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  • Writer's pictureNicole Brown

All systems go for 2020!

January has been and gone and the countdown to the season is most definitely on. The mornings are lighter, the nights are drawing out and there has been (marginally at least) a little less rain.

By the end of the season I am always really ready to spend some extra quality time at home and this year was no different. 2019 definitely took the art of juggling the roles of Mum, Wife and Work to a whole new level!

The end of the year also saw us move house (I swear the most stressful thing possible in life), the week after Burghley. The purchase of our new house — literally 100 yards down the road from the old one — hadn’t gone through yet but we took the plunge and lived in a rented house for seven weeks before the next move… into a static caravan!

We hope that our new house is going to be our ‘forever’ home but it definitely needs a little work (ok, a lot) before we get to that point. Having made the second move in November, the weather definitely hasn’t made life straightforward but we are feeling like the mountain might be a little more climbable now we’ve done a lot of clearance work. If I’m honest, the mountain probably only looks smaller after wine! It’s an exciting time though and I am loving getting stuck in. Who needs a gym while doing a lot of clearance with a toddler on your back?!

The Eventing Podcast hit a big target with more than 200,000 unique downloads in 2019. This is a massive achievement and I cannot thank everyone enough for all of the listens, messages, shares and likes. We have exciting plans for 2020 and January already got us off to a great start with 25,000 downloads. On track for the big 300k by the end of the year…!

In other big Podcast news, I am delighted that I have taken on hosting the USEA Official Podcast along with Diarm. The first episode is available now if you’d like to listen, click here.

I was also delighted to be asked to host the recent Australia Day Fundraising event at Lowlands Equestrian Centre that was raising money for the Equestrian Community who have been affected by the recent fires in Australia. It was an amazing day with so many people showing their support, the likes of Chris Burton, Tim Price, Sam Griffiths, Bill Levett, Alex Bragg and Piggy French to name just a few, all taking part in demonstrations through the day. Huge credit to Sarah Skillin, Jenny Levett and Nicki Secker for pulling the day together on a very short timescale.

My personal highlight was the Foot Race that saw Australia take on the Rest of the World, the only rule being that there were no rules, you can imagine how that played out! Australia were triumphant on both occasions, mostly due to the very enthusiastic mini Levetts and Tapners who took out the ROTW team in great style! Burto proved as quick on his feet as he is on a horse and Imogen Murray was uber competitive winning individually, although she did say she felt she might need to go back into fitness training for the start of the season! Photo: Fiona Scott-Maxwell

I’ve got a couple of quieter weeks at home before my season really kicks off with a trip to Carolina International in the middle of March. It’s an amazing event and the team there do a great job; there is a prize fund of $100,000 this year and it’s a great indicator of spring form with a number of 5* combinations using it as prep for Kentucky.

It’s all go from there with the Event Rider Masters Series starting at Burnham Market in early April, the 5*’s and a big old birthday thrown in there as well. Please no guesses…!

I promise I will be better at updating this in 2020 – it helps when I can get my toddler to nap while I write. But in all looking forward to a massively exciting year. I have my lips sealed on a couple of projects but all will be revealed shortly.

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