Sponsored Rider News – October

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There have been lots of competitions for us during October as we were on a tight schedule to complete our qualifications for the Elementary Regionals in both the music the straight test by the end of the month. Although officially the qualifying period ends at the end of November we are off on holiday and so November has been earmarked as a little rest for the boy.
We started the month at another Area Festival for a second attempt at qualification for the finals. It had been a hard week for us in general and my motivation was pretty low. Thankfully my wonderful friend came to support and help me warm up; a real blessing and she was so much help. We tried our best and the good bits felt amazing. He was active and forward and I smiled the whole way through the test. For the first time in a very long time no judge mentioned that he needed to be more forwards or in front of me so that feels like a gold medal in itself!
Unfortunately, by improving the sharpness it meant the test wasn’t mistake free and we finished the day in ninth place. These tests do not count as qualifying points so we quickly entered to compete at Cholderton the following week.
Competing after working all night is clearly the right thing to do! Even though I’m not sure how I remembered the second test! We very nearly cracked the 70% barrier, at last!
We finished with a score of 69.5% in Elementary 53 and I was really pleased to win both tests overall by a couple of % despite a naughty spook in the first test. The difference today was he learnt after the first spook and didn’t look at it again so that was a big plus. A good test meant we had got our last points to qualify so the pressure was off for Sparsholt at the end of the month.
A couple of lessons were squeezed in between and we did lots of work towards doing a medium test. I don’t think it will be long before he is ready and I’d love to ride one for Mum by the end of the year like I promised at the Nationals.
On to Sparsholt… The less said about our freestyle test the better! Freestyle it was, mainly because I couldn’t steer into any corners or have him going anywhere that I asked. He was petrified of the skeleton horse in the gallery used for teaching college students!
We did finish the test with a bit of an altered floorplan and the score was better than I had hoped and we scraped the qualifying score we needed – it’s just a good job I love him!
I hopped on for the second test… Phew GOOD Stanley was back for the Elementary 59! I was pleased as I needed his concentration Aimed for that elusive 70% and finished with 69.5% and 5th!!!!! Given that I completely missed doing my G&R (DOH!!!) despite having a very good reader I am going to say we are nearly there now! Final points obtained and October mission complete.
Now for a couple of easy weeks and to enjoy our holiday. Hope you all had a good month.
Hannah & Stanley x

Last month I mentioned two new arrivals, Golly and Zippy, who have settled in really well and we are going to keep them both for now. An addiction to horses is far more expensive than shoes and handbags!

Golly, by Van Gogh who is a super mover and already his progeny have been competing at the Rio Olympics. Although a jumper himself, his offspring were actually in the dressage, so we can only pray that Golly makes it to the top, but not by staying entire as a stallion! Steps are being taken this coming week, but at least he’ll be able to go play out in the field with the others.

Zippy is the black beauty that just dances, I love him so much that we are thinking about using his sire, Fellini, on our mares… If it’s possible in the UK.

Although pregnant and frustrated at not being able to ride, it’s been great to enjoy taking Jack, our Welsh Section D stallion, and rider Ben to their first ever BD show, and compete to music. He’s a stallion that has covered mares naturally and I was worried about his behaviour in the collecting ring, but he was a star. Jack did a wobbly novice music test, with much to like and much to improve, but scored 66% which we were pleased with on his first ever appearance within the white boards!

Some of my horses are having a holiday due to my pregnancy and are lunged now three times a week followed by some loose jumping. A few are having a total field break. Boy, when February comes it will be a shock! It’s only chase clips this year, just to keep to them all looking tidy.

It’s a great time now to help the juniors that I teach. I do like riders who ride in all weathers, so hopefully they will still come training.
This month we visited HOYS, the highlight was watching the Welsh Section D class, but maybe Jack has a lot of maturing to do first, we shall see what happens in 2017!

Wrap up warm folks! I think the weather is about to change!

Thanks for reading my blog, all the best from the QD horses and I.

So the eventing season has just finished, and as I sit down to write my October blog I’m thinking about and appreciating all the amazing moments my little team of horses have given me this year!

We’ve had so much fun together and learnt lots along the way too, ticking some of my goals for each individual horse off the checklist.

Ballyengland Twilight has completed two CIC1*s this year, as well as several Novices. Alice Springs stepped up to BE100 like a pro. Always On A Thursday is back out doing her thing and loving it at BE90 and all three have finished the season in one piece and I already have in mind some new targets to set for 2017!

Winter for us will consist of lots and lots of training sessions and practice! I’ve also been working away with a few of the horses at home that I think may have some future competition potential, it would be lovely to work on them further through the off season and see where it takes us next year!

Always On A Thursday finished the season for me this year at both Oasby and Norton Disney. Thursday has had a slightly unlucky season, I had hoped for more runs with her but for one reason or another it just didn’t happen. She completed both events in fine style with two double clears! The ground conditions weren’t great for her at Oasby, although the fabulous BEDE team did a great job of making it the best they could for the competitors. I decided not to jump Thursday out of the mud at all in the warm ups, so she really showed her talent by jumping so well in the ring.

