Speedi-Beet Team June Update

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It’s crazy to think we are now at the end of June and already half way through the eventing season! I was hoping for better weather by this point in the year – sadly it’s rained lots which has meant I’ve still not yet been able to run Always On A Thursday. However Alive Springs has been back out to some parties, and thoroughly enjoyed them too!
Alice’s season properly got underway towards the end of May with some XC schooling and an unaffiliated event at Isleham to get her back in the swing of things. Our first BE for the year was at Shelford Manor. I chose to run Alice there as the jumping cannot be seen from the dressage – I thought it would make my job easier to keep her attention in the arena with fewer distractions around us. She scored a 32.8 dressage and went double clear, leading the score board until the very last two horses to go, who just piped her to the post and moved us down to finish in third place… I was delighted! Alice gained her first ever FP’s to her record and won herself a new saddlecloth as well!
The next weekend was Little Downham where again, Alice jumped a lovely double clear in the BE90. Even with my stopwatch on we managed to gain 10 time faults for speeding XC which meant that we missed out on another top 10 finish.
Uncertain if the going would be suitable for Thursday after lots of rain, I chose to save her for another day, swap horses and take Alice to Keysoe too. (I’m glad I did as it was rather muddy!) We were on the surface for dressage however I was disappointed with how I rode the test, although a respectable score of 34.5 I learnt my lesson not to carry my disappointment through to the next phase with me as I completely let Alice down and totally messed up the showjumping too. We redeemed ourselves on the XC with one of our best runs together… An easy clear with lots of “woahing” at the last few fences to make sure we weren’t too quick again and stayed close to the optimum time. I’d quite like to step Alice up to BE100 before the end of the year, I think she will easily make pre-novice speed!
Look forward to reporting back next month!
Coral x

We had the honour of being asked to be part of our local Side Saddle Association display at Kenilworth Show. We were a team of four adult riders and one junior. Two of us were in Concours D’elegance outfits, the rest in traditional side saddle habits.
Tilly and I have now had our very first dressage lesson, with the lovely people from Ekko Equestrian. Tilly has a bad habit of getting very heavy in the hand and trying to run away with me. We did a lot of work on getting her to carry herself, rather than rely on me to hold her up. We had some lovely work, on what was a very hot and muggy day with plenty of horseflies. We have lots of homework to do before our next lesson, as well as a dressage test to learn for our next dressage show. No photos as my photographer (my son) was at school.
This is a short video from a training session we had at home:
Riding with all this rain has been challenging. The other day we had to run for shelter three times before we finally gave up for the day. Thunder and lightning does not encourage you to be outside riding! Tilly prefers to stand in her stable when it rains, rather than be out in her field and is very lucky as she has free access to her stable from the field.
Stables booked and entries done for the National Side Saddle show in August now, so no going back, its cost too much money! Fingers crossed!
I’ve not had a very busy month competition-wise. Pumpkin went lame with a foot abscess shortly after the Suffolk show. She had a week’s box rest and hot poulticing but nothing had burst out. After the vet had seen her the second time she went lame in front too, I was thinking another abscess so more box rest and a visit from the farrier. He thinks she may have a touch of laminitis in her front foot. X-rays show she does have an abscess in the hind although it is not showing any signs of bursting. I’m not sure why she would have got laminitis as her feed is very low sugar, no molasses and very high fibre. Though she went lame in front on box rest so may be due to her shifting her weight around. I think it will just be a very patient waiting game, fingers crossed she will be better soon.
I did go to a show on Juke this month. We went to a local riding club show and he did a lovely three loop serpentine show. He had a lot of admirers outside the ring though the judge preferred the plaited horses. We left that show and went to a different show down the road where he did another lovely show and won the ridden coloured class, the judge thought he was fantastic!
Hopefully I will have some good news about Pumpkin soon and I hope everyone is having a successful competition season so far despite the rain!

We have had a roller coaster month on the eventing front with some huge low points but we are gradually building back up now!
