Speedi-Beet Team February Updates

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This month we haven’t been up to much as we have been on a family holiday but I have crammed as much into the month as possible.  

In February Spirit and I have taken part in the South Down Hunt West Paul Crago clinic and it was very beneficial as Paul has been a part of the Rider Development pathway so I got some insight to what will be going on and what to expect.

During February we also took part in the KW Academy and it was amazing – I got Spirit going round a course with a consistent rhythm and control.

We had a successful year with the pony club and had a great evening at the Pony Club Awards with the Open team winning the Showjumping award which makes it two years in a row now. The other two trophies awarded are for two of the events we have won this year (Hickstead SDHW PC teams and in the middle Area Showjumping Teams).
Hello everyone,
February has certainly been an action packed month! We have entered Askham Bryan BE80 which is in a couple of weeks so we have been doing some training for that; lots of pole work, jumping with Gary Parsonage and changing bits around to get the right one for jumping as he gets very onward bound! We are going to Epworth at the weekend to do some more cross country schooling, although at Gary’s we did some cross country fences in his arena.
We have recently competed at Bishop Burton in the British Novice which was a fantastic experience. It was fully up to height; some were around a metre and they had lots of spooky fillers out. Charlie went straight round the whole track and only had one down due to greenness, but I was so happy he went round it without looking at any of the fillers and jumped out of his skin!
Charlie has also been seen by Melanie Watson, an equine behaviourist who had said we need to rekindle his interest in his surroundings and investigate things more (his seeking system) as he was disinterested in everything going on around him which lead to him being somewhat spooky at objects in the arena. To do this, we needed to clicker train him to a target. This is basically where you take an object, at first something like a bucket lid as it has a large surface area for horses to touch with their nose, and gradually begin to associate the seeking (touching of the target) with the click and a reward. It’s very interesting to hear all the mechanics and psychology behind it, and Charlie has seemed to pick up on the clicker training quite well and even seems more interested and playing with other horses.
Can’t wait to post the results of Askham Bryan, hopefully they will be promising!
Thanks for reading x

My dear BHF’ers spring is upon us!

Unfortunately Prince has had this month off work recovering from his injury (daft thing twisted his fetlock in the field being silly) so this is my short guideline/helpline to avoid (hopefully!) injury and lameness!
If your horse has had little to no exercise through the winter it is important to get them accustomed to exercise slowly as to not cause injury. Speak to your trainer and arrange a correct training and conditioning programme. Start with brief periods of walking, moving to longer rides and faster gaits over several weeks.
Ensure you pay attention to your horses reaction to exercise in order to avoid injuries.

The other thing to look out for is Laminitis, that big scary word that sends horse owners into a panic, If your horse or pony is prone to lamnitis, it is wise to restrict turnout to a few hours a day. Laminitis prone horses and ponies require a controlled diet which may include restricted grazing with the use of a muzzle and longer periods being stabled.

However it is vitally important that these horses and ponies still receive plenty of fibre, which can be soaked to reduce the calorie content along with a balanced diet. Supplements are also available to help aid digestion and reduce the amount of undigested food reaching the hindgut, this is what causes toxins to be released into the bloodstream killing off and damaging the laminae.
Next month’s blog should be much better in that we can now start exercising again and building up muscle ready for our first event in April! Eek! Can’t wait! The photo is from our last event, hoping it will give us all motivation to carry on until spring!
Signing off for now,
Keana x
Well after a couple of quiet months following my little accident I was determined that this month’s blog photo would not be of Jason in a field again, my broken bones are almost fully healed and I officially start riding again in less than two weeks… but in the interest of slightly more interesting blog material I couldn’t resist hopping on Jason in the stable! (so if all medical professionals and physiotherapists could look the other way please). The photo was taken with remote control, hence half my head missing and rather blurry! I promise I am wearing my hat. Jason is accustomed to Mummy’s strange behaviour, but the nice stable lad who walked past looked rather bemused as I said “there is a perfectly rational explanation for all this”.
This brought back memories of when I first purchased Jason and brought him home all those 12 years ago, I kept him at a lovely big farm owned by the Chatsworth estate, and I don’t know what possessed me but shortly after he arrived I took him out for a hack along the estates private tracks and into the forest – bareback with just a headcollar and lead rope! On the way back he broke into a gentle jog but I just touched the lead rope , said “steady” and he walked all the way home. The things we do when we are young!
After weeks of searching I found a wonderful yard for Jason, it’s called Professional Equine Services (with indoor school – luxury!), it is a good drive for me to get to, but I had a really good feeling about the place and he has settled in well, I can’t wait to be back in the saddle. I’m also looking forward to taking part in a few of their clinics whilst we’re there, especially with dressage trainer Darryl Thickitt, and Have-a-Go Trek sounds like fun too!
I also have a lesson booked in a fortnight, with another fantastic trainer; I will be riding one of her advanced horses so I am very excited to see how that goes. Things are looking up!
Until next time…


