bill and tied up at the event. So hooked up to the drips for an evening, pumped 200l of goodness through him and he was right as rain again!!! A couple more solid runs at Burgham and Blair 4* gave us the qualifications to enter our first 5*. Very exciting and very stressful trying to plan the trip to the south of France! So as everyone was winding down after the event season and the crap weather and dark nights were setting in, Buddy and I were doing hill work and fitness sessions right up till the end of October before heading out. It took 3 days to get there stopping off each night, he travelled well though and arrived happy and keen to get going. The event was relatively low key for being a 5*, nothing like Badminton or Burghley, even smaller than Blair. Which was perfect to keep us relaxed. We were stabled next door to Alex Bragg and Zagreb, Ros Canter and Tom McEwan – to name a few of the big wigs! We felt special!! The British team coaches, vets and physios were on hand all week providing support and guidance, which was invaluable to us. The dressage phase is our weakest and the pressure got to me a little and I didn’t ride well, we kept a lid on it though and got through!!! The XC was twisty, technical and big! Everything you would expect I guess. We rode through some combinations eating them up and some a little trickier. I made some mistakes but we kept going great guns until our fall in the water jump (4th and last water jump!!!) I was gutted to be 4 fences from home and to crash out. I just counted myself lucky that Buddy only required some stitches in his knees (another vets bill!!!) Unlike the poor Frenchman who lost his horse with the exact same fall 😞 All in all, an amazing experience and I can’t wait to give it a go again!!! My family and husband were an amazing support and I couldn’t have done it without them. And yes, two days before my 30th!!! Best present!!”

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Above: Eilidh’s husband Paddy gives us an idea of just how big the fences are at 5*!  Below: Eilidh and Buddy in action at Pau.

“What was this most important thing you did to prepare for the challenge?”

“The best preparation was myself mentally. I didn’t tell too many people I was going, to keep the pressure off myself. I told myself it was totally rideable and the fences were not going to be any bigger than what we have done before, so as not to make the event impossible in my head. I don’t cope well under too much pressure and perform at my best when relaxed and feeling confident”.

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Eilidh with her game face on after her mental preparation for the challenge (Buddy with his on too!) 💪

“Last time we spoke about the burgeoning success of many of your homebreds. How are they getting on and do you have any new additions you are particularly excited about? 

“The homebreds have had some success this season. Graffite my 6yr old did his first 2* at Burgham and absolutely romped round feeling amazing. A couple of nervous poles in the showjumping knocked us out of the top spots but he felt smart. May Day had a good start of the season at 2* then a niggiling splint meant he missed most of the summer but came back out in the autumn to do showjumping and has had a few wins to pay the diesel home! I have a couple of newbies coming through for next season which is exciting. One of which I’m hoping to sell shares in and form a syndicate (if anybody is interested in joining in the journey 😜)”.

 

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Eilidh and her ‘boys squad’ continuing their successes 🙌

“What was your favourite trot-up outfit you wore this season?”

“I’m so lucky to have Country Ways providing me with such fabulous outfits to wear at the big events. I loved my Pau outfit, the grey Barbour tweed cape and burgundy Hicks & Brown fedora and matching Fairfax & Favor boots. The whole outfit felt elegant, with a touch of Scottish flair for our trip abroad”.

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Eilidh and Buddy bring a touch of tartan to the trot-up at Pau. 

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Blues and whites with Hicks and Brown and Koy Clothing at Bramham

“Last time we spoke, Oldtown was still under construction and you hadn’t long opened for business. How has your first year been of running a livery yard?”

“Oldtown is coming along nicely, we have 8 lovely liveries and more stables are going in as we speak to have more room for my horses. We are continuing to finish and add new things all the time to keep improving facilities and in turn help the horses performance”.

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Oldtown continues to go from strength to strength

“What was your biggest high and also hardest low of your 2019 season, and what are your aims for 2020?”

“The biggest high would have been going 5* before I turned 30! And with my husband and family there to support. Biggest low, all those vet bills! And almost losing Buddy when he went into shock was a horrible experience. 2020 I’d like to give 5* a go again and try do better! No more qualifications required so the pressure is off!!! And just to enjoy the events and continue travelling around the country seeing new places and venues and meeting new people. I would also like to thank my sponsors, Country Ways, Devoucoux, Muck-Off and Dodson and Horell for their support this season and hopefully the coming seasons too”. 

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Happy New Year everyone!  L.C