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.

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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.

Christmas Cracker Show Jumping

Had a early start for this as they were offering the horses an arena familiarity walk at 8 am. This was Captains first ever British Show Jumping show, we only registered him to jump nationally last week, so we made use of the walk round opportunity.

They had decorated all the fences with silk drapes, tinsel and Christmas bows, it all looked amazing.

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  • Captain jumped a super double clear and to my surprise he finished in 4th place, he must be naturally quick as I hadn’t pushed against the clock at all. His round on video is here. The Eventers showed the Show Jumpers how to do it as two local Eventers were placed above me with Alex Harris in 2nd & Vicky Hancox 3rd, we were all on baby horses although I think Captain was probably the youngest.

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Chief then did the clear round jumping in the outdoor ring, it was a bigger course than I was expecting but he coped very well, a serious wobble at the double and a few steering issues, he jumped incredibly well for a horse that was only broken in 12 weeks ago. His round complete with wobbles and run out can be seen here. Think he’s going to be a little bit special.

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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.