After a very disappointing run at Belton in the 2* which we put down to lack of preparation. I managed to come a cropper off a young horse and when I tried to jump back up to get back on I discovered that I actually couldn’t stand up and had excruciating pain in my left knee. Insisting that I was fine and just wanted to get back on but just needed to have minute I tried again with no success and was soon on the way to A&E!
So turns out I had damaged my Medial Collateral Ligament in my knee and as the physio said my knee should not have bent to the angle it was now capable of bending! He suspected a grade three injury (I’m told that is bad)!
Unfortunately, I was eventing the next day and not wanting to miss an event I decided to strap it up with K tape, Tubey grip and a knee brace and headed off to Withington. Dressage and showjumping went ok and I decided to go cross country. However, as it turns out intermediate xc with just one leg doesn’t really work… unless you’re Michael Jung of course! We ended up in a ditch half way around the course!  
Lots of physio and although strictly speaking banned from riding… A short while later I was back out competing in the 1* at Chatsworth where Harry had a fab event and came 12th!

The good news is that I have now finished all my exams… and passed! So I am now free for the summer to play ponies!
Our most recent event was Catton where I took Harry for the Intermediate and stole my younger brother’s horse, Barney, for the Novice. We had a fab event and Barney got his first BE placing finishing eighth in the novice and picking up his first BE point! Harry, despite being very cheeky in the dressage, pulled it out of the bag in the jumping phases to finish third!
So fingers crossed we are back on track as we head to Barbary on this next month for the 2*!
I’m gutted – I’m broken… Well actually my left collarbone is! Ash and I have taken a little tumble and to say the timing is bad, is a total understatement… BUT, that said, it could have been so much worse – we both got up and walked away relatively unscathed! Up until that point, things were all going to plan…That’s horses for you!
Reflecting on our trip to Tattersalls… on the whole I was pleased with Ash. It was our first try at a three-day event, and our first trip overseas. He coped so well with it all and was relaxed throughout. I have learnt a lot from the experience too – and going forward we will adjust our plans taking those lessons learnt into account.
The dressage phase was a tad frustrating as the ground jury wouldn’t allow me to use Ash’s normal bridle. It’s made by PS of Sweden and is designed to relieve the pressure on the horse’s facial nerves. Ash is very sensitive, it’s taken months of trying different bridles and bits to get something he feels really comfortable in. So we had to go back to his standard flash bridle. Oddly, I think I was allowed to warmup in the PS bridle, then could change it before I went to do my test. Anyway, we warmed up well and I went in feeling we could perform a good test. We did, apart from one very, very costly mistake – a counter canter break, my fault and I’m still kicking myself that I rode it ‘too quietly’ those pesky marker dragons stayed away too and Ash managed a whole test ‘spook’ free!
I couldn’t hide the fact I was really upset that one judge had marked us rather harshly. I know it happens, but… Enough said! I was delighted with Ash; he’s really starting to operate at this next level. He still finds getting the connection tricky, but he’s trying really hard for me now and the engagement comes more quickly.
The cross country walked nicely, a little too nicely perhaps, I thought on my first walk. There were a couple of questions; a very upright rail to sunken road to a skinny complex, a big drop to a brush corner on a four-stride curving line (you would need to be committed to your line on take-off from the drop) and a brush fence, two forward strides to a log brush into the water, then out via a steep slope with a log on top. Ash felt fab in the XC warmup, I felt excited.
We were off! He was just awesome, making the questions feel like he’d done them all before! He was galloping so easily too, the ground actually rode good rather than firm and I was well up on the clock at three quarters of the way around, so I had to take pull!
We finished a couple of seconds inside the optimum. I jumped off to let the vets check his heart rate (they do this as you finish and enter the ‘d’ box where you wash the horses off and you are not allowed to leave until their heart rate has returned to ‘normal’) by the time we’d walked him over to our wash area, Ash had stopped puffing and he’d recovered – I was thrilled with that as this was his first ever proper galloping test. We got him washed off and he was taken back to the stables.
