Well we have had the two new arrivals delivered from Stuart at the DresHillgarth stud, Jack is just so so handsome, he came off the lorry like
a lion ha-ha but he’s soon settled down to field chilling. Well at least until
he sees our mares! He loves those ladies. I have started lunging him and he’s
going sweetly. Our other little foal from Hillgarth, whom Julia has named
Stanley, is very cute and boy can he move!
This month I have been to the hospital for my final check-up,
the doctor wants me to try rest for December and that means no riding!
All the competition boys are working on the lunge for
fitness, pole work, also long-reining and they have done some piaffe work from
the ground too. Loose jumping has also
been great to let some steam off.
I have to say it’s been an unlucky 2015! However, I am so
excited for the New Year. In 2016 I have four rides at the regionals in four
music classes, I am so happy I qualified for these before my accident.
I just want to wish every single one of you a Happy
Christmas! Also, a huge thank you to Claire, Martin and Will for the support
and most of all top feed, I am so proud of how my boys and girls look!
November has been quite quiet for us, the indoor school has
been booked out a lot so it is hard to get Charlie worked after I get out of
sixth form but we have managed so far.
We took him competing in the 90cm show jumping at Port Royal
and he has improved so much, only clipping a pole in the jump off!
We have also done more jump schooling at home and he seems
to be improving all the time. He was also schooled by Gary Parsonage when he
was running a clinic and we are trying to get booked into a Becky Moody clinic
to improve on his flatwork.
I can’t wait to get him out eventing this season coming,
hopefully will be doing BE90’s by mid-season and I definitely think he is ready
for it! We have bought him a pair of antlers and he has rather taken to them
even walking round the stable and poking his head out with them on!
I can hardly believe that it has been a whole month since I
last sat down to update my Speedi-Beet Diary. After our successful outings last
month which saw us gain our final regional qualification points, this month we
have purely concentrated on training.
The first week was pretty quiet and a real MOT; I visited my
fabulous massage therapist who straightened me up and helped to get my shoulder
moving again (no idea why but I couldn’t lift it above my head). Stanley also
had a visit from his fantastic physiotherapist and the saddler; apart from the
odd area of stiffness, probably from the more developed work he is being asked
for; he was fine and the green light was given to continue as we were.
Lessons were booked for the remainder of the month. We have
been focussing on ensuring that Stanley is working truly straight; he has a
tendency to very slightly stick his right hind leg to the inside in order to
avoid putting it under him and pushing. We had to be very strict to start with,
which is difficult for me. I have had Stanley since he had just started
‘proper’ work and I am sometimes a little bit too nice and let him get away
with a ‘baby’ way of going rather than asking for the work he is now capable
of. Before this straightness issue was sorted he found lateral work incredibly
difficult, however the last few rides he has made the difficult work start to
feel easy! His leg yield has gone from quarters trailing, to now me having to
ensure that they don’t start leading and his lengthened work has become much
more uphill and expressive. I just need to keep encouraging him to take his
nose out and forward while he is working like this. It is amazing how one very
tiny correction can make such a difference to the overall work; he has become
so forward going it is like riding a different horse. I have never sat on a
horse with so much power when everything ‘clicks’ and am well aware that I need
to work on my position and core strength as soon as possible to be as good as
him! However despite this the ‘Elementary’ word has once again been mentioned
by both the ladies I train with so I guess I best open the book and have a look
at what is expected of us!
Winter is now here, the weather is colder and multiple rugs
are applied. Stanley definitely looks forward to coming in at night now as his
Fibre-Beet is made so it’s nice and warm! My biggest aim for the coming month
is to focus on myself and improving my riding as well as continuing to develop
his strength – and hopefully we will find some competitions to do along the
way! Our next diary comes after Christmas, so we hope you all have a good one
and get everything you want and need!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKXBZtkQIM4 a link to show
just how much his leg yield improved from the start of November to the end of
So much for thinking winter would be the quiet time to relax
and chill with little schooling or any real ridden work.
I entered my first 80cm arena event of the winter, although
due to very high winds, it ended up being just cross country jumps. Despite the
high winds (I was very grateful this event was only a five minute drive from my
house), I was delighted with how Tilly went. Tilly tackled all the cross
country jumps with enthusiasm and a fairly good turn of speed, resulting in our
first cross country placing of 7th.
