Brand Ambassador’s September 2018 Update

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What a summer! Glorious weather and lots of successful, fun and educational days out.

September was a tad quieter but I’m glad to have reached a point where I finally feel Stanley can have some downtime and allow his muscles and brain to relax!

There are two months until the end of qualifying period for winter regionals and while we have most of our qualifying points we have not even attempted music qualification! I have spent about two months ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ over music choice! Eventually I chose something a little different and after what seemed like hundreds of hours picking, listening, editing and perfecting we were ready to give it a go!

The good news was… even with my very ‘different’ music selection the judge didn’t hate it. It played perfectly and the music changes were smooth, most of the transitions happened in roughly the correct places. And we finished with a red one on 72.5%!! (Narrowly pushed into 2nd overall by a good friend!)
Given this was our first Medium freestyle and he has had most of the week off after clouting his lumpy chin on his stable door (the vet came and told me he is melodramatic; poor boy!) I am so pleased and so relieved!

In my wisdom I decided to have a go at the Advance Medium to the same music; it was ok, I made some huge riding errors, the floor plan didn’t necessarily play to our strengths but we learnt a lot from doing it and I know what we can change next time to help us both.

Highs are always followed by a downhill… and all I can say it’s a good job I’ve been through some in my life that put things into perspective! I thought I would do the kind thing by clipping Stanley’s hair off as he was getting pretty hot when we were riding and with the area festivals the following week I knew I wouldn’t have another chance beforehand. Well surprisingly he was as good as gold right until end when I was doing his back legs. This was when he took objection to a nearby ghost (probably more likely a fly) and leapt in the air and threw a tantrum. My quick reflex reactions meant I jumped out the way like a cat on hot coals, but unfortunately what I didn’t realise was that he shook the knot out of his tail and the blooming clippers took a chunk with them!! Whilst I wanted to cry it was straight to the BD Nationals this time as groom to help my wonderful trainer!

By the time I was home it was all hail Karlie Jelly and ShowPonyPrep. It is solely down to this lady you are allowed to see pictures of Stanley (and his terrible hair cut!) and that we got to go to the festival finals! How cool is the tail extension… he has a better tail than he has ever had before!

It wasn’t our best test but equally for our limited experience at this level I was chuffed. Being in an enclosed 20×60 isn’t ideal for a horse that needs zero excuse to back off the leg! However he got some super marks including 7.5 for some of his half passes amongst some average marks for a lack of suppleness at times. Unfortunately we didn’t pull off all our changes today, for the first time ever he went late in front! Is that even possible? Some decorative 4’s kept our score down but we were a respectable 6th overall (2nd from judge at C!). The top four were direct qualifiers for the championships. So fingers crossed we might get a wildcard?!

The end of September and my sister was desperate to give him a jump which he loved! I hopped on afterwards and asked for a few changes for fun as he was so cheery after jumping. What can I say… awesome!! Keeping to theory of the harder the work at home the easier in a competition. I’m yet to see the benefits as we still missed the changes the week before!! But we counted to a new number and whilst they are not perfect it just happened and he felt ready. Stanley did his first row of 3 time changes!!

He definitely now deserves a few weeks off and then some fun stuff put into his diary! I am so blessed to have him and so lucky that the continued support we receive allows us to keep moving towards our dream.

Wrap up warm and keep those tails out of the clippers way!!

