Katelyn got up to a fair amount this past month with a few pony club rallies to attend in order to take part in the Area Showjumping competition in the open section.
At the beginning of the month Katelyn and Spirit went to Brendon’s Pyecombe to jump the 1m class and completed with a fantastic double clear.
Then on the Monday they went to Felbridge to jump the 1.05m and did a great double clear again. Both days were on a ticket so no placings but they would have been up there if they were jumping competitively.
Katelyn is looking forward to affiliating again soon and also to a few more rallies in the next month, one of which will be on Rodney, a stallion owned by Kirsty Mepham which is who Katelyn works for on a Saturday.
Rachel and Katelyn thought it would be a good idea to take Balli to Felbridge to have a training session and she was amazing, jumping everything and being very bold but having better control.
Rachel took Balli again to Felbridge Show Ground, this time schooling one evening, and she was so cool. We forgot a numnah so had to improvise with a towel, but it was great to get her out and training after trying out some different tack. We have gone back to basics and added few little extras so hopefully this will work.
Rachel took Spirit to Petley Wood to jump the 1.10m Open and the 1.20m Open. Unfortunately they didn’t get placed as the pair are a bit rusty but was nice seeing them back out again.
Rachel is going to take Spirit to Felbridge Show Ground on the 2nd June to do the 1.15m Derby in practice for the Hickstead Derby Meet. Balli will also be getting her first taste of Hickstead, she will be going to jump the British Novice.
I can’t believe we are already at the end of May… where is this year going?!! We had lots of great plans for May, but unfortunately a string of bad luck put paid to a lot of our plans.
Badminton… what a fantastic weekend as usual. However for the first time in forever, I spent it in front of the TV rather than actually being there. It was great to be able to still enjoy all three phases but I really missed the buzz and atmosphere of being at Badminton… albeit as a spectator (we can all dream, hey!). I will definitely be camping there as usual next year!
The next weekend we always look forward to in May is Chatsworth. My favourite event which is very local (I used to drive past every day on the way to school!) However this year it was not meant to be. Between us Ben and I had three horses entered and none of them actually managed to get a run! Two were side-lined with injuries and one balloted from the Novice having not managed to get his 1* qualifications due to the horrible start to the season which has affected a lot of us. Ah well, that’s horses for you. We still enjoyed a lovely day there on the Saturday but it was very weird to not be riding!
One positive is that Kenko managed to get his first proper run at Bishop Burton, an event which I haven’t competed at before. The XC was lovely with a few good questions and two fairly strong water complexes… ‘Uh oh I might have to kick here’ was what went through my head when walking the first water. However Kenko did a good dressage (still work in progress at Novice level for him) rolled a couple of poles in the showjumping which didn’t really reflect the round that he jumped because he felt super. Then he absolutely stormed around the XC, giving me a fantastic feel for a class clear round with just six time faults due to it being his first xc run.
Kenko now has a couple of Novice runs before his first 1* in August!
That’s all for now! I’m off for a break from horses and University work with a week in Spain!
Two steps forward, three back… that’s how it often feels with young horses! In fact, often with horses full stop! It’s also very hard not to feel disheartened when you’ve trained hard, tried to leave no stone unturned, they’re going fab at home and basically they let you down! Hard as it sometimes is at the time, on reflection, every mistake made it’s an opportunity for us all to learn. Horses and riders don’t become experienced without getting out there, seeing and doing – so if a ‘whoopsie’ moment does happen, brush yourself off, regroup, train and try again! Something I’ve had to chant to myself with Mindy, aka It’s Morka, a lot!
We’ve had a very busy May with a trip to Chatsworth and Rockingham with Mindy for the BYEH class, chasing that elusive golden ticket. She performed a lovely test, and clear jumping at Chatsworth, scoring great marks – then the conformation judge and type judge took a dislike to her dropping 8 marks from the previous week, so we finished just outside the top ten. I was delighted she took in the atmosphere, and had built in confidence from the previous week.
Rockingham, however, was not our finest work. She was spooky and tense in the dressage, then jumped a lovely round, just having a really unlucky rail. In fairness, it was my fault we under performed as I’d pulled a muscle in my back riding Ash earlier in the week and hadn’t been able to ride her properly. I still don’t know how I managed to run to trot her up that day… I could hardly walk!
