It’s a bit earlier than usual to return with a blog but thought I’d just update you all on my planned return to the saddle after what isn’t far off a year on the sidelines…
Just over a week until I return
After fast approaching 11 months, I’m delighted to tell you that I’m pencilled in for a return to race riding next Friday 17th September at Downpatrick and then again at Navan the next day. I’ve talked things through with Gordon and I can virtually tell you the horses, but I won’t at this stage. I guess the key is for a bit of rain to fall and then we are all systems go. It’s exciting. Listen, I’m going to take things steady and there is no set plan on how many I will ride each day or each week. If Gordon wants me to ride one, I’ll ride it alright. If he offers me five or six, that’s no bother either. The key is simply being ready to go and that’s where I am at now. I promised myself I’d give it as long as it takes as I didn’t want to come back and not be at my best. I pushed really hard to get back for Cheltenham back in March, but it was just too soon.
A long journey back
It was last October I took that crashing fall from Doctor Duffy in Limerick and it’s been a long road back. When you get to my age you have to be 100% ready to return and that’s why I’ve sat on the sidelines for so long. I’ve been working really hard to get where I am now including at least two sessions a week in the gym. That involves an exercise wearing what is basically a rugby skull cap with weights attached to strengthen the neck muscles. As for my fitness levels, I’m not a great runner after taking so many knocks over the years, so have been concentrating on riding out here at home and in Gordon’s. I’ve worked really hard at that over the last few months and feel great.
Losing the pounds
I’d say one of the hardest challenges has been getting back to my riding weight particularly with all the kids around. There always seems to be some temptation when I’m around them and that’s been tough. The other day we were in the car and Liam decided he didn’t like the ice cream he had chosen so was after another one. I certainly wasn’t going to let his spare one go to waste! Anyway, it’s a battle I’m winning now and my wife Edelle has been amazing in that department. In fact, it’s been amazing having some time off and spending proper time with the family.
Tiger Roll back in training
It’s a bit early for some of the classier horses to be back in training in Gordon’s, but it was great to see Tiger Roll back in and in terrific form. I took the kids on their annual visit to see him the other day and Finn, Liam and Lily all got to sit on him. He’s such a legend of a horse and its horses like him that make you stop eating ice cream 😊
Anyway, I will be in touch with any more news and look forward to updating you each week when the season gets going properly…