August Update From The Speedi Beet Team

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Steve Garrod – An action packed month and we’re ready for Burghley

As ever this month has flown by and been jam packed with many more hours spent awake than sleeping!! I’m typing away five days before we head to Burghley with Iceman….. it still doesn’t quiet seem real that we have another BYEH finalist looking over our stable door! I’m very aware that we head to the world famous party in Lincolnshire as the underdog, it’s a massive challenge for us…… for a partnership less than six months old, and with Ice only starting his competitive career since we bought him, we are six months behind were I would like to be in our preparations and his experience. Thankfully, he’s the most laid back character and has taken on each challenge presented to him in great spirit and with a ‘can do’ attitude which is worth so much. Being so tall, he is still very weak, so it’s been quiet tough getting the balance of work and rest right for him. We are getting there, but it’s still very much a work in progress. So, by the time you read this, it’s probably all over and we’ll have had a glass of fizz to celebrate our journey to the final…… and who knows, the underdog might have pulled it out of the bag! 

This month has seen trips to Skipton, Somerford, Bold Heath, Llanymynech and Prestwold – phew! I’m tired just typing that list!!! It’s been just fabulous to get Ash back out – he is just awesome! We headed to Skipton for our first run of the season with Ash in the BE100Open and Iceman was in the 5 year olds. This is our second trip here and we will definitely make this venue part of the annual plan as the effort made is fabulous. Both horses did fab tests – a 29 for Ash and a 25.8 for Iceman… get in!! 
To add to it both jumped super show jumping rounds, although Ash had an unlucky rail!!! In fairness he did the ‘I’m going high, just not across!’ thing and just tapped the back pole. He’s forgiven- it was his first time out jumping on grass since Osberton last year!

I chose to ride Ash first around the cross country and he did not disappoint, making it all feel very easy and skipped around like he’d never had a break. I just can’t tell you how great it felt to enter that start box with Ash and cross the finish line full of running. It was then a quick change and onto Ice, who is a totally different ride – as he’s still very green across the country and finds it hard to keep galloping – it’s very tiring being tall and 5 years old, don’t you know!! He was making great progress and feeling really confident. However, the water complex was causing a lot of trouble and it sadly claimed our scalp too. It came up quickly after a steep downward slope and a sharp right hand turn. The log rail just took him by surprise- just an unfortunate green mistake. We span around quickly and he popped it nicely and carried on foot perfect around the rest of the course. Sadly that cost us a qualifying spot so we were gutted!

We managed to get a last minute entry to Bold Heath in the 5 year olds as I really wanted to get another run into him quickly to build on the progress we had made. The long trip was worthwhile as he performed beautifully for 31.8 (harsh – the test was lovely!) and pulled out a beautiful double clear for 8th. This was a very proud moment as he’s come so far in such a short time.

Somerford International came next-I love this event! I had Ash in the Novice and he was pure class from beginning to end. A 17.5 dressage with a double clear placed us 5th – we just added a few time faults to finish on 23.9! Can’t say I wasn’t a little disappointed to finish 5th on a 23.9, but our plan was to get into a nice rhythm on the cross country and not chase the clock. We trucked on home a happy team!

We had a great training session at Ruth’s before our next trip out, working on softness, straightness and hind leg activity with Ice and we ran through the movements in the CIC1* test with Ash in preparation for Gatcombe. Ruth was really pleased with the progress of both horses, which is really nice to hear as I’ve worked really hard on their flat work since starting training with her.

o we headed to Llanymynech with confidence of a good performance and if lady luck was on our side, a qualification place for Iceman. I was pleased with our test, as it flowed nicely and it was accurate but he was very inconsistent in the contact sadly, which left us middle of the table. He did redeem himself, with a class clear show jumping which I was really pleased with. The cross country country had had a revamp and turned around the opposite direction from last year, so the water complex came at fence 6, which is quiet tough for the young horses as you haven’t really got going by then. We walked the course, and all agreed it was quiet tough for our lad…… and as the day progressed our judgement proved to be right as problems were occurring all around the course, particularly at the new second water complex which consisted of a skinny brush on a left-handed turn, then four strides into the water. It was a really cleverly built fence as you approached through trees which created shadow, then out into the bright sunshine which made the water look very odd and I think horses struggled to judge it to be honest. I went out of the start box meaning to move up the table…. but despite all our best intentions, the second water claimed our scalp. Ice had been going great and for the first time really had his ears pricked and was looking for his fences. I was really pleased as the course had offered plenty of questions and he’d answered them all easily. We then came to the second water, five from home and I worried he’d back off so I gave him a tap with my whip as we came out of the shadows and off the turn. He jinked sideways away from the stick and ducked out of the skinny…. we turned back around quickly and he jumped it brilliantly, went straight into the water and jumped out beautifully…. he tackled everything else foot perfectly and finished with petrol still in the tank, but I was totally gutted as if I’d have trusted him to jump it in hind-sight, I think he would! The only consolation was that we would have just been outside the qualification places even without the costly 20 penalties! I’m confident his day will come, he’s got all the ingredients, he just lacks experience.

