Janine Lamy

It never rains but it pours

Millie testing if Martin is up to the job

We’ve been mad busy since I last wrote. Our final XC school before we got going was at Tweseldown. The carpark was absolutely rammed with the world and his aunt all having the same idea. Seems like ages ago now. Millie was still testing whether Martin was up to the job but generally was starting to look quite classy over the brown sticks.

Ehren has been to her first competitions since October in preparation for the Winter Championships. Lots of new venues; Wix, Brendon Stud, Petley Wood and Essendon and Epping Forest Dressage Group. We’ve had a mixture of sunshine and the most digusting wet days I have ridden in for a very long time. She has moved seamlessly from anxious and fragile to hormonal and spooky. I have wondered if BD would consider moving the date of the Champs to June for next year?!

We have lost quite a few clinics which has seriously dented my bank balance. The final Four Elms SJ clinic was abandoned due to the snow, and a couple of XC days including my big Bonfleur day due to the wet. We have continued to plug away at home though. We must be mad but winter is for training and train we do!

Millie showing Ehren how it is done

Millie made her affiliated dressage debut at Hadlow BD, and boy she showed the home team exactly how it should be done scoring two unbelievable scores of 78%. Wowee!!!

Millie looking classy over the sticks

We also lost the Munstead Combined Training on grass so it was straight to Poplar Park BE90 where there were still piles of snow out on the XC course. Millie was a star. Running on a little too much in the dressage just losing her balance a bit but scored a very respectable 32.3. Amazingly she jumped a clear SJ round, by far the best round that she has jumped to date. Long may that continue! Then a super clear XC with a few time penalties to finish 8th. What a fantastic start to the season. Clever Millipede. She then went to Munstead for another BE90. This time she was rather excited to be there and was very bright in the dressage for an expensive 38.5. The SJ warmup and arena was very wet; conditions that she has never jumped in before and she went rather green but kept going rolling one pole. The XC going was super and she jumped a lovely clear with a few time faults. Very much a learning day for the young girl. We have been so very lucky to have had two runs with so much cancelled so far.

The Bomber has been back to the vets for a check up. After six months off, including four months restricted to her bedroom she is now allowed out. Hurrah! Hopefully she will relocate soon for some proper R&R mooching about outdoors and come home in September. The theory being that young Rodney will come home in May for some light work for a few months through the summer and he will go back out for the winter. He’s too big for much this year.

Poor Lily does not seem to be happy. My gut feeling is that this has been bubbling away for 18 months or so now and despite our best efforts has reached a point where she can’t do it anymore. I don’t have a crystal ball though so we will see what the vet says in a few weeks and hope I am wrong.

Millie is all entered for HorseHeath BE90 next but has spent the week in her bedroom with a big hot fat bandaged front leg. It never rains eh……

I have a busy Easter holiday with Pony Club assessing, training and coach training. We then have a mini break in Gloucestershire with Ehren. The first Carmen Court SJ clinic of the year is on the horizon…..I have a couple of Wobbleberries at Horseheath, and hopefully Millie will have Chilham BE90. Everything crossed that she is basically OK or I will have to Google ideas for what normal people do at the weekend….

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April 8, 2018 Posted by | Carmen Court, Our Horses, Pony Club | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Communication skills

This outfit was hanging on a jump wing with my name on it!

Happy New year to you all! Christmas has been and gone, we were lucky to pop away for a lovely warm holiday in The Gambia and are now back riding in the freezing cold and rain preparing for the new season.

A rather fresh Millipede!

There’s been lots of SJ clinics at various venues to keep everyone ticking over and we’ve now also had the first two pre-season XC schooling outings. The weather has been less than kind but it often is in January and February and you cannot underestimate the importance of having practised in the wet (or at least that’s what I tell myself when freezing icy rain is hitting me in the face sideways). Amazing to see combinations that were worried about cantering on grass a year ago now jumping BE80-90 fences out of the mud. Our own horses have been very fresh. We don’t do an enormous about of competing in the winter, liking them to have a bit of a break, and young Millie in particular has been keeping Martin on his toes. I remember a youthful Harry doing the same to me years back on almost exactly the same spot of grass at Munstead, you’ve got to love young horses! They are all looking forward to getting out again. The Ginger Rocket has to take this enthusiasm a step or two further of course, rearing up and boxing the windows inside the lorry and eventually hanging herself in her haynet. At twelve I can say that I am pretty sure Lily will always be a feisty redhead.

