Keeping Coaching Up To Date

The British Horse Society have just issued us all with these lovely new certificates. The BHS qualifiactions are regarded as the best in the world. They are the only Equestrian coaching qualification in the UK where you are examined in every aspect of horse care and also the only coaching qualification where the coaches own riding ability is also examined.

I took my BHS coaching exams in 2006. It was an expensive and time consuming task, each exam is usually half a day in length, apart from the First Aid where the initial course is 2 days.

To be able to Coach with a BHS Accredited qualification you need to pass 9 practical exams, they are pretty scary as you are closely observed by examiners through every aspect of horse care and management, human emergency first aid and also actual coaching too.

We have to pass three horse care and management exams these include everything from lunging a horse, tacking it up, getting it fit, feeding, travelling, knowing the horses bone and muscle structure…,the list goes on and on.

We also take three riding exams where our riding is assessed on the flat, show jumping and cross country, all on different horses whom we haven’t ridden before.

Plus we have to pass the following

Riding & road safety test.

First aid for equine coaches

Safeguarding and Child Protection

Finally we sit the actual coaching exam, where we are examined while we coach riders in a lead rein lesson, a lunge lesson, dressage lesson and a jumping lesson, plus we have to give a lecture on an equine management topic with only a short time to prepare as the topic is given to us on the day of the exam.

We also have to keep our first aid up to date attending a practical course every 2 years.

Once we are fully qualified our coaching skills need to be updated regularly by attending professional development courses.



Feeling Fabulous at Eland

Took my two Renkum horses to Eland Lodge to do a 90 one day event. It was a long way to go for an unaffiliated but so worth it. I walked the XC and thought crikey this is tough. Captain has done lots of 90 tracks yet this was the toughest he had seen. Never mind him Chief has only done one 90 and I thought this was very challenging for him indeed.

Both boys jumped clear SJ and then both went clear XC, Chief made it feel unbelievably easy and Captain found some incredible springs as you can see in the photos below.

Their XC rounds gave me such a fabulous feeling having bought them as unbacked 3 year olds and here they were taking me round a decent and testing XC course and making it feel really easy. Happy days.

Videos of them going XC can be found by clicking on their names Chief and Captain


Dandelions and Buttercups.

The weather has suddenly dried up really fast, leaving us no time to harrow and roll the paddocks to calm down the rough poached ground, the remnants of one of the wettest spring seasons that I can recall.

All the free water means the weeds have had a party and I am at war hand spraying the docks and thistles. Hand spraying is better for the paddocks as it leaves all the herbage and plants to thrive, better for the horses and all the wildlife, particularly the insects which in turn of course will feed the birds. Clearly the Dandleions and Buttercups have loved the weather as the fields are awash with their bright yellow flowers. Buttercups in abunandance are sadly poinsonous to horses so we have had to reluctantly ask someone to come in and spray the worst field off. The cheerful Dandelions are happily harmless so we can continue to enjoy watching them turn from yellow lion heads to delicate clocks that are whisked away with the first breeze.

My lovely Chief jumped clear round Solihull, his first 90 XC last weekend, once again he felt awesome XC. Miranda jumped clear round her first 80/90 Show Jumping and is now on a summer holiday as she still needs to grow.

Captain is being aimed at some dressage shows shortly with a view to start Eventing in a few weeks, he had 5 events in a row cancel this spring due to the wet ground.

Here are some watery based photos as after a dry spell, it is raining, maybe we can harrow the fields after all !!

Photos are

Tangle, he gets wetter than other dogs but his light coat means he drys faster!

My Joseph’s Coat rose which has blooms that turn from oranage to yellow to pink, an old English rose I bought online in 2017 from David Austin Roses.

Chief cantering boldly through the water at Solihull.


New Sponsor & update on Miranda and Chief

Firstly we have the huge news that we are very excited to announce that we are now supported by local company Payrolls UK ltd. The horses all have some super rugs with the company logo on and there are some lovely Nuumed saddle pads on the way for them too. See their website  here.


Miranda has been XC schooling this week ready for her first 80 cm one day event she is doing soon, she was fab schooling and recently went clear at Tumpy Green 70 cm but we not placed as we went none competitive as the event was for novice riders.

