Spencer Sturmey - A Trip Down Under

18th November 2015

Preparations are underway

I started my long journey to Australia on Sunday as I am competing at the Wallaby Hills International Horse Trials (5 – 6 December) in New South Wales. The horse I'm riding at the competition is a lovely seven year old bay gelding called Playing The Field. He is owned by former individual GB Young Rider and a former pupil of mine Charlotte Littlefield. Charlotte is based in Melbourne and trains racehorses, so luckily Playing The Field is already in Australia and is acclimatised to the heat.

Training an event horse in Australia differs slightly to training them in England, the heat at this time of the year is already increasing and is in the very high 30’s and low 40’s. Playing The Field has been worked on the treadmill and has to have fans to maintain good airflow and keep him cool in the hot weather. Charlotte has also been cross country schooling with him as you can see from the photos and I'm really looking forward to riding him.

This is my first International competition on a borrowed horse and going without a horse or a lorry is quite strange and has made my packing interesting! Trying to fit my dressage boots, top hat and tails, jump boots, back protector, air jacket (less the canisters of course, I'll have to buy one out there) and crash hat has been a jigsaw. I am also commentating at the Adelaide International four star event (19 - 22 November) and presenting the FEI TV programme next week so I need to pack some smart clothes too! Stay tuned for more updates on our travels – I have a busy few weeks coming up!

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