As I type this, the sun is actually shining through the window! The sun! SHINING! Happy days.
Firstly, an update on the patient. She’s getting very bored of box rest, and this is manifesting itself in some rude behaviour, including pushing me around the stable when I go in to change rugs or pick her feet out, and charging out of the stable when I take her out to muck her stable out. I can’t bring myself to tell her off, because she looks so gloomy, and giving me a good shove with her nose is the only form of entertainment she gets!
Her injury is looking really good, and has healed over beautifully. Debs, from Cinder Hill, removed the staples last week, and had to do it without sedating her as she is so frightened of needles, bless her. It looked flipping painful, and she waved her leg around a bit, but she was a superstar really and Debs was very pleased with how it was all looking. It was a bit swollen, but she said that that comes with the territory with tendon injuries. She showed me how to do the dressing, which I had to do every 3 days for 9 days, and then Kat came out this afternoon to check our progress. She said that she couldn’t believe how well the wound had healed – it has completely closed over – and said tendon damage would be assessed in a couple of weeks with a scan. Given that Scarlet seems pretty sound when she walks on the yard, this is a pretty good sign that the tendon is healing Excitingly, Scarlet can now be turned out onto the yard during the day to wander around, and I can egin walking her out in hand. Five minutes a day for a week, increasing by a further 5 minutes each week for 8 weeks. If that all goes well, we can think about ridden work!
So on the whole, it’s pretty awesome news, although I am gutted that we’re going to miss the eventing season.
Team Dragonfly went off to BETA International yesterday at the NEC in Birmingham. We love this annual trade fair, meeting and greeting old and new suppliers and manufacturers. They do great demos and have big name riders there as well, supporting the companies who sponsor them. We arrived at about 11am, and headed straight for the coffee bar, to revive ourselves after a 3 hour drive and figure out a game plan. My main aims for the day were to meet as many riders as possible, do lots of tweets and write a wish list of all the new stock that’s being brought out in the next twelve months.
This got off to a pretty good start – we were perusing the Westgate stand and spotted Francis Whittington! I promptly tweeted this ( I know, I’m *that* person) and was thrilled to get a response later in the afternoon! We then chatted to the Gatehouse rep, and tried on some of their hats. We promptly placed an order for their iconic silver HS1 helmets, and some of their gorgeous show jumping hats. Can’t wait to get those in next week, and put up lots of images in-store of Zara Phillips and Sir Mark Todd wearing theirs!
So we were off to a pretty solid start, and we headed over to the John Whitaker International stand, because Mum wants to stock their show-jumping saddles. After about ten minutes, I noticed an older gentleman walk on to the stand. I nudged Holly so hard she squeaked and whispered that the one and only JOHN WHITAKER had just turned up!!! She looked unimpressed, because she has only been “horsey” for the past three years or so, whereas I idolised riders like the Whitakers from the age of four. I have his autograph on a Union Jack flag from stalking him at Hickstead when I was thirteen! Along with Nick Skelton, Geoff Billington, William Funnell, Guy Williams... you get the picture. I then spent a further ten minutes dithering before Holly prodded me into action and, blushing furiously, I asked His Holiness for a photo, which he was very nice about and is probably used to 14 year olds asking for his picture all the time.
Unfortunately I’m 26 and that’s just a bit sad.
Mum, in the meantime, had been left unsupervised and as a result had placed a huge order for saddles...
So, we beat a hasty retreat and I gleefully pored over the photos of me and my mate John, but was a bit disappointed – in the first photo he was looking away from the camera in a slightly puzzled fashion, and in the second he was looking in the right place and I was gurning at something over Holly’s shoulder. I’ll still put them all over Facebook, Twitter and my blog, of course!
Next up we visited Neue Schule, Horseware, Verdo Bedding, and Griffin NuuMed before deciding it was time for lunch, where we found ourselves sat next to a chronic cougher... We missed Charlotte Dujardin’s meet and greet in the Demonstration Arena, which I was a bit gutted about – when we arrived they were interviewing Alistair Stewart, rather randomly. However, I cheered myself up with a trip to see our rep at Barnsby Saddles, Lisa. They won the BETA Innovation prize last year for their i-tree, and have been building up a lot of excitement and interest around the product since then. Barnsby sponsor some great riders, including Victoria Bax, who I’m sure lots of you follow on social media and does a fab job in retraining ex racehorses, and Laura Collett, who I basically want to be. Sadly I’m lacking in the talent and sponsorship department... Most excitingly of all, Barnsby sponsor Mary King, and she just happened to be on the stand at the same time as us!!! Again, I’m pretty sure I have her autograph stashed away somewhere as well, but we went one better this time and I got a photo with her She did a double take when she saw me and said, “Don’t I recognise you?” and I though, uh-oh, my stalking has gone too far! but I just stammered something about god knows what, and thrust the camera at the rep. Of course, now I wish I’d said, “Oh, maybe you saw my article in Horse & Hound last month?” and then I could have bored her to death about Scarlet and she would have said that she LOVED my article and would I please ghost her next autobiography, and perhaps I could go and stay with her in Devon and try out some of her horses, maybe even keep one as a thank you...? But I’m a goon and didn’t say any of that, and nor did she. So instead I have a photo of tall, slim Mary next to a short, blushing idiot.
That excitement over, we visited more stands, talked to more lovely reps and oohed and aahed over more exciting products. Kanyon’s MD was on their stand, and he talked to us about a really smart new short boot coming out, which is waterproof and warm but stylish with it. We caught the tail end of the MD of Charles Owen discussing hat safety, and giving retailers tips on how to cope with the people who buy hats online, and thus don’t bother to get them fitted, or WORSE, people who come in and get hats fitted and then go and buy them online from somewhere else! I’m sure you lot all know that hats HAVE to be fitted if they’re going to be any good at protecting your noggin, but we do get people in who don’t realise that all hats, even same makes and models, can vary in size and shape according to batch, so it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference if you “know” your hat size. Hat safety is not something to be scrimped on!
I then spotted Headstrong Equestrian, one of my social media buddies, and said hello and we had a quick chat about our horses. We’ve both suffered setbacks with our mares in terms of injury, and we both have similar ambitions in terms of bringing on green horses to event. She’s got a lovely young Welton mare, and has just bought an ex-racehorse who looks jolly nice – pop over and see how they’re getting on at her blog.
I then had to leave this wondrous place and drive home to put Scarlet to bed, but Mum and Holly stayed overnight, as they had appointments to see the likes of Toggi, Tredstep, Charles Owen, Champion, Fairfax (formerly Thorowgood) etc etc. So they will fill me in over the course of the week and if Scarlet hasn’t done anything interesting I’ll blog about that too!
PS. Speaking of Fairfax, their new Performance Girths (standard and dressage) are going incredibly well. Given their price point, I admit this has taken me by surprise, though there’s no denying it’s a brilliant and innovative product! Gift Horse Eventing has bought one and loves it, and we’ve sold a fair number in the shop and online... Who knew! We do offer a trial service for them, if you’re not convinced.
Written by Laura Paine From Dragonfly Saddlery And Pets