Chief is progressing nicely with several double clears at 80 cm so I have entered him for his first 90 cm. He’s really bold XC and has become quite a dressage diva too, winning at our local dressage show recently, he was the youngest horse in the class and he won in very good company too.

photos are Miranda schooling and Chief at Broadway.


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Spring Arrives at Last

It doesn’t seem to have stopped snowing or raining, we have had so many events cancel where we have then diverted to arena eventing that I am becoming an arena eventing specialist.

My lovely 4 year old Miranda by Miley has done two 60 Cm Arena Events and won both, she’s been a long time physically maturing, being a July foal, but I think she is going to be worth the wait. She is such a lovely mare.


This weekend at long last the sun has appeared and we have been able to compete on grass, I can’t tell you how lovely it was cantering and jumping on green grass amongst the hundreds of bright yellow dandelions that have sprung up in abundance in the last few days.

The only problem now is that it’s so peaceful and so beautiful at Eight Oaks that I don’t want to go anywhere. I love sitting listening to all the different birds singing in the spring sunshine. We have fed the birds all winter and they are rewarding us by starting to nest in all the boxes we have put up, the swallows have this week arrived in the barns and the house sparrows wake me up each morning nesting in the roof above our bedroom.  It’s a very warm feeling when wild life chooses to live along side you.

Anyway I did manage to drag myself away. Miranda took part in her first ever XC event on grass this weekend, which was a 70 cm at Salters Hill near Tewkesbury. She did a super clear, she’s ever so bold XC and came 8th in a class of 30 starters. Most of her round can be seen here.

My Renkum boys Chief and Captain went to Calmsden and both went double clear with Captain finishing in 2nd place. It was Chiefs first full event on grass, he is very exciting indeed, he feels real class, he is a 4 year old horse with the brain of a 10 year old. Captain my little pocket rocket, was brilliant XC he really knows his job now. I needed these boys to look after me, as I am recovering from a vile cold and really didn’t feel up to riding anything difficult, luckily they looked after their Mum brilliantly. Chiefs round is here.


My striking piebald Des, who I absolutely adore, he has the kindest and most gentle temperment in the world, is now 3 and broken and riding. He’s done about a month of hacking and schooling and has now been turned away. Cant wait for next year with him, I just love riding him, but I will have to be patient. I told Ant the other day that Des is my horse for my old age.

Almost forgot to introduce the newest canine family member a beareded collie puppy named Tangle, he’s just brilliant, the other dogs Hugo and Sweep love him too, he makes us smile everyday.


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I Didn’t Expect This…

…. to happen, watch this video of Desmond and Maisie the young puppy here.

I always like to do little video clips when I am training the young horses as it’s good to look back on, and I hope it will inspire others to use correct training methods in the early education of their young horses.

Maisie is a friends young dog who is still really just a puppy, I always like to long rein my youngsters past her house as Maisie likes to bark over the wall. When she barks at the horses her owner always call her back, but she does make them jump sometimes as she pops her head over the wall.  The horses soon get used to her but even so I like the young horses to have met her on long reins while I am on the ground to reassure them.

We had quite an adventure today, a sheep stuck with it’s head through pig wire and we also went to see the Herdwick Sheep. Desmond was just perfect the whole way, he’s unbeliable.



Feeling Famous

I seem to be trending on social media today.

It all began late last night when I opened up the British Eventing Website to enter an event.

After missing a couple of important announcements last year I now ensure the page opens first onto the British Eventing News page.

A small news line caught my eye, 2018 post rulebook rule changes. Oh I have read these already I thought, the new falls rule has been well publicised. But I clicked into the story anyway, no harm in double checking. To my amazement one of the rule changes was that the new Novice Dressage Test 131 (2018) has been completely rewritten. So much so we now trot up the centre line and turn right instead of left. OMG I thought, how many people are not going to see this and get eliminated in the dressage, all that effort, time, training and money wasted. This would be a disaster.


So although I guessed, everyone else had maybe read it already and I was the probably the only person who hadn’t seen it, I posted a photo of the amended test on social media anyway.


Over 25,0000 views plus over 100 shares in less than 24 hours shows quite clearly I wasn’t the only person to have missed this important rule change.

Even the great Ian Stark, Olympian, Badminton winner and my childhood Eventing hero has shared it. I am feeling very famous and even more flabbergasted. I feel like I could now retire from all social media activities as I can’t better this lol !!

