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23 July 2008 – Hickstead CDI

After a final lesson this morning, we set off to Hickstead with the three amigos on board. It is fantastic that I am allowed to take the young horses with me to give them experience at a huge competition like Hickstead without the pressure of having to compete as well. This also gave me chance to focus on the main event, the Young Rider competition with Aristo.

The trot up was late afternoon and as always, absolute bedlam! I was a little concerned that if Aristo was fresh, I may well be doing some sand skiing across the collecting arena! Fortunately for me though, he behaved impeccably and there were a few comments made about his type and class that I was thoroughly pleased about, as this was the first time many people, including selectors and judges had seen him. I then rode the young horses; Feine Dame was a bit of a handful though some foreigners who desperately want to buy her did approach us! Sunny was a star as his eyes were out on stalks for most of the time I was riding him and he was thoroughly (though genuinely) frightened of everything!

17 July 2008 – Training

Today mum and I travelled down south to Emile Faurie's Yard near Chipping Norton. I am staying down here to train until Wednesday, when we are off to Hickstead CDI to compete in the Young Rider Section of the International. Emile is away until Saturday but my parents also go away for the weekend so without coming down a bit early, I wouldn't be able to get any transport! I must hurry up and get my HGV done! They are going out to their good friend, Duncan Bannatyne's villa in the south of France. Apparently there is a big party on Sunday night with a celebrity guest list. My invite must have got lost in the post?!! Anyway, I brought Feine Dame, Sunny and Aristo with me for the week's training though only Aristo is competing at Hickstead

14 July 2008 – Training

Aristo was FANTASTIC today! Everything seemed to come together and I got such a huge buzz from managing to harness the power and beauty that this horse can produce, this is what dressage is about! I just hope we haven't peaked too early in the week. Feine Dame was good in her lesson today too, we are still working on the basics, but as soon as we get that cracked, this horse gives the feeling that the sky is the limit! Oh and Sunny was spot on today too. Feeling very positive!

18 June 2008 – Hat Trick At Addington!

We set off early for a competition at Addington Manor Equestrian Centre. Emile had come to help me warm up which was very useful as we then had a very structured warm up with all three horses from start to finish. First to go of my gang was Feine Dame in the Novice Class. She behaved impeccably (to my pleasant surprise), although was a little frightened of the steward who she felt must have had goblins hiding in his clipboard! She did a super test and I was thrilled to bits with her. It was then a quick turn around to get onto Show Boy for his first ever Elementary. A little fresh in the warm up to begin with meant I had to keep him quite deep to prevent any unscheduled airs above the ground! The more we worked, the more he started to settle and show himself off. We did a consistent test with him starting to show off some of the sparks that will come in time. I then had chance to check the score board and was thrilled to find Feine Dame had won her class with 72.07%! Show Boy was also in the lead with 71.37%.

Aristo now had his chance to shine! for the warm up, Emile and I used my radio headset so I could hear him clearly. We spent a long time working on his through ness and not too much time working on the actual movements because as soon as he is completely 'through' the movements come so easily to him! I think mum was a bit nervous at this point as when I glanced over she looked to be weaving slightly! She tends to have terrible stable vices when I compete. She needn't have worried though as we pulled of a great test.

I was so happy my intensive weeks training had paid off and I felt I could be thoroughly pleased with my horses, regardless of any of the results! After making sure the horses were content in the stables we sheepishly wandered over to the scoreboards to find out the results. Show Boy had stayed in the lead winning his class, as had Aristo with score of 70.38%! We had a champagne celebration when we got home and extra carrots for the horses!

07 June 2008 – British Dressage 10th Anniversary Ball

Saturday 7th June

Today was the British Dressage 10th Anniversary Ball. I had been invited to attend as I was receiving the British Dressage U21 Rider Of The Year Award. I decided to get some friends together to get a table up and enjoy the party! It was a fabulous night to let our hair down and catch up with everyone. After an early start to see to the horses before we left, we got on the road to head to Birmingham where the ball was held. It was a fun road trip, especially attempting to paint each other's toenails in the car. I'm a little squeamish with people touching my feet so when Helen grabbed hold of my foot and a huge nail file I was rather nervous. This was followed moments later with a lot of squealing and some very funny looks off passing motorists! The toes were, and remain untouched!