We took turns checking on Ash into the evening, looking out for any signs of heat or swelling in his legs. All was good. Trot up the next day is always a tad stressful, you know your horse is sound and ok, but there’s always that little bit of nervousness… Those words ‘accepted’ are a blessing to hear and we were through to final phase!
Having been basked in glorious sunshine throughout the week, we were paying the price with firm going in the collecting and show jumping rings sadly. I decided because of this that I wouldn’t jump Ash much, in hindsight I wish I’d have done more… We went into the main arena and Ash went very green all of sudden. It was the first time he’s been in an arena like that – encircled with hospitality marquees, grandstand seating, trade stands, hundreds of spectators, flags and banners everywhere!
I knew straight away he was going to be very tricky to ride and very spooky. I cantered to the first fence and he jinked and spooked – it carried on like that the entire round! Two rails fell, I was disappointed as he’s such a great jumper usually, but we made it round and we’d completed our first three-day!
We’ve learnt a lot from the experience, both of us, and I know he’s got it all in there to go to the very top of this sport and that is a very exciting thought… Even with a very annoying broken collarbone!
Kick on, and stay safe!
P.S. I’m reading AP McCoy’s autobiography… which is inspiring me to mend ultra quickly… I’m going to be back in action very soon!

Highs and Lows of Horses…

Well, it’s been an eventful month with quite a few things going on. I was meant to be competing at Field House but sadly they never received my entry, which I had posted, so when I looked for my times we weren’t down. Mrs Snow has kindly given me an entry in July, so sadly this month I’m not reporting on shows.
We had a visit from British horse feeds, which was great to see the team again and catch up. Luckily Pikkert had a brand new rug on him to keep him clean for his picture taken and we showed them the new Alexander lorry and visited the rest of the competition horses.
Angel as you may remember was inseminated with semen from the Governor, a son of Totilas, but is sadly not in foal this time. On the day of scanning we had visitors from Shanghai to see the mares being scanned, and also seeing some of the boys being castrated. They are also looking at one of our youngsters to buy as an investment. Angel will have a second attempt at being inseminated, so fingers and toes crossed.
Also this month we have a newbie to the yard, as many would say not the usual type of horse I would choose, but we have Captain! He’s a 14.3hh pony, out of an Exmoor mare, but also by a TB race stallion. It is really strange of me to buy a pony from an advert unseen but I drove to Abergavenny to collect him, unseen and untried! What a true gent he is and lovely kids pony. Only down side is he gets sweet itch, but after some research, I’ve started to use brewer’s yeast in his Fibre-Beet and he’s got a few products on in the field to stop the itch and also his new white suit for sweet itch! He’s already grown a mane and a tail since being with us. This pony is a star for teaching my young riders on.
Everyone’s keeping me busy with teaching for the up and coming shows, we have two competing at the Great Yorkshire Show. I also will be out at dressage next week on the one the only D’artagnan, he’s not been out for ages, so I think he will be a cheeky pony and keep me on my toes.
Good luck to all in July!
So this month I have been trying some new bits at the KW Academy and we have now ditched the two rains and changed the bit to a two ring Waterford and it is so much better. Spirit is not so much on the forehand and is moving more forward. The first show we tried it at was at Brendon Stud and had an unlucky pole in the 1.10m open.
Between then we have been getting ready for Hickstead and to help me get ready Lilly from the yard, aged six, has been helping me with my trot, canter and jumping position then showing me how it was done over the poles all on her own.
We had a long week at Hickstead with all the mud and rain but what a great week it was. I started jumping on the Thursday in ring five where we were almost hunting but Spirit loved it. Unfortunately, the rider pushed too much in the double up the hill and we had a pole down.
On Friday we also jumped the 1.10m amateur in ring two and had two down in the jump off but so pleased as we are finally getting a better canter and much more control with this new bit we have chosen. On the Saturday we were helping a few people who were still jumping, including one doing the mini challenge, and we sat down to watch the Speed Derby for a family day out. Then on the Sunday I went back to Hickstead to watch the Derby with some friends and family.
