A big day for me tomorrow as I head off to Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. I’ve been training for it for a long time now – working out every morning in the hills and every afternoon in the gym – but it hasn’t been until today that I’ve really felt the butterflies.

I should be confident about making it to the top – I’ve done plenty of training and I’m fit enough – but I haven’t been well this past week and if my cold doesn’t clear up in time then it could stop me in my tracks. The difficulty with Kili is not the physical exertion it’s the altitude sickness, and a sinus problem would be enough to stop most climbers. At the top of the mountain there is less than half the breathable oxygen in the air than there is at sea level – resting heart rate goes up to around 200 and you breathe twice as fast as normal. If your body is unable to adjust you won’t make it up.

There are 16 in our party – in addition we have a guide and 51 porters. The porters are Tanzanian locals – they carry all the stuff apart from the day to day requirements. It’s normal to have this number of porters – everyone on the mountain does it. They all carry different things – the guys carrying the food have the easiest job as their bags get lighter as they go up the mountain. The guy with the worst job (he gets paid more than the others) is the guy who has to empty the porterloos into his bag each morning. He starts off carrying nothing but at the top of the mountain he is knee deep in shit.

I won’t think about the horses much, but there isn’t a lot to think about at the moment – I don’t have a lot jumping wise. My first mare has given birth – Looby Loo (half sister to Dutch Art) foaled a nice Zamindar colt on Sunday. Some of the 2yos are cantering now, and the early signs are not what I would have expected. The sharpest looking 2yo is probably my Motivator filly out of a half sister to Rainfall. She was small and premature and was rejected by her mother – we never thought she’d come to anything as she looked so backward, and we rather meanly nicknamed her ‘Ugly Betty’. She is sharp and pacey and a difficult ride as she is so feisty. I also like my Dutch Art filly out of Baldovina – she just seems to get better and better as time goes on. The more expensive ones are showing less at this stage, but they may just be later maturing types.