With the arrival of a new year, the clock is ticking ever faster for Alec Lochore, Director of Blair Castle International Horse Trials which will host the FEI European Eventing Championships 2015 Blair Castle. However, it is not just Scotland that demands his focus, Rio is about to play a significant part in his ongoing work schedule.
Firstly I would like to wish everyone a very happy 2015. I have yet to work out why time flies ever faster with each passing year – if anyone has the key to applying the brakes a little, please share it with me.
I love Christmas, as much as anything because it is usually a relatively guaranteed few days of family time when I am not expected to be somewhere/answering emails/planning schedules/negotiating deals or returning phone calls. We headed up to Scotland where my brother and family joined us from Atlanta, Georgia, and my sister and family from Dunblane. It was a stunning white Christmas, albeit the white was from frost not snow – but better than grey skies and mud. I keep saying what a beautiful country Scotland is – and those of you coming to Blair in September for the first time will understand why in time!
We all know that Christmas is meant to be a time of miracles – this year more than ever I have to agree. Although my eldest son Rafe managed to both break and dislocate his wrist during a school rugby training session in December, we got through the festivities (together with cousins there were seven boys and one girl aged between 1- and 10-years-old at Burgie) with not only no more broken bones but also no spilt blood. Everyone with young sons will, I’m sure, understand my and Emily’s surprise at that.
Work remains in full swing. Since my last blog we have appointed Lucie Charlton as Sport Assistant for Blair – she has worked as part of the team for the last two years but this is a step up for her which I’m sure she will deal with admirably. One of her first jobs will be going through the volunteer database, and matching people to jobs; there are some unique roles this championship year so her past experience will be invaluable. Our 2015 team is completed by Helena, Becky and Sophie, all of whom I have worked with before at some stage. They will start work from March and be a great backup for both Lucie, Nicky and me.
The good news is that we have been able to re-open the ‘covered grandstand seat’ packages and are about to re-open the membership packages that we had to suspend temporarily due to the astonishingly rapid take up of tickets. I’ve also been working closely with our sponsor Mitsubishi Motors, and planning the launch celebration of our collaboration with Pol Roger as official champagne partner, as mentioned previously.
Away from Blair, Rafe and I enjoyed a great trip to Olympia with Musketeer’s new sponsor Horsezone. Olympia, to me, means Christmas has arrived, it’s such a fantastic show, and this year was as enjoyable as ever thanks to our entertaining hosts.
I also fitted in my first Badminton course walk before the New Year. I have been appointed Technical Director there, an appointment I am very proud of. Walking the proposed course with Hugh Thomas and Giuseppe della Chiesa was very interesting; obviously my lips are sealed but there are some well thought out, subtle changes being introduced. And, as title sponsors for Badminton – Mitsubishi Motors – have their HQ in nearby Cirencester, it was a perfect opportunity to have a very pro-active meeting with them about the European Championships.
I have also been appointed the Technical Director for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, another role I am fortunate and privileged to take on. I look forward to working with their team, the core of which I met at London 2012. I head out to Brazil for my first recce next week, so more on that in my next blog.
However it might sound in my blogs, it so isn’t all ‘glamour’ (Europeans, Rio, London, Badminton etc etc)… I have been busy working on making changes at our family home, Burgie House in Morayshire, Scotland, which is now a stunning holiday house and wedding destination. Finalising a new website for that, my event consultancy business, and for the Musketeer Event Management site has meant far too much time looking at my computer.
I can only blame these preoccupations for the fact that Rafe and Hector managed to smuggle seven goldfish out of the garden pond (very, very small!) and into the house – hidden in a cupboard – without my noticing. Apparently they felt sorry for them because it was so cold. Suffice to say, said fish are now in their rightful place.