This month started with a side saddle jumping lesson, but as we were still having problems with the fit of the saddle due to Tilly changing shape so much over the last year, we ended up not really doing a lot, but talking about the fit of a side saddle to both the horse and the rider.
Tilly had another back check over to make sure that all previous signs of soreness on her hindquarters had gone, and they had. No signs of any problems at all.
Tilly is now sporting new shoes, and for the first time, has stud holes in them. Just need to understand all the different types of studs now.
New side saddle is back from the saddlers, meaning we could have another jumping lesson. This time it was a huge success, proving how much the fit is important for both the horse and rider.
As we had our new side saddle, we could take part as display riders for a side saddle jumping seminar. This was great fun and really helped us get our jumping mojo back again.
Our next side saddle show was a very busy day for us. We managed 4th in the Intermediate Equitation, 5th in the Open Equitation, and after some work to the fit of the saddle, we WON the Riding Club Horse. We are now only 2 points away from qualifying for the Side Saddle National Show in August.
Whilst we were over the moon to have qualified again and were really looking forward to going back to the Championships, this time it was a little bitter sweet and quite emotional. We were competing on the Friday and headed up to Gloucester on the Thursday.
I took the week before off work and filled it with preparation. Kind friends let me use their beautiful facilities to wash Stanley within an inch of his life and ensure he was jet black and shiny. I went and visited some of our lovely Sponsors who had got us some lovely new things to wear at Hartpury to ensure we had all the gear – even if we had no idea! Our ever supportive Physiotherapist and Saddler came to check Stanley and his kit were in tip top condition and ready to go and strut his stuff. I had a last minute session with Emma from Biospheric Performance to ensure my stomach muscles remembered their job! Dad and I spent half a day packing the lorry, it’s amazing how much ‘stuff’ you need for 24 hours, of course our ever trusty Fibre-Beet was packed first! And last but not least we had a couple of lessons to run through our music and make final finishing touches to the floorplan and our way of going.
Why have I informed you of every little thing we did in those 4 days? Well simply to highlight what a team effort getting to a competition like this is, as I’m sure many of you appreciate. We could not do it on our own and are endlessly grateful for everything all our friends, family and supporters do for us because it makes dreams like qualifying for classes at National level possible.
The Championships were once again a fantastic experience, Stanley always belies his age and acts like a true professional. From the time we got him off the lorry and put him in a strange stable with new friends, to the arena walk at 6.30am, to the test itself he was just brilliant; I am so lucky! He really loves the big atmosphere of the bigger shows and as he trotted under the archway into the indoor arena at Hartpury he grew about 3 inches and really lit up. It was an amazing feeling and he gave me the best ride ever. There was one tiny mistake in his first medium trot where he simply gave me too much and lost his balance; other than that he was foot perfect and so obedient it was amazing to ride. We finished a brilliant 5th on a score of 71.15% among some incredible company.
After the Championships everything seems to have been rather quiet as we think Stanley deserves some time out of the white boards to enjoy himself and give his brain a rest. We have been hacking and jumping and he’s had lots of days just to be a horse in the field! We however had no rest and spent the following weekend in London supporting my sister who ran the London Marathon for the British Heart Foundation in my Mums memory. Another emotional weekend but what an experience; it was great racing around London and trying to spot her amongst all the thousands of runners! She finished in 4 hours 55 which was amazing for her first marathon attempt and we are so proud of what she achieved. For me it’s now back to work and back to the reality of early starts and late finishes to make my two lives of horses and the NHS work together!
Next month should bring more excitement; I’m hoping to have picked Stanley back up and potentially have gone out to try and get our final medium points. If I can establish our changes too then perhaps an Advance Medium may be on the cards?! Watch this space!
Hannah & Stanley
This month we introduce Rachel’s sister Katelyn Brown to Team Brown. Katelyn is 16 and her horse is Darcy, aka Celina D’arco.
As well as keeping busy sitting her GCSEs, Katelyn is a working pupil for Olympic Dressage Rider Kirsty Mepham and a Level 1 BD judge. Katelyn also competes in BS showjumping and her passion is to become an eventer, so she’s enjoying getting in depth training in all areas for use in her future career.