It’s been a great month and things are really starting to come together for the start of the event season which is now just around the corner! Harry did his first competition of 2016, the JAS at Hartpury. Having not jumped a huge amount I was a little unsure of how much control I would have! Harry was a star and flew round both the novice and the open with two lovely double clears. We came 6th and 5th and qualified for the finals in both classes! What a great start to 2016! Unfortunately due to a mistake on my part I completely missed the entries for the finals and so really frustratingly I was unable to compete! How annoying!

I also was asked to ride in the pony club annual instructors conference with Nick Gauntlett. The theme was cross country through the levels and Harry and I were one of the members in the last group of the day. I am always a bit unsure of how Harry will react to the big audience but he was a star. Jumping a lovely round over the pretend cross country fences and then going on to jump a line of three extremely steeply angles fences in a line! Safe to say he’s feeling straight as ever!

This week I have had a great jumping lesson with Lizzel Winter as part of the Hartpury academy. Harry was on great form and jumping his socks off! Just one more week of prep left til my first event on Harry..how exciting! we are going XC schooling at Aston le walls on Monday which will be fun and then one more trip to the gallops just to give everything a good clear out, before  heading to Tweseldown Novice on the 11th March to kick-start what I hope will be a very successful season!

Oh and just to get a bit of practice before the main man hits the scene again I am heading home this weekend to event my brothers horse Barney in the riding club event. It’s all getting busy now!
Five…. Four….three….two…one….. Good luck! Yep, finally… those words will be spoken again in a few days…… I’m so excited!  And, to be honest I think the horses are too!  
Ash has been so naughty over the last week, particularly in his training session with Ruth on Monday. He was awarded an ASBO as he spent the whole lesson spooking and being a complete fool! I was sent away with strict instructions to have him at boot camp for the next week  – “he’s seven now, he needs to understand that he can ‘look’ but he can’t spook away from something and he must respect your leg” were Ruth’s words. So boot camp it’s been for the last few days….. I think we are making progress…. In fairness, I think he’s feeling rather well, and desperate for a cross country fix like me!!?? 
We’ve had a few more outings show jumping and been in the money with good placings in the Newcomers (1.10m) with Ash and Discovery with Vinnie. Last week Ash and I had our first attempt at Foxhunter (1.20m). He was just brilliant and produced a fabulous clear! I was thrilled with him, he makes it all feel so easy to be honest. The British Showjumping judge even came over and said what a fabulous round it was!  
We’ve also managed a couple of trips out cross-country schooling on the all-weather courses at Aston-le-Walls and Weston Lawns. Ash was fabulous and jumped like a complete pro, I thought he might be over spooky, but he was brilliant and answered every question asked easily – skinnies, ditches, corners and angled lines.  

I’m riding a horse for my friend Rachel Fairbrother whilst she is on ‘maternity leave’  her lovely mare Lucy, was a pleasure to ride. She’s not very experienced, and has plenty of personality, but she again behaved beautifully and answered every question asked. I was so pleased with her.  

