Sponsored Rider News – January

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We’re thrilled to share Sarah’s news that she gave birth to a baby boy, Frankie Whincup, on Tuesday 31st January. Weighing in at a healthy 8lbs, little Frankie and his Mum are both doing really well. Watch this space for more news about Frankie and the QD horses. We’re sure it won’t be long before Frankie is out and about with the horses and ponies – and even riding himself!

Sarah’s update is below:

Julia Bosomworth, my sister, has taken over the ride on QD Esquire, Morris, as he’s known by all his friends. She’s just had some training from European pony selector and top dressage judge Andrea Smith, it was really nice to watch them working together so well. I hope to see them competing in the dressage arena soon.

Jack our Stallion has officially sent in his entry for the regionals held at Addington in February. It will be a big event for him as he’s only done four shows in total and is still very young at just four-years-old. He’s going to be against some big Warmbloods, but he’s a proud Welshman that can still strutt his stuff! His music is great and suits him really well, so we’ve got high hopes for him!

My baby was due on 26th January, but late, so I was induced, and things did get a bit complicated as he got stuck, meaning I needed an emergency C-section.  Anyway it was worth all the pain, as we have a new addition to the QD team Frankie Arthur Ken Whincup! He’s adorable and so far very good baby boy, we’re just trying to get a routine going.

I hope to be back in the saddle in March! We have some fabulous horses to compete and newbies to start working. We’ve also got a small collection for sale due to baby Frankie keeping me busy.

All the best for an exciting 2017 everyone!

Tilly and I have had a busy start to the year with three events this month.

The month started with an outing with the Bloodhounds, where Tilly and I gained confidence and jumped a lot of the obstacles. This was helped by the fact that in the very first field, the only way into the next field, was via a cross country jump, which Tilly flew over – not wanting to be left behind.  One of the lines involved crossing a river, with the spectators getting a good view from the bridge.  We certainly gave them a laugh as Tilly stood on the edge, then launched herself into the water, almost leaving me behind in the river!
More arena eventing at 80cm, where we had fantastic comments from people watching about how lovely and flowing our round was too watch, but I cut some corners we didn’t need to, so ended up a bit fast, putting us clear, and in 8th place.
After the excitement of the earlier outings, we then calmed it right down and did some unaffiliated dressage, which involved an awful lot of schooling in the weeks before to remind us both what it was all about.  We took part in Prelim 14 , where we were delighted to come first, even getting a score of 9 for our trot entry down the centre line! Feeling brave, we also entered our very first novice test and did N27, where we were shocked to manage to come 3rd.
Videos of the tests can be viewed here:-
January has flown by but my pre-season prep is going well: Annual aaccinations for the horses, shoes back on, and a check-up with the chiropractor. The highlight of this month for me, were my lessons with Tiny Clapham. I love these sessions just as much as going out to compete! First up was a flatwork session with Robbie. He has made huge improvements since training with Tiny. He’s feeling a lot straighter in his work and a lot more regular in all of his paces – especially in his walk, which he really struggles with. Tiny has made me so much more aware of how my position, and how I use my body weight effects the horse’s way of going. She has made me realise how important the little things really are, such as perfecting transitions and riding good corners to set us up well for the next movement – the small but important things that really effect marks, especially with a horse like Robbie who finds his flatwork hard! Although we still have much to learn and improve I feel like she has made Robbie and I more come together as one unit.

My second session was a jumping lesson, which I shared with a good friend of mine, Kate.  I rode Alice and Kate took the ride on Dora (one of our horses who is in the riding school). We warmed up and then got to work bending in and out of the fences that were set out as a small grid. Building up to popping down the line of fences – a bounce, upright to oxer. Tiny quickly picked up on Kate’s straightness and that I took a sneaky little pull in front of the first fence, so correcting this became our focus. Next we started jumping the oxer on an angle with a tight right turn looping back on ourselves to the vertical, also on an angle. Alice is a big strong horse so I spent most of the lesson up and out of the saddle – standing in my stirrups, navigating her round with my body and legs whilst keeping my hands soft. Again, lots to work on for next time!

Making plans for the season is exciting! I’m just about to enter our first BE for the year, I can’t wait! I think we had better get out before then, and I’m hoping to attend an hunter trial next month to get us back in the swing of things, so I’ll report back on how we get on next month.

Coral x
What a busy January it has been for us, I didn’t realise until I wrote it all down – talk about full steam ahead!

The New Year started with a lesson from Amy Schiessl, where we looked at some movements from a few different Medium tests: Shoulder In – 10m circle – Half pass. Check. Then a little look at the half passes in trot and canter; tick, nothing forgotten just MUST keep my body straight and not cross my hands across his neck. Work at the end towards our walk pirouettes – not perfect as still a little large but we had him stepping forward and round by the end not stepping out or getting stuck like before.

