Martin’s Blog 29th January

Cheltenham’s off….how disappointing as James Best was in and schooled Witness Protection yesterday and both he and Ernie, who looks after & rides him out, are so happy with him but these things happen for a reason so they say! He’s declared for Catterick on Sunday now but that’s in doubt too …in the lap of the weather gods.

No runners this week and hardly any meetings on even if we’d wanted to, which we didn’t until tomorrow. On Tuesday Belinda and I took Mozzaro to Zara Tindall’s base near Minchinhampton for some flat work schooling and jumping too – all to help with his ongoing education. He’s been one of the most backward horses I’ve trained, not in a derogatory way but just a big baby who has taken so much time and thankfully has supportive owners who’ve allowed him that time. He’s had one run over hurdles in horrible heavy ground at Hereford and we look forward to running him on better ground whenever that happens!

Zara’s pleased with him so far and, whilst she’s not riding as she’s in the later stages of pregnancy, she’s very much in control of his education and has a good team working for her. She has a wealth of experience having represented Britain in the 2012 London Olympics winning Team Silver and also won the Eventing World Championship in 2006.

On the way home from Zara’s we knew we were going to pass Paul Davis’s house in Bourton on the Water and, as it was his birthday in Lockdown and we had Champion Court still in the lorry, as he’d travelled as Mozzaro’s companion, we surprised him by pulling up on the road with card from the team and a birthday cake! He was so pleased as he’s hardly seen a soul so far this year and it was great to see him so a huge Happy Birthday for Tuesday Paul!

Snow was forecast to arrive at 8am as the team arrive for morning stables and that is exactly what happened – quite bizarre! We are fortunate enough to have keen able local girls to help us at weekends which enables our small team to be able to have an extra weekend off so they now work every third weekend instead of every other weekend. Without the team of girls we’d simply not have enough helping hands and they have all been with us since at least last Summer so know what they are doing. Huge thanks to Jemima, Polly and Eliza Turner and Phoebe and Winnie Brazil – and their parents who help with lifts too!

Back to the snow and we made plenty of use of the huge hills we have around here and my buggy to tow the boys and their sledges! Proper old fashioned family fun – it almost felt like the Alps that we have all missed so much! The snow was still around on Monday so we had more fun on Monday afternoon! If Catterick is off the boys are keen for more sledging if the forecast is once again correct! Thankfully the snow this week went as quickly as it came so Snow all day Sunday and gone by Monday would be perfect!

Before the snow arrived though we had the excitement of the Cheltenham Football Club vs Manchester City match and the boys were beyond excited although Harry had a hard choice of which top to wear so settled on a Cheltenham Town shirt with a Man City training top too! A brilliant match with Cheltenham in front until about the 80th minute and then a shame they eventually lost 1-3 but they were rightly proud of their performance and they made City worry for quite some time!

Another week and we’ve survived it all … including home schooling! On that front the boys are keen, as I believe Margot Scudamore, one of Tom’s daughters is, for Boris Johnson to delay returning to school until at least after 22nd March…!



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