There was a particularly upbeat vibe at the Team Speirs base in Ireland this week where I dropped in for a day to tweak the horses and Camilla, accompanied by a veterinary physiotherapy student.

Jiff returned from a flatwork session where he had delighted Camilla even more than usual by performing at his absolute best ever.  Whenever you think this little athlete has peaked at his learning he just keeps astonishing Camilla with more and more perfect moves.

Jiff had the day before been posing for Horse and Hound magazine for a special feature to be published shortly.  I managed to photograph him showing off the new season horsey hairdo – straight fringe and razor cut ear trim with a frilly nape accentuating his perfectly toned neck and adding a couple of inches to his height with his ‘big hair’.  You can’t help but adore this very special chap.  He know’s he’s a star and there simply isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for Camilla.

Sitting in the house it brought me back to the day 3 Badmintons ago when I was there working on the horses and the Badminton cross country phase was on TV.  I kept nipping back from working on the horses to watch the event.   Nobody then had any idea that Camilla and Jiff would be competing there and placed 14th the following year.  Nobody had any idea that there would be Camilla’s bi-weekly eventing articles for the Irish Field in the run up to the Olympics lying on the table while she chatted about fitness programmes with another talented Irish eventer, Jayne Doherty, who has a fitness bike in her horsebox!  Camilla’s eventing insight is hilarious and a must read.

I enquired about what Camilla does on a day off.  Up at 3.30am, on board a horse by 4am in the outdoor arena with 6 horses ridden in time for her ‘day off’.  Pure, uncompromising all or nothing dedication and taking care of business, it’s as simple as that.

There is also the barn full of secret weapons of course.  4 star, 3 star, 2 star, 1 star – they are all at different stages of training and all are progressing remarkably consistently.

The latest acquisition is a fabulous ‘baby’, a four year old with such a high quality and balanced canter that is so advanced for his stage of training (pictured ridden by Camilla above).

Stabled opposite Jiff – I rather think that Jiff has blown some of his magic eventing dust in the baby’s direction…………..