We’ve also had a trip out to Solihull unaffiliated one day event with Mindy and Pluto. Pluto was being harassed by flies during his dressage test, but still managed a fair test to score 35.8. He jumped a super show jumping round having a really unlucky rail, then stormed around the xc feeling very confident, finishing 5th in the 100+ class. Things hadn’t gone to plan the previous week at Llanymenach, where we’d parted company (an elegant dismount really, as I did manage to land on my feet!!) just before the water! To give him the benefit of doubt, we had very late times, so the sun was starting set which made the water jump cast in shadow which made some ugly jumps in for a number of competitors. An advantage of the late times was the land owners gave us permission to school around after the last horse. We regrouped and he stormed around the novice track with ease.
Mindy performed a great test in the 90 finishing with 28.3, then jumped a fab clear show jumping and had couple of green moments xc – but finished with confidence.
Bishop Burton BE was our next stop for Mindy’s very first affiliated event. She performed a lovely test for 29.3, had a very green (naughty!) moment at the last fence when she took a complete dislike to the Connelly’s Red Mills banner – she’s a British Horse Feeds girl through and through!! – she spun around, so I had to circle and represent. The xc was fabulous, but walked strong for my girl’s first BE, lots to look at, a step to corner, trakhener (she’s a tad ‘ditchy’ at the minute, so this posed a threat!), a skinny viaduct wall, a few strides then into the water… hmmm, this might be a tough ask.
We headed out of the start box feeling great, she jumped the first four fences with her confidence building, a tricky light to dark question into the woods coming up – a palisade followed be a tight curving line right to a brush… jumped it spooky, but good. Onto the mound – a log, run up a hill, log on the top, run down to fence at the bottom… no problems, good girl! Trakhener next… nope dad, don’t like that one, there’s a dragon in the bottom… I let her have look, approached it again and she jumped it lovely. Step off to the corner next… she jumped off the step, and just didn’t understand the question and stopped… We tried again, but we just couldn’t get a good enough line to it… big fat E issued!
Disappointed, yes, but lots learned. So, as I started… two steps forward, three steps back!
Kick-on, and stay safe!
We started off the month by travelling back in time to the Victorian era, at Audley End in Essex, as part of the Horses through the Years event.
Our event this year included eight Victorian ladies riding side saddle and featured a musical ride, jumping and racing. We did a total of three jumps with the jump getting bigger each time.
The races were done in heats of three riders, then the winner of each heat racing for the final. The first day we got to the final and just lost out as Tilly found it hard to stand still on the start line and we were therefore not facing forward when the word GO, was shouted. The second day we made sure we were facing the right way on the final race line and ended up winning. It was fair to say that Tilly absolutely loved this part of the show.
The second bank holiday weekend saw us attending our local show and taking part in the side saddle classes there. We had a lovely day out and shared our horsebox with a zebra, otherwise known as the little pony from over the road who took part in the fancy dress class as the Zebra from the film Stripes.
The Monday found us attending our local Carnival Parade, and as the theme was Music and Magic, I had to go riding a Unicorn, so Tilly was transformed into a beautiful black and gold unicorn that the children around the parade route absolutely loved. Complete with gold horn and gold glitter hooves. I was dressed as a fairy, riding side saddle, complete with wings and a wand.
May has been a busy month!
Robbie and I dusted off our top hat and tails for the CIC1* at Rockingham Castle. We trained really hard for Rockingham as it’s one of my bigger events and important to me. I was pleased with the runs we had previously done gearing up to the event and was really looking forward to it. Our dressage on the Thursday went well. As always, Robbie tried his little heart out for me – scoring an FEI 43.2. As you can see from the photo, we wore our British Horse Feeds team uniform with great pride! Alaska, my puppy, is loving the eventing lifestyle and looked super cute with Robbie in their matching BHF’s/BE branded rugs!
On Saturday we headed back for the jumping phases. Of course, as always, Robbie was wearing his BHF’s saddle cloth and quarter markers and I was extremely proud that two other competitors and a family of spectators commented on how smart he looked and just how much they loved his quarter marks! I was so frustrated with myself for getting eliminated in the showjumping for missing fence 9! Robbie was jumping so well! He was not at all happy to be loaded to go home without going xc! However, lots learnt at Rockingham and I decided that there were a few things I’d change before my next event so that I was more mentally prepared…
1. Get more sleep!! Still tack cleaning at 11pm and getting up to do the yard at home at 3.50am, to then ride up against the likes of Andrew Nicholson and Mark Todd and their team of grooms is never, ever going to compare or cut it!!
2. Make time between rushing around to drink and have some breakfast! Maybe alongside my 1x banana I always have… it’ll help my memory?!
3. Stop cramming! Which may mean rescheduling my lessons the day before or being unable to help out others for that day.
With my new plan in action, we headed to Shelford with Alice where we finished in 12th place. At our last event we were heavily time faulted for going too fast XC. I was pleased to finish with another XC clear but this time, bang on the optimum time, exactly to the second!