Hannah & Stanley

A different period of history this time… WW1. We were invited to take part in a WW1 commemorative event in a local village where we portrayed the re-mount section. This is where the ladies re-trained horses ready to be sent out to the battlefront.
Along with a friend, we also attended a side saddle seminar this month where we looked at the teaching of a side saddle rider over jumps, before moving onto classrooms and discussion based topics. The seminar also included a talk by a side saddle saddler and the opportunity to examine some side saddle trees which was very interesting.
It’s that time of year again and the clipping has started, meaning Tilly is less hairy, whilst I’m left covered in hair! I love my new battery MasterClip clippers as they flew through Tilly’s thick coat. See image.
We attended Thame Show for the first time this month and were delighted to come away with a second and first place and reserve side saddle champion.
The following weekend was the Macmillan Charity Ride at Park Farm UK Chasers course near Stamford Hall, just outside of Rugby, in Northamptonshire. This is an annual event and along with the sponsored fun ride, they have a tombola of amazing prizes, including feed vouchers kindly donated by British Horse Feeds. The total raised so far this year is about £6000, which is an amazing amount. I rode round the 8 mile course side saddle, even popping a few jumps including the double as that was where the photographer was based. I also had a go at the Handy Pony and collected our goody bag for entering. It was a brilliant fun ride, and even the damp weather did not spoil our enjoyment.
The month ended with me completing another of my Wolf Run mud and water runs, before going out on hound exercise the next day with the Bloodhounds.

It has been a fun month for Katelyn and Balli as they have been to a couple of different shows.
At the beginning of the month we took Balli to Brendon’s Pyecombe for the unaffiliated 90cm, where she was super. Balli jumped a clear round and was not fazed by anything considering she hasn’t been to a show for a while.
I have learnt a really great tip whilst working at Kirsty Mepham’s for pulling the mane so I decided to do Balli’s. I was extremely surprised with if I do say so myself and how great it looks. Along with this Balli has been enjoying these chillier nights laying down lots in her cosy stable.
At the end of the month we took the horses to Wales for the End of Season Derby Show, which was an amazing experience for Balli as she had never been to a stay away show. The journey was perfect for Balli as we had no traffic and this meant she travelled really well considering it’s normally one of the hardest parts in going to a show. 

Then despite the weather Balli stabled amazingly in the temporary stables, which we’re flapping and flooding.

She did unfortunately have a pole in each of the classes but she tried her heart out and even jumped her first metre class. The only poles she had down were coming out the doubles, as she makes up too much ground in between, so now we have something to work on over the winter when we slow down with the shows and knuckle down with even more training. We have currently changed Balli over to Speedi-Beet and this has seemed to make a difference with the flexibility of her energy levels but still keeps her looking great.
So despite the wet and windy weekend in Wales, Rachel and Spirit gained two clear rounds and two placings in the 1.10m and a pole in the 1.20m on both days but had a great experience with the best horse we could have ever have asked for. Spirit has done us all proud over the five years of owning her and she has continued to improve. 

Spirit is fed on Fibre-Beet and her coat just looks amazing!! You wouldn’t look at her and think she was 17 years old. We are looking forward to doing a few more away shows this winter.

This month saw the start of our three new working pupils; Heidi, Steph and Libby, which is all very exciting! All three girls have fitted in well at the yard nicely and are getting on well so far. Each have their own individual goals to work towards and own reasoning for wanting to gain their Level 2 Diploma in Horse Care with Poultec Training Ltd. I am already enjoying helping them with their journey!

For me, it’s lovely to have some extra helping hands! I’m so used to it just being Mum and I on the yard and having to do everything for ourselves! I’m looking forward to having the winter training with them, improving their riding and management skills, in readiness to come out as competent grooms next event season.

At the end of the month we spent the day team bonding with the girls at Osberton Horse Trials. We had a lovely day and it was great to be able to spend some time getting to know them better outside of the working environment and off the yard. Having never been before, I was keen to check out and walk the 1* course… perhaps a new venue for Robbie and I to compete at in the future!?

We received a very exciting phone call last week to say that Pony Club have chosen our centre and would like to put us forward for Sports Club Funding in the Cambridgeshire area – A massive £2000 worth of building materials from Wickes is up for grabs! An amazing opportunity! We had a week to decide what we would like to build with the money if we are lucky enough to win, and we would need to construct it with our members who are aged 14-24 as well as using trades men within our centre. Our idea needed to be of benefit to our Pony Club members as well as improving our facilities. After much thought and chatting with our members, we’ve put forward our idea and the lady from Pony Club HQ loves the idea, which we’re keeping a secret between our members for now! It should benefit everyone at the yard if we’re fortunate enough to gain the funding… now just to convince the non-horsey project manager from Wickes that they should invest in it!

