These past couple of months have been mainly schooling for
Charlie and I, in order to come out next eventing season strong and ready to
go. I am very excited to begin the next season of eventing, especially to be
riding in my British Horse Feeds saddle cloths! Charlie has only improved since
his last BE, and he will carry on improving as he is such a quick learner. He
is also clipped out now and is looking very smart!
We have recently competed in a hunter trial at Epworth in
the intermediate class (90cm). I was sceptical at first as it was a very
testing course and he hadn’t had any schooling for about eight weeks. There
were three skinnies, two ditches, a corner (which he has never done before) and
a combination of a bank, jump and a skinny, and he went straight round the
whole thing and ended up coming second! I was absolutely chuffed with him, and
we are definitely ready for BE90 now.
Also glad to have gotten our Speedi-Beet vouchers so soon,
we were just about run out, and this feed is crucial to Charlie’s diet
especially as he will be competing through winter. I can’t wait for my
Speedi-Beet merchandise to arrive so we can take a picture and post it on my
page, Charlie will look so smart in his gear.
This month’s started off pretty relaxed, with Harry spending
a couple of weeks out in the field on holiday. We’ve had a busy season mentally
as well as physically so I thought it was fair for him to have a break.
Unfortunately Harry got a little too chilled in the field and started messing
around with the other horses too much resulting in a lame Harry, not good!
However after a visit from Rachel (Equine Osteopath) who worked her magic,
Harry was sound again and ready to be brought back into work.
With the night’s drawing in earlier than ever, it’s becoming
increasingly more difficult to keep Harry fit, we have to school during the
week and hack only on the weekends. Luckily I am on half term now so we’ll get
to have a bit of a break from this routine.
28th: Today it was Harry’s turn for a haircut! Once clipped
and trimmed I completed the makeover by pulling his mane and tail so now he’s
looking super smart and ready to compete on the weekend!
29th: So today we had a great lesson from dressage coach
Erik Mackechnie. Erik flew down from Scotland to teach a group of us and as
usual everyone learnt loads and thoroughly enjoyed! In particular we worked on
improving the contact by increasing the bend to the inside and to the outside.
It was actually really hard work for both me and Harry but after 30 minutes
there was a huge improvement and the end result was amazing! Harry’s entire
outline improved dramatically throughout the lesson and now Erik’s left us with
a few exercises to keep working at whilst at home.
Now we have a couple of days to prepare for an ‘Eventers
Training’ competition at Leyland Court on Sunday. It’s going to be great to get
out there competing again after having a break since the PC Championships
(which we’re still on a high from!).
October has been our first month as part of the Speedi-Beet
team and fingers crossed that it carries on like it has started! It was this
time last year that Stanley dropped a lot of weight and condition and we were
first introduced to Fibre-Beet, this year we have no sign of a drop in condition.
In fact he is looking well-covered, well-muscled and is really starting to fill
Our lorry has been away having some bits and bobs done to it
but we have been very lucky to be able to borrow a super 3.5 tonne lorry from a
friend which has meant that we were able to go out twice to gain our final
novice regional qualification points for February. We hadn’t been out since the
Area Festivals in August so it was nice to finally be back between the white
boards. I was really pleased with how settled he was at a new venue and he did
a lovely test for 68.9% which left us in 1st place. The second test felt
fabulous, he was a star, unfortunately his rider was less impressive; going
wrong twice! Luckily the judge was still impressed with the good bits and
despite giving away marks we still finished in 2nd place.
Our second trip out secured the final points we needed for
qualification, topped off with a win in both classes, the second test being the
hardest one we have done to date. There are still huge areas for improvement
which is really promising.
We also had a fantastic training session with Sara-Jane
Lanning, working on much harder movements now most of the basics are in place;
she commented on how good his brain was and just how hard he tries for us. This
will hopefully enable us to move up the dressage levels (there were even
mentions of trying elementary) and continue with our really exciting journey
from the bottom.
The next month for Stanley is going to consist of lots of
hacking and training and we hope to report lots of improvements ready for some
competitions in the run up to the Regionals!
We hope everyone has a wonderful month and you still manage
to get out and about with all these dark evenings!
