Here I sit, in my wagon, in lreland… Tattersalls International Horse Trials, a bucket list dream is actually happening! Today is trot up day, T and Izzy are busy planning their polishing strategy, I’m cooking breakfast in glorious sunshine on the BBQ… Yep, you did read that correctly… Glorious sunshine in Ireland!?! It’s been such a fabulous experience so far.
Our journey here started at 9pm on Sunday evening. It took us slightly over four hours to get to Hollyhead Port, with a couple of coffee pit stops. Our ferry departed at 2.40am and when we arrived we were straight onto the weigh bridge. Vital statics taken – weight, length, number plate, passengers – and we were cleared to board. Wowzer! It’s a tight squeeze in the ‘freight zone’ and my wagon is tiny compared to the monster trucks that were parked upside us! As the ferry departed it was time for us all to get a little rest… 3 hours or so later, we were docked and were driving out through Dublin Port. I had to pinch myself to be honest, this is what we’ve worked towards this year and it’s actually happening!
Tattersalls, wow what a setting, this facility is amazing. We were one the first to arrive and were greeted by the lovely stable management team. They quickly showed us to our allocated stable – the bed was already put down ready for the tired overseas horses to be put straight into. Ash was unloaded, checked over by the FEI vet (they check he’s in good health, check his passport and microchip number), taken for a leg stretch and then put away with a large bucket of Fibre-Beet to help him rehydrate, recharge and to get some rest. We then cleaned out the wagon and set up our camp for the week… Let’s hope we have the luck of the Irish for the rest of the week!
Preparations leading up to our Irish trip have gone to plan – better actually! We’ve had another fabulous win at Keysoe in the Novice Regional Final, which means we now head to Gatcombe Festival of Eventing! We’ve also had winning outings in the British Dressage Elementary at Weston Lawns and British Showjumping Newcomers last Thursday. I’m very lucky to have such a talented equine partner in Ash, he’s tricky and sensitive, but boy he’s seriously good!
Kick on, and stay safe!
So last month we were inseminating Cappacino and this month I am so excited to say she’s in foal to the KWPN stallion, The Governor, he is an up and coming young star by Totilas. So now we are expecting a foal early next year!
Competition time, we took QD Esquire to Manor Grange on Saturday 7 May, and we won our class in the gold section so we have now qualified for the Winter Music Regionals at Elementary level. We are now trying for Medium music with him, so this means a new floor plan and some new music… watch this space!
This month I also took a quick holiday to Rhodes with my friend Laura, I have to say it was great to see the sunshine. Sadly, it didn’t follow me home, the weather in the UK is very unpredictable… and depressing! Rugs on, rugs off, thick ones, then thin ones… the poor horses don’t know what’s going on.
Also this month after selling a few homebred horses, we decided to take a look round Alexander Horseboxes showroom! A second-hand National Horsebox was available with everything we were looking for, so we took our truck in for a part-exchange. It’s great, it’s a small truck with two beds so when I go training I can sleep over.
Today I headed up to Annie Cowan’s in Hartlepool for a lesson on Pikkert in the new truck… and boy he loved it! He jumped on to go (think we might have a photo of his proud moment) and he liked the lorry so much, he went super in his training session, he was so supple and free. We have a show this week at Field House in Uttoxeter, so we needed a little shake up with some training. I’m hoping it will all go well now.
Good luck to everyone out competing this month, and let’s pray for some sunshine!!
Love Sarah, Pikkert and the QD horses.
Getting ready for Hickstead…
This month was all in preparation for Hickstead at the end of June. And it has been jam packed!!
On May 1, I went down to see my sister’s first pony and give her rider a lesson which is always fun to go and do. We also had some fun helping her to break in the Shetland on the yard. I then got to go on a hack across the South Downs. What could be better?
Then it was the four-day show at Brendon’s, in Pyecombe where I was working building courses and ring stewarding, and even having time to jump a few classes too. Overall it was a great show with some great company and some great horses. We got a great photo from ALM photography and got some great feedback from Willard Equestrian.
The following weekend we took part in our monthly training session in the KW Academy where Spirit jumped her socks off (if she had any!!) I couldn’t be more pleased with the way she went. We were practicing our courses with some jump off turns and our group got a little bit competitive!
