Colin returned home at the start of July. It was fantastic to have him back and has helped my rehabilitation a huge amount. On his return I set myself a target of trying to reach the Regional Championships with him at the start of August. If I was honest this was crazy but you have to aim high! Even when the entries closed two weeks before I still had my doubts!

As a practice I took Colin to Morris EC for HorseScotland training with Erik Mckechnie. This proved invaluable as it was our first outing together this year and gave me a chance to ride bits of the test and get some pointers.

Mum, Colin and I headed up to the Regional Championships at Cabin EC. If I was being sensible I would have waited another month, chosen a venue close by and a competition that was low key – I did the opposite! We did a warm-up test on the Friday, luckily it was the same test as the Regional so gave me a chance to have a run through. It was fabulous to go down the centre again and to make it even better he won the test with 73.55%. We stabled locally with Sophie Whiteford who owns Calisto that I rode for a season a few years ago. Colin really likes the chance to ‘switch off’ so enjoyed being stabled next to his friend. The working in for the test wasn’t straight forwards, I think my nerves played their part. Thankfully in the last five minutes things started to come together but the weather was taking a turn for the worse! For the test it pelted down with rain but despite that I felt that the test improved from the day before and he won with 73.15%. So I guess that fairytales can happen and we booked our ticket to the National Championships in September.

The Regionals were the start of eight competitions that Colin and I did through till November 2015. In August we had a training session with Claire Moir. This gave me some valuable pointers and also a chance to ride at the new venue of Rockrose EC. Colin completed qualification for the Advanced Medium Winter Regional Championship at SNEC in August with 74.19%. At the start of September we headed to Rockrose EC for the music qualifiers. Scoring 77.5% in the Advanced Medium freestyle and 75.38% in the PSG freestyle which meant that we qualified for these classes at the Winter Regional Championships. Special thanks have to go to Freddie who lent us his PSG music and choreography for the test!

Next stop were the Nationals. It was lovely seeing all the ‘old’ faces that I knew and it made me feel much more part of things. It was the first time in 10 months that I had seen Carl, he was fantastic and helped me with Colin the day before and also just before the test. It was so nice to hear his dulcet tones again and for him to treat me as normal. The test although it had a big mistake showed a better way of going than last year and he scored 70.11% and we were placed 6th. The top 8 were very close in their marks so any mistakes really mattered but we felt we had tried and achieved much.

The Scottish Championships were in October so Colin and I headed to Morris EC. Colin was a little nervous and the test wasn’t as polished as I might of liked but he still scored 71.32% and won – so we won a beautiful trophy!

I toyed with hibernating for the winter after the Scottish Championships but decided that I’d try our first straight PSG test at Morris in November. The week before HorseScotland had a couple days training at Morris with Erik Mckechnie. I decided to use these as preparation for the PSG test that weekend. Colin worked in well and I felt good in the test and we were rewarded with a score of 73.82%.

At the end of October we also headed down to Addington for the World Class Pathway reassessment that we have to do every 6 months. I had to ride through the PSG test and demonstrate piaffe and passage. Colin also had a vet assessment. I am thrilled to say we have been reselected for another 6 months. In December I have two days training with Claire Moir at Rockrose so that is our quota of trips out for this year. Humphrey, the 3yo that we bred has just gone to be broken in by Alex Barr. So the next exciting part of the story continues!

I continue to teach with the aid of a headset and have started taking horses in again for training so the return to the old life is progressing. The physios are now working on fine tuning my mobility. The changes are less obvious but I notice being able to do things better than I did a month ago – the great thing is there is still improvement!