ALthough now I have seen how many people didn’t know……. the devilish side of me is wondering If I had said nothing would I have been the only one who turned the correct way up the centre line and then I maybe I could have won!!

But my Mum always taught me honesty is the best policy, cheats never prosper and…… but it wouldn’t have been cheating….. would it …….???


Facebook steals my BLOG

I seem to be updating Facebook instead of my blog lately, sorry about that if you don’t do Facebook!

Horses are going well, Captain won his first attempt at BD dressage, not sure if that was becoause the standard wasn’t that high or if he really did pull off a smart test! I felt there was lots of room for improvement so I was surprised that he won.

So I have kidded myself that I we have that phase nailed and have been out jumping the last few weeks, he’s won some BS £ and has qualified for second rounds at British Novice. I would rather be Eventing though and already the first March events are taking entries and we are in!! Went to do Jumping and Style at Hartpury yesterday his round is here,he was the youngsest horse in the class. He’s such a star.

The lovely Chief is still being lovely, not sure he will be a world beater but he’s brave and a trier and I can’t help but love a trier! Video of his latest jumping competition, which was his first bs show, is here.

We have bought another Renkum 2 year old, Renkum Jitterbug, bay gelding and a real event type with a lovely temperament.

We have sent Buddy to Louise Harwood to SJ and event for us, at 15.2 he was just too small for me and Louise is getting a really fab tune from him, over 70% in his last few dressage tests and he’s jumping well BS. He will be for sale if anyone is looking for a good correct 5 year old. Although if he continues to grow, I might have him back.

Spring is here at Eight Oaks took these photos this morning



Happy New Year 2018

Looking forward to 2018 with three lovely horses to ride.

5 year old Captain over Christmas has been Show Jumping in affiliated competitions and now has British Show Jumping (BS) points and prize money to his name, he is soon to do some affiliated dressage too, he can have some very wobbly, unbalanced  moments but today training at home, we had a wow moment when I am certain he walked for a 9.

Just need to pull that out in a competition now to prove it!!!

4 year old Chief is progressing unbelievably quickly, I absolutely adore him and I think he’s going to be outstanding, but due to his size and current greeness, he can occasionally feel very plain and cumbersome. Having said that he is the most advanced 4 year old I have had at this age, he is jumping confidently round 80/90 courses and is very trainable, he is also an absolute pleasure to hack and to do in every way.

4 year old Miranda has a similar attitude to Chief although she is weaker and also has some growing to do, consequently she has been turned away for a few months holiday. I love riding her as she’s so easy, brave, well mannered and very flash, but I will just have to be patient.

Looking back on 2017 we began the year with a new supporter Jess Photography and have had fun promoting her business. We have loved having Jess along to some of the events, she is fab to have around and she has taken some lovely photos of the horses.

The horses I have produced myself were fab in 2017 with Captain winning his Qualifier at Chepstow and finishing in 11th place at the British Young Horse Championships, I really couldn’t have asked for a better result. Most of the other riders at the Championships have huge teams of horses, grooms and owners, so to roll up in our ancient lorry with my friend Nikki Cox as unpaid groom for the day, and beat some of the best in the UK was very rewarding.

Also in 2017 we sadly lost our very close friends Tom Searle and Sean Gooney. Then more recently the lovely and incredibly brave Angie Stephenson.

Losing these lovely people in such a short time span has made 2017 the hardest year of my life, all of them gone far too early.

So 2018 is going to be a year when I need to look forward and not back and make the most of the beautiful place we live in, enjoy these lovely horses I am lucky enough to ride while I am still (just about) young and fit enough to ride and enjoy competing them.


Snow Doesn’t Stop Us for Long

We had a mountain of snow fall last weekend, which meant the horses had a whole day stabled, followed by limited turnout for the days following. It soon thawed and we were able to hack out, creeping round the icy lanes with care.

A few spooks at Snow Men and even a Polar Bear, built by our neighbour, although when the bear appeared to have produced a Baby Bear, we were informed it wasn’t a baby as the extra addition was proof that the Bear was now with out doubt of the male variety !! 😲

The thawing of the snow meant we could have an outing arena Eventing today. The ever confident Chief was amazing, finishing 6th in the 80 despite me coming into a very tight 2 stride double too boldly (photos below) and video of us, including us almost falling here.

Brave horse to continue unphased. Thanks for Nikki for doing the fab video.