Three days at home and then back off out to Little Downham with Robbie again for the Intermediate Novice. I am so pleased with his performance! We managed to pull it out of the bag with a 34.8 dressage! For Robbie and I in an Intermediate test, I was so impressed with the score! We had the last down showjumping (think we both got excited that we’d left the combination standing and got a bit keen!) And clear XC to finish 12th!
Well the start of May went a bit like this… you give the boy a two week break, pick him back up, so he decides a break was more fun and pulled his brand spanking new shoe clean off his foot just in time for bank holiday!! So a quiet early May bank holiday was had by us until our lovely farrier could come back and put in on!
May was back to work and back to training for us – it was much needed three weeks of grass eating did nothing for Stanley’s figure! We have had multiple lessons with both Sara-Jane Lanning and Sarah Ansty; these two ladies work wonders for us, they read from the same page, notice the same naughty habits that Stanley and I get into. Having two trainers works for me as it provides me with lots of solutions to a problem, if one way isn’t working I can try another.
The lessons got us back on track, the aids were refined, and he gave us some of his best work yet. The canter HP are really starting to get more fluent and he is improving his collection which is allowing us to play with some changes – except I now need to ride them more forward to stop him getting stuck. We don’t get them perfect 100% of the time but the understanding is coming and that’s good enough for me.
At the end of the month we decided to do something crazy, as our changes are getting more reliable we entered an Advanced Medium test! We entered in canter, we finished in canter, we did half passes, shoulder in and FLYING CHANGES!
I learnt so much from that outing – I mean who knew half passes had double coefficients! Or that joining all those movements together is really brain boggling, especially in 25 degree heat – we were both exhausted by the end! When I saw my score I nearly fell off my perch 69.29%… 1st in the Bronze section and 2nd overall!!!
The medium warm up test didn’t go quite so well I was a bit ring rusty and little mistakes crept in but really it paled into insignificance because we learnt from them and we did our first ever advanced medium!! Who would have thought it this time last year while his face was wrapped in a giant bandage!
One more goal met and one more step towards that tailcoat dream! Bring on June!
Firstly let’s say what lovely weather we are having, shame my gardens not complete with patio and chairs, hope to sort this next month, after a hard month.
So we were waiting for the arrival of Angel’s Bernay Foal, her foal was born on 12 May at 5am, a beautiful filly with long legs. I didn’t know why but the mother was not bonding and the foal had such long legs we thought she was struggling with balance, feeding was really hard and alarm bells were ringing, I wasn’t happy so called vet Jenny from Ridings vets to come. I knew there was a weakness; sadly we found the little filly, named Annie, had a broken pelvis. I was devastated but we had to put her to sleep. I didn’t really want to share this news but so many people have been asking about the foals.
On to a happy note, I keep trying to get my advanced horse, Pikkert, out so we headed to our local venue to do the music test at Manor Grange under Steph Cooper. He was super and gave me a great ride, but we did something which is not acceptable in Advanced Medium, we picked up some passage in the collected walk… although I was like wow, I knew that this would change my scores, and it did… a costly 4 but the judge loved what she saw in the rest of my test and we finished with 67%. She also wrote what a happy partnership we have, with lots to like, but shame he danced in the walk.
Now… we also sold Rocky Clover to Dr Roden, but I know she loves it when I call her Ros across the arena. Ros wanted a retirement present, so bought lovely Rocky, I don’t know if she intended to ride him or admire him, but I called her up to get her boots and hat on and have a spin on the lunge. Ros started off quite nervous and talks ten to the dozen whilst riding him round… now we are on lesson 10 and we have a confident rider. Shhhh don’t tell her. I have talked to Ros about the whole music and dressage rocky likes to do, so Laurel and Hardy came out to play at Yorkshire Dressage in Barnsley where myself, Rocky, Ros and the picnic bag, travelled to dressage. This was Ros and Rocky’s first show since the sale, but I was the rider just to show what he can do. He only went and won both tests with almost 74%. You could say that we had one very happy new owner. Also that day Jane Aspin won on my homebred Wescoe Showman, so it was a great day.
We had an interesting bank holiday, my other mare lady was 16 days overdue, I was rather worried, I sent my mum at 21:50pm to check the barn, and peep into Lady’s stable… phone rings… ‘Sarah come quickly she’s having it now!’ So dressing gown on, nothing else and some jelly shoes, I deliver her foal. A stunning bay colt by Amour G. He is a healthy foal, and the mare’s first baby, she is doing a fantastic job. So a happy ending too.
Love Sarah and The Team from QD horses