Young British Endurance Rider, and FLAIR® Strip believer, Helen Perry sent us a New Year’s update from her home in Northern Ireland. Helen uses FLAIR Strips on all her competition horses, regardless of the level because Helen believes FLAIR Strips and Endurance are a perfect

Happy New Year to all the FLAIR Strip fanatics out there! I hope 2015 brings a great performance year to you all!

January this year has been brought in with a record number of horses filling our barn. (Horses are just like chocolates; you can’t just have one!) We are Currently up to 21, all at various levels & there is a little one on the way too. Ruby arrived safely from France, last September & is settling in well. And late November I had a surprise addition! My Dad had spotted a lovely Anglo Arab, (“Jay”) & the first I had heard of him, was when the ramp of the lorry was coming down, with him aboard! But who can complain at that surprise! Jay has certainly made himself at home & has enough character to fill a barn with!

Training so far has got off to a slow start at the yard, with freezing temperatures & snow holding us back. So late evening training in the floodlights is now the norm, after the sun has thawed out the arena. But the horses are enjoying playtime in the snow. And are giving 110% in their work.

The start of the graded rides are kicking off on the 8th of February, and I’m hoping our two new additions are going to show us what they’re made of, over the 32km course, crossing over the Mourne mountains. It’s interesting at this early stage to see whether they have the “hunger” & mentality to go the distance . The graded rides are also a great chance to get the more experienced horses out to, this gives them a chance to refresh their heads & get some nice easy miles on their legs before the FEI season begins in April. This year I will hopefully have six horses to compete in FEI, so I will definitely be busy trying to keep them at top level fitness & injury free (I’m always tempted to wrap them in cotton wool)!

The winter months are normally a nice welcome “break” for us, with the top horses on rest, but not this year. I have spent the winter months showjumping with Starlight Crusade for our local club. And she has been having a ball, although with being an ex-endurance horse, our brakes don’t work too well & she treats every round like a speed round! Old habits diehard!

This winter I haven’t had a podium break either! Although my podium finishes have been on two feet rather than four! I have been competing in 10km road & trail races. And have gained some brilliant results, as well as a new PB by three minutes. I can definitely say, I have greater respect for my horses. They make the hills I run up, look effortless!

Hopefully we can continue the podium finishes this year, on two legs and on four!