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For the most part, our 2015 season has been incredible.  We have experienced some truly magical moments with some career highlights but also suffered the loss of a very dear horse. The spring season saw us fulfil a lifetimes ambition when we had the chance to compete at Badminton.  Entering that historical stable yard and riding into that prestigious parkland was made all the more special as it was with a homebred horse who I backed and produced myself and who I jointly own with good friends, Katie and Rosie.  The cherry on the top of the wonderful journey was driving home with our completion plaque and a happy, sound horse who tackled the worlds most famous event in fantastic style.  I'd struggle to find the words to describe how special an occasion this was but it was certainly the stuff of dreams...and a fair few tears of joy were shed! A couple of weeks after Badminton, we headed to France where Abs and Bug also did myself and their owners Margaret and Sheila, extremely proud by producing top class performances to be placed 6th and 18th in the CCI3*.  This result brought us onto the selectors radar and it was an honour to be entered for the European Championships at Blair as a reserve.  We didn't get the opportunity to actually compete there but we were asked to represent Great Britain in Waregem, Belgium as part of the Nations Cup team.  Abs totally lived up to his nickname 'Ab Fab Mr Abs' by winning the class! To win a Nations Cup 3* is a career highlight for us and produced another incredibly special moment when standing at the prize giving with our National Anthem being played.  Our pride swelled to bursting point at Burghley this year, when the truly remarkable Bug jumped a spectacular double clear.  This was his first 4* and around a track that many people described as 'the first 5* cross country course they'd seen' and yet he jumped around like the true professional that he is - he is a real champion and I have unlimited levels of respect for him. Other important members of the team, Anita Heathcote's beautiful 2* mare, Perdy and Emily Roser's lovely 1* horse, Lionel had a fun filled season and both posted some very good results at their respective levels. The real sadness was having to say goodbye to a really fabulous horse and a very dear friend.  Ollie sustained a serious injury competing at Bramham in the spring and still leaves a big hole in the yard and our hearts. I reflected on fond memories of him in a tribute that I wrote on my Facebook page.  Talking of writing, I enjoyed the opportunity of writing for Horse & Hound with online blogs in the lead up and whilst we were at Badminton and Burghley.  It was a lovely way to have a record of our build up and experiences at these iconic events plus it provided me the chance to take the time to reflect on everything and really appreciate it all. The slight disappointment of the year was that Piper was only able to compete at one event.  She has had a frustratingly tenacious bruised foot which has rumbled on all season and every time we thought it was getting better, it would develop another abscess.  Thankfully all X-rays and bone scans showed it's nothing more serious than a bruise that was struggling to heal when constantly weight bearing but some remedial farriery seems to now have broken the cycle so am enjoying having her back in work and am looking forward to her 4* debut next season. An extra challenge mid season was moving yards but it was all worth it as we now have the most phenomenal yard and the perfect place to be based and train our wonderful team of horses from.  The added and exciting bonus is we are now in a position to open our doors up to new owners/horses. (Click on 'facilities' to see some pictures) It really is a massive team effort and I can't thank all the people around me that have enabled us to be on this epic journey.  All of my wonderful owners who trust me to look after and compete their special horses - Anita Fergusson-Cunningham, Sheila Barker, Sheila Jones, Margaret and Emily Roser, Rosie Glaister and Katie Coventry.  My fantastic groom who's cared for the horses and me so well, Candice Payne. My vet Stuart Duncan, farriers Alan Smallpiece and James Williams, osteopath Pip Kershaw, trainers Chris Burton and Yogi Breisner, lovely landlords Andrew and Caroline Hunter, plus my incredible family and friends who've been there to share with and support me in the good times and the tough times...you know who you all are.      
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