- 21st February 2017 by Rowen Barbary
Breaking bones to making dreams! - Sarah Tomkins
Hi all, hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, it's been a really long time since I wrote a blog as I don't like having nothing interesting to write and then when I do I'm too scared to let people know in case it all falls apart but I can't contain my excitement and I figured no one reads my blogs anyway so this is a test as well as me shouting it from the rooftops without anyone hearing. 2016 was going as smoothly as I could have wished for and we were entered into our first Advanced event at Little Downham with Neo. I was feeling really positive after having an amazingly easy double clear round my first 2* at Somerford Park International creeping from 72nd to 33rd very narrowly missing out on the highest climber prize. I was in tears with joy to have achieved my 2016 goal, he was absolutely amazing and I am so so lucky! After Somerford, I had my Advanced in sight but after just 3 runs Neo had dropped the weight he had started out with and kindly Rowen Barbary sent me 6 bags of a new unnamed feed including ingredients that must have been designed for Neo, the trail started really well, his sticky legs with slight mud fever had cleared up really quickly with only the feed that had changed and Neo was really enjoying his new mix. In the meantime both girlies went to Kelsall Hill to do their 2nd intermediate competition, I walked the course and liked the look of the challenge but didn't tell Mum and owner Maria that actually it looked quite tough and by far the biggest ask for Holly and Lulu... NOT that they noticed. Holly did a good test and Lulu an okay one, Lulu went through to jump a great clear round and Holly was feeling to cocky to leave the poles up but they both gave me an awesome ride cross country completely unfazed by any of it, Lulu came away with a 9th rosette! I also competed in the 90 with Brady and Joey both performed really well. Brady gaining 3rd and Joey 19th, we would have been 4th if he had not spotted the flags flying during our lovely clear showjumping round and I had to circle but not to worry I'm very excited about his future! SO THEN 6 days before Little Downham Advanced, I got kicked resulting in a broken ring figure and a smashed metacarpals. I tried to convince all involved that I would be fine strapped up but by day 5 my hand was the size of a boxing glove. Oswestry orthopaedics have been really good but I think my young surgeon was glad to see the back of me, I couldn't help but tease him and make a laugh out of something I wasn't particularly happy about. Luckily we have been very lucky with the weather so all horses went out 24/7 and schooling liveries all had to go home, not going to lie I enjoyed the break. I most definitely enjoyed our family holiday to Ireland visiting friends, our social gathering to the North Shropshire Hunt ball and my best friends hen party in Edinburgh, I have never had a social life like this especially without starting and finishing the day with mucking out. I started bringing horses back into work on 13th November, just hacking to start with building up their fitness and the strength in my arm and hand, lots of long and low trotting up the hills and they all felt great once they came back into the school at Christmas. At Christmas the pressure rose with an email from the European 2* team congratulating me on making it on to the long list for the team of 2017 heading to Holland, I was overwhelmed I had made it but gathered there was quite a lot of us so went about my training as normal. A later email was received where I learnt I was 1 of 23 riders on the long list from well over 100 applications, I was stunned this has been my all-time goal to represent GB but when you are a late starter and on a tight budget you realise it's never going to be easy... Time has ticked away quite quickly and my first assessment day for the GB Europeans is very fast approaching, my fellow long list team are all amazing sportspersons and I don't know how me and Neo have done it but we have and I plan to go all the way. I am watching Facebook and everyone is out British Showjumping and regularly competing, but I don't want to feel pressured, it's early in the season and me and Neo have a fab partnership so less is more, we have however done 2 British Dressage competitions at a medium level as I feel this is our weak spot but just on que last weekend he only went and WON his medium class. I hope everyone (that has read my post) can keep everything crossed for me on this immense journey. Today I have entered Stafford and Lincoln to kick start my season, not long now. Since Neo has been back in work he has been on his trial feed, now named... Condition & Performance... he is doing really really well on this mix and I plan on keeping him on this for the event season, highly recommended, he has gained weight, reduced the spooking and is going better than he has since I've owned him!