Love Captain and Chief

These two are just the best boys, Chief 2nd with 71% prelim dressage this weekend, his second ever competition, Captain 4th in his first Novice with 70% both at Hill View Arena.

Then Captain was on mega Springs Arena Eventing on Sunday to go double clear, his first outings after his 5 week holiday after his great run at the British Young Horse Champs last month.

These stunning photos are very kindly provided by my sponsor Jess-Photography

 

Chief and Miranda

I have turned Miranda out for a holiday, she’s still quite weak and needs to grow before I do too much more with her. She’s been an absolute pleasure to do, to hack and to school, she’s the sweeetest most gentle mare and is also very bold.

Chief is coming along very nicely, he is almost ready to attempt a dressage test and I have bravely entered one, although I am not sure we will cope with the canter yet. He has been the most perfect horse in every way, It’s hard to believe he is 3, he has the confidence and ease of a horse 10 years older. He loves to hack, loves to come in to do things and is just the most easy kind horse that I could wish for. Emma, pictured below, helped break him in. She hacked Chief out for a few days from here when he first came home.

Photo below is Emma on Chief being welcomed home from a hack by Hugo, and also a photo I took one stunning early morning from Chief out on a hack.

The unbelievable Chief is so laid back that he tolerated a Hugo hug!!

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Dynamite Dynamo

My little orange superstar Dynamo pulled off another 26 dressage at Offchurchbury followed by a double Clear and inside the time to finish 2nd.

He jumped huge in the SJ and was real dynamite XC, extremely bold, quick and very athletic, he only needed mild encouragement from me at the sunken road, this fence had caused so many stops during the day.

I had the best ride on him, he was really flying, I decided to kick on once I knew I was on a fab dressage score. It was really fun to ask him to gallop quicker XC and he loved it, he ended up 10 seconds inside the time, I guess that’s where his TB blood is a huge asset.

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Dynamo Grows Up

Thrilled to bits with Dynamo on his last two runs.

West Wilts he was double clear round the BE 80 track, a few time faults XC as he’s not ready to go fast, but he did prove he can go XC in sticky mud. Jumped his first bank and was brilliant at all the combination fences, including the water, all of which which were well dressed with bright flowers and trees.

Then the week after at Ledbury Pony Club ODE he again went double Clear, He was really bold XC although I went a bit chicken and took an L fence at the water as the direct route was a large box really close to the water, more of a 90 fence and I didn’t feel he was ready, but then he jumped the skinny alternative so boldly I felt a bit silly doing the chicken route!!

He finished in 10th place and won the best dressage award, had I jumped the direct route at the water he would have won as his dressage score was 26. He did a superb test, he has become really easy on the flat over the last few weeks. I have worked on getting him more forward, plus a better contact as he has matured is giving him a more secure overall picture. I think he is going to be a very solid performer at 90 and 100 next year. He has two more events to do and then is off to join Captain for a couple of months winter holiday.

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British Championships

Well who would have thought the little unbroken horse I bought from a stud round the corner, in Castlemorton would 18 months later be 11th in The British Young Horse Championships. He was so nervous when I bought him I couldn’t get a head collar on him. Photo is our first meeting when he was an untouched unbroken colt, March 2016, he almost got close enough to touch my fingers then whoosh he was gone!!

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The Championships are a huge event, masses of spectators, trade stands and the atmosphere is electric. Renkum Capitano was totally unphased by the flags and flowers decorating the arena and performed the most lovely dressage test to score 29. He was well up with the leaders which included several Olympic riders. A blunder from me meant we had a rail down SJ but he felt amazing, despite the muddy ground he felt like he was jumping off springs.  He was was awesome XC, he never looked at a thing, he pinged every fence even helped me out when I messed up at the step to brush drop, he was so brave and showed me how much scope and what a wonderful brain he has.

A long day for him we left home at 3.30 in the morning and got home Just after 9pm. My freind Nikki was fantastic as she came along to help, not many people, would have offered a 2.30 am start, she stepped in at the very last minute as Ant has been very poorly with Chicken Pox, Nikki kept him updated all day with photos and videos and of course he watched the excellent live scores from the event, which updat minute by minute.

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Chief & Miranda – Next Years 4 Year Olds

Both my 3 year olds are now in work and starting their campaign to do the BYEH 2018 at Badminton followed by British Eventings Young Horse Classses.

Exciting and scary as they now have to learn to ride sensibly around the common, do dressage, Show Jumping, Cross Country and do it all in a sensible manner.

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Chief is the big dark bay, he measures 16.3 but luckily is a real sweetheart, Miranda is the Skewbald and is a very kind and gentle mare.

They both have lots to learn over the winter.

The heavenly Mindy whom I sold this year has won her first event with her delighted new owner at Isleham Horse Trials. Photo below.