Hannah & Stanley xx
My name is Rachel Brown; I am 16 years old and from Hove in
East Sussex. I have aFacebook page called ‘Rachel Brown Show Jumper’. I go to
many different levels of show jumping and other activities. The different
activities I do are British Show Jumping and Pony Club and we travel all over
My horse Corgary Spirit is a 16″2 Irish Sports Horse
and is a 1.30m Horse who was imported from Ireland three years ago. I have had
her now for two years and we have progressed a lot together.
In British Show Jumping, over the past year at Brendon Stud
Pyecombe we have been placed at 1m with many other double clears. Our placings
including 8th, 7th, 3rd and 5th. And at 1.10m placings with other double
clears. Placings including 4th and a 5th. At Wales and West David Broom Event
Centre at the End of Season Derby Show at 1m we came 10th.
At the Royal International Hose Show 2014 in 1m Open we were
placed 18th. At the Hickstead Derby Meeting in 2015 we were placed 28th in the
1m Open and also got a double clear in another 1m Open. At the Royal
International Horse Show at Hickstead 2015, Spirit and I were placed 10th in
the 1.05m Open and 27th in the 1.10m Open. At the All England Jumping
Championships 2015 we achieved a double clear in the 1.10m Open.
With the Pony Club I was selected for the open 1.10m squad
team and was aiming to get to National Champs. We started training as a team ready
for our goal of the National Championships and after weeks of training we went
out to the a Open Area 11 Show Jumping Teams and came 1st as a team and
individually I came 2nd. Then we had the Hurstpeirpoint Collage National
Schools and Pony Club Jumping Championships having the honour of jumping in the
International Arena at All England Hickstead Showground. As a team we came 8th
and Spirit and I were placed 8th individually. In our Pony Club we run an
annual event at Hickstead and this year and last year (2014) we competed in the
open teams and came 1st. This year Spirit and I got an individual 7th. Next was
the National Championship Open Jumping Teams event and as a team we came 10th.
Spirit and I both qualified for the Young Riders
Championships at Brendon Stud Peycombe and the JB Arena Championship.
On the 25th October Corgary Spirit and I went to Coombelands
and competed in the 1.05m Amateur class and got a double clear and 4th. We are
now aiming towards the Amateur National Championships.
For the last three years I have been very lucky to have my
horses living at home, which was a dream come true, I especially loved the late
night cuddles in my pyjamas! But it also meant I couldn’t walk past a window in
the house without getting side-tracked and watching what they were up to, which
becomes quite time consuming!
But we have decided to move to somewhere with more land so I
can accommodate more horses and pursue my dream of becoming a professional rider,
and an arena in which to ride them because we are lacking in that department.
So whilst we hunt for our dream home which we realise may
take some time, we decided to move the horses back to livery to have use of the
facilities. Jason didn’t settle in the new yard right away, and I think some of
my house-moving stress may have rubbed off on him, so I decided to give him a
little holiday. Recently he came back into work and we have been doing plenty
of groundwork – and as you can see from the photo he is now settled and perhaps
a little bored with this and ready to start ridden work! Ok, I get the hint
I love winter; the frosty mornings, cosy dark evenings by
the fire… on the downside the shorter daylight hours usually means an end to
all riding, but I now have a few mornings off work to enable us to keep
training over the winter. So there’s no stopping us now, oh apart from the
weather – and much to Jason’s disapproval I have been working him in the rain
because I don’t want to miss a day!
Jason has just spent his second night stabled having been
living out 24/7. He has been fed Speedi-Beet for years; but he is a poor doer
in winter so I have recently switched him over to Fibre-Beet, I am very excited
to see the results as the harsher weather sets in – so far so good!
Until next time…
I can’t believe how fast this month has gone by! It started with
the news that I had been chosen as one of Speedi-Beet Team members and is
ending with our last event of this year!
Competition wise, we have had a very quiet month as after
the Badminton Fun Ride at the end of September Prince had a short while off to
relax and I did too (it was much needed by both of us!!).
He came back into work approximately three weeks ago now and
we have both been working on fitness to be ready for Solihull on the 31st
October. Now anyone that knows me personally will know that I am not an
exercise fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I hesitantly decided to try
out the 30 day rider fitness challenge. I downloaded the relevant details and
decided that this one will not fail! I got up the next morning, did the usual
routine and thought I’d do my first day workout before I headed off to work…
I can safely say I think I pulled some muscles you’re not supposed to pull! It
was agony, so that went out the window!