Spirit and I have also been to Felbridge to do the 1.10m Open and again she jumped amazingly. Although she was on top form unfortunately we didn’t get a clear because of a jump stewards unfortunate whereabouts. But overall I was really happy with the way she jumped.
Spirit still likes to take the younger children from the yard on hacks, even if they are not riding her, so we compromise with leading them out from Spirit. Lilly was over the moon with the hack as she got to go on a really fast trot without her mum.
At the end of the month I helped one of my friends go to their first show in over a year to do some clear rounds due to an injury. So I gave her a lesson before the show where we got a bit wet due to the thunder and rain and when we got to the show she went clear in two rounds and gained loads of confidence which was the main aim. Wishing them lots of luck in the future.
We were planning on going to Coombelands Equestrian during the last week of May but unfortunately both shows where cancelled. So we are planning on going to Brendon’s at the beginning of June to jump the 1.10m.
Forming a partnership…
Hi there! Seeker is really starting to settle in which is helping everything else fall into place. We’ve spent a lot of time hacking out with friends to try and let him get to know some other horses and let him take in the new routes, after all the sand dunes can be a bit daunting for any horse. Even though we’re learning to trust each other, we did discover yesterday that waves are a whole new concept – some work and convincing to do there I think!
I realised today that I’ve now owned Seeker for four weeks already! I can’t believe how quick that has gone but we’ve been quite productive in that time, attending a dressage lesson and two jumping lesson with Ros as well as taking him to Pony Club on a Tuesday evening for the last two weeks. Plus, we’re very much looking forward to an unaffiliated competition next weekend. My first novice and our first test as a combination… eek!
The jumping lessons are going well, it’s just going to take time for me to get used to his huge jump and trust that I’m not going to get catapulted over every time. Although Seeker has done quite a bit of dressage with previous riders, he’s still green when it comes to jumping so we’re hoping to really build our confidence together showjumping and cross country training over the summer months.
All in all, we enter June with quite a few things to work on which I’m sure will help us develop as a partnership further.
Philippa & Seeker
May has been an exciting month for me as we completed another CIC1*.
Robbie certainly rocked at Rockingham! For me, at this level at the moment it’s all about aiming to just get round and complete… It’s all great experience as well as great fun!
We spent the time in between our previous event at Belton and Rockingham practicing, preparing and perfecting everything as much as possible! I spent a month working without my stirrups on one horse or another for just 5/10 mins each day, working on my core strength in sitting trot to try to make things easier and more comfortable for Robbie. We even set up a dressage arena in the sheep field so we could work on the grass in a long arena as the paddocks we normally ride on are currently growing for haylage.
Our dressage test went better than I thought it would on the day. Robbie performed all of the movements without any major complaints. We all know that Robbie isn’t the best mover in his dressage and we were by no means “up there” but he tried his heart out for me!
On the way home after dressage on Thursday we had a tyre blow out on the lorry. We waiting for over two hours for roadside assistance to come to the rescue with a new tyre, stuck in the middle of the A47 with police directing the traffic around us.
Robbie was a superstar, he was so patient and we didn’t hear a peep from him the whole time! On Friday the travelling had really taken it out of him and he was just exhausted. We had also broken a cable under the lorry so we were unsure if the lorry would be ok for us to return on the Saturday for the jumping phases. Many friends were so supportive and incredibly kind in offering to lend me transport.
Luckily, after our mechanic had checked the lorry over, we had the all clear to get back on the road, and with Robbie rested and raring to go we headed back to Rockingham ready for an 8am start for the showjumping. We had one pole down but Robbie felt awesome and jumped really well! We had a very uncharacteristic stop at the brush into the water. The water was fairly spooky, set in the trees with diggers around it, a little waterfall and caravans with tents flapping in the wind were parked behind. I think the noise of everything just took Robbie’s concentration for a split second, we re-presented and popped over it easily. If he could talk I think he would have been apologising for taking his eye off the ball! Other than that, no problems. He’s getting closer and closer and I am convinced that it’s only a matter of time before we achieve a double clear at this level.
We need one more MER before we are eligible for a CCI so my aim for the rest of the year is to try to achieve that with our remaining Novice runs. For the future, I would love to aim him towards an IN. Lots to work away at before then but I think that one day, it will be a reachable goal!