With the weather being so changeable, we’re finding we have to monitor our feed strategy continually with each horse. I’m actually finding my horses to be a little too ‘well’ which is unusual for this time of the year, and with them starting to change their coats. It’s a nice problem to have really, as I do feel that to produce good muscle fibres and structure, you have to start out with a good muscle condition. We always like to turn out, whatever the weather really, as I like horses to be able to be horses for the most part of the day. With the grass having not really stopped growing all winter, and Fibre-Beet doing it’s job well, my horses really have wintered ‘well!
So this weekend sees our team heading out to our first event of the season. We’ve decided to head to an unaffiliated event with the young horses as it’s been so wet, we’ve not been able to get out on grass to cross-country school so we are using this as pre-season schooling session to be honest. The event is run over a course that is used for BE events and the ground is well drained, so we are hopeful of good going. Wish us luck…. I think we might need it as the horses are feeling extremely fresh at the moment!?!
Kick-on and stay safe!

Onwards and Upwards!

We started this month with Harry coming sound again which was some great news as it had seemed like a long waiting game! Although we haven’t managed to compete this month I have high hopes for jumping straight back into things as soon as the next opportunity arises.

I also hope to record as much of our progress this year as possible using videos. I’m finding this very helpful to be able to notice when I’m not riding as effectively as well as looking for positives. As my Dad is working abroad for the next few months, he has kindly leant me his GoPro so that I can record on the go, including exciting rides with my friends down at the beach or collecting evidence for my college ‘investigative project’ based on preparation for a one-day event.

In regards to my New Year’s resolution of running on a weekly basis, I’m actually starting to enjoy myself! My spaniel, Zippy, is playing a big part in this as we are now running together which is working surprisingly well. Last week we went for a run down to the sand dunes and ended up doing a route I would take Harry on, plus we ran all the way back to the farm and both of us came home still feeling fresh and ready to do it all over again! We’re hoping to take this further and aim to join a ‘Cani-Cross’ club with hopes of completing a 5K run by the end of the year – something I never thought I would want to do!

During the half term we managed to have a lesson with Paralympic dressage coach, Erik, who travelled down from Scotland to teach me and my fellow ‘HU Squad’ riders. We were supposed to have a joint lesson but it ended up as a private lesson, which Harry wasn’t best pleased about as he had to work twice as hard! During the lesson we worked on developing a better connection from leg to hand and I had to work hard at moving Harry’s shoulders and hind quarters exactly where I wanted them. We left the lesson with some new exercises to practice at home which should increase our dressage marks in the future, as long as we continue to improve.

Next month….
We will really start getting to grips with our interval training with the eventing season starting soon! I’m also hoping to enter a local dressage competition.

Philippa & Harry
What a month! It’s been a whirlwind but we have loved every minute!

We started the month with some lessons focusing on getting him sharper and carrying himself so I don’t have to keep reminding him. This is something I need to carry on with over the next couple of months to ensure it’s firmly embedded in his mind! We did lots and lots of transitions too, often vital exercises that we don’t do enough of, it helped to maintain his engagement and uphill push which we started working on last month.

Our first competition of the month was at Merrist Wood, another opportunity to get between the white boards and spooky flowers. I wasn’t impressed with the 5.30am start however, as it turned out it was probably a blessing as by the time we got home at 10am hurricane force winds were just making an appearance!
Merrist Wood was running a whole weekend of Freestyle to Music tests which was fantastic as they are really few and far between around this area, and having only done three tests before I thought I should practice before the regionals!

I was pleased with the test but I did nearly keel over when I saw the score… 76.9%! Winning really was the icing on the cake! However, I think it might be time to start creating our elementary floorplan! We were interviewed by Horse & Hound and even got our very first mention and photo in the magazine the week later – WOW! I’m sure it is normal for some people but for us mere mortals it was a fantastic feeling.

The following week was full of more lessons and the 2016 Regional countdown had well and truly begun. I always manage to wind myself up before these big competitions expecting perfection so I made sure we had lots of eyes on the ground to keep us on the straight and narrow. I am lucky to have fantastic trainers who remind me that Stanley will only be able to give me what he is capable of at this stage in his development. He really has started to become more consistent on the rein and, on the whole, was much more uphill and rhythmical in all his work. He still has a tendency to ‘drop me’ on movements such as 10m circles where he loses his balance however 75% of the work has definitely 90% improved since before Christmas.

