Rider Diaries - Sophie Wells
It's been a busy start to the year but an exciting one. The horses wintered well, and are looking forward to a busy year.
Post Paralympic Games year/winter is a bit of a weird one. You are enjoying your hard work, and psyching yourself up for another Paralympic cycle but always working in 4 year blocks can take a while to get your head around. It's a fresh start and a new challenge, which is exciting.
Reece, who went to Rio, has stepped up the Grand Prix work well at home, and hopefully will step up in competition at some point this year.
Jorge, who will hopefully step up to being my top para horse, has started the season in good form, winning the regionals at PSG freestyle on a great score of 75%, it is the same floorplan and music I use for my para freestyle, just with an extra line of tempi changes! So, he has qualified for the winter championships in April, as has my Beijing 2008 horse Touchdown, who came back into work 18 months ago, after nearly 7 years out thinking he was retired with injury. Every day is a bonus with him, and winning the regionals at advanced medium freestyle was certainly a bonus and a very special moment! He has been competing in paras with one of my riders, Izzy palmer, and giving her invaluable experience.
Pinocchio (my London 2012 horse) is now 20, but still looking and feeling great, and loving life, as he should.
I also have a new exciting addition to the team, Gladstone, or William to his friends. He's a 6 year old stallion, and has settled in so well so far. I own him with Pinocchio‰Ûªs owners, Jackie and Neil Walker and my grandma.
We have the para winter championships coming up, which is the start of European selection this year, and then its straight onto Deauville CPEDI.
It's all go at home too, as I pick up more coaching, para and able bodied, low level as well as international. As long as people want to learn, I'm happy to teach them. It's great fun and I really enjoy helping riders enjoy their horses!