Brand Ambassador’s June 2018 Update

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Where is 2018 going! I cannot believe we already over half way through the year, however aren’t we being spoilt by some glorious weather? Even if it does mean getting up at silly o’clock to ride and beat the heat!
We started the month with a first for Stanley… A sponsored ride with his mate Rox! Stanley thought the whole thing was rather over exciting and spent a few moments demonstrating his best Spanish horse moves… After five minutes he calmed down and we had a lovely 10 mile ride over beautiful farmland. In between practicing our flying changes he also flew over some little cross country fences – I’m sure they were much bigger in real life than they look in the photos! How I used to event I will never know!?
After that bit of fun it was back to the day job and a mission to complete our advance medium Petplan Area Festival qualification. After a couple of good lessons we trucked down the A303 and had a glorious day in the sunshine- followed by a glorious evening with a bottle of Prosecco!
My little horse keeps exceeding all my expectations. He pulled out a super test in medium 73 finishing a smidge away from the elusive 70% mark. We went in to our second advance medium confident that we are improving but aware that while trying to correct and perfect certain movements their quality is a little hit and miss at the moment. We missed a change and got a little sticky in the pirouettes but I was absolutely thrilled to see that we won both tests overall despite being against some beautiful and much more experienced horses and riders! 
A fantastic lesson with Sara Jane the following Monday resulted in us starting some work on our working canter pirouettes and we continued trying to refine our changes which have seemingly done a runner since I informed him that he must stay straight and not do the worm every time I ask! On the whole he feels so much more collected and pushing than before and it’s such a good feeling when it comes together!
We continued the weeks learning with something slightly different. I have never done an in-hand clinic before but it was fascinating. I highly recommend it as something fun and different to do. Lots of work on activating is hind end which he finds hard, however it became apparent that his slow hind leg stems from fractionally dropping his back behind the saddle. The lovely Diane Thurman Baker showed us lots of different exercises to help release and lift this area without having my weight on top (!) and in turn allow him to step through and take more weight behind.
He picked it up really quickly and she said he was a star pupil… it’s all work towards starting piaffe which is something totally new to us. Interestingly she thinks he will actually learn it better under saddle as I will be able to make him sit more so I better get saving for the next lesson!
We have a busy month coming up preparing for the Area Festivals and Regional Championships in early August. I am so pleased to just be out there competing again, this is all just an added bonus!
Enjoy the sun and stay cool!
Hannah & Stanley

Hello everyone,
Well what great weather we are having, I certainly have a farmers tan, with tanned arms and milky white Jodhpur legs, but I may add I did put my shorts on, so potentially I can try to match it. But I do think we are in need of some water or shall I say rain now… Gosh we are never happy, are we?
On a happy note, our latest foal Tigger is absolutely adorable and so cheeky, and my goodness what an operator! He is coming on well and I’m hoping to do a photo shoot with a photographer soon.
As far as competing goes this month our star is Rocky Clover, now owned by Dr Roden, he won his music test on a massive score of 76.11%… actually my best score yet! He then got a 73% in his Elementary to music so this means he’s part qualified for the regionals. He’s also in 6th place in the music leader board for the summer music championships. 
Fingers crossed we get into the top ten, we will be so pleased.
Today we went to Arthington show and we competed in the coloured showing class and won, qualifying for Equifest on Rocky Clover, he then took the championship of the day. What a great day!
But, having horses you do have sadness, on Saturday night Morris had to go into the vets with suspect colic and bad asthma. Luckily my vets, Hird and Partners, were very good and have treated him without surgery, and potentially he is on his way home.
So I think we can say other than that we have had a great month, and my clients have also reported some wins so I’m very happy.
It’s time now for a G&T…
Bye for now

I had a lovely time representing British Horse Feeds at the Royal Norfolk show this week. I was honoured to present the prizes for the Speedi-Beet HOYS Grade C Championship again this year!

It was a big track and an exciting competition to watch. The weather was glorious for the day too. I was surprised at just how many competitors retired. There were very few clear rounds and only seven riders made it through to the jump off. 

