Finally . . . I had found someone who may be able to help me to achieve my dressage dream - Adam Kemp. He invited me to go watch him teach and then to meet with him to discuss what I wanted. So that's what I did. I was impressed straight away from watching him and the even more impressed when we got together afterwards to talk. He wanted to know what I wanted to achieve and what kind of horse I wanted. I remember telling Adam that if I could compete at elementary I would be over the moon. He listened, he didn't just tell me what he thought I should do.
He suggested that I should take Indi for lessons with him so that he could see me ride and prepare me for my new horse. He suggested we go over to Holland with him to look for a 5 year old elegant horse. He estimated this would cost near to £20,000. That sounded like an absolute fortune at the time.
So that's what we did. It was extremely intimidating taking my black and white mare down to Adam for a lesson when everyone else had sparkly dressage horses with extravagent movement and all the tricks. From the very first lesson Adam changed the way I rode Indi and therefore, the way she went, drastically. I'd never had a lesson that made so much difference to my riding.
Then the time came for us to go out to Holland. It was terrifying! Not only had I got to go to this posh dressage yard in Holland I had to ride these quality dressage horses - the like of which I'd never sat on. On the first morning Adam quickly got me onboard realising I was nervous and the longer I waited to ride the more nervous I would get. He put his partner, Matt Frost, on board first to show me that the horse was safe and then I rode it. It wasn't THE ONE but it was a sweet mare who I liked, but she was quite a nervous type and I didn't think I needed the added complication of a nervous horse.
I ended up on a gorgeous horse that I loved and was also, in my eyes, gorgeous to look at. Adam taught me on him and I felt really confident. We talked about him at length and decided he was THE ONE. But we had to go back and bid for him in the auction about ten days later.
So, we all returned to Holland for the auction. It's such a beautiful and amazing event - nothing like any auction in the UK. But it was so nerve wracking because I desperately wanted this horse. We talked about the maximum that it was sensible to pay for him and then added a bit on top because we liked him so much and it would save us coming back to Holland again and agreed on the top price we would pay.
Adam did the bidding and it quickly became apparant that he was going to go way over what we were prepared to pay. I went home very disappointed. Yet again my dressage dream was thwarted!
The following Wednesday I received a phone call from Adam asking what I was doing the following day. When I told him nothing special he told me I was going back to Holland with Matt.
So in the early hours of the morning I drove to Adam's house, transferred to Matt's car, we drove to Stanstead, flew to Holland and arrived at the Auction Centre at 9am Thursday morning. There was another smaller auction taking place on Saturday and we were going to try any horses that might be suitable for me.
I tried three horses. One was too young and green. There was a mare which I absolutely loved. She was my favourite. She found collection easy and was, therefore, very easy to sit on. And there was a gelding, who I also enjoyed riding. He was much looser and big moving. He was Matt's favourite.
Matt videoed me on all three horses and we flew back to the UK and then drove back to show Adam the videos - now well after midnight. Adam agreed with Matt that the gelding was the nicer horse.
On the Saturday we found out that the mare - my favourite - was going through the auction first. Adam had arranged for someone to bid for us. Again it was a nerve wracking evening but this time waiting for the phone to ring. The mare went for more than we were prepared to pay but we bought the gelding.
Finally I had my dressage horse - Winston, a black, 5 year old KWPN!!!!