Here are the photos taken by my son. He was struggling not to be blown over:-
Here are the photos taken by the official photographer:-
Here is the link to the video:-
Meanwhile, Tilly and I have been practicing our jumping. Considering
Tilly was not really a natural jumper, and can get a bit lazy with her legs,
she is now doing ok, with our jumps getting up to 90/95cm at home.
The month ended with an eventer challenge event, which is
arena eventing, but with dressage as well. Yet again it was dreadfully windy,
with show jumps blowing over before we even got in. Despite Tilly taking a dislike to a blue
water tray that was placed just outside the gate by my arena, we managed a
respectable score of 31.8.
Into the show jumping part, and unfortunately, Tilly just
didn’t seem to be concentrating, as she managed to knock two jumps down with
lazy feet, despite being placed well for the jumps. Maybe she has little
respect for this height now, as she has been jumping higher at home, or maybe
Tilly didn’t knock them, and it was just the wind (I can wish, ha-ha). Straight
out of the show jumping area and onto the cross country; Tilly flew around all
the jumps and straight into the water, with little hesitation, and even flew
over the joker (90cm) fence at the end.
We are already booked into an arena event in January, but
now thinking of another one in December. We are both having so much fun!
Hi all! I’m not really sure where Novembers gone if I’m
honest, it flew by!
We started this month
with our final competition of the year, and Prince’s first ever 80cm ODE. I can
safely say that the dressage test is one to screw up and hide (in the dustbin
ideally), let me tell you this, just because your horse warms up amazingly it
doesn’t mean he likes you! Haha! We entered at A, lovely centre line, not so
lovely track left, not so lovely change of rein… You get the idea I’m sure.
Naughty mummy managed to forget the dressage test halfway
through resulting in us having to stop and ask directions, but the judges were
very nice and didn’t eliminate us! Just gave us a nice 45%!
Next phase; show jumping
(the risky one).
Prince warmed up amazingly popping over other people’s idea
of an 80cm oxer, I can safely say I’ve never seen at 80cm that’s 1m high…
Nevertheless he was very willing and took me to the fences,
pinging them easily. In the ring was very much the same story, very willing to
take me into a fence and make it look easy, 1,2,3,4,5 and the first half of 6!
He jumped so far to the left over the first half of the double I couldn’t get
him straight into the second half and he got a run out. Now, silly me, I don’t
do very much show jumping so I didn’t know the rules on doubles! I jumped only
the second half again and was eliminated…I certainly won’t be doing that
Regardless of my rubbish start, I very politely asked if we
could continue to XC anyway but not get placed, and they graciously allowed me
to (I was very grateful!). We went on down to the warm up and we were last to
go on the course, the sun was low and I could hardly see without the sun in my
eyes. But what can I say? My pony has turned into a XC machine! He flew around
the course and jumped everything without a second thought, even the one stride
double of solids which I was sure he would stop at!
We finally crossed the line and I couldn’t believe what had
just happened, he’s come so far from his last competition now and I have
serious hopes for his BE future!
Sorry for rambling on, I am just an extremely proud
owner/rider! We have recently moved to a new yard with more facilities so we
have much more chance to practice and perfect things, hopefully before my next
blog we would have been hunting too!
Remember to stay safe in this horrible weather!
Speak to you all
I find this time of the year really quiet exciting… making
plans for the next season!
We’ve got an outline idea of where we’d like to be heading
and this has meant a couple of big decisions have been made regarding our team
of horses. A fabulous new home came up for Smurf, so it was decided that he
should make the move. He’s one of the nicest horses I’ve ever had contact with,
and I know he is going to be future star. We miss him dearly, but he’s in great
hands and already loved to bits. Iceman will be advertised in the New Year too
as he was purchased to produce for the season and sell on. He’s been out trail
hunting with the Quorn with Izzy and he’s been fabulous – you’d be forgiven for
thinking he was a well-seasoned pro as he’s jumped big country, stood when
asked and even provided a lead on his first trip out! Super star!
Ash has come back from his holiday fresh, well and as cheeky
as ever! We’ve been working away on the flat and just started jumping again –
hoorah! He’s all clipped and will start going out to a few dressage and show
jumping competitions now.