So madly the end of our season is already in sight and the final flourish of event planning is underway…. we head to Gatcombe with Ash, then on to Osberton for the six year olds… hopefully, god willing! Iceman will do a couple more BE 100 events, probably Brooksby and Oasby. Our lovely Smurf has been diagnosed with muscle trauma in his neck which explains his loss of form earlier this season and has meant he’s been side-lined for the summer, but we are hoping to get a couple of BE 100 runs before the curtain comes down on our 2015 season!
It’s certainly been extremely hard work over the last few months, but we are definitely living the dream!
Kick on, and safe!
Steve and the team
p.s. we never got our run at Prestwold sadly as the going was just too firm!
Coral Herbert – Thursday bursts back onto the scene
Exciting news to report that Thursday has made an eventing comeback this month!!! But first I’ll start where I left off in my last blog…
Little Downham with Alice was an experience to learn from. After a nice dressage test I made the mistake of trying to jump her in Robbie’s noseband. I learnt my lesson not to try to fix something that isn’t broken by having two poles down. To add to y frustration, I still can’t believe that I missed out a fence XC!!!! Alice gave me such an amazing feel and stormed round, full of running, to finish bang on the optimum time. I was so thrilled and hadn’t even realised until I had crossed the finish line and was told that I had missed out fence 12 – letting Alice down and causing us an un-necessary elimination. However, I took the positives from this event and plan to move onwards and upwards to the next!
The weekend after the BE event, I took Thursday to Little Downham with some great friends for some XC schooling. It was her first time XC in a very long time! She was a little keen over the first couple of fences but soon settled back into the swing of things. The BE course was still set up so I was able to give her a steady run around the BE90 track – remembering to jump fence 12 this time too!!! She popped round nicely, loving every second!
After going so well schooling, we headed to Great Witchingham for an un-affiliated 80cm ODE. It wasThursday’s first event back since October 2013! She felt as though she had been out competing all season and jumped a confident and easy double clear. Unfortunately I really pushed on XC and rode BE pace, knowing that if all went well, she could stand a chance of a possible placing after taking a peek at the scoreboards after the showjumping. We finished with 14 time faults for speeding, which cost us a fourth place – oops! In the end we finished a respectable 11th which I was so happy with after such a long time off!
Next up we took a trip to Keysoe for a BE90. It was the same dressage test we had ridden the week before at Witchingham, which was helpful, and we managed to ride a better test and improve on scores. I had decided that Keysoe would be ideal for Thursday as the showjumping is in the arena. She jumped another lovely clear! I was the last competitor of the weekend and wasn’t due to go XC until 7pm!!! Forget banning head cams, are head torches acceptable under BE rules!? After lots of heavy rain and walking the course, I decided to withdraw and give the XC a miss as I felt the ground wasn’t suitable for Thursday, especially after all the time she has spent recovering from her injury.
It feels great to have three eventers, fit and out competing again – enjoying their job! The horses and I still have a few more BE events to attend that I’m looking forward to this autumn.
Catch up again at the end of September,
Coral x
Sarah Bosomworth – A nasty accident and three months out
Well it’s a difficult blog to write this month unfortunately. After riding the lovely stallion Eloquent, Spudley gave me the most wonderful ride and his leg yields were super-I was so proud of him. After his session I took his tack off and gave him a body groom and massage. I received a text message, so I was a while replying whilst Spudley had a snooze in the grooming stable. I was stood behind him and I was just about to do his tail, but as I reached forward to touch it, I sadly made him jump. This resulted in him bucking up in the air and into my groin and stomach. I fell back and cracked my head against the wall.
Luckily my groom Stuart found me and called the ambulance. I was rushed to Leeds St James, with my sister. Sadly I had damaged my stomach so surgery was needed and I also had three broken ribs and a bleed to the brain!! I’m heart broken but so relieved to be alive. I’m so glad Spudley did not have shoes on as the outcome could have been even worse.
I had been in hospital a week and it was a bit too much for me. I have to admit that I came out early as I was struggling with the lack of fresh air!
It is amazing how much support and help I have had along with messages and visitors. I am a lucky lady and very grateful!! I still think it was a freak accident and I don’t blame the horse, I think extra care was needed and maybe the phone should have been left alone!! Take care everyone, I have learnt a big lesson from this.