Prince’s fitness however was a priority so we started with
our 30min walking/trotting hacks, then proceeded onto our 45min trotting and
cantering hill hacks, he certainly enjoys those! We have fantastic views up on
top of the hill and you never meet anyone. It’s just you and your horse, a
beautiful feeling really! Anyway, I’m off on a tangent…
Next we started back lunging, unluckily for poor Prince his
mean mummy had bought a Pessoa for our lunging sessions so he had to work
harder and build those muscles and fitness levels. Shortly after that, we
started schooling again, we’ve already done 2.5 weeks of fitness work so we’re
pushing it a bit with regards to our competition! He was a bit rushy again but
he is still very green so I allowed him that, but he has it in his head now
that he can’t possibly strike up the left canter lead when ridden, he will do
it on the lunge no issues. Little monkey!
But in all that drama we haven’t jumped a single fence
leading up to this weekend so if you don’t hear from me next month, look out
for me near the moon!
Firstly I would like to thank Claire and Martin for
organising the BS Awards Ball evening, we had a super time and it was great to
catch up with everyone.
As you all know I have been out of action but I am on the mend
slowly. I have been having physiotherapy treatment at David Lloyd’s which is
helping me restore my balance and core strength in preparation for riding. I
have actually ridden three times now, on Rocky and my advanced horse Pikkert,
which was hard work as I feel rather weak still.
I am not sure if you have all noticed but I do have a slight
addiction to buying ponies and horses and training them! We recently went to
Brightwells cob sales with some clients, I was very good and didn’t buy
anything…but I do love a good Welsh cob. Anyway I sent a message to Stuart at
the Hillgarth Stud, asking if he had a good welsh D youngster, he said yes but
didn’t know if he really wanted to sell him, he sent me a photo, and I loved
his looks straight away. So last weekend we jumped in the car to visit Stuart.
He brought Jack out of the stable…. my reaction was that’s the one! Instant
love for him, he is a dark bay stallion and only three years old. So we agreed
a price and hopefully he will be in my stables soon. Stuart also showed us his
own foals and my sister fell in love with a little colt foal called Nick, so
she bought him as a Christmas present!
Oh dear…that means more to look after.
My horses at home are now coming back well, getting clipped
and trimmed up ready for action. Hope to be back competing before the year
All the best,
Sarah and the horses
Pumpkin has settled in to her new home this month. The
livery yard is about one mile from my house so it is very convenient. I had
already met someone who keeps their horse there so it has been nice to have
some company out hacking. I also went on a nearly 10 mile charity ride from
another yard. The ride itself was a five mile loop but when we finished Pumpkin
and my friend’s horse still had plenty of energy so we went round again, just
cutting a few corners here and there!
Having an all-weather surface to use whenever I want has
been great and I already feel that Pumpkin’s schooling has improved. Her canter
has more bounce to it and she is even better in her way of going. Now the
clocks have changed it is too dark to hack after work so most days I take Pumpkin
in the school as she comes in to her stable earlier now.
I am doing a 10km forest ride next weekend which should be
good fun. I think Pumpkin really enjoys them and she never gets tired, I think
she could go all day! I haven’t found any dressage competitions to enter yet,
hopefully some will come up.
As I sit down to write this month’s blog I’m feeling a
little sad that the eventing season is already over and that winter is well and
truly on its way! However, for us, it ended on a high…
Alice finished her eventing season at Oasby a couple of
weeks ago. It really doesn’t feel that long ago since Robbie and I were
competing in the Novice there at the very beginning of the year – time has
flown by! If you’ve read my previous blogs or follow our journey on social
media, you’ll already know that this year with Alice has just simply been about
breaking old stress habits and getting her back out there and competing again.
We have lots to work at still over the winter but I was delighted when she
finished 10th! Being one of only six in her BE90 section to go inside the time
and clear XC.
Thursday’s last event was at Norton Disney. In the last few
days leading up to the event the weather had been miserable here and after some
heavy rain at home the day before, we were due to compete I was worried that
again, the ground wouldn’t be good enough to run her. Thankfully, at Norton
Disney, they hadn’t had as much rain as we had and the going was good. Our times
were also fairly early which meant that not many competitors had jumped around
the XC before us. Thursday pulled a 34.5 dressage and a double clear inside the
time out of the bag – I was, and still am just over the moon! At the start of
the year I was unsure if my little horse would ever jump again, let alone event!