So the regional weekend finally arrived; Stanley was washed, plaited, cleaned and shined to within an inch of his life and he knew something important was happening when his bright pink, Lycra, plait-protecting hood was brought out the cupboard on Friday evening! We were third to go on Saturday in the Novice Freestyle so arrived in plenty of time and soaked up the atmosphere before going to do our test.

He was super, there were little bits that could of been better but on the whole he was much more forward and I smiled the whole way round! I thought our 76% at the beginning of the month was a bit of a fluke and never dreamt we could get that score again. So when a score of 76.2% (from three judges!) was announced my jaw hit the floor! It was a very long evening waiting for the rest of the competitors to go and watching some beautiful tests and all the scores go up, but he stayed at the front all the way to the end! I couldn’t believe it, I still can’t… Nationals here we come!

After all the excitement we got home very late and had a super early turn around the next morning to go back for the Novice class. He tried incredibly hard and despite feeling very tired I was thrilled with 69.08%, which is one of his highest marks in that test to date. We finished fifth which meant we were able to do our second mounted prize giving of the weekend – just amazing!

In just one year we have gone from being unplaced at Prelim level to being the Novice Freestyle Southern Regional Champions… Proof that coupled with hard work, Fibre-Beet has transformed my pony. Thank you so much British Horse Feeds for believing in us and helping us to have a brilliant start to what will hopefully be the most fantastic journey.

Hannah & Stanley

(Photo credit: Sara-Jane Lanning Dressage)

Well, I must say what a hectic February, it’s that time of year when the regionals start, but with my injury, I never thought I would make it.

My first show was with Ted at Richmond. He was giddy in his first test and hated the sunlight shinning in the arena, and he seemed to think that it was very scary. He seemed so much better in the second test and finished second with 69%, which means he’s part qualified for next year. We just need another result like that and we have done it.

We then visited Addington Manor for our regionals and seemed Ted rather fresh. Whenever we clip him and take him over night he turns into dynamite. He did some great work but also decided to put a few new moves into the Elementary test including a flying change and oh yes… a rear! None of which are required, but still some great work and we ended up 8th with 67%. If only Ted had been good!

My second show was with my old boy Morris QD Esquire, he’s been through the wars like me, having had colic surgery and struggling with his asthma. We took Morris to Manor Grange Stud to run through our music, it’s his favourite party time! He was so good and won with over 72% with Jane Wilson judging. I was thrilled with him and we even had a phone call from Horse & Hound so we might be feature in the magazine!

For my third show we headed with the white horse, Pikkert, to Keysoe in Bedfordshire, to do the Medium and Advanced Freestyle to Music. Pikkert and I were slightly late for the warm up due to Mr P finding some poo to roll in, and yes yellow stains appeared taking me some time to clean him up. He definitely needed more work, in his first test he was unsettled but in the Advanced test he was great and the judge said how lovely he was. We finished third in the Advanced Freestyle to Music with a score of 67%, so he’s part qualified too!

All in all, hectic but very happy to be competing and very pleased with my boys!

Sarah and THE QD Boys.

“Your Oasby1 BE100 Open Sun Entry BALLYENGLAND TWLIGHT/CORAL HERBERT has been accepted” has been the most exciting text message I’ve received since October last year! The eventing countdown is on and I’m so looking forward to getting back out on the xc field!

We’ve been training hard and slowly getting through my list of things to do in preparation for our first event of the year. Robbie is starting the season for me this year, we are missing Isleham and heading to Oasby as our first event instead. We are getting back into the swing of things with a BE100 run before stepping up to the BE100plus at Great Witchingham. If all goes to plan, I’d like to have Robbie ready for Rockingham CIC* again in May.

This weekend we are heading to Burnham Market for a spin around their eventer trial and we are hoping to get over to Vale View the weekend after for an arena eventing competition.

The other horses are ticking along nicely at home. Alice will be next to get back on the road eventing, and Thursday will then come out to play a little later in the season, probably around May/June time when the ground is better for her.

I had another great lesson with Tiny last week. This time we did some pole work and jumping. I had done some grid work with Robbie and Darcy the day before thinking that’s what we’d be doing in the lesson and I’d try to be on the ball and one step ahead of her – wrong! I was pretty useless at the exercise she gave me to begin with!