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The lovely gentleman like Dippy has also just been sold he passed the vetting last week and has gone to his new home just 5 minutes away from here, nice to have him local, he’s one of my favourites.

 

 

Captain Wins Another 90

Fab day at Ascot Under Wychwood Eventing. Captain was an absolute star and won the 90 doing a double clear finishing on his dressage score of 29. He was awesome XC the first time he has felt like a XC machine.

Dynamo was entered for his first 80, a big step up for him as he’s only done one ODE which was 70. I don’t know how he coped so well as although the sun shone for his SJ an awful hurricane hail storm arrived for his dressage and XC. Despite the rain causing him to hold his head a bit on a tilt he scored a 36 dressage, even the judge conmented on how well he behaved. XC another storm arrived as we set out, by the time I got to fence 4, a double of angled houses, the Christmas trees dressing the jump had become seemingly alive as the wind whisked into them, a hail storm was beating down on us and to add to this my reins were like two slippery snakes. 4 strides away Dynamo slipped slightly causing me to miss my line and I couldn’t hold the reins properly so we had to circle and represent giving us 20 penalties. He soon got the hang of going XC in a hurricane hail storm, what an awful experience, he showed what a brave horse he is as he went clear round the rest, which included water, bank and a ditch.

Dynamo feels like a real eventer in the making, he was such a good genuine boy, I don’t fancy riding many 4 year olds round an event in those conditions.

Feet not touching the floor

Last few weeks have whizzed by, I know what people mean when they say they have been so busy their feet have hardly touched the floor, we have packed so many things in.

Captains been getting busy sharpening up his dressage moves and also I have began to jump him a little bigger ready for his 1.05 SJ at the young horse champs in October. He was 3rd at an ODE last week at Rectory Farm, giving me a super ride XC he is so good in all 3 phases.

The new stables were completed in the last few days, we have been painting the exterior wooden walls to make them all look old and weathered, it was fun balancing 20 feet up on the scaffolding slapping preservative on everywhere until I realised I had dripped it onto the scaffolding, making an oily slippery death trap of the planks I was standing on YIKES!!!

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Finding enough ancient tiles for the roof and also bricks to compete the walls has taken a while and we are just a few hundred bricks short now. Ant is on eBay every night sourcing them, we have been to Malvern, Pershore, Worcester, Hereford plus loads of other places collecting reclaimed bricks and tiles, they need to be over 100 years old to look the part and it’s not been easy finding enough of them at the right price. Thank you to everyone who have helped us by lending us trailers and flat bed lorries to make collecting them easier. On one trip to the centre of Hereford I had to transfer by hand 400 tiles from the back of someone’s garden and across a busy back street onto the trailer where Ant was waiting to pack them. Had a few near misses with speeding cars, very hard to be nifty carrying heavy tiles, but at least it was keeping me fit and we have saved 1,000’s of pounds. We found 40 ridge tiles on eBay which match the ancient barn which was already here, they cost us just £1.26 for all 40, plus a bit of petrol of course to go and collect them, eBay is brilliant for bargains.

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I went to Burghley Horse Trials last weekend to groom for the lovely Louise Harwood, a fantastic day as always, Louise finished 20th with an amazing clear XC. I was lucky enough to walk the course with her on her final walk round which was an enormous privillage and very educational for me.

The next few weeks are just as busy, Captain and Dynamo have a few events to go to and next years 4 year olds are starting to prepare for their first shows. Teaching is still busy at the moment, hopefully it will all start to quieten down as the season starts to get nearer to its end, then I will need to start long reining the 2 year olds.

Not had much time for gardening, so it’s a good job I made time earlier in the year and I am enjoying the results now. I grew quite a few things from seed including these Sunflowers, love their cheery faces.

 

 

Loving my Youngsters at Hartpury

In order to fund buying a newer lorry I currently have a few lovely young horses for sale, please see the My Horses page for more info.

Hartpury was a day out we have been looking forward to for ages, taking two of my youngsters to do the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse class at The Hartpury International Horse Trials. We chose to take Dynamo and Captain, the jumping arena was surrounded by trade stands and the jumps & the dressage arena were decorated with flowers and fir trees, it was like competing in an International Championship Arena. Such a good experience for the baby horses.

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It poured with rain all morning, which is not too nice but again very good experience for them. They both went even better than I had dreamt, both did a lovely dressage test and both jumped a super clear round, they were on springs with their knees and hocks tucked up tightly to clear every single pole. Captain was as careful as a cat sorting out his feet when I missed my stride, Dynamo jumped a super clear, he was doing his first ever 90 in competition so we were especially thrilled with his attitude and bravery.

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The higher marks in these classes are awarded to the top level riders, its judged on looks and future potential rather than marked on actual performance on the day, so the judges prefer to give higher marks to horses ridden by Olympic riders even when they have poles down. But we held our own against the best riders in the world and we weren’t far behind them finishing in the top 20 out of the 60 entries.