Dippy Does his first grown up ODE

A busy week for us all, the yard is being finished along with our car port building , so we have had 2 lots of builders here all week. I have also been doing lots of gardening, so rewarding when everything starts to flower. I keep admiring everyone else’s gardens as I ride past their houses and I can’t wait to have a nice garden to look at of my own.


I collected Miranda from Julie Houldey where she has been away being broken in. Dynamo is also back in work, all seems to have happened at once, and looking at Captains holiday plan he only has 10 days left of his month holiday if he is to be ready to go Eventing in early July.

Dippy went to the lovely Sapey to do his first proper one day event, so with the XC going across open fields and all being timed etc. The event was short on fence judges so I sent out a few emails and Facebook shares. Many thanks to Don and Sue, Nikki and Sean, and Sally and Becky who all came along to fence judge. Hope you all enjoyed your day and the wine Sapey was giving out afterwards.

Dippy did a super test for 29, he still needs to soften and open out his neck but he kept a lovely balanced rhythm throughout. He then jumped clear SJ and clear XC with just  5 times faults.

Katie Baker whom I coach finished 2nd, Tracy and Blue were ecstatic to complete a super round with a rider sat nav issue when she chose to jump a 90 cm fence, 2 levels above the one required, and no she didn’t get extra points sadly that’s an elimination. But still excellent experience for horse and rider, and he who doesn’t make mistakes is doing nothing challenging.

Video of Dippy here.  On the Xc he sets off all crooked and green and by the end a bold XC horse appears!

Dippy has a Busy Week

IMG_1050The Sunday of Badminton Horse Trials saw Ant and I heading off to Solihull to do a didi one day event with Dippy. I watched the Badminton trot up in between plaiting and stopped the lorry in a lay by on route to watch Louise and Potts Show Jump online on Ants phone.

Solihulls event was an express one, times were given for dressage and then we had to SJ and XC within the next hour. What a fab idea, we had to SJ in our XC stuff and then we were funnelled into the XC warm up, 2 jumps over the logs and off we went.

Dippy finished on his dressage of 30 with a nice double clear. My client Tracy Haines on her lovely young horse Blue, did a spectacular dressage of 23 to finish 4th. A really lovely day and it was a sunny one. See Dippy SJ here.

Later that week Dippy did dressage at Gadbury, scoring 77% to win the class, he is improving daily and try’s so hard.

Then 2 days later he took Mindys place at Broadway (as I have sold her) and schooled round the 80 XC. I missed a few fences out though as I didn’t dare jump the down hill fences without shoes. We had rain this week for the first time for weeks and it had made the grass a bit slick to jump downhill. However he did jump the water, the ditch/half coffin and the steps, pretty boldly for a baby too. Photo is from the water see the mini clip of him splashing through his favourite jump here.IMG_4123

Badminton Grooms Eye View

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Photos above include Potts tiny plaits, Clare Balding, Michael Jung on his way out of the yard, Mark Todd clinging to back of our golf buggy plus other behind the scenes stuff.

Wednesday to Saturday of Badminton is one of my busiest weeks of the year. This year I was very excited once again to be able to groom for Louise Harwood and also I had Mindy advertised for sale and also I had Dippy entered for a one day event at Solihull on the Sunday. Basically I wanted to be in two places at once! At home to ride etc and at Badminton to live the dream of being groom at the largest and most famous Horse Trials in the world!

I was up at 4.30 am every morning to ride mine and then off to Badminton to be groom. I had the best time, looking after Louise’s two 4* horses is always an utter privillage, Jackie and Louise (Wiggy) are always so grateful. I was sharing the work with Megan Parry and also Jackie was doing lots of stable duties too. We were also treated to a course walk with Louise while Jackie stayed at the stables to start plaiting for the first trot up. Louise was amusing out walking the course, it was her first view of the course and her squeals of “this is huge” and “I hate fences like this one” were very amusing. Oliver Townsend was close by when we were walking fences 5 “keep her away from me” he joked. Luckily we overtook Oliver while he was having selfies with a group of starry eyed teenage girls who later came past us in tears, of joy I think!!

The course looked more jumpable as we went on, although it was a very different Badminton to what we had ever seen before, 4* rider Bryony Wilson walked the course to offer advice to Wiggy, it was really interesting litstening to them discussing lines and how best to ride each fence.

After the walk Megan and I went back to help Jackie finish plaiting and cleaning the horses and then we helped present both horses to the vets, they both passed the trot up easily.

Dressage on Thursday and Friday went well, both horses could have scored better but they were both in a competive place.

Cross Country morning dawned and the mood in the stables was unusually quiet, riders were concerned the course was tough, too twisty, not gallopy enough and too many angled fences. It was in many places very much a Show Jumping track.

Whitson looked amazing over many of the fences but jumped greenly at others and so he eventually was retired in front of Badminton house. We all dashed back to the stables to help wash him off. It’s quite a long way through all the packed crowds, luckily my friend Tina Price who had been looking after Potts while we were away, had everything in hand and was helping Louise with Whitson, thanks Tina you were a star.

Once we had washed him off and settled him down, we went to watch XC in the riders canteen, the track was causing trouble with less completions than normal and it seemed much less clears. There was a horrible accident when a horse got loose after a fall and galloped back into the main entrance to the stable yard breaking its shoulder as it slipped over. Emily Gilruth who was parked next to us was airlifted off to hospital with a serious head injury after falling at fence 3.

Late afternoon Louise and Mr Potts set off on XC, just one run out and otherwise clear, we were so relieved to see them galloping through the finish, Potts was awesome.

Louise would have liked to have been more competitive, but several long routes and a broken frangible pin added greatly to her penalty points, us grooms were just glad to have horse and rider home together and in one piece.

Lots of fun and happy memories of the week, I left Saturday night to get ready for my event in the Sunday. Wishing the whole team good luck for Potts Show Jumping on Sunday I left Potts, Whitson and Louise all in the safe and very capable hands of Jackie, Meg and Louise’s niece Amber.

New Sponsor Announced & Badminton BYEH

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Delighted, excited and hugely proud to announce a new sponsor for my horses for 2017 as Jess-Photography.

The lovely Jess is a very talented photographer, take a look at her website here.,

Jess’ services include mini home shoots of family, pets etc.  She is also a much sought after photographer for Weddings and Sporting Events. Her work is absolutely stunning, Jess was selected to be one of the photographers invited on the team for Badminton Horse Trials this year.

Jess came along to Badminton to take a few shots of Captain in his young horse class, see photos above.

Once again it was so exciting to have a young horse competing at Badminton, to add to the excitement we were wearing new sponsors kit too. Captain performed a super dressage test and a clear jumping round, so we were thrilled with him, he behaved so well too. We were confused by the low marks he was awarded but looking at the photos he wasn’t making the best shape and at 15.3 he is a bit small for the ideal top level event horse. He is well over due a holiday and is now turned out for a well earned break.