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05 November 2008 – Training

My groom has left! She has been with us for 6 years and felt that it was time to move on, so for the time being I find myself groom-less! We are lucky enough to have had a girl working alongside her recently so she knows the ropes and will be stepping up into the role but it is a big change for all of us.

Today after a very early start we were on the road with 3 horses to head down to Emile's yard. One of the disadvantages of living so far north is that we have to travel for hours to get anywhere! The World Class selection trials are on Saturday and Sunday so I wanted to get in some sessions to make sure Aristo and I perform to our best. We also decided to load up Feine Dame and Sunny and bring them with us for training. We travelled for 5 hours with a short stop at Subway (a rather confused Mum may have regretted saying 'oh put anything veggie in my sandwich I'm in a hurry!'). I ended up with BBQ ham and cheese (interesting) and who knows what ended up in Mums! We eventually made it to Emile's and settled the horses in ready for some sessions.

31 October 2008 – World Class

Today we were warming up on our own outside and then coming inside to test ride with Mrs Verbeek judging. Again I watched as many of the others as I could, to learn and pick up tips and exercises. Aristo warmed up well but when we went into the indoor to do the Inter 1 he really tensed up! I managed him as best I could and we got through the test without any huge mistakes though I was a little dissappointed as I know he can go a lot better! We watched it straight back on the computer for video analysis and I was a bit surprised as even though he didn't feel great, he still looked good on the screen! I then jumped back on board and we worked a bit on the walk and walk pirrouettes, canter half pass zig-zag and trot half pass. I can't wait to have another go at this test next week at the World Class Selection Trials!

We then did a group session with the younger horses so I was training Feine Dame with another two riders at the same time. It was good for her to work amongst other strange horses in preparation for warm ups at competitions where she can be a bit tricky! She was a super duper star and really let go today! We even managed to do some spectacular flying changes and awesome trot work. Very happy all round!

30 October 2008 – World Class

First up for training after a very cold night in the lorry was Aristo. After giving some background about him and his training I started to work as I would in a normal session at home, instructions coming thick and fast, I had lots to think about! In the warm up I have to go a little slower and get Aristo to take more weight on the hindlegs and not get too flashy in front! I also have to get him stronger through the back and really ride him up into the contact, especially in the changes. I came out of my session feeling very positive and clear about what I have to work on!

It was really useful to watch everybody else's sessions throughout the day and learn what works for each different type of horse and rider. Also very useful were the psychology sessions and nutritional advice (note to self - must cut down on ketchup and Diet Coke!). And also physio' with Andy Thomas!

Feine Dame was the last session and to be honest, it had been playing a bit on my mind all day as she can be a tad sharp! She is so athletic that she has the ability to catapault me out of the top and this was the first time she has been presented to such company. As it turned out, I needn't have worried as she behaved beautifully! Although she didn't quite let go as much as I would have liked, she went well and Mrs Verbek gave me some really usefull tips.

As we settled them for the night I was feeling very pleased with the two of them though they are most definately in love with each other, most of the time Aristo just gazing into Feine Dame's eyes! Tea time and some well deserved wine for us!

29 October 2008 – World Class Training

Today we travelled to Vale View Equestrian Centre for World Class training. Absolute bliss to have the training only two and a half hours away from home instead of the usual five hours to Stow... or so we thought! It turned out that almost every motorway in England was shut! The M1, M25 (both ways) M62, M6 and the list goes on! So we ended up travelling for 5 hours anyway, very disappointing! When we eventually arrived, Feine Dame and Aristo settled in very well and I am looking forward to training with Olympic judge, Frances Verbek tomorrow.

13 October 2008 – Girls on form!

Today I took the young mares Feine Dame and Royale Alliance out to a local competition. They were both entered in the novice classes. Early to go with Feine Dame, the first test was indoors and I felt that she did a lovely consistent test that was nowhere near as green as the last time out! Then we went outside and I worked her in the outdoor warm up before doing the second test outside. She floated round the second novice and I couldn't have been happier with her temperament and way of going. She even coped perfectly well with a just backed young horse being lunged outside her arena and behind the wall of the warm up! Something I would DEFINATELY have struggled with a few months ago!

