Science Supplements Cup

Tuesday 5th May - Wednesday 6th May, 2020 #SSCup

Natalie Ireland: Spare time, what spare time?

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What else do I do? That’s a really good question! I don’t get much free time outside of the horses and work, so it’s a bit of a balancing act to fit in other activities and spending time with all of my friends and family. I do try and keep myself fit, especially in the run up to the competition, by getting out jogging when I find a spare 30 minutes. After all, I can’t expect to get Oscar fit and not myself. We’re also very lucky to live in the Lakes, which means we have beautiful walks right on the doorstep and when the weather suits we can get out with the dogs and enjoy some outstanding views. I’ve also been to the cinema a couple of times recently; despite not being a big film fanatic (films usually result in nap time). Beauty and the Beast was the last film we saw and it really was fantastic; I fully recommend seeing this film, especially if you’re a Disney fan.

With the horses we’ve been having a ball whilst getting as much preparation done as possible. As I already said, Oscar doesn’t get schooled a lot, but I am working on his fitness as this is harder for him these days! Saying that, he has not been acting his age at our pony parties…. At the end of March I competed at our British Riding Club Challenge areas on both Oscar and my other pony, Lady, where success came for Lady this time, when our team qualified for the champs at the end of May. May is going to be busy! My sister and I then took Oscar and Lady to a local beach to do some canter sets, whilst my Mum walked the dogs and we topped the visit off with some delicious ice cream. We have never been before, but it was so much fun; we will definitely be back. Then it was time for a trip to Somerford Park in Cheshire for a go round the farm ride before cross country schooling in preparation for British Eventing fixture Northallerton. Both ponies and riders had a lot of fun, with a lot learned and maybe a little too much exuberance on Oscar’s part!

I’m starting to feel prepared for the big day now. Oscar has been getting pampered, he’s had his teeth checked and a once over from the vet. We’ve also been lucky enough to receive support from a wonderful local physiotherapist who came to give him a treatment at the beginning of April. As per usual though, Oscar didn’t have any issues and feels great, typical of him and great for my peace of mind. I do keep getting asked for my secret to his soundness, but I’m sure if I knew that I’d be a millionaire by now.

It’s starting to get very real now that the entry is in and I’m getting final preparations arranged. I can’t wait to get down there and ride around on the same turf that the biggest names in our sport have galloped over. I think I’m most looking forward to galloping around the cross country and getting a picture in front of the prestigious Badminton house, but I may have to get back to you on that, once we’re safely over the finish line!