During this coming week I’m planning to get out xc schooling and hopefully head to a hunter trial at the weekend.

Will let you know how everything goes in next month’s blog,

Coral x

So in my last blog I think I mentioned a trip to Holland visiting the foal auctions. Well we certainly had a great time. We had VIP tickets so we got front row seats, dinner and plenty of wine.

On arrival we looked around all the stables and saw lots of beautiful foals, then there was a presentation to see both the foal and mare moving in the indoor arena. This was a fantastic opportunity to pick the foals of interest and we selected three to then go an visit so we got chance to meet the breeders and talk about bloodlines and character etc. One of the foals we picked was very young, a very stunning foal by Glocks Toto Jr, he was only born July!

We then went back to sit down for the meal before the auction started. Our little chap we selected was number 35 of 78 foals so just about half way through, when he came back in the arena he pinged his toes and was so brave. I have to say we did go over our intended limit, but we got him! So we have a new foal called Nemo and he will arrive in the UK in December, a nice little Christmas present!

Also this month we had QD Life of Riley out at Manor Grange. He took second place in the Novice Freestyle to Music with 71%, which was a big improvement since his last show.

More news this month, we have sold Dartagnan, my very first import from Holland, who I have had much success with including wins at Regionals and placed 6th at the Nationals. He’s a super horse and has found the best home I could wish for. All in all it’s been a very good month.

All the best

Sarah and QD Horses

Hiya, feels like it has been a very long time since I wrote one of these… have been so busy and preoccupied with finishing my Masters. This involved writing a huge thesis which I have finally handed in! I spent all summer in a hot stuffy lab all day, every day trying, and most of the time failing to produce a successful experiment using my set of drugs and some pesky cancer cells. Actually, my research project was really interesting and whilst right at this current moment I feel as though I never want to step foot in a lab again, I did actually really enjoy it!

So, back to the horses and due to all the reasons above plus the fact that the yard seems to have turned into an injury rehab centre with Rosie also being added to the ‘off games list’ there isn’t a huge amount to report competition-wise.

Kenko had a good run around the Novice at Richmond. Having warmed up really beautifully for the dressage he went into the area and did a nice test but had a few too many mistakes. The rein back is our nemesis at the moment, oh and he loves flying changes ESPECIALLY in the counter canter! So, a disappointing mark when he was feeling so good.

SJ was technical and up to height and we started off really well but he just jumps so unnecessarily big!! So much so that we ended up in a spot of trouble in the related distances and had a few poles, he just needs to learn to sit and wait a bit more and not be quite so exuberant. I am confident that will come with time and experience and I think a winter of dressage and BS is ahead for us!

Onto XC and as always he was a total machine and skipped around easily inside the time. He really stepped up to the mark in the XC phase at Somerford in his first 1* and he certainly showed his talent again at Richmond with another class round. We have decided to save his legs for the rest of the season and focus now on improving the dressage and show jumping ready to come out fighting for those top spots in 2019. It’s easy to forget that he only started eventing last year!

Harry on the other hand has had a slight temporary career change, having decided following his nasty fall at Chatsworth last year that XC was no longer his thing I decided to take him hunting to see if I could instil some of his love for the job back into him. Well… he was AWESOME! He stood, he went, he jumped everything and LOVED watching the hounds. I had one ‘hold your breath’ moment when we were heading towards a rather large hedge with a big ditch in front of it, the field masters horse stopped at the last minute and I was sitting there a mere passenger hoping to god he still jumped, which he did! In light of his new found unwillingness to go XC I was rather pleased he clearly hasn’t lost his love for the job altogether.

Next stop is team chasing if I am brave enough! I am so thrilled we have found something he enjoys doing. Harry is such a special horse to me and he was getting so depressed at being left at home all the time but now he loves being my ‘fun’ pony for the time being. Oh, and we are doing a bit of dressage on the side of course!

So that’s about it on the horse front. We are getting ready for winter although still enjoying some amazing weather for this time of year. I’m sure it won’t be long until we are welcoming in yet another New Year, but until then I have some hunt meets and show jumping planning to do not to forget job hunting now my university education is finally over!