Sprout Wins at Elmwood

Love this event, they have such a technically interesting and very educational course all in a miniature 80 cm for young horses, well dressed with flowers and included a trakener.

Combinations included

A water with fence afterwards (see video)

Step onto bank and step off. (See video)

A double of spreads on a curving line.

A double of spreads on a curving line with a dip in between.

Fence onto a bank with drop fence off. (See video)

Skinny to a step down to another skinny.

Sprout did a super test for a 25, clear SJ and clear xc inside the time, he set off XC today like a horse on a mission, last weeks greeness had disappeared almost completely and for the first time he felt awesome XC. Ready to upgrade to 90 soon I think.

Some of his XC is here.


Solihull Unaffiliated

I ran Sprout and Massimo at this event and also took along Nikki Cox who I had decided was ready to attempt her first ODE, in reality she was ready for a double clear at 70 but Solihulls lowest class was 80, so she was thrown in the deep end. However I knew her reliable and very genuine mare Rif Raf would look after her.

I walked the XC with Nikki and apart from the water it all seemed very straight forward indeed, Nikki went a bit quiet as we walked one of the bigger spreads, kick on I told her. The penultimate fence was the water, first a house, one stride and then a dew pond. Quite an ask for a first event, but luckily I knew Rif Raf would love this fence, Nikki just needed to remember to sit up and kick.

Everything went to plan, there was a moment when Nikki froze in the SJ leaving Rif Raf to scramble through the double, a lesson learnt “if in doubt kick” but apart from that they did a nice dressage test and went clear XC with only a few time faults, you would never have known it was Nikki’s first ever XC competition. She came back beaming, bought several photos and a week later is still grinning from ear to ear. See her jumping the water here.

Suddenly I realised in a panic that it was time to take Sprout XC, his first 80 and over half the class had stopped or been eliminated at the water jump. I had walked the course with Nikki and Rif Rafs big day in my mind and I needed to change a few things in my head.

Sprout set off XC boldly over fence one, spun round when he saw the decorations on fence 2 and then got a grip and jumped the rest clear including a very bold jump over the house and into the water. Mmmm a good day I think, he leant lots although the early greeness was a little irritating. See him jumping the water here.

Massmimo was his usual consistent self, did a good dressage and popped round double clear in the 100 for 4th place.


imageGlorious weather at Llanymynech, I don’t think I have ever been to this stunning Welsh venue without the sun shining all day long.

Since my last visit they had changed the layout, the event core the show jumping and trade stand area has been moved to the old dressage warm up, giving better ground and more room. The dressage was in the same place on the springy old turf, but the warm up has moved to a longer narrower field, one they once used in 2004 if I remember rightly. It’s not as good as the old warm up field but I preferred the new set up as we now have the lovely old turf to jump on.

The cross country is always super here, we are only running Massimo at the more difficult 100 tracks so he is ready for Novice later this year. There were two waters the second with a decent, wide narrow brush at the top of the slope before the water, all classes had a trakener although the ditch was a nice shallow one, I really appreciated the half coffin and also the skinny brush spreads on the top of a mound, these are used more and more at the higher levels and we need to learn how to jump them well on our younger horses before they upgrade. There was also a decent bank complex. Both Massimo BE100 and Rif Raf The Dragon BE90 went clear, both gave me a super round, Massimo still feels a really special ride XC, he’s bold and the tracks just don’t feel at all big. Lovely jolly Rif Raf stormed round 10 secs inside the time, her first run this year and for 9th place, she just loves it. You can see Massimo jumping the first water and brush on the mound here and Rif Raf jumping the tougher second water here.

Below Hugo helps me on the 2.5 hour drive to Llanymynech!



Badminton 😁and Broadband 😡

Aplogies for the lack of a daily Badminton Report my broadband has been down at home, as although I was at Badminton almost everyday as part of Louise Harwoods support team I drove home each night so I could….

a) Avoid sleeping on a camp bed, sorry Jackie but I still remember the pain from Burghley😫

b) Poutice Massimos foot. He’s back in work now so it was worth all the driving.

We had a fab time, in short here it is

Harwoods BHT 2016

Whitson The Pooh not in the dressage, how could you!

Potts dressage, personal best in a 4* test

Whitson XC flew, until Log but he’s ok Phew

Potts XC looked easy, apart from the odd skinny

Cleared the Vicarge V as if it were a Cavaletti

SJ only a pole or two, sigh of relief from his support crew

Wiggy gets her wish, she’s won her 1st Armada Dish


and that’s it Potts XC in more detail now

Mr Potts XC turned out to be an interesting round, his habit of veering left meant bizarrely he skipped right handed around a skinny log, he jumped left at the previous element and then had no line to the skinny. Then later having awesomely flown the vicarage V as if it were a warm up fence (huge cheer in the riders tent) he next had a run out at a skinny brush when he clumsily caught his toe in the ground in front of the fence. We could clearly see the gouge he had made in Badmintons turf  on TV Arghhhh POTTS you are not supposed to be re-landscaping the park!

While all this was going on poor Jeanette Breakwell had her awful fall, leaving her trapped for what seemed to us several minutes under her horse. Eventually Louise was held out on course and we rushed off to get water to cool the now overheating Mr Potts. This led to much confusion as our buckets of water were being used to cool off Jeanettes horse, I assumed Becky and Amber had already gone with them to find Potts, so I went with drinking water for Louise, Becky realised I had gone without buckets and grabbed someone else’s buckets and then set off in the wrong direction, meanwhile a landrover full of buckets of water also set off towards Potts and so between us all eventually we got water to Mr Potts and there was a lovely shot on TV of Louises hardworking head girl Becky washing Potts off. Thankfully he was soon restarted.

He finshed well, took a while to cool off and was manic to lead back, I am sure he could have gone round again, he was much fresher than last year or than at either of his Burghley runs. So I guess he’s fitter and better than ever.

Last bit of news is that Monday after BHT I collected Mr Wizard from Dave and Julie Mansell, he is now broken and riding, not sure if he will be ready for any young horse classes this year but another exciting young horse for the future.







Badminton Trot Up day 1

imageWe had the most lovely and amazingly good day at Badminton today, and not just because the sunshine shone all day long.

I rode my lovely Professor Sprout in the young event horse class, he was superb in every way, jumped huge over everything and caught the judges eye enough that we made into the final judging for the top ten best horses, he finished in 7th place, a mounted prize giving in front of a noisy crowd of spectators was all very new to him but he coped like a horse much older than his 4 years. In fact he loved it, but then he thrives on doing stuff and also he adores all people, I guess he’s just a very special boy.

The day was made extra special with a small crowd of my……errrrr make that Sprouts friends and supporters which included his breeder Connie Colfox who drove all the way from Dorset to watch him.

Thanks to Nikki Cox for being an excellent groom and photographer, photos will be posted soon, but as I am grooming for 4* rider Louise Harwood for the rest of the week at Badminton I had best get some sleep now. Especially as she has two rides Mr Potts and Whitson, Becky, Jackie and I will be kept busy.