This next month we will be getting ready for area show jumping with the SDHW Pony Club where we will be at Felbridge. She got a team first and individual second here last time qualifying for the Pony Club Championship so fingers crossed!
Thanks for the great photos from Spidge and Felbridge photography and Kathy Willard for the great training.
June has been a busy month, I had a fantastic week on the Kelly Marks course in Oxfordshire, learning Monty Roberts’ techniques. After returning from my week away, our trainer Hannah Esberger was asking me to release the rein pressure to reward Jason when he gave the flexion I was asking for, Hannah said: “You should know all about pressure-and-release after your Monty Roberts training”!
Jason is really relaxed in our lessons now; I am actually having to use my legs! He is really responsive, which is what we want, but he used to be overly sensitive to the leg, which resulted in me using my legs less – which I know is the wrong thing to do! But after losing my riding confidence years ago I wasn’t able to push him forwards, so it is great that he is accepting the leg well now. He is also much more flexible, his bend on the left rein is much improved. In our last lesson he was asking to stretch down and lift his back in the trot too. Hannah says Jason loves her massage pad, he falls asleep!
Hannah has been encouraging me to kick on and ride faster, I have tended to ride within my comfort zone (i.e. very slowly!), well it didn’t feel THAT slow to me but now I have watched videos it looks like we are going backwards! I’m getting the hang of going faster now, and enjoying it too! It’s good preparation for riding my young horse, Ferdy, his trot covers so much ground I really struggle to run alongside when trotting him up in hand, and truth be told his walk is much the same!
Speaking of Ferdy, he is moving to a new yard in a few days, and there is a space reserved there for Jason too, so when Jason returns from our trainers yard my boys will be reunited. I am excited to see them together again. I know Ferdy has really missed his ‘big brother’, as for Jason missing the cheeky and playful Ferdy… probably not so much!
Jason isn’t coming home just yet, I’d like to have a period of intensive lessons first, so we are really set up for success. And I have a feeling the ‘test’ word will be mentioned sometime soon… eek!
Well this month has been slightly busier on the horse front, I have tried to pick myself up and carry on as I know Mum would have wanted. After a month of doing not much at all Stanley had lost a bit of fitness so we spent a couple of weeks doing lots of hacking and stamina building. He was seen by the physio as although looking and feeling excellent I was slightly concerned that he had started to very slightly brush with his hind feet, all was ok though and the amazing Sorcha from Equilibrium Veterinary Physiotherapy soon had him soft and supple again. She said that she thinks it was another growth spurt which had just caused a temporary weakness and unbalance. I couldn’t believe she said he had grown again but when I looked he was definitely bum high! I guess when you see them every day you don’t notice these things so much, especially as now being on Fibre-Beet he is able to maintain his weight through the growth spurts and doesn’t end up like a twig.
After this we pushed on with some lessons, working on the movements in elementary tests and putting them together as if we were in a test situation. He was fantastic, I have to work hard to keep the balance and connection around the 10m circles as these are what let him down where he is still weak. That and the collected work- although at elementary they don’t expect them to show a high degree of collection in our lessons we ask him for more to teach him to sit and build up his muscles. We have continued to work on some more advance lateral work such as half passes and he is learning super quickly. I am very lucky to have a horse with such a good brain.
After these fabulous lessons and test run throughs we thought it was time to try a competition, I was all prepared to sneak out to an unaffiliated day and have a go. However, the dates didn’t fit with my working diary so Pachesham BD it was instead! It was our first competition without Mum and the first one since our amazing nationals, she always read my tests and was the one person who could keep me calm, so even though a fabulous friend and my wonderful trainer came to support me and help in every way the emotions were still running high. Stanley, however, was ever the professional apart from one moment where he got totally distracted by a horse who was making a song and dance in its field near to the arena. He did a lovely test in elementary 40 and we were rewarded with a 69.67% and a first place. Our first elementary test, close to 70% and a red ribbon… I was quite ready to go home with a smile on my face!