The doctors have said that the injuries mean I can’t ride for three months!! I need the time to rest and repair. My physio starts this week with Jane Aspin at David Lloyd’s. Jane is a rider herself, and I also sold her a horse. I am excited to get started and get on the mend, but also very weak.
My horses are now being ridden by event rider James Rushbrook, at my home and Ted and Pikkert are transported to Annie Cowan for some dressage tutoring. Some are having a break.
After looking at British Dressage results it does look like I have three qualified for the regionals and a possible four tests. Fingers crossed-it’s certainly very good news for me.
Sorry to share some sadness, but sometimes we need to take extra care. Thank you for reading my blog.
Jennie Daniels – A successful month and we’re making progress!
At the beginning of the month I visited the National Side Saddle Show at Addington. For anybody interested in Side Saddle, it was heaven. Lots of trade stands selling everything for side saddle enthusiasts, and so many saddles to drool over. I went into the main arena to watch the top side saddle riders doing their equitation tests, and was delighted to see someone on a horse of Tilly’s type of build. It’s not all tall, flashy TB types, so there is hope for Tilly and I yet. I also got to watch the costume concurs d ’elegance class, which was full of such beautiful outfits. I watched the jumping as well, a lot of respect for these ladies. Here are my photos from the day:-
Tilly and I were then off to my local riding club for combined training, which consisted of Prelim 4 and 2’6” show jumping, all on grass. We managed a good dressage test of 73% and came second, then had a pole down in the show jumping jump off, and managed fifth, giving us an overall first place in the combined training.
Then it was back to side saddle for the HOPE Show. We had entered the Open Equitation, so were up against some very experienced, good riders. We were not placed, but I was very pleased with how Tilly went and we had lovely comments from the judge about our turnout, which is a huge improvement on the beginning of the year.
The following week, it was dressage at a venue I had only ridden side saddle at, and it was raining, so that was a whole new experience for Tilly. However, she did did a lovely test, despite the rain, and we scored 72.7% coming fourth.
Here is the video of our test:-
The month ended with a huge English Civil War battle display in Chester, where Tilly was an absolute star, but you will have to wait until next month’s blog to read all about it and view any photos.
Rebecca Wright – Fantastic results and Equifest and Royal London
August has been a busy month for me and Pumpkin with two championship shows taking place. We attended Equifest and the Royal London Show with great results at both.
I said a very sad goodbye to Joe this month. I had been thinking about selling him for about six months but couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I didn’t feel I had enough time for him along with working full time and competing Pumpkin. I just thought I would advertise him in one place and see who came along. It took just twelve days for someone to come and see him, have him vetted and then we delivered him to his new home. He has gone to an amazing place where he will want for nothing and I will definitely be visiting!
We had a great few days at Equifest! We arrived there at about 11pm on the Tuesday night as I had been working all day and the day before! So I got home bathed Pumpkin and as soon as she was dry we set off. Pumpkin was a superstar traveller as always and didn’t seem at all put off by the late night! We were placed in all our classes apart from the performance to music which was a shame as we had put a lot of effort in, but don’t think the judges quite got it all! I don’t think I would enter this class again at Equifest as I don’t think you can really show a horse off to do a performance on hard ground in a small area. We are going to give this class another go at the Veteran Horse Championships in September which is on a surface which will be nice! We finished the show on a high though winning a strong ridden veteran class. Pumpkin went her best after four days competing and wasn’t at all tired from the show. She enjoyed her Speedi-Beet every tea time!
We had another fantastic show at the Royal London Show. We won our age group ridden veteran which qualified us for the evening performance. I always love riding in an evening and Royal London is made extra special as it has a big spotlight! Pumpkin really rises to the occasion too. In the championship there were 15 1st/2nd/3rd placed competitors from the ridden veteran classes. We were pulled forward as Reserve Reserve Champions! Pumpkin did a beautiful trot out down the centre line and I will post the professional photos as soon as they arrive.