At Norton Disney I was able to show Thursday off in the dressage and after again, jumping double clear and inside the time, she ended on her PB finishing score of 33. Sadly, we were HC as there wasn’t a BE90 Open however, we would have finished in seventh place!

I quietly went and took my BHS Stage 4 riding exam this month. The first horse I rode was a really sweet four-year-old on the flat, we had to show an improvement in the horses way of going so I worked on both progressive and direct transitions with him. The next horse for flatwork I had to assess his suitability for Elementary dressage, showing some medium and lateral work, then onto the jumping horses.

I had a big black event type to showjump, he gave me a really nice ride and jumped around the course clear. He was very similar to the type I usually enjoy riding, forward and responsive to my aids and a brave jumper – I would have liked to have taken him home!

For the XC I rode a big chestnut ISH who had already shown he had some attitude in the showjumping with another candidate. He was ridden in a snaffle and being a small rider, he did feel quite strong to me! He also liked to get his head down and throw in a nice bronk after almost every fence – although he did get me round, it wasn’t the most stylish at all!

I then lunged a real cute little pony who had the coolest name ever… “Ketchup”! He was a typical fun riding school/child’s pony and it was just like working with one of my little monsters back at home! I liked Ketchup a lot! It seemed like the longest two weeks EVER waiting for my results to come through the post, I was delighted that I passed and with a distinction too!!

As I already hold my Pony Club AH test, I was exempt from the care side of the exam and now hold the full stage 4 qualification! In the same week, I also took my UKCC level 2 flatwork and jumping assessment and passed that too! It was a hectic and stressful week but a worthwhile one!

Coral x

P.S. Our pony club fundraising day for our local MacMillan last month in total raised a massive £4111.73 How incredible is that!!!?

Finishing with a flourish… or not!

We all know a life with horses is always going to be a rollercoaster, but that knowledge doesn’t help the stresses whilst living within it! In short our already revised focus event this season, the KBIS Seven-Year-Old Final at Osberton, didn’t go to plan…

We arrived on site feeling positive and with high hopes following our win in the Intermediate at Allerton Park. Ash and I had a final prep training session with Ruth the day prior, and he schooled well on site. We warmed up well and relaxed on dressage day and Ash felt good during our test and I was pleased. On reflection, it was probably a little ‘safe’ but it was mistake free and he felt relaxed. I was a little disappointed with our score of 53.1, I was expecting it to be in the late 40’s… I’m starting to get used to weird swings in our test marks!

We jumped the following day, so still all to play for… the show jumping course walked well, and those combinations I watched, seemed to be bringing down the poles. We went in and Ash jumped his socks off, he felt pure class, we were totally delighted… the Osberton show jumping curse had been thwarted!!

I’d walked the cross country course several times, and there were plenty of questions – particularly the new water complex which you pass through twice – from a spectator’s perspective it was fabulous. The organisers had done a fabulous job sighting sponsors marquees and the champagne bar, a massive big red bus, right alongside it, so a huge crowd gathered there. This made a tough question even more testing for the young horses who are very unlikely to have been exposed to atmosphere and spooky crowds like this before. The course designers had done a cracking job as the course layout did ask some big ‘championship’ questions.

I felt Ash would be fine with the fences themselves, but I was mindful that he can be very spooky, so my riding would have to be strong, positive and ready to react quickly, should I feel him backing off or spooking at the crowds. Ash felt great in the warm-up… we were ready to go… the steward called us over and the start advised “30 seconds”… then the dreaded buzzer sounded and the red light shone signalling a hold on course! Now, the first thing that goes through your mind, is ‘oh beeping heck, I was ready to go!’… then, a split second later, ‘I hope both rider and horse are ok’…. then, ‘come on focus…’

As it turned out, there had been a nasty fall at the Coffin complex, a tricky combination fence towards the end of the course. When we walked the course the first time, I did think to myself I’d have to ride the approach quite strong and positive as the grounds team had put some limestone down on the landing side of the large hanging rail, which was the first element. The ground dropped sharply away towards a large open ditch and then back uphill to a slightly angled hanging rail out. As you approached all you could see was an expanse of white, odd looking ground which I was more concerned about, as I thought horses could misread the question.

The hold ended up being very lengthy, around 45minutes… to be really honest, it’s incredibly hard to keep your focus when this happens, as the longer the hold, the more concerning it is for everyone as something serious has happened… the collecting ring during this time becomes very quiet and we focus on keeping the horses moving around to keep muscles warm (with rugs), but without doing too much as we don’t know how long we will be held… Thankfully, we received word via the stewards that both rider and horse were okay, but the rider was going to have to make a trip to hospital… Once that news was received, I had to re-focus, both Ash and myself… then we were off!

We flew, meeting our minute markers as planned and making the course feel easy… the first section of the water complex was coming up next, Ash was taking a rather strong hold, but he was totally focused on the job in hand… Wow, we were through it… total class… he was making the combination fences feel easy, but we were making up slightly too much ground. We came back towards the water again for the second time… it was a large log drop to an angled brush on a slightly curving forward distance and then to a very large brush corner… it was a very big question! Ash responded well… big pats for the boy!

