Dressage Dreams and a Goalkeeper’s Regime- #6

Christmas is officially here. Time to dust off the baubles and crack out the wrapping paper. Christmas came early with the addition of Roddy the pony, the newest member of the Begovic clan. He was passed down from a Dressage dynasty, the Hughes family with both Gareth and Rebecca riding at International level in Dressage with their young daughter Ruby who is already following in their footsteps. As Ruby outgrew Roddy, we were offered him for my daughter, so it seemed an ideal match. I am sure Asmir would rather she preferred her golf clubs or tennis racket, but as it happens, it seems she has inherited my affinity and passion for horses.

It has been a busy few weeks and not without some health concerns- the night before my solo departure to my last big show of the year, Bury Farm High Profile show, Asmir was struck down with the virus that was sweeping through Stoke’s training ground seemingly trying to take down the players caught in its path. Poor Asmir endured a grueling night of sickness before calling in sick. In the eight years that I have been with Asmir, this was only his second day off work as ‘sick’ so that indicated to me how dreadful he must have been feeling. By this point, I had been around Asmir for at least 24 hours prior to sickness so I mentally readied myself for the inevitable sickness to grasp me, most probably when I was at the show three hours away and on my own. Thankfully and gladly I am relieved to report that I dodged the virus this time. To be away from home, living in my lorry with a horse to take care of meant that I just couldn’t be ill. Perhaps it is the commercial amount of sanitizing hand gel that I use on a daily basis with the aim to stave off any potential cross contamination between humans. That is often why I prefer the company of horses as I am famously OCD and horses do not pose a ‘germ’ threat in my view!

The show was a great personal success for me achieving one of my highest scores to date at Small Tour level, which was a great way to end this competition year. Soon enough we will be making our preparations for our International debut next year, which has been a life long ambition of mine. Bury Farm held the show, the same venue as The Dressage Convention, and my experience there nearly ended before it began when my horse decided the muddy puddle at the bottom of the ramp posed as a life threatening hazard in his mind, so Foxy leapt off the side of the ramp catching the back of my leg with his metal clad hoof before eventually landing in ‘said’ muddy puddle dispersing its contents all over me, much to the delights of the passing show jumpers, who had a little snigger to themselves.  So much for team spirit! I held my mud covered head high and marched him off to the stables and pretended not to be bothered despite the fact my dignity was left in tatters at the foot of my lorry’s ramp.

To sign off on a more positive note, Asmir recently visited his chosen local charity, Redgate Clayton Football Club. He took with him, a cheque for £10,000 from the Asmir Begovic Foundation, which will allow the club to develop and extend their facilities to accommodate and allow children the use of not only the training facilities, but also in Sunday league games.

Nicolle x