Look forward to catching up next month,
From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in just a month, unfortunately the world has proved to us just how cruel it can be.
Due to an unexpected family tragedy Stanley has spent most of the month being a field ornament and a happy hacker so we have very few updates I am afraid.
We have had two lessons in the last week or so which have been great. We were working on his lateral work and started teaching him changes and canter half pass, he still gets a little muddled at times but the principles are there and I can’t fault how hard he tries for me.
The break has done him no harm at all and he almost feels stronger again now and ready to do some harder tests. I sometimes think we undervalue just how beneficial a few weeks mental and physical rest can be for the younger horses.
He is looking fantastic and has remained the same docile character on Fibre-Beet even with a huge reduction in the amount of work he has been doing.
We have a couple more lessons booked for the coming month and one competition planned – our first elementary test. Unfortunately, we will have missed the time frame to qualify for this year’s summer regionals so we have re-focused our aim and hope to get enough sheets to go to the Area Festivals in September instead. We will continue our journey, and our journey will now be for Mum.
Hope you all have a brilliant start to the summer and are out enjoying your beautiful ponies in the sunshine!
1st of May and our first event of the month. It was the HOPE show and we entered a couple of classes. We came first in the Side Saddle Equitation class and managed to get best turned out. Apparently it was our shiny boots that clinched it for us. We then went on to win reserve side saddle champion. We also did the Costume Concours class which was open to astride and side saddle riders and came second.
The following weekend was then our annual First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) cavalry training camp. We took part in a large range of activities, including a drill ride for 3 horses which we had only learnt the day before and I had to learn extra well, as I had to call it to my other team members as we rode it. I was really pleased with how well we did, as remembering dressage tests is a big panic for me. I am delighted to find that the more dressage tests I do, the easier it is getting for me to remember them. Overall, our team came third.
Back to Tillys’ favourite event, arena eventing. We entered the 80cm class, but as there were lots of skinnies and off-sets, I did it astride this time. Think I should have done it side saddle after all, as we actually went rather too fast. Despite worrying about the new jumps, skinnies and going to slow etc, we actually made it round clear, under the optimum time (by 10 seconds, opps), so no penalties. We came 12th out of about 67 horses, as only 13 of us actually managed to get around clear.
Bank holiday weekend was a very busy weekend for us. We went from elegant side saddle ladies on the Saturday to Cavalrymen of the English Civil War on the Sunday and Monday. The side saddle show was not our best, as due to Tilly eating so much grass recently and me forgetting my girth tightening tool, I was unable to get my girth tight enough and it slipped over left.
The English civil war event was at Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire. It is a wonderful location, and is actually also the location of Tillys first English Civil War battle 2 years ago. We had an amazing first days battle re-enactment, but Tilly got a bit excited/strong the second day and a curb chain has now arrived in the post to go on her bit. Short on photos at the moment, but will see if I can find some more for next month’s blog.
May has been a rather relaxed month, for Charlie anyway! Our result at Richmond was not quite as planned; after a fab dressage of 31.5 (would have been lower but I trotted at the wrong marker), we then made the decision to withdraw him from the cross country phase as he was tripping both warming up for dressage and coming out of the showjumping arena. We weren’t sure what was wrong with him, but it was the weekend when the A1 was closed and we were set in gridlock for ages in 26 degrees; we then missed outlet slot so we were put at the end, and he refused to drink – possibly dehydrated?
I have been very busy studying for my exams at the start of June, and so Charlie has been getting an easier couple of weekS, although I still ride him every so often just to keep in the saddle. My mum and sister have been riding him a bit between them; Nina has recently come 2nd in a dressage competition on him! I can’t wait until the end of June when my exams are over so I can start to progress my career and Charlie’s training further, and hopefully get one last event in by winter.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the picture of Charlie leading himself to his stable!
I was really looking forward to May with some good shows to go to including the Royal Windsor Horse Show. I had got Pumpkin all ready for this then the morning of the show we saw on Facebook it had been cancelled due to flooding! I was so sad as had really been looking forward to this. Pumpkin was very confused as she had been in the night before as it was raining and she was dressed up to the eyeballs! So to then just be turned out in the field was very odd! Though I had been looking at the forecast and had not been looking forward to showing in the rain!