I also rode Juke at Equifest and Teazle at Royal London. Juke was a little too laid back at Equifest, certainly not bothered by the busy showground. We weren’t placed in our classes but it was a good experience for him. His owner is aiming to do more jumping with him now as that is what he seems to enjoy most. Equifest may have been my last show on him, as someone is taking over from me for the jumping! Teazle came 5th in our ridden veteran section at Royal London, she is still looking and feeling fantastic for 22, feeling a bit too full of it in our individual shows at times which unfortunately doesn’t go down well with the judges!
Coming up in September for Pumpkin is the Veteran Horse Society Championships. She may also go out to a local show before then. Good luck to everyone competing their horses this September!
Katie Patrick – From Bucking Bronco to Little Angel
After a fantastic month in July, August was always going to have a hard act to follow. It’s been a bit of an up and down kind of month but all kicked off at PC ‘wacky weekend’ camp. For the first year the PC camp as being held at Somerford Park, for those who don’t know, Somerford is heaven for equine enthusiasts! Some of the older members were invited to go and make use of the facilities and training available for a wacky weekend! I decided to go along with Harry and it was brilliant. We used the farm ride for a jolly and for a bit of fast work, had a great dressage and SJ lesson and went for a play over the more technical XC fences.
Unfortunately our usually ever reliable lorry decided to break down the day before camp and we managed to borrow a friend’s lorry. We were alarmed to find several warning lights on the dashboard on the way there but with the owner’s permission we trekked on and arrived safely, albeit very late! Just our luck that once the engine was off and we got the horses settled for the night the lorry then wouldn’t restart and had to be left abandoned on the yard.
Harry has been feeling very exuberant recently and decided to show this last week by showing me up in front of my young cousins….I can’t remember the last time I schooled him in our rather spooky school before this occasion and as soon as I was on board the airs above the ground began! Usually I am fairly good at sticking on…I have had plenty of training thanks to a couple of naughty ponies and of course Sir Harold. However despite clinging on for several circuits of bucking and leaping, eventually during a particularly extraordinary leap, my right stirrup leather flew clean off the saddle and I was a gonner. Undeterred, I jumped back on only for the exact same thing to happen about 10 minutes later! Finally after about 20 minutes of cantering around, Harry finally settled and actually worked very nicely. Just to rub it in, the next day I jumped on to have a quick pop and he was as good as gold….I don’t understand that horse!
So then we headed to Somerford for the CIC**, this was a bit of a test as we were being brave and taking both Harry and Barney for the first time ever! On the whole, it went Ok with just Harry being a stress head on Saturday when Barney was competing. We did our dressage on Friday and were a little bit rushed beforehand…unfortunately this meant that we didn’t have quite long enough warm up time and Harry went in still just a little bit tense. We did a good test with a couple of mistakes, a costly break in the medium trot and I halted in the wrong place…DUH! We scored a 55.2 which was very average for the section but I was pleased because I know where it could have been much better. 
Show Jumping went very well and Harry was super careful just to roll one unlucky pole. I did pick up some time faults which was annoying and I just need to learn to ride some tighter lines. XC started off extremely well, Harry bounced out of the start box and gave me a brilliant feeling over the first few fences and first combination. That was until it all went wrong….Harry jumped in boldly over the first part if the combination at fence 6 (I had a run out here last year) and I completely blanked and flapped riding to the first angled shoulder brush, kicked and threw the reins at him, making the good, forward 5 strides into 4 by cutting in on my curving line and ended up aiming for the high part of the brush….understandably Harry said “no sorry can’t” and we had a really silly run out. I span back around to jump it again and he popped in but didn’t manage to make the distance to the second angled brush, chipped in and jumped but just outside the white flag. Another run out….WHAT! Once we had managed to get over the fence with me completely kicking myself we carried on over the next few fences, including a tricky coffin combination which he jumped absolutely foot perfectly I decided to retire as the ground was firm and there wasn’t really much point in continuing and wasting his legs. He jumped the rest of the course absolutely beautifully last year and it was very similar so we walked home…how utterly disappointing but just shows how important experience is.