Lots of the riders had a busy day with several rides entered in the class and a few of them I remembered from riding in the British Horse Feeds sponsored class last year!

The water tray seemed to be a big “hang up” for many riders; it came off a left-hand curving line from a big combination, an oxer followed by two uprights. Maybe it was something to do with how the line rode that troubled the competitors. 

Many riders rode into the ring and showed their horses the water tray before the bell rang to begin. And many pulled up and raised their hand to retire after jumping the combination, without even attempting to present at the water tray.

Personally, I was quite staggered at this – as I would have imagined that their homework had already been done, and this type of fence would have been practiced numerous times before the show. (Much like as an eventer myself, I wouldn’t enter a BE event having never xc schooled my horse over a ditch.) I came to the conclusion that maybe it was more of a rider frightener than for the horses!?

It was also interesting to see that most who did fly over the water tray with no hesitation, had the middle element of the combination down!

The jump off was very twisty and tight and gave a thrilling competition for spectators to watch!

I took my great friend John Mole of Equipix UK Equestrian Photos along to the show with me. He very kindly bought his camera along with him and took some fabulous photos of the prize giving for me!

It was a fun day – thank you British Horse Feeds for allowing me to present the rosettes on behalf of the brand… It was a real privilege!

Coral x

Katelyn has been busy this month. She took Kirsty Mepham’s Dressage stallion to show jump training to give him a change of scenery. He thoroughly enjoyed it and was a little super star considering it was his first time jumping at a different venue to being at home. Both Katelyn and Kirsty are looking forward to getting him out and doing a bit more jumping with him.
Katelyn and Spirit went to another Pony Club rally and jumped a nice course of 1.10m in preparation for the Areas.
Along with these training days Katelyn was asked by British Horse Feeds to present the prize to the winner of their sponsored class, the Speedi-Beet HOYS Grade C Qualifier. Congratulations to Sam Ward, the winner.
Katelyn also attended Hickstead Dressage, working for Kirsty helping her prepare the five horses for their classes.
At the end of the month Katelyn had a lesson on both Spirit and Balli with Ashley Boyce. Both horses were great and it definitely helped with achieving what they have planned for the rest of the year. Katelyn is looking forward to moving Balli to a new yard next month.
Rachel took Spirit to Felbridge to do the 1.10m in preparation for Hickstead which didn’t go quite to plan as they had a stop at the open water. Rachel also did the 1.10m Open and had a great round but just had an unfortunate last pole. 

Rachel also took Balli to Hickstead and unfortunately had a little slip round the corner and took a pole but Rachel is so pleased with her progress. Spirit is now at her new home and we are both looking forward to a good start!

This month we were invited to be part of the Area 5 Side Saddle display at the Dallas Burston Polo Ground Equestrian Day. To show a wide variety of outfits, we had junior riders in tweed and navy, a lady in formal attire, and myself in my Costume Concours D’Elegance outfit. As part of our display, we showed walk, trot, canter and leg yields to show that whatever you do astride, you can do aside.

We were lucky enough to win a lesson with Nedz sponsored rider Lili Brooksby-Dalby at her yard in Leicestershire. It is so lovely when you come across an instructor who seems to understand you and your horse and is not afraid to tell you what to do. Must remember to keep thumbs on top, oops!
We had a lovely lesson and I went away feeling good about my horse and our way of going and I am looking forward to putting it all into practice at home and my next show. I was so pleased my lesson was in the morning with this hot weather we are experiencing.

A friend and I had a weekend free, so we decided to take our horses to Lyneham Cross Country Course as neither of us had been before but we had heard great reports from there. They weren’t kidding, it was excellent! There is such a wide variety of sizes and types of jumps, spread over several fields.
We started off having a play in the water as Tilly has been known to not to want to go into strange water complexes. I had no worries this time, as she went straight in. We did our first steps down into water and even jumped a jump in the middle. After this we set of into the other fields and explored. We started off small and worked our way around, ending up jumping our first hedges. Due to its size, I was worried that Tilly might refuse, but she flew straight over the hedges several times. We both had so much fun, and so did my friend and her horse.