Calvin our four-year-old has come back to us after having
the most of the year at Izzy’s yard. Izzy’s done a fab job with him, he’s the
nicest young horse to deal with, so kind and really tries hard to please. He’s
was a late July foal and quite poor when we got him so we’ve taken our time
with him and will continue to so as he’s really something quiet special. He’s
such as fabulous brand ambassador for Fibre-Beet – as his transformation from
skinny minnie to the lovely horse he is now is amazing! He’s still got some growing and filling out
to do, but I’m just so pleased with the progress so far. He will continue to be
at ‘boot camp’ up until Christmas, then have a mini break again for a month or
So, we are heading into 2016 with big plans…. but before
that, I’m so excited to be heading off to Italy again on our skiing holiday!
Happy Christmas everyone!
Kick-on and stay safe!
Pumpkin and I had a great time doing a pleasure ride at
Hockham Forest. We went with another person and her horse from the yard. We
were planning on doing the 10km loop but when we got to where the route split
into 10 and 15km the horses were still finding it easy so we decided to do the
15km loop instead. Unfortunately the ground was quite churned up in places due
to machines working on the forest though we found some good spots for a quick
I clipped Pumpkin not long after this ride as although the
weather has been very wet it has also been warm and Pumpkin got quite sweaty!
She would have been clipped before but I was waiting for my clipper blades to
come back from sharpening.
I have been jumping Pumpkin more than usual recently and she
is getting very fit! I took her show jump schooling to an indoor arena with a
full set of show jumps. We started off small as I get quite nervous when faced
with an arena full of jumps! Pumpkin felt good though and keen to do it so the
jumps went up to nearly 2ft9 and I jumped a short course of six jumps at this
height. We had one stop as Pumpkin is very sneaky and if she thinks I’m not 100%
committed to jumping it she won’t be either! I just need to get the confidence
to ride her at the jumps and trust that she will jump them. Overall I was very
happy as I didn’t expect to jump what we did.
We are hopefully going cross country schooling in a couple
of weeks. I hope everyone is managing to get some riding in even with the
rubbish weather and dark nights!
Jason was brought back into work a couple of months ago now,
and I was surprised by quite how unfit he was, he has always been one of those
horses that seems naturally fit and never tires – it must be something to do
with the fact his mum was a racehorse and he is 22% Arab! But I’ve found that
this time he was tiring quickly, after two minutes trotting he wanted to put
his feet up!
Having a few mornings a week away from the office to train
has been working out really well, and the weather has been mostly on our side,
enabling me to consistently work Jason 4-5 times a week. I’ve still had to be
really patient, my mind full with thoughts of lessons and getting out
competing… so it’s been really nice to see how much his fitness has now
improved; he’s back to his usual untiring self!
We have booked a lesson – hoorah! I can’t believe that due
to so many setbacks it is over two years since we had a lesson with our trainer
Hannah Esberger, she asked if the 21st December was too close to Christmas but
I replied that I’d take the 25th of December if she was offering! So for the
first time ever I’m keeping everything crossed for a NON-white Christmas!
Jason looks very smart in his BHF Speedi-Beet Team
saddlecloth, but at the moment he’s all dressed up with nowhere to go! I’m
looking forward to competing in our first dressage test after such a long wait,
literally years of false starts, there is no doubt it’s going to be a very
special day when it arrives. Take note though Jason, the day doesn’t need to be
TOO exciting or eventful, nice and calm would be ideal! We are starting right
at the bottom but I have high hopes that we will be climbing the ladder very
fast once we get going.
In my last blog I explained that Jason had switched from
Speedi-Beet to Fibre-Beet to keep his condition over the winter, I’ve been
increasing his ration gradually so it is now also a partial hay replacer for
him. He absolutely loves it, and he’s looking well too, don’t you think?
Until next time…
So this month kicked off straight away with a trip to
Leyland Court for some ‘Arena Eventing’. This involved completing a show
jumping course before galloping straight through to the second arena to
complete a cross country course. Unfortunately we were a little rusty and had a
stop at the third show jump which meant a quick change of tactic and we were
back on track again finishing with just the four faults. By the time I was half
way through the cross country course, it became very clear this was what Harry
definitely favoured and he flew around the 3ft course no problem! I was also
lucky enough to have my ‘personal unpaid groom’ Martha with me who helped
enormously with keeping my head level to remember all 23 jumps (yes, 23!).