As our arena at home is only 20 x 40 I made the most of being able to use a very kind friend’s arena to practice our music floorplan, having not gone through it since November. We warmed up by running through Medium 73 while we had the space. It all felt good but the pirouettes are still green. I don’t do many of them on my own as I still feel more confident having someone watching just in case it is me giving the wrong signals as it’s my first time doing them too. He seems to find these quite tricky but hopefully it won’t be long before he gets it. He’s picked everything so far up very easily so I suppose it’s about time we found something he isn’t so keen on!

On to the music test, which caused a small crisis! Apparently his way of going has changed so much over the last three months that my floor plan and music no longer matched whatever I did! Thank goodness for amazing friends and trainers, lots of brain power and a few practice runs and we have come up with an alternate floor plan which allows for all the movements in the desired time frame! 
The middle of the month brought an amazing opportunity and one that made me smile from ear to ear. I got to have a play on my fantastic trainer Sara-Jane Lanning’s Grand Prix horse ‘Theo’. What a treat, I am so lucky. Riding all the ‘tricks’ was just incredible and once a few errors were made there were drastic improvements that gave me so much confidence in my own riding. It was just magic and has given me so much hunger to keep learning; how rewarding it must be to know you have trained a horse to that level yourself.
The next day brought another lesson and the first words shared between Sara and I were “Are we dedicated or are we mental?” The weather was just vile, so Sara deserves a medal for standing out in that rain to help us. We put lots of work into Stanley’s basic way of going and maintaining his suppleness, especially when he goes a little spooky and short in his neck. It allows him to lift his back and work with more power into a softer, longer, uphill frame bringing with it more elasticity and cadence.

After lots of practice we trundled off to a new venue to have a go at Elementary 59 and the Medium 73 test. The first test started off smoothly, elastic and energetic, I even had a chance to take a breathe and enjoy it (my mistake!). He suddenly saw a killer flowerpot – yes he had already trotted past it about 5 times! Cue two big toddler tantrums, then me going wrong and freestyling some weird pattern over the arena to ‘recover’ our error. However, we ended up with a respectable 64.5% which I was pretty pleased with as it meant the good movements were really rewarded.

The Medium test was more successful, it seems he likes the extra things to think about in these tests, and even though he went a little green at times he stayed focused and did everything I asked of him. The pirouettes were our weakest movement as expected. I was thrilled to finish 4% ahead of the field with just short of 68%. Three mediums and three wins! (I think we may come back down to earth with a thump next time). 
A long journey for a late night lesson paid off when we went back to Merrist Wood on Sunday in the pouring rain (common theme this month!) for their Pre-Regional dressage day. On Friday Sara told me he was looking amazing and to enjoy him and be proud of how far we have come together. I do forget this as I’m always striving for perfection.
However I warmed up as we had discussed, took a deep breathe, went in the arena, prepared each movement and enjoyed all the work he gave me. It was the most harmonious test we have done so to be rewarded by the judge with a huge 72% was just awesome. To finish 2nd by one collective was the icing on the cake.
So February brings the regionals, and we can only hope we will have another positive update to bring you next month. However it goes, I am just thrilled to have a horse who tries so hard, puts up with me while we learn together and always puts a smile on my face.
Stay Safe,
Hannah & Stanley x

Images below of Hannah riding Theo

At last the holiday season is over and it’s train, train and train some more!  Ash came back into work from his holiday, well and fresh.  As he can be rather naughty, and we don’t have the luxury of a walker, T had to walk him on the lunge for a fortnight!  Then we braved hacking for a further three weeks, and in fairness he was a complete dude, so finally he might be growing up! It does help that Heidi is a complete star to hack, forward going and brave – the perfect ‘wing man’!   Both Ash and Heidi have wintered a little on the light side this year, so we have increased the amount of forage and we have added crushed barley to their hard feed Fibre-Beet base, which they get twice a day.  We have managed to ensure they have been turned out everyday for at least 4 hours, which is so important for a happy horse, in my opinion.  
With the base work completed, our focus has been totally on the GBR 2* Team training camp, which is taking place later this month.  We have been issued with the team test to practise, which is something I’ve never tried before!  We’ve also had our first training session with Ruth Edge this year and worked on creating more flexibility in Ash’s body.

This helps with all the lateral movements by creating softness and expression.  We also worked on getting more him responsive off the aids.  As we head towards the 3* and Advance Medium type movements such as canter half pass and flying changes, the exercises we worked on provide the solid foundations to perform the movements correctly.  Phew – we both worked really hard! Lots of home work and practising before our next session in three weeks!

Finally, we’ve welcomed an extremely exciting new addition to the team stunning KWPN 4 year old mare  – ‘It’s Morka’ – or Mindy as she’s known on the yard. We literally have 6 shades of grey on the yard at the moment!  T has been working on getting her introduced to the basics with long reining and lunging.  She’s a really big moving horse, with lots of ‘look at me’ and lots of character.  She’s been a pleasure to work with so far.  She’s now gone off to continue her education with Tia Harris and Joe Trunkfield, who will start her education under saddle.  Depending on her progress, we hope to aim her at the BYEH classes later this season.  Watch this space!
Wish me luck for the 23rd of February!
Kick on, and stay safe!