Onwards we flex and after another couple of fences, including a very large hanging log and ditch, we headed to the Coffin complex… We approached positively and Ash jumped in great, then jumped the ditch massively leaving no room for a full stride to the final element and we parted company… I was totally gutted! We didn’t deserve that, we were four fences from home making the time easily and with loads left in the tank. After finally catching Ash – my air jacket had gone off, which terrified him and he galloped off – and establishing we were both okay, we walked back to the stables. It’s a long and hard walk when you are so disappointed… We never seem to have any luck at Osberton!

After the dust settled, we made the decision to try to get an entry into Aldon International 2* as I was keen to finish on a good note. I’m acutely aware that Ash is a very sensitive character and I was keen to get out again within a competition environment to ensure his confidence hadn’t been damaged by our fall.

So, our season isn’t quite over after all…
Kick-on, and stay safe!

This month I took Tilly along to a dressage show and competed in two classes. I struggled just remembering two tests, how people can do more I have no idea!

We went in for our first class and the rain got heavier and heavier, the advantage of that is that Tilly kept her head down even if we did get rather wet. I was delighted to find we had took the lead and won the class. Then it was onto the Championship class. It had stopped raining and Tilly was getting more distracted but I was extremely please to still be up in fifth place.


The next day we upped the pace and went showjumping. Tilly really enjoyed it and she jumped a fantastic clear winning the 2’9” class.


The following week was our last one-day event of the season. Tilly would not settle in the dressage at all, resulting in a rather high mark. The show jumping and cross country sections went very well and we finished with a super double clear. We also had the ‘fun’ of a loose dog that had slipped its lead as we went through the water, but Tilly wasn’t bothered.


Monday, we took part in a talk about the English Civil War to a local school. This is the third-time Tilly has done this type of event and she is always popular with the children, she loves saying hello with all the fuss and attention.


Tilly and I attended our first Opening Meet this month. We went out with the Farmers Bloodhounds who track a runner and had a fantastic time, I am now looking forward to being able to get out with them a bit more over the winter.
We finished the month by attending the Quorn Opening Meet, which has a reputation for the largest gathering of side saddle ladies, and the day did not disappoint with over 20 side saddle riders.
I have just recently got my side saddle back from major repair after the wood basically disintegrated with age across the front. These photos are taken as the saddler is working on my saddle, so I thought you may like to see the insides of a side saddle.


Phew… what a month! As we move into the winter things should quite down, although we still have the Bloodhounds and some Arena Eventing to keep us busy.

October has been a pretty boring month for me. I haven’t even had a horse here at University to keep me occupied and my days now consist of sleeping, gym and assignments/lectures.

We are now at the end of another eventing season that has been packed with ups and downs. Harry is at home having a bit of a holiday and recovering from being unwell.

Unfortunately, we didn’t quite finish on the high we had hoped for with disappointing runs at both Gatcombe and Osberton. Harry, very uncharacteristically, had refusals near the end of the course after flying round the first part of the course. In hindsight, I hadn’t been terribly happy with how he had been for a couple of weeks before Gatcombe and I had been complaining about him feeling ‘flat’ to ride and very quiet in the stable… Very unlike him as he is usually quite a handful!

After Osberton, Harry went home to start his holiday and about a week later my mum still wasn’t happy with how subdued he seemed to be. He also had developed a cough and was looking quite run down. Having not been happy with him at his last two events we called the vet who said that he now has a secondary bacterial infection which had been caused by a virus that he must have had previously.

So, Harry has been dosed up with a course of antibiotics and things seemed to have clear up. He is just coming to the end of his break before he comes back to Hartpury with me to start hacking out up until the Christmas break.

I am pleased we found something which could explain the very uncharacteristic stops and I’m looking forward to getting him back here and planning next season!!
Whilst I have had some down time away from the horses after Osberton, I went to watch my younger brother Ben competing at his first 1*. It was so nice to go and groom for the day and he did brilliantly and had a fantastic end to the season.

Three-year-old Rosie is having a great time chilling in the field after being backed, I can’t wait to get going with her next year! It was a year ago that I bought her at an auction and it’s unbelievable how much she has grown and filled out since then! She had her first outing at Osberton for the Young Horse In-hand Showing Championships where she placed sixth out of a very smart field of three-year-olds.

I am currently in the thick of things at Uni as I make a start on my dissertation and I can’t wait to get Harry back here as some form of distraction from all the work!

At the beginning of October, Spirit and I qualified for the Blue Chip Star Qualifier finishing sixth. I was so proud.

I also had a great night at the British Showjumping Awards Ball before a day out at HOYS with a lovely opportunity to meet the guys from British Horse Feeds and some of the other sponsored riders, as well as showjumping legend, Nick Skelton.

This was the month where I have had Spirit for three years, I can’t believe I have had her that long.

At the end of the month we were at Crofton Manor for our first indoor showjumping in the last two years so we had a few things to learn from. All in all, it was a good weekend, jumping some different classes at a different venue. Spirit also loved having her new Fibre-Beet banner outside her stable.