However, we felt that having a go at elementary 53 was sensible as this will be the test used for the Area Festivals which is our next aim as we missed the summer regionals qualification period. We made a couple of mistakes in this harder test, more jockey error for overriding I think, however to finish on a score of 66.5% with the mistakes which was fantastic. To win another red rosette… amazing!
Onwards and upwards now lots to improve and lots to practice but we will be out again to top up the nine points he now has at elementary and get our final Area Festival qualification sheets.
When I see the number of BE events cancelled I am very glad I gave up eventing. However, I really feel for those who have had a totally interrupted season because of the weather. Good luck everyone I hope July brings a little more sunshine and everyone can get out enjoying their horses.
H x
It’s been a stressful month for me but I am thankful my exams are over now. At least this means I can get back into riding Charlie now, who is rather fat at the minute!
We are doing more fitness work with him to increase his stamina for eventing, and more grids and pole work to get him thinking quicker about his legs. He is coming on loads!
We had a lesson with Gary Parsonage at the end of the month who said he has improved a lot since he last saw him, his canter has improved and his stomach muscles have become stronger, allowing him to collect in his canter.
June has been a very quiet month for us competition wise, as both my sister and I have been studying and Charlie hasn’t been out at all! However, now all exams are over I’m going to start looking for some events and workers for him to do, I think he would do really well in workers and I’m keen to give it a go!
We have also been cross country schooling at Thornthorpe where we did skinnies, sunken roads, jumping in and out of water, trakehners, coffins and all sorts. He loves his cross country as you can see in the picture!! He’s also getting clipped soon, as it’s getting hotter and he is sweating up a lot, he’ll look really smart clipped out!
Thanks for reading x
I think it’s fair to say Seeker and I kick started this month rather successfully! An outing to a local unaffiliated dressage and it felt like we’d been together for months rather than weeks. It was a first time competing in a Novice dressage test for both of us so no pressure there!
Seeker really pulled it out of the bag to ride an outstanding test, filling me with so much confidence leading to a win in our first competition together! I’m absolutely thrilled with this placing and how he felt.
We also competed at the Pony Club Area Dressage Qualifier last week and I decided after our recent win that I would give the intermediate test a go but unfortunately it just wasn’t our day. At home we had been practising the test thoroughly but I hadn’t factored in that the competition would be quite a busy outdoor event and so hadn’t taken the opportunity to practice on grass… I’ve now learned that lesson and so we’ll be having some more grass practice before out next grass venture.
Even with studs in we seemed to be slipping around and having the arena running parallel to a hedge only encouraged the flies to distract Seeker. All in all, not a great test overall but we had some really nice canter movements and a controlled medium trot which is what I was aiming for.
At least now my college course has finished so all of the assignments and exams are out of the way and I can really concentrate on getting to know Seeker. Of course it’s still early days for us being together so I am pleased with our progress and looking forward to taking him cross country when the ground is drier.
Speak to you next month,
Philippa and Seeker

This month has been much easier for Prince and I, we’ve done a lot more schooling on everything and are really getting there now with his flat work. We also have a new horse to work with, she’s a lovely TB mare who jumps like a stag!
My month started by taking her to David Broome Event Centre for some showjumping, she was fantastic, she popped over every fence beautifully and very fast too!
Unfortunately, the warm up got a bit sticky before the jump off and she went lame, meaning that we couldn’t finish to a place! Boo!
But, going back to Prince, were off showing soon! The show bridle is bought, entries done, stable booked and we’re looking forward to doing something different! Poor horse has no idea what’s coming! Haha. He’s entered into some in-hand showing and ridden so we’ll see whether he takes to it like a duck to water or hates it!
It’s a rather short one this month but hopefully next month’s showing antics will be more interesting!!
Signing out for now, Keana, Prince & T!