September started with back to school and a new start at Chesham Grammar.  It was a big change, not only a new school year and a new school but also I don’t now need to wear a school uniform.  And so it was an opportunity for shopping with  my mum and unusually for normal clothes for me not jodhpurs or something for Aslan!  While it is a big change, I’m loving CGS and am very happy with my subject choices too. 

No sooner was I back at school then I was off to Hartpury to be inducted for my Equestrian Diploma in Sporting Excellence. It was a fantastic day to be in Hartpury as it was also the start of freshers week with all the first year students turning up.  There was a real buzz about the place and Hartpury was like I have never seen it before, with swarms of students and emotional parents everywhere laden with duvets and boxes and boxes of kitchen stuff from Ikea!

My induction day at Hartpury for my Equestrian Diploma in Sporting Excellence 

My DiSE cohort combines Eventing and Dressage, but I will be sticking to Dressage for sure.  I met my mentor and assessor Claire Moir and the other twenty or so riders who are on the program.  I’m really looking forward to getting started properly and there are some really amazing day visits already planned, which I won’t spoil by sharing now it’s going to be pretty exciting.  The next session is during October half term when I also have Excel Squad training and a cross discipline day so it’s going to be a busy time.  The session in on foot again, but in February Aslan is going to be with me too which will feel more normal at Hartpury.

Training with Aslan this month was back to basics, focussed on continuing to build up to competition strength and fitness for both Aslan and me.  

We are now focussed on gaining the remaining 5 points I need to qualify for the Gold Winters at Myerscough having picked up 7 points in two outings at Widmer and Sparsholt before Bishop Burton.

I also had my second training session with Stephen Moore at the beginning of the month before he headed off with Erin to compete at The World Equestrian Games at Tyron in North Carolina and I’m really looking to working more with him when he gets back from WEG. 

Next up on the agenda was a a trip to the British Film Institue to an event organised by SportsAid and sponsors Royal Bank of Canada. Last year I met Eddie the Eagle Edwards at the same event when we watched the movie of his career and his participation in the 1988 Winter Olympics.  This year I knew we were due to watch Race which is the story of Jesse Owens and the 1936 Olympics in Munich but I didn’t know who was going to be there.

Time Lawler interviewing Dina X and Y at this years SportsAid Friday Night Film Club

This year there was a Q&A panel which included SportsAid Allumni and footballer Liah Williamson, pro squash player James Willstrop and the amazing athlete Dina Asher-Smith. It was really inspiring to listen to their experiences and particularly so from Dina as she has achieved all she done while also studying full time for a degree in History at Kings College London.  That’s some fine balancing of priorities to manage for sure and something I can definitely learn from.  It was really amazing to meet her.

Meeting Dina Asher-Smith at the SportsAid Friday Night Film Club at the British Film Institute 

While Aslan has been going from strength to strength through the summer it’s also been a bit without routine as we have moved yards and also with me being away on summer holidays and changing coaches too.  We’ve been trying to keep everything as normal as possible for Aslan but equally been looking at all options to make sure he is back to full fitness.

Aslan getting the works from Sherie – it made a massive difference to his way of going

This month included a visit from Equi-Senses Sherie Vicary-Carter.    Sherie focusses on the muscular and skeletal systems and uses myofacial trigger points to release muscular tensions and spasms.  Sherie was amazing and after a couple of days rest for Aslan after his workout with her I can honestly say he felt so relaxed and tension free.  It was truly amazing and he genuinely has felt fantastic since, so no more excuses the rest is down to me!

Should say 2* not 3* but next year…

Final day out to report on in September was a trip to Stoneleigh Park to receive my certificate for representing Great Britain from the Friends of British Dressage during the Summer Nationals Festival of Dressage.  It was cold, wet and windy just like last year but lovely to be invited and nice and dry in the marquee although I would have preferred to be competing in the Gold Summers earlier in the week.

That’s it for this month.  October will be a busy one with a trip back to Hartpury for the next session of my DiSE, Excel Squad Training, a cross discipline day at Solihull and back out for Winter Qualifiers which I am really looking forward to, having not competed since early summer.

Thanks for reading and I hope you come back to catch up with us then.

Ilse x.

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