We learnt a lot from the lesson however, and I’ve been doing my homework and practising it. I’m determined to have it perfected by the time our next lesson comes around, although I am sure she will have something else up her sleeve ready to catch me out yet again! Sometimes, I just need a day or two to process and think things over in my brain… I’m one of these very annoying people that probably spend way too much time analysing everything and trying to figure out how I could try things slightly differently to improve. I try to regularly get Mum to video my training sessions (or balance the camera on the arena gate) so I can watch them back and compare or I very often use a process of elimination “that way didn’t work, so maybe this way will instead…” We usually get there in the end!
I am writing this the day before my last day working at Redwings Horse Sanctuary. I have worked there nearly two years but now have to leave for my move to Warwickshire! I won’t have a job initially when I move but it will give me lots of time to ride! In just over a week’s time I will be taking Pumpkin to her new home. It is a lovely yard set in 220 acres. They have a big ménage, great hacking, a six-furlong all weather gallop and loads of grass! Pumpkin is going to love it, though I will have to introduce her to the grass gradually as she hasn’t had much since autumn.

This month I took Pumpkin to a place called High Ash Farm. It has great hacking, long grass strips and wide open grassy fields. We had an amazing gallop and there are also some wooded areas with jumps so we had a little pop over some cross country jumps. Pumpkin really enjoyed it and started pulling me towards more jumps. Our new livery has some cross country jumps so hopefully we can do some more jumping.

I had one last show on Juke last weekend. It was a memorial show for someone who had died who Jukes’ owner knew so she asked me if I would like to ride him. I can’t remember the last time I had rode him and he hadn’t been ridden since hunting in November! So I went to ride him the day before the show and we had a long wait for the last two ridden classes (cob and coloured) in the afternoon on the show day.

The weather was horrible out on the coast near Great Yarmouth but it was definitely worth the wait. We won both our classes, and then went on to take the ridden championship and overall supreme of the whole show! Not bad for a little five-year-old traditional cob! We got some lovely rosettes and an amazing trophy.

Photos of Pumpkins’ new home coming next month!


The month started off with a Side Saddle day of learning. Looking at the fitting of side saddles on a couple of horses, dress and turnout, followed by learning all about costumes for the Costume Concurs D’ Elegance classes. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153957844591934.1073741974.750911933&type=1&l=3c…

As we have now competed in a few 80cm Arena events over the winter, I decided to get brave and try the 90cm class. When walking the course, this suddenly didn’t seem like such a good idea, as the jumps looked so big and wide. I went into the ring feeling sick with nerves but Tilly took it all in her stride, only hesitating slightly at the first cross country jump asking me if I was really sure about it. We pushed on and managed to get clear in both the show jumping and cross country sections, inside the optimum time, which resulted in third place. I am still in shock, but so proud of my girl.

Photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153970613766934.1073741976.750911933&type=1&l=27…
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJXXyWkKMF8

Back to Side Saddle riding the next day, and we entered at the bigger height of 80cm this time. Tilly was a bit hesitant at the first cross country jump as she seemed to think I was going to ask her to jump the big 90cm jump again. Our time was too slow for the 80cm class, but we completed it with a clear round which was my main ambition.

Photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153972629001934.1073741978.750911933&type=1&l=63…
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysvYUar7DMo
Official Photos from both arena eventing classes: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153992723091934.1073741979.750911933&type=1&l=de…

At the beginning of the year, I bought a new Victorian Side Saddle Riding outfit, and I finally got to wear it. This will be used for Side Saddle Showing classes, as well as Victorian riding displays throughout the year. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153984012571934&set=a.464486646933.277979.750911933&am…

The show schedule for all the side saddle shows came through the post the other day, so plans are now in place to get to as many as I can, as my instructor and I have plans for the National Side Saddle Show at Addington Manor this summer.

We finish of the month with Tilly in full moult and kindly sharing all her winter coat with me! At least this colder weather has finally helped dry the fields and the horses can start having a bit of field time instead of just using the arena for turnout due to very wet and muddy fields we have had.