I took her to the Redwings show the weekend following Windsor and she was very good winning the veteran ridden and coming 4th in the mountain and moorland ridden (not bad for an unregistered pony!). After this show I decided I could make her look smarter by trimming her back up into a plaited pony. We had done a year as a native and done well but I always did like her plaited!
So onto the Suffolk show with Pumpkin trimmed and plaited for our first Olympia qualifier of the year. Pumpkin was very excitable outside the ring; she always is at the Suffolk show for some strange reason. She did a very enthusiastic go round, she was very strong!! Luckily we had a good wait in the line for her to go to sleep before doing the very odd set show. It involved canter left coming out of a corner just for a few strides before trotting across the diagonal. We did a really good show and were hopeful for a placing but unfortunately we must not have been the judges cup of tea and we had to leave empty handed. But that is how showing goes a lot of the time!
Not sure if we have any shows for June yet, none planned but we will see if there is anything to go to!
Well, May was eventful and we certainly had some better (and worse) weather on our plate.
At the start of the month Prince and I embarked on a trip to Sapey to have a XC lesson with the one and only Mr Ben Hobday (sadly no Willberry the Wonder Pony!). Unfortunately, it was a dull, cold and rainy afternoon but we soon got over that when Ben arrived! We had a lovely group of five people in our lesson, all so friendly with horses of varying experience and builds, one made Prince look tiny!
Ben pointed out a course for us to jump after seeing us work through walk, trot, canter and gallop, and we set off as second horse to go.
Our course consisted of a house, a log, an upright, another log, a trakhener, and a short gallop uphill to a double of solid fences. Prince jumped all of them fabulously first time and caught up with the horse before us on the gallop uphill! I think he was just showing off to Ben!
Out of the whole day we had two stops; the second part of a double which was much bigger than the first and a blue fence with a drop into the water. After taking a few minutes he managed both without a refusal and mummy went home happy… and absolutely drenched!
At the end of this month, Prince and I travelled to Wales to compete with some friends in a team showjumping competition.
Our journey was by no means easy, we got caught in standstill traffic twice on our way making us very late… So late in fact that I had to tack up, get on and head to the ring without a warm up! Prince took it very well, he was a bit scared of the arena being indoors but managed a clear until fence 7 when he just clipped a plank. This got us into the jump off, we were desperate for a clear from the team to get the win. Everyone else had gone clear so the pressure was on us!
We went in and Prince was much more relaxed now, we had to remember fences 1,3,4,6,7… Which we did clear… Unfortunately, I had a navigational error and jumped fence 2 as well… But he jumped clear! Haha!
We’ve all done it hey, accidents happen!
Until next month,
Keana & Prince
Keana & Prince
In my last update we were worried for Jason’s future, but those thoughts are behind us now and our lessons are well under way with our trainer, Hannah Esberger. In one lesson Hannah set up some trotting poles on a circle which proved enormously effective for showing how much (or how little!) control I actually had, our circles would be better described as square and egg shaped! In my defence Jason used to become anxious around poles, given the choice he would have avoided them altogether, so with this in mind he was a very good boy and we mostly went over the middle of the poles, albeit in square and egg shapes!
I also travelled down to Gloucestershire for a day of intensive dressage training with Sara Gallop, and it did not disappoint… it was absolutely fantastic! I rode a selection of schoolmasters, and the day ended with my first ever dressage test. Sara asked me what test I fancied having a go at, so I replied “erm… the first one?” Sara ignored me and said “I was thinking Elementary”… and we did pretty well if I do say so myself. We scored mostly 7 and 8’s on the scoresheet, so I am more than happy with that for the first attempt!
I have also been down to Witney, Oxfordshire to participate in one of Kelly Marks’ weekend courses ‘Perfect Manners’. Kelly Marks runs courses teaching Monty Roberts’ techniques. I had a great time, in fact I loved it so much I have booked in for the Five Day Foundation course in June!
So in a few days I’m heading back down to spend a week in Oxfordshire, I’m very excited, but slightly nervous about being away from home for a whole week. I will have to leave instructions for my husband to take care of our four dogs! I’m glad that all of my horses are in good hands, so that’s one less worry!
Then, a couple of days after I return from Oxfordshire I am heading back down South to Gloucestershire, for another intensive day of dressage training with Sara Gallop!