Feine Dame finished for the day, we rushed back to the lorry to get Royale as we only had twenty minutes to change over - in the end I got about 15 minutes warm up before they called me into the indoor to compete! She was a star considering, though she did feel a bit wobbly. We then went back indoors and had a proper warm up before the second test which was outside. She was definitely more relaxed outside, I think she likes having more space. I think it also helped that I wasn't feeling rushed and that we could have a full warm up, resulting in a lovely, fluent second test.

All done for the day we scuttled sheepishly over to the scoreboards to see what the damage was...! Looking at the first test's results We were a little dissapointed to see Feine Dame had come second with 68%. That was, until we looked further dowm and saw that Royale had beaten her with 69%, a definate turn up for the books! Looking across at the second novice results sheet I was pleasantly relieved to see the form book the other way up with Feine Dame on 77% and Royale second this time with 75%. A very good day for the girls!

21 September 2008 – Last day at the Nationals for another year

Nursing a hangover from the Riders Party last night I walked Aristo out in hand which I come to regret as he fully took advantage of my weakness! I sharply returned back to the stables deciding not to hand walk him at a show again! We then watched the young horse classes but had to leave before the Grand Prix as it seemed the sensible option to get Aristo back home. Well done Maria for winning the Grand Prix title, though understandably devastating for Laura. We left Stoneleigh in very good spirits, feeling proud of my big pony and very excited for next season. A huge thanks to all involved in creating such a fantastic Championship show and all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes!

20 September 2008 – Nationals Day 3

Music Day today and I was excited to have Horse Hero coming to film me! This actually distracted me for most of the morning and made my wait until competing much easier! It was soon time to get ready to compete and I had a sort of half nervous feeling as we had never done an Inter 1 music together before and half excited feeling really looking forward to doing it! In his warm up he felt very consistent and was starting to fill me with confidence. I used the music I had made for World Classic, so even though its not perfect for Aristo, I know it inside out. I was pleased with our entry, as it is technically difficult starting from halt into canter zig-zag half passes followed by a big extended canter and into full pirouettes. He pulled all this off beautifully (in my opinion for the stage he is at!), though we did our trot transition too early as I was keen to get this out of the way! There was a bit of resistance in both trot shoulder-ins, but none of the judges seem to have picked this up on the sheets! The trot half passes were beautiful and for him, his walk very relaxed. I was keen to get out of walk and back into canter so this transition was a bit too early. I felt his changes were big and expressive and the extended canter to halt finish suited a big, dramatic horse like him. For our first inter 1 music I feel like I couldn't have asked any more of my wonderful partner and was so proud of him! We ended on 70.4% and 4th place though as daft as this sounds because 4th is brilliant, I still feel like the placing didn't matter - we could have come last, as my heart swelled with fondness and affection for Aristo with huge excitement of what the future will bring...

Congratulations to Laura for winning the Grand Prix and I can't wait to see them out there through the winter!

19 September 2008 – Nationals Day 2

I was competing even later today waiting until 5.07 to Compete in the Inter 1. We set up the same as yesterday - taking him out for a leg stretch in the morning, watched some classes and had some lunch. It was really nice to catch up with everyone too and the general mood in camp was very positive and happy. I spent ages making Aristo spotless and generally playing with all the kit. It was finally time to get on and warm up and, by that time I was raring to go! thankfully Emile was there to help me warm up and we worked on Aristo's thoroughness and getting him a bit more 'sparky' before the test. My instructions in the ring today were to have him more collected and ask for a bit more. I think there was some ringside chatter between my mum and Emile during the test as I wasn't riding forward enough now! I think this resulted in Emile deciding maybe I take instructions a bit too literally... After the test I was thrilled as we had only done one Inter 1 before, this being the one we qualified for the Nationals in. To come 6th was fantastic and he felt like we had built even more on our relationship and I couldn't wait to get back on him again to ride a bit more!

After the prize giving and putting Aristo to bed we went to the Biotal Welcome Party to see everyone, network and catch up with Sponsors. By the time we eventually got our tea it was very late and I was dropping off at the table so crawled off into bed.

News Archive

Latest results

  • Feine Dame: 1st / 69.45
  • Divine: 1st / 72%
  • Aristo: 4th, 6th, 4th / 70.4% (music Final)
  • Aristo: 2nd overall / 72.9 + 70%
  • Show Boy: 1st / 68.92%
  • Feine Dame: 1st / 68.88%
  • Feine Dame: 1st / 72.07%
  • Show Boy: 1st / 71.47%
  • Aristo: 1st / 70.38%
  • Show Boy: 1st / 72.8%

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