Ring out the old, ring in the new

What a year… I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front and it’s certainly something I intend to attend to in the new year, but it’s quite representative of the year as a whole!

After a slow reopening to Eventing in 2020, 2021 had some of the same issues and also the added complication for me of fixtures previously held on Saturdays being moved to Sundays in term time, putting them out of our reach; this put all our efforts into the summer holiday and it didn’t prove a very satisfying year – finally towards the end of the season Max went lame and that ruled us out of training and further competition. At the very least we’ve still managed clear round showjumping so the summer wasn’t totally without fun and success.

Where I have found fun and satisfaction has been in the Eventing world: getting involved with the Lucinda Green XC Academy and spending two glorious* days training with Lucinda in April really put some steel in my spine and gave me a lot of inspiration (* the training was glorious and fun, the weather was foul!); fence judging at Little Downham and watching our best riders go past was its own special and inspiriting experience; enjoying the Olympics, the GBR medals & all the light that brought to the world was something we could all share; a visit to Andrew Hoy’s yard in October helped me face down an unsatisfying season in terrific company (two- and four-legged) and the sense of community around the table with Andrew, his family and friends underlined why we do what we do and how we can enjoy it even when it’s not all roses (or rosettes or whatever).

On the organist front it’s been an extraordinarily busy year, picking things up after lockdowns and online training with singers and gradual reintroduction of live performance; the tapering of a higher workload and end of the Eventing season proved a bit of a pinch point, finally culminating in the rampant march of Covid through the Cathedral choirs, taking me off work the day before Christmas Eve – no Eventing, no organist!

Looking back there have been wonderful things: beginning to learn Swedish has put me in the learner’s chair in another discipline and that has also opened up a world of cultural things that I was beginning to explore – as with most things in life it’s the knock-on event that can be so valuable: the conversation on culture and life with a Swedish woman at a Christmas market, meeting high-ups in the equestrian world and feeling as though you’re reconnecting with old friends, learning to make the most of having only four singers all of a sudden, making new friends and business relationships: it certainly hasn’t been a dull year and I’m enormously grateful to everyone who has supported, cajoled, encouraged and prompted me, or just refused to let me sit still. For all the social media conversations, the pub chats, the post-Zoom meetings – thank you. Let’s see what 2022 has in store, but we’ll face it together and may you have some calm and comfort if you need it, excitement and anything else you might want.

Thanks for reading! James, Max, & Tess xxx

Published by The Eventing Organist

I'm a professional musician, working as Organist and Master of the Choristers at Chelmsford Cathedral, and an amateur rider aiming to compete at One Day Events in 2020 with my Irish Sport Horse Max.

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