This month Rachel has been unwell so Katelyn has taken over the ride of Corgary Spirit, in the coming month Rachel is looking forward to getting back out competing.
Katelyn has been extremely busy this month starting with racing training with Pony Club, on the gallops for fitness to build up their stamina for future eventing competitions. Followed by a super jumping lesson with Ashley Boyce to start the preparations for Welsh Masters in the Easter holidays.
On a change of discipline, Katelyn and Darcy went out for their first dressage test as a new partnership and took part in the Mid Sussex Riding Club dressage at Belmoredean. They were placed third with a very pleasing 66.72%.
The following weekend with more preparation for the Welsh Masters the partnership had a training session on grass with Caroline Jeanne UKCC Level 3 and BE accredited coach. Easter weekend saw Katelyn and Darcy heading to the Welsh Masters. The weekend started with not such a positive note but on the Friday Rachel joined Katelyn and a change of bit was decided upon to get a more of a uphill canter with a better pace. Also with these changes it was decided that Darcy would benefit from being feed Fibre-Beet instead of her Speedi-Beet. This show was for gaining experience across the board, and Team Brown came home pleased with the changes made.
Once returned from Welsh Masters Darcy thoroughly enjoyed a few mornings out in the paddock with Spirit. Later in the week Darcy had her regular acupuncture treatment. After this Katelyn stepped up her game in training and preparation with both horses for the Pyecombe show. Darcy was in the Discovery and Spirit in the 90cm open. It was a weekend for 2nd place, as Katelyn was placed 2nd on both horses.
Looking forward to next month with lots planed. Don’t forget to like both pages Katelyn Brown Eventing and Rachel Brown Showjumping for regular updates as the month progress!
April has been full of ups and downs! After being balloted from Belton, at the beginning of the month we headed to Norton Disney for our first Novice run off the season with Robbie. I made the silly mistake in the showjumping of jumping fence 8 instead of fence 3 and therefore got myself eliminated! The Norton Disney team were very kind and let us go XC anyway non-competitively. Typically, Robbie jumped an awesome clear and made the Novice fences feel effortless.
At Burnham Market International team RBE were out in full force – I had a massive support crew attend the event with me to cheer us on, which was lovely! Robbie gave me a great ride and jumped double clear, again at Novice level. We picked up some time faults after I had another one of my little blonde moments and got slightly lost on the XC. But we got back on track and kicked on the rest of the way home. Robbie again, felt mega!
Thursday went to Horseheath for the BE90. She hadn’t been out on the lorry all winter … it’s been 6 months since her last event so I was really proud of her and how well she behaved. We were well up on time XC so I suddenly steadied her 3 from home resulting in a glance off at the sawbench. (I should have kept kicking on and suffered the too speedy time faults!) Next time I will just let her cruise her way around and hopefully Thursday will save her very almost double clear for me for another day.
Today Hutch and Robbie went to a dressage party. Hutch was really pleased to be out flicking his toes around the white boards and won the Elementary on 78.43% making his test the highest scoring test of the day and winning himself a prize! (Hutchy loves prizes!!) I’ve never had a score of 9 in a dressage test before but today Hutch managed 4 of them! Robbie was just full of mischief and ready to go XC instead, but I love him anyway and he managed to come home with a 3rd place frilly in the elementary also.
Catch up in May,
A slightly quieter few weeks, has seen us prepare and head to Belton CIC2*. Belton is one of my favourite events of the season, it’s stunning location and perfect going, come rain or shine! We drove through the beautiful iron gates feeling confident, Ash has been feeling great – and with the help from the recently purchased Equi-Med Ag boots – we were getting on top of the mud fever. We were running slightly early – unheard of if you know me! I jumped out of the lorry and headed to declare, pay the start fee (ouch!) and collect our numbers – it was as I walked back to the lorry I had a horrible thought….. Ash’s FEI passport was still sitting in the tack room! Disaster, as you have to present your horse with it’s passport for inspection on arrival at the vets box, prior to warming up for the dressage. My heart sank, we wouldn’t be able to compete…. After a few frantic calls to Heather back at the yard, and Izzy running around to find the appropriate officials, they’d agreed I could present at the dressage phase as long as we got the passport to them prior to the jumping phases. With Heather enroute, I pulled myself together and focused on getting warmed up. After all the commotion, it was not ideal an ideal preparation and I perhaps could have done with a few more minutes, but at FEI events you have to be on time!