Sadly we had to run HC but would have slotted nicely into 8th place in a large
BE90 section. Next year, I hope to enter for some 90 opens so that Thurs can
I’m already setting new targets in my head to aim for over
the winter in prep for next season. I’m looking forward to some pure dressage
and showjumping competitions, spending time working with the horses at home –
unpicking little bits within their work that I’m not completely happy with and
strengthening it. I’m looking forward to working on exercises that might go
completely wrong but not having the fearful feeling that we need to get it
right in a set time scale before an event. I’m already looking forward to seeing
where our eventing journey takes us next year!
The beginning of October started with our final event of the
season at Osberton International for the CCI**. This was our second year
competing here and with our improved dressage scores this season, I was really
looking forward to getting out and giving it a good go! Harry had been at
Hartpury for a couple of weeks before Osberton and we really made use of the
great facilities and he was feeling fantastic.
Osberton is a lovely event, really local to home and I was
excited to be arriving there again on the Tuesday evening. We trotted up on
Wednesday which all went well and then I had some time to prepare for my
dressage on Friday.
Harry warmed up really well in our lesson on the morning of
our test, showing some really quality trot work and feeling very relaxed and
rideable. Unfortunately there was a touch of tension as we went into the arena
to do our test and it showed slightly in the first few movements. Harry then
settled well and did some lovely canter work getting some nice marks and
comments from both judges to give us a good score of 51.1.
The cross country course, as always was lovely; big, well-built
and inviting. There were two questions that I was a little worried about. One a
step up to a decent sized owl hole running down to one of two triple brushes,
and the other a wall with a curving line to a corner and then to a triple
Harry was extremely full of himself in the XC warm up on
Saturday. He was being very strong and just couldn’t contain his excitement! We
set off on the course absolutely storming and jumped the first few
combinations, two angled rails on a curve and then a rail down to a huge
leaf-pit style step absolutely beautifully, even got the comment ‘text book
through the rail and step combination’! Unfortunately we had a slight blip at
the owl hole fence. Harry jumped beautifully up the step and popped through the
owl hole, but lack of experience I think meant that he just didn’t pick up the
triple brush on the left handed route. I don’t even think he thought that there
was a fence there and we had a really annoying run past. I quickly turned round
and represented and he picked it up straight away and jumped it no problem. We
absolutely stormed around the rest of the course making it all feel really easy
and finished full of running which makes the silly 20 pens even more
Harry trotted up well on Sunday morning and soon we were
ready for the show jumping. The course was nice and big but flowing. The time
seemed to be tight with most people turning inside a couple of fences. Harry
warmed up feeling really fresh and was jumping well. We went in and jumped a
lovely round; Harry was trying really hard and being very careful. We just had
a really unfortunate pole at the second to last fence. All in all we had a
great weekend and as always came away with lots to work on and improve over the
winter ready to come out and nail it next year! It was such a shame about the
20 penalties XC as without them we would have finished in the top 25! But oh
So Harry is now enjoying a well-deserved rest after his long
season. He has gone out into the field to get fat and hairy and enjoy just
being a horse until Christmas when he will be brought slowly back into work. I
currently have a friend’s four-year-old mare at Hartpury with me who is lovely
and great fun so I am not completely without horses!
We also have a new addition to the horsey family as I have
purchased my first ever horse on my own! A couple of friends came with me to
visit the sales near Hartpury just for a look around and I spotted a lovely
looking two year old. Before I knew it I was registering to buy and got my
number before the sales started and then we bid on the horse and we won! It was
all very exciting and I couldn’t quite believe what I had done! So my next
project is Rosie (Chevalien Lady in Red) she is a two year old chestnut mare by
Royaldik and she is absolutely adorable! She is currently at home in the field
and will be until the spring when we will start backing her.
So, it’s all very exciting and I can’t wait already to get
cracking on for next year with the big plans that I am starting to put
together. I hope Harry is ready because I’m so excited to get going again next
I can’t keep it in…3rd at Gatcombe International Horse Trials
at our first shot at 1*! Presentation by HRH Princess Anne too…. omg!!!
Thrilled is an understatement – if Ash had behaved himself in the stressage, we
would have won hands down too! So, the story…we’ve never been to Gatcombe, so
when we entered and booked stabling we assumed – wrongly – that we’d be stabled
on site. No, we were all stabled in the local area, which came as a bit of
shock to be honest!