06 June 2008 – Game on for the Girls!

Today we took Royal Alliance and Feine Dame (six year old mare) to a local competition at Richmond. Royale needed her other half of her qualification for the Novice regional championships so I entered her in the Novice Qualifier. After we have travelled her so much recently it was a fantastic feeling to go into the warm-up and then the test with a very calm horse! She was relaxed and loose through the body, we only had a small mistake in the counter canter but I'm sure this was due to me not having enough leg on as I was enjoying the ride so much! I came out of the arena feeling very positive and we crossed our fingers hoping she would have done enough to win the class, which she did with 72.5%.

Next it was the turn of Feine Dame, in the non-qualifier class. This was our first ever competitive run. She has amazing movement with an equally amazing temperament to match. It constantly amazes me how many different moods and feelings one mare can have! I have had her since she was four years old and spent the last two years well, to be honest trying to stay on! She is certainly a 'character building' horse but I love her to bits! We have taken things very slowly and she is finally ready to start her competitive career. On the day to my relief, she was in a 'butter wouldn't melt' mood and behaved impeccably scoring a winning 72.8% test. I am so glad to have got our first competition out of the way.

I have had both of these mares now for a couple of years and daft as it is, as they have such a long way to go, I felt a huge sense of achievement at this competiton. It has been a long road so far, even with the simplest of things like loading and unloading! We went through a phase where one wouldn't go in the lorry, and believe it or not, the other wouldn't come out! There have been times when feeling ready enough to go into the competition ring has seemed a million miles away, but my advice to anyone starting out with a young horse is dedication, determination and being slightly pig headed! It is also so important to be sympathetic when needed and go at the pace your young horse is happy and comfortable mentally and physically.

31 May 2008 – Sun Shines At Somerford

Saturday 31st May

I have been out competing a lot with the young horses recently, so it was high time to bring out my old pair of slippers and see if they still fit! I have had Forrest Fire for nine years now and I think it is safe to say we know each other inside out. Because of this I tend to only bring him out for the big competitions. We entered the PSG at Somerford Park Premier League and scored a whopping 69.25%. I was thrilled with the way he went and couldn't have asked him to go any better. We ended up 3rd with Marcus Gribbe claiming first place on his wonderful stallion and Daryl Thickett just pipped us on Rex with 69.4%. I was now facing a huge dilemma - because we did so well in this Senior PSG, the U21 selectors asked me if I would run in the Young Rider class the following day! I have not campaigned this season to do young riders because of my up and coming young horses and new advanced horse. I decided, after much thought that if I ran in the class, I could consider all options. Last to go, in a big class it was a bit nerve-wracking! Chunky again was a star doing a very good test gaining 69.13% and winning with a good margin over the rest of the field. After an agonising couple of days we all decided, as grateful as we were to be asked to run, we would stick to my original plan for this year and carry on with the young horses and in senior classes.

24 May 2008 – Show Boy at Richmond

Sat 24th May

After all the antics at Addington, I was a little relieved to be taking Show Boy to a local competition. In the hope of getting the second half of his Novice Regional Qualification, my aim was to win this qualifying class. When we pulled up into the car park it looked a lot busier than usual and I was very surprised to see over forty people entered in my class. Fantastic support for this local show, although not so fantastic for my cunning qualifying plan. I rode the test and was very happy with Sunny. He is starting to carry me a lot more forward in the tests and generally feeling a lot more like a horse to ride and lees like steering Bambi on Ice around the arena!

As he was very early to go in the class and there were so many entries, we decided to go home rather than have him stand on the lorry all day. Mum is the heroic driver of out 39 foot, 18-ton lorry and boy, do we feel for her how heroic she is! It is a huge lorry to commandeer through the tight squeezes associated with Equestrianism and we have developed a name for the disease we have diagnosed her with from driving this huge beast. Wobbly-Gob. This surfaces most often turning around in very small car parks, passing other lorries on country lanes and most recently sat at the wheel with two tractors attached and the wheels almost entirely submerged in mud! This regularly produces sentences similar to - 'you want me to put that, (points at lorry) in there' (Points at field only access through a tiny gate on awkward angle)? Followed most usually by at least half an hour after performing the manoeuvre discussing exactly how it was executed!

Anyway, back to the competition result. Having got home safe with relatively little Wobbly-Gob attacks, I rang the show after the class had finished. To my ecstasy, I heard he had 75.4% and won with a clear 4% lead over the rest of the class. Job done, ticked and a big gold star for my beautifully behaved and relaxed boy. Take note Royal Alliance its your turn again next!

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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