Winning the packing wars


It is the dreaded day where we start the packing ready to go home. We’ve had a great tour and the horses have jumped well in the last five weeks so we begin the long journey back to England on Monday.

Now I’ve got to find where to wedge all the stuff. And it is a bit like coming back off holiday – logically, it should all go in; but it doesn’t. My Dad Steve sends out hay, feed and haylage to us here in Vilamoura and what isn’t used comes back home with us and there is quite a bit! We’re having a day off from jumping today [Friday] as we had heavy overnight rain and some more rain this morning.

So packing is the order of the day and I’m currently trying to wedge things into the trailer and taking apart stuff that I spent hours putting together like the fans in the stables. It is still T-Shirt weather – much better than what I have to look forward to at home – but it isn’t hot enough to need fans in the stables so they are one of the first things to be packed away. The next is all the accessories like numnahs – I’ll only leave out the ones I’m going to use on the weekend.

Trying to decide where to put things is a headache – it all seemed to fit when we packed six weeks ago. Now I’m not sure whether it will go back in. I’m already sitting on top of the tacklocker to fasten it shot and there’s more to fit in! Closing a holiday suitcase will be a doddle after this – if we ever get to go on holiday again, of course.

I’ve tried to do most of the washing as we go along so I’m not faced with a mountain of clothes – rider and horse – when I reach home.

We are out to dinner for our last supper in a restaurant here tonight and I’m looking forward to a good night with good food and company.

We’ve had a good show with Pete [NPS Andre] – yep, Peter Andre, the lateral thinking – after several second places and always the bridesmaid came out and won the accumulator. I’m really pleased with him. He gets picked up and put down depending on how busy I am with other horses and has probably jumped more in the last six weeks than he has in the past two years. Miss Tangelo has also jumped well and was third in the accumulator to Pete and the six-year-olds I’ve competed for Jude Burgess have learned so much and come on in leaps and bounds – especially the mare who was playing catch up after having a foal as a four-year-old.

In the meantime I’m still packing everything to the rafters before travelling home to lockdown and a much colder England. Wish me luck for the last two days of competition.

Photos © Jumping Around/Beth Mantel

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