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Monthly diary — January

Lucinda Green

Like many of you, I've struggled to ride due to snow and ice. Then, the day things thawed, Bill went lame – probably having trodden on a stone - and remained off work until the snow returned, when he was raring to go.

Finally last week, we started preparing for a day's hunting with Blackmore Vale. Worried about how little we had done, I was keen to work him. Despite thick fog, two days before the meet, we battled on until an orange dustbin loomed out of the swirling mist causing Bill to make a swift 180 degree turn, leaving me dangling by one spur.

Fortunately he waited for me to scrabble back into the plate. The next day, walking in on a loose rein after a full-on canter and jumping session in the school, his turbo spin returned for no apparent reason. This time a nearby fence saved me as I lurched to port. Later I looked at his hoof prints – there was just over 1ft between those going forward and the ones going backwards – perhaps Western would be his thing…

Despite the inauspicious build up, Bill flew out hunting. In two hours he leapt 25 fences with bravery, precision and total trust, giving me an amazing feeling. As long as he does his job that well, I'll put up with being flung off now and again.

Back home, I checked him over thoroughly and settled him, both of us happy and buzzing after a super short day. But on my return a few hours later, he was lame. Fearing a thorn in the pastern joint, 11pm saw us at the vet's. Luckily, though there had been a thorn, it wasn't in a sensitive position so my panic was over. Hopefully he'll be back on hunting form when I return from a horse safari in Kenya with my family and some lovely American clients – at least it will be sunny there…

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