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.

 

 

 

An Average sort of a days Eventing

Offchuch in Warwickshire was this weekends Eventing outing. As we have had quite a good amount of rain we entered Captain in the 80 so he could have an easy run after his two BE 90 outings. Also on board the lorry was Dynamo going to attempt his first one day event.

Captain led the dressage and went clear XC, time faults XC prevented him from winning the class but another run from which he gained experience, he is now cantering into the water jump really boldly.

Dynamo was very relaxed, it was like he had been doing dressage on grass all his life, yet this was his first time. He did a superb dressage test to be in 4th place, followed by a very confident, careful and rhythmic SJ round, photos below or there’s a video on utube which can be seen here.

Cross Country he set off much bolder than I ever dreamt he would and never looked left or right the entire way round, he just locked on to his fences and jumped them and then looking keenly for the next jump. We had a 20 penalties from taking longer than 3 seconds to get into the water, he still has to sniff it first and then he made everyone laugh by tip toeing in and then stopping to play a hooves splashing game!!!

So no prizes won, it’s always nice to win prizes, but some really good miles put on the clock towards the horses education.

Several of my clients had success, Nikki Cox was placed 4th, Tracy Haines and Katie Baker both jumped a fab clear, Tom Woodward 4th on his new horse. Amber Knott was riding her new horse in its first ODE & finished in an impressive 6th place. Well done everyone.

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Captain is a Star again

We were already entered for Stafford when Captain won at Chepstow. We decided that afterthe surprising result at Chepstow a clear XC would be nice. So we decided to run at Stafford, although would withdraw if the ground was unsuitable. Stafford has a spring event often held in the wet, which makes a nightmare for organisers to get the ground back good in just a few months, after a severe galloping over by 900 horses.

We arrived and found not only had they done wonders spiking and airiating the ground they had also had much more rain that we have had. The ground was very good indeed.

Captain had a mild spook at the flowers in the dressage, resulting in me backing off him a bit, although I didn’t ride him as well as at Chepstow he was still foot perfect for 8th place and a score of 28.

This was followed by a careful clear SJ with a major spook at the butterfly jump not like him to spook at jumps, he was feeling well.

I walked the XC, it was bigger than Chepstow, plus there were more jumping efforts and it was much more technical, 2 fences on turns to skinnies, a double of skinnies in front of a step down, a decent corner and a wide roll top in front of a sunken road with step in and out. Plus the water with a fence before and after, although the fence before, wasn’t pointing directly into the water, which I hoped would reduce the spook factor.

Captain jumped really well, spooky at times but he’s so brave and careful. He jumped a super clear and finished in 4th place. The track caused problems for many top riders, so I am feeling very proud of my little horse. This makes him currently the UKs top 4 year old based on foundation points won, plus he’s won another qualification for the British Young Horse Championships. Special boy.

 

A Few Fantastic Days

We had the most lovely outing to do dressage at Summerhouse with Captain and Dynamo. The arenas were decorated as if for a championship show, flowers and little trees everywhere. Both horses behaved beautifully. Dynamo scored 73% to finish in 3rd place in prelim 7 and Captain 72% to finish in 2nd place in prelim 19. Captain pictured below.

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Then a week later the event I have been training towards for over 15 months. We bought Captain in March 2016 with the 4 year old class at Chepstow in mind.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t stressed about the day. Captain pulled off the dressage test of his life, scoring 21 to take the lead in front of several much better riders than me!

I couldn’t have asked for a better round show jumping, he pinged round clear, so careful and so bold meaning he stayed well in the lead. Could we win it I wondered.

Then XC he was again bold, careful and was pretty amazing, he spooked badly at the water jump gaining us an unwanted 20 penalty points, we couldn’t win now.

But then while we were washing him off at the lorry a drama unfolded. Ant and my sponsor Jess both reported back that they hadn’t seen a 4 year old jump clear XC yet.

I checked the scores and they were right, it meant I was currently in 3rd place despite the bad penalty points I had gained. 4* rider Vicky Tuffs still had two horses to ride Xc and they were lying in 2nd and 1st place. Suddenly Ant shouted Vicky’s stopped at the water, sure enough her youngster had done exactly what every other 4 year old had done and spooked at the water. This moved Captain and I into second place, unbelievable.

We waited for a Vicky’s next horse, then more drama, she fell on the flat after fence 2 , her horse was loose galloping about. A fall on the flat doesn’t give penalty points so all she had to do was remount and continue and go clear to win it. The horse was caught and away they went, she was clear until the water and her second horse also spooked giving her 20 penalties and this meant we had won !!

Hugs all round for Captain what a superstar horse, he has now qualified for the British Eventing Young Horse Championships.

Still can’t believe it!!!

Thanks to Jess Photography for her ongoing support, Nikki Cox for being a fab groom and Tracey Haines for coming to support us, you all made this rather surprising but very pleasing day extra special.

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Tom Searle

Between my last event and the next one, I had the devastating news that my dear friend, fellow coach and event rider had sadly died.

Tom was a friend who Ant and I have known for many years, we had much in common, both having none horsey parents and both learnt to ride jumping gorse bushes and having to ride what we were given rather than being bought easy schoolmasters.

He was an outstanding coach and rider, much better than me on both counts, he once won young instructor of the year and was incredibly talented. I will miss his valuable knowledgable and common sense advice and also his brilliant humour, we shared the ups and downs of our equine life, mostly by texting each other at the end of a long day, we had an agreement that what was said in text, stayed in text. I will miss sharing how amazing or how rubbish our horses were going, sharing our clients successes and dramas , picking each other brains on how to improve a horse or clients skills (although I think I picked his brains more than he mine!) and laughing at Ants jokes, he loved Ants humour. Toms death is such a sad loss to this world, photo Tom riding his lovely intermediate horse Logan.

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It felt surreal to be going Eventing the weekend after this awful news but I found it was best to keep busy. I just prayed 4 year old Dippy was going to look after me as I was feeling so very sad. Dippy somehow pulling off a 24 dressage, one pole SJ and a clear SJ to finish in 3rd place, XC video here. Four days later I took him to the Ledbury Pony Club dressage champs at Gadbury and he won the prelim class on 75% even beating a horse who had been to the Badminton Grassroots Champs this year, luckily my sponsor Jess Staines was there to take some super photos of him wearing his sash.

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Dynamo one of my other 4 year olds now has an extra special sentiment to me as it was Tom who came with me to Ireland to buy him last October. Dynamo is a lovely horse to ride but riding him is tinged with sadness as every time he goes nicely, I want to text Tom to tell him how well the little chestnut horse we chose is going…..