Millie and Martin schooling at LMEQ

Ehren popped out to Saddlesdane at Christmas for a music clinic with the brilliant Gaynor Colbourn with the aim of putting together a PSG floor plan. She hadn’t been out since October but held it together and was sensible, if not overly rideable. Then last week I took her for a lesson with Char at Parwood, and again although she came off the lorry like a raging bull she did settle and concentrate on the task in hand when I was onboard. With only eight weeks to Hartpury we now need to remind ourselves how to perform inside the white boards. Gulp!

Jazz hands!

Recent lessons have highlighted that I have got a bit more wonky than usual so Martin and I headed off to see Bobby Hayler for a Fitness and Stability clinic at Chelwood. This involved lots of balancing on pilates balls. One of us is more naturally cautious, the other gung-ho one threw himself into everything and hit the deck at speed several times even managing to graze his elbow on a soft arena surface wearing jumpers and a coat. It was a fun evening but also illuminating as the ball didn’t lie. I am now being very disciplined about my stretches (which I do let slide) and am riding my ball at least five times a week. Hey it’s warm and dry at home, this I can do!

The Bomber has been back to the vets to review her progress, and the fracture is easier to see now. Unfortunately so is another fracture that we didn’t know was there. So with two fractures mending it’s another 8 weeks in her stable for her. She’s not very happy about all this and is going a little bit bonkers. It is also costing me a fortune in sedative every time the hunt are nearby. Poor BomBoms. She is like a very naughty 12.2 hairy pony but we have agreed with the vet that she can have her summer holidays in the field so she has something to look forward to.

The New Year always gets you thinking about what you could do better, different things to try, plans for the horses and clients, that sort of thing. So there I am, standing in the arena teaching. There has been a little moment of silence while I am thinking and what comes out of my mouth is “you know what, I think I would ride him naked”. The absolute look of horror on her face. Communications skills Lamy, communication skills.

Coming up we have the final pre-season XC school at Tweseldown. Ehren will be back out competing after four months at home, there is Munstead Combined Training on grass, and then we will be taking young Millipede to Poplar Park BE90 to kick start the season. Woo-hoo!

February 13, 2018 Posted by | Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Broken Black Bomber

Lottie at Stilebridge

So the dressage divas have been out in force. There have been lots of red rosettes and 70% club scores at the recent Eaglesfield, Sadlesdane and Stilebridge BD between Mark, Heather and Doo. Jasmine’s Lottie too has now done some more novices with me after a long break from competing gaining 65% and 67% at Stilebridge which we were delighted with.

We always say that winter is for training, and most unusually Ehren and I had gone six months without a lesson so it was long overdue. I was expecting Char to give me hell and was pleasantly surprised that only my elbows and outside contact were the subject of some regular reminders. I really look forward to having her nag me for a while.

Lily practising her flatwork

Martin has taken both Lily and Millie to see Douglas Hibbert for flatwork help at Four Elms so they have plenty of homework too. They have also been practising at Hadlow and did some great tests in the 70% club. Just shows you what Lily can do away from the atmosphere of a horse trial!

They also both went to Petley Wood BS for some SJ practise with Millie jumping around her first British Novice. She had a few poles down behind through tension but boy, her jumping has come on a very long way this year. Only her mother could say this but she was truly remedial!

Millie at Hadlow dressage

Four Elms SJ clinics have started, as have the outdoors ones at Eaglesfield. Coming up we also have clinics at East Bysshe and a New Years Eve clinic at Blue Barn. We believe in keeping the rust at bay! It won’t be that long and we will be out XC schooling again.

We’ve had a great year, both having fun with our girls but also supporting the Team Lamy Wobbleberries and other clients. The Bomber started the season on fire with two wins and a 4th in her BE90s, then she upgraded to BE100s and finished 8th at Horseheath2. Although sound there were question marks over her performance through the summer and investigations found some hind suspensory problems, then just as we were bringing her back into work she fractured her pedal bone. So disappointing, she has yet to show the world how brilliant she is. Poor BomBoms, fingers crossed for a full recovery. The Millipede has started big girl competitions with a 9th and a 4th in her two BE80s, and having a go at a BE90 at Twesledown4 and jumping clear XC. She has come a very long way, but has lots to learn yet! Unfortunately the Ginger Rocket has not got her jumping form back but we carry on ticking her over and keeping her jolly. The star of the year goes to the Beautiful One. Ehren never ceases to amaze me. She has now done four PSGs including winning the Area Festival at Keysoe, and has qualified for the Winter Championships in the Advanced Medium Festival class. Bless her, we are now having a go at learning the dance moves required at Inter I. Talk about the blind leading the blind!   