Although we were left without a rosette on this occasion I later found out that
we finished in 7th place which isn’t something to sneer at when I was
originally panicking about remembering the course.
Then the ducks got their wish and the real Welsh weather
picked up again… not fun! For what felt like weeks the rain just kept falling
and didn’t look to be changing anytime soon, and when it did Harry was trying
his hardest to get out of work either by pulling shoes off or getting his entire
surface area caked in mud. I can literally count on one hand how many times I
have been able to ride or even lunge during the past couple of weeks (which
could explain how my coursework has been ready to hand in early for a change!).
A few cancelled lessons later, I finally had my lesson with
Ros and the rain held off thankfully. Harry and I specifically worked on
getting a ‘bottle of pop’ canter into the jumps which was going great until we
decided to test gravity! We were riding a curving line into a vertical, only
Harry didn’t tell me that he saw four and a half strides where I saw five and
before we knew it we were both heading towards the sand. We stood up a bit
shaken and bruised and I’m sure I ate half the sand school, but we both got
back to work quickly and Harry was flying again, even over a rather large
spread. This proved to me, yet again, that Harry will never fail to surprise
Next month we’re looking forward to…Christmas of course!
Plus having time off to remind Harry he’s not reached an early retirement.
We’ve also got a couple of lessons booked with Ros and I’m still in search of a
dressage competition before Christmas.
Things have been a little quieter this month – now the
eventing season has finished the horses have had a small break, almost a month
of chilling out! Sharing a picture of Thursday at her last event as I’m missing
going XC already! My youngster Darcy has stayed in work along with my old boy
Hutch and I’ve also been popping on some of the riding school ponies in between
time. It’s always good fun doing a bit of pony squishing now and then and
giving them a good workout!
I started back riding my eventers at the beginning of last
week. Alice especially was feeling particularly fresh and thought it was great
fun to be a saucy lady and add in a freestyle bronc across the school, whilst
shaking like a dog whenever I asked her to go on a bit stronger in her canter
work! Proving my point that keeping them ticking over through the winter months
is probably the best option for us.
At the weekend I took the girls (Thursday and Alice) for
some winter dressage practice. Working away at my weak phase! Alice managed to
contain her exuberance and finished just outside of the placings on a score of
66.54%. Super Thurs came 2nd with 69.04% in the Novice. This coming weekend I’m
taking my boys (Hutch and Robbie) out for some BD which I’m really looking
forward to – hoping the weather will be ok.
We’ve been busy working away on the yard at home. At the
beginning of the month my brick paving was delivered! So excited! I was out in
the arena schooling Tiff when the first
lorry load of 4880 brick paviors rocked up in our drive at 8.30am, and at 10am
another 3000 got dropped off too. I knew it would be a big job but I wasn’t
expecting to have to help move quite that many! Today Dad finished putting in
some drainage and started to level out the yard ready. This month he’s also
finished the block work on the two new stables he’s been building – my Dad is
amazing! We’ve finally got the rubber to add to the surface on the walker down
now too, just in time to stop it freezing over winter!
The weather here hasn’t been that great recently, last week
we had crazy overnight winds and rain. I went out to school in the morning to
find one of the willow trees that over-looks our arena had fallen down! It was
lying in the middle of the school, branches and twigs everywhere. My plans
suddenly changed and we hacked out that day! It took pretty much two days to
clear, which wasn’t ideal and has now left an unsightly gap. We all complain
from time to time when they become over-grown, quite often we’ll be riding
round and end up with a mouthful of tree… some of the riding school ponies
get cheeky and try to stop for little snack if an inexperienced rider is on-board
which always makes us all giggle! Typically, Dad had trimmed them all back only
two days before it fell down!
Catch up in December,
In the month of November Spirit and I have been out once and
we went to Coombelands where we competed in a strong 1.10m open and where
placed 6th. We had a nice calm and rhythmic round, Spirit and I wore
our branded clothing for the first time.
During the month we have been aiming towards some fun
dressage, now that the outdoor season has finished until February.
I have been helping my instructor Kathy Willard on her new
academy “KW Academy” and look forward to be taking part in the academy myself.
At Brendon stud where I work there they ran a ‘Children In Need’ show where it
was amazing to see so many young riders and ponies supporting a great cause
even though the weather did its best to put a dampener on proceedings. In total
the show raised £1090!