Remember last time… three steps forward, two back… well, we regrouped following our disappointing first BE run at Bishop Burton and headed to Sapey’s Unaffilated ODE. It’s been a while since I’d competed at this venue and I’d forgotten what a super course it was. After a fairly lengthy journey there, we pulled in to glorious sunshine.
The grass had been left fairly long, which provided fabulous going. The course walked fairly strong for Mindy, especially as she’d lost some confidence the previous time out. So as I walked up the fairly steep hill towards the quarry fence – a strong log, step off and log out – I was already sensing I might have to ride her stronger than I normally would like. I was especially mindful that the foray that surrounded Oliver Townend’s riding at Badminton was still swirling… it’s really tough riding a horse that is green, or suddenly goes green on you, no matter what preparation you’ve done. If you’re suddenly faced with some very quick decisions to make to ensure the safety of both you sometimes, you need to use your entire armoury – seat, legs and persuader!
There were a number of log type fences throughout the course – for some reason Mindy finds these fences really spooky and challenging – then a really quite tough water complex two from home… this was certainly going to a test of my riding skills and both of our fitness!
Dressage first, Mindy warmed up beautifully, although she’s still muscularly quite weak, she’s really starting to feel confident now so I’m able to ask more of her. It was getting rather hot, but thankfully she held it together and performed a really solid test for 25.8, I was so pleased with her work. Then straight onto jump a really classy clear in the show jumping.
A quick turnaround and after a couple of lengthy holds on course, we counted down… three, two, one, good luck! We wiggled and snaked our way to the first fence, which headed directly away from the lorry park. Mindy was not feeling particularly forward and jumped the first three fences a little more ‘backward’ than I’d have liked… this was going to be hard work! We started to make the climb to the fourth, jumped it better, I gave her a pat and we headed to the fifth. We needed to gain confidence quickly, the quarry was fast approaching! We jumped the fifth really nicely, confidence building… the quarry next, come on girl… couple of taps on the neck, bum in driving position, legs kicking… she flew through… big pats! 

Each fence presented a good question, which she answered with confidence really building each time. We were coming towards the final tough question, the water complex… back into the driving position… sit back! We jumped through it slightly green, but she felt great, reading the question perfectly and onto the last fence and we were home clear! I was so pleased with her and totally exhausted… did I mention it was really hot! With it being so warm, I jumped straight off loosened her girth and noseband, and then walked her back slowly to the lorry to get her a drink, washed off and legs iced. I walked over to the scoreboard to check the scores and realised we’d actually won! Two steps forward…

Our next trip came up quickly the following week, another try at BE, Speetly this time. Our first visit, what a super place. We warmed up really nicely, and performed a really nice test and the scores reflected what I felt, until the walk… Mindy has a great walk, which she exhibited… but the judge thought otherwise and awarded a 4, which spoilt our rather nice score sheet – we finished on a 31.8.
We untacked and set off to walk the course. It walked fairly straightforward, flowing and as we’d finished with confidence last time out I was really looking forward to tackling the track. We got back to the wagon to find Mindy had bumped her leg on the partition, nothing serious at all but we decided to save her for another day. Whilst really disappointing, we have to look at the bigger picture, she’s young and her time will come, I’m sure of that.
Writing this I realise what a mad month June has been as we also took a trip to Bramham with Mindy, where she performed brilliantly for an 8th place and Weston Lawns for 5th, in the BYEH qualifiers. We are getting closer to that golden ticket!
We’ve also had the king, Ash, out for more flat training and jumping. He’s feeling the best ever, really fit and desperate to get out… but frustratingly that’s not going to happen until we get some rain.
It was so nice to meet up with some of the British Horse Feeds team at Bramham. Next year, I’m hoping Ash and I might get to have a spin around that magnificent course!
Dream big… work hard… dreams do come true!
Kick on, and stay safe!