WobblePub

My Team Lamy Wobbleberries were awesome. What a great bunch of committed brave ladies. Several started the year frightened to canter on grass and ended the year entering a BE80. There has been lots of tears and thankfully only a small amount of vomit, all sorts of fears to overcome but such a dedicated bunch of people all supporting each other. A team spirit like I have genuinely never seen. They are truly inspirational. If you decide you can, you can!

On that note I wish you the very best of luck, fun and success for 2018 and a very Merry Christmas x

December 6, 2017 Posted by | Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My superstar

BarryBerry goes for a spin!

Let’s head back to the end of August. Millie spent the weekend at Horseheath with the Bomber and stayed overnight at the Groomsbridge Stud with friends Sally and Tom Forster (who were responsible for bringing Millie into the world). Both girls did us proud with the Bomber finishing 8th in her BE100 section and the young Millipede finishing 4th in her BE80. Way to go girls!

BomBoms Horseheath BE100

We have over time convinced ourselves that the Bomber isn’t right, then she does seem OK (like at Horseheath) but eventually I made the decision that she wasn’t herself and although sound I took her to the vets for further investigations. Unfortunately this revealed some problems with her hind suspensories which would certainly account for her lack of power and now I feel like a really mean mummy. She has been trying so hard all summer and was even placed in her last event. Fingers crossed that she will make a full recovery. She deserves her chance to show us what she can do when fit and well. Everyone loves BomBoms.

To finish the season Lily and Millie went to Tweseldown for the BE90. This was Millie’s first attempt at this level and Lily’s first trip out since April. Millie is very green but did her best. Some tension in the SJ arena meant a few poles dropped but bless her she jumped clear XC. Lily jumped a nice SJ round for one pole and just had a mis-communication on the XC which resulted in her trotting past one fence but otherwise lots to like and a great way to finish the year. 

Chester Hall lap of honour

Ehren has been very busy indeed. She qualified for the Area Festival Semi-Finals at Advanced Medium via the Chester Hall festival. On walking over to the arena Southern RDO Sharon Walker accused me of looking too laid back. “Pah, what could go wrong?!” I joked. Well I did go wrong, and a proper blank moment it was too. That’ll teach me!  Fortunately we still came third and qualified. Phew.  When will I learn?!

Winning the PSG Area Festival at Keysoe

Then the following weekend I had the hare-brained idea of taking her to Keysoe for the PSG Area Festival. She had only done two PSG tests but I thought if nothing else riding at Keysoe would be good practise for somewhere busier. She was such a good girl; the novice prizegiving was after my test so the gallery was full of people waiting and very noisy. This was about three feet away from the end of my arena and caused a very expensive whoopsie in our 3s, but generally she held it together very well and I was astonished to find that we had won and qualified for the PSG semi-finals!! OMG!!

Whilst riding the crest of a wave we then popped to Cobham for the Freestyle Dressage to Music Advanced Medium to start gathering points towards qualifying for the Winter Regionals. That she did, gaining 68% and winning her class. Crikey Ehren!

Posing for Simple System

She then had a well deserved three weeks off, chilling out and taking full advantage of her all day buffet and with only five days work we headed off to the Area Festival Semi-Final for Advanced Medium at Codham Park. Simple System gang Stacey and Rosie came to cheer us on and take some video and photos and Ehren did them proud coming 3rd and qualifying for the Winter Championships at Hartpury. Wowee! Once again a new venue and she coped without blowing up. She seems to be getting the hang of this and was very happy posing for the camera afterwards…

Next up on the Tuesday was the Area Festival Semi-Final at Widmer Equestrian for the PSG. Obviously we are very green at this level in this company but we decided to go for the practise. Ehren also struggles in the Autumn with her hormones and was rather tight in her back meaning we lacked the self carriage needed. One big spook but otherwise a good effort given how she was feeling and I was really chuffed with 5th place. I just cannot fault her efforts this year. Time for a proper break now for her. My superstar.

Lily takes me for a spin!

To finish the season off Simple System popped to the yard for some more photos and videos. This was great fun and I am pretty sure they saw each of the girls for who they are. The cheeky Bomber tried her best to please with any requests, especially as they all revolved around food! Ehren wafted about looking beautiful and got a little bit sniffy about her routine being turned upside down and things not being as they should. Millipede was quite jolly but was very well behaved. And then there was the Ginger Rocket. Oh my! Let’s just say it’s been six years since I last took Lily for a hack and it will probably be another six before I try again…..

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Carmen Court, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results | , | Leave a comment

Girl Power

Apologies for not writing sooner but we’ve been a tad on the busy side….

Bomber and Martin Rackham BE100

First up the Bomber …. She went to Rackham for her second try at BE100. It was an absolutely scorching hