Driving along the M4 on the way to Stonar School for our camp it was raining – as it had for pretty much every day this year. I’m almost certain the only days it didn’t rain, it snowed. You could understand my mood, therefore, wasn’t the greatest. I hate riding in the rain and don’t do it if I can help it.
As we arrived, the sun came out and, even if it didn’t stay out the whole time, at least the rain stayed away. We had lovely blue skies for a whole day and dry weather either side of that. Considering the weather we’d had beforehand, we couldn’t have asked for three better days while we were there. Sadly the waterlogged ground meant the cross country course was off limits but with some portable xc style jumps and some creative course building, we didn’t let that stop us being put through our cross country paces as well as sharpening up our show jumping and perfecting our dressage moves.
There were twenty of us there this year, nineteen riders and one just along (not) for the ride! We all enjoyed the fantastic facilities – a lovely indoor school with a very comfortable viewing gallery/coffee room and a large outdoor school with stadium seating split into a flat work arena and a jumping arena – and the excellent tuition from local instructors Sophie Dickinson, Anthony Perkins and Jill Holt.
Our accommodation in one of the boarding schools was cosy and comfortable, with a lovely common room for the evenings and some of us also made good use of the swimming pool. The horses seemed equally happy with their accommodation – large airy stables on an impeccable yard – even little Duggie, our camp mascot, who came along with his friend Delboy rather than being left home alone and could barely see over the door!
By the time we left, 48 hours after arriving, my mood was much improved. A few days in the sun, doing what you love with great friends, lovely horses, tasty food, beautiful countryside, excellent instructors, not to mention lots of chocolate, crisps and alcohol will do that for you.
Then, on the way home, it rained.