Anyway, we were provided with a name and address and off we
trucked to find our accommodation for the two nights. It turned out we had been allocated stables
at a beautiful yard owned by Patti & Chris Bullman who own 4* horse ‘It’s a
Jackpot’. They were such lovely hosts and made us all feel so welcome. Ash warmed up fantastically and I went in
confident we could perform to our best… however Ash – the complete monkey –
had other ideas! As soon as we trotted
around the outside of the arena, he turned into Mr Seriously Spooky!
Arrrgggggh! It took all my concentration
and serious amounts of ‘inside leg’ to keep him channelled and focused. We had
a couple of seriously spooky moments which left us with a couple low marks,
which brought our score down sadly and leaving us 11th overnight. We walked the course and the general feeling
was it was very jumpable – there were two particular fences which we all
thought might cause problems – first the coffin, which was situated in a small
wooded copse, approached from a difficult angle. So, we had ‘light to dark’ to
deal with, a sharp turn which didn’t give the horses much time to read the
question, a vertical rail with drop away landing and one short stride to an
open ditch, one stride uphill to a rail out… easy…NOT! The other ‘head
scratcher’ was the water – approached after quite a long gallop stretch, a
large skinny hanging log loomed, then one short but forward stride to a massive
log drop directly into the water, then handbrake turn left out to a massive and
skinny triple brush!! Ash and I had never jumped anything like this
before…..and to make things worse, the water complex for all the other
classes was riding horribly – gulp!! ….. Anyway, focus…… show jumping
first….. and a class clear to boot!! Thrilled, but that meant we move up the
table…… pressure on! Five, four, three, two…..one, good luck! …. come
on Ash…. he excelled all my expectations, and literally took a bold course in
his stride. We just had one hairy moment about four strides from the water
complex where he leapt sideways meaning our approach to the hanging skinny log
was not ideal, but he sighted the flags, read the question, and jumped it all,
text book perfect…. along with the remainder of the course! I walked him off feeling a massive sense of
pride – our really naughty and challenging youngster has the talent and
potential to go all the way.
For the first time in her life, Tilly is now sporting front
shoes. With the conditions over the summer, Tilly had developed a crack on a
front hoof that was only getting worse, so it was decided she had better have
shoes. The day the farrier turned up, we were somewhat in chaos, as we
currently have builders in, and the huge scaffolding lorry was taking up most
of the parking area, and blocking the track to the stables. We ended up shoeing
Tilly on the parking area, next to the main road (behind a gate), next to the
building site, and next to the noisy unloading of the scaffolding. At the
start, we made the decision that if Tilly got even a little bit silly, we were
going to try again another day. The end result was Tilly being a very good
girl, watching all that was going on around her with interest, and sporting a
new pair of front shoes, and a happy farrier.
Tilly and I, along with a few foot people, had once again
been invited to talk to school children about the English Civil war. This year
it was dry, and we were out on the edge of the playing field. After doing a short talk for each of the
groups of children, I then got on-board and gave a short cavalry horse display,
which included being shot at. Tilly was not impressed by that, she thought he
was a friend. We got our revenge though, when he tried to run away, we chased
after him and cut him down, much to the delight of the children. We then moved
away to the other end of the field, as the muskets then fired their guns. We
left with a booking for next year.
The last show at my riding club that I could get to this
year was forecast with dry weather so I popped Tilly in the box, and off we
went. We did Riding Club Horse, coming
second, then Riding Cob, which we won, meaning we went on to the Ridden Horse
Championship. We were then delighted to
become Reserve Champions.
The last Side Saddle show of the season ended with the
Master Class show. We entered in the Open Equitation class, but failed to get
placed. The judge remembered us from a show earlier in the summer though, and
commented on how much we had improved, so that was good.
We then went on to the Master Class, which we had qualified
for earlier in the year. We gave what I thought was a good show, for our level
of training and experience, and despite messing up a right canter lead, we
managed to get 5th place, so a lovely orange rosette.
This is not a straight forward class, as you are required to
give a short show featuring the following; medium trot, medium canter, simple
change (can’t do flying changes yet), rein back one horse’s length, and at
least one of the following:-shoulder in/leg yield/half pass. We did a leg yield
on both legs. A lot more hard work and training than just our normal walk, trot
and canter shows! So proud of Tilly and
how she went. This show last year was our first side saddle show, and I can see
just how far we have come in this year.