We headed to our area which was located in the main show jumping arena, with all the trade stands around the outside. There was a lot for Ash to spook at – including the xc style fences only a few feet from our entrance point…..hmmm, this could be interesting!! With a massive spook at said xc fence, we side stepped and swerved but made it onto the centre line and danced our way to a 48.8 score. I was very pleased with our performance as Ash tried really hard and held it together.
With Heather on her way with Ash’s passport, I walked the course. It was fairly tough with a number of tight line combination fences, but it’s Belton 2* – it was great and I was really looking forward to giving it a go. I planned to go all the direct routes – there was a really tough angled brush combination which was inviting an easy glance off, and the sunken road towards the end of the course I thought was really tough as it was a difficult question to read. I was really looking forward to giving it go once the passport had arrived.
Show jumping – the low rising sun (we had very early times) made it very difficult to see a couple of the fences and poles seemed to be coming down regularly. We jumped a good round, but a rolled pole when I ended up too close to an easy vertical was frustrating. Before I knew it, I was heading to the xc warmup. During my warmup, I could hear that the course was already causing a fair number of problems…. come on Ash, we can do this…. five, four, three, two, one… good luck!
We were off…. we got into an easy, forward rhythm, the first combination came up quickly – a large box to a double of skinny brushes, Ash made it feel easy…. he kept answering every question easily, the hollow, the water and huge brush skinny corner, the tricky coffin – all behind us and we were galloping so easily…. the tough angled brush combination, then the sunken road next – foot perfect through both…. we were nearly home already! We passed through the finish flags – Ash was simply incredible, he just loves it! We finished in 8th place, the team and I were just delighted. What’s actually even more exciting is that he’s got so much more in the tank – gallop and jump! Back at the lorry, Ash’s every need is catered for – he gets a drink straight away – as much as he wants – then he’s stripped of all his tack, boots as quickly as possible then he gets a full wash off and his legs are cooled with ice immediately (we use ice boots which go in the freezer as these are dry, which are better for not aggravating his mud fever). He then gets his studs removed and walked around until his temperature is back to normal. He then has a well deserved graze and lots of pats from us all – good boy Ash!
It’s always an anxious wait overnight for me as an event isn’t completed until we’ve trotted our horses sound the following day. So, when he skipped and bounced out of the stable and trotted up 100% the following morning, I was over the moon. He earned himself a few days in the field. He’s just so cool.
We head to Withington next for our very first Advanced run. It’s been a few years since I competed at this level, so I’m feeling excited, whilst perhaps a little on the nervous side! Full report next time.
Kick on, and stay safe!
**Hot off the press…… We did it – Withington…. we are now an official Advanced combination! It’s taken a long time but, I’m hugely thrilled to have produced two horses from complete novices to advanced myself! Full report next time!
So it’s that time of year when everyone’s competing, never thought that after having Frankie, I would be competing after 10 days back in the saddle! mM sister kindly gave me the ride on Rocky Clover, so we set off just to have a fun day out, only to come back with a second in the Novice music Qualifier at Port Royal! It still feels very rusty for us both, but I’m chuffed to be back out there.
Busy days at QD horses this month with bank holidays causing issues on the breeding side of things. We have been lucky to inseminate our dressage mare Angel with dressage Stallion Bernay, who is an up and coming young dressage star in Germany. Our other two mares are still yet to inseminate, one with a UK stallion Amour G, he’s a coloured one, and the other is a young stallion from Paul Schochmohle.
Freddie our new arrival by Governor is a little monkey, already jumping out of his field! He’s totally stunning though, but maybe he takes after his mothers lines – jumping blood!
This month our Welsh stallion Jack won a novice and a second in his music so already qualified for winter regionals in novice now. Hopefully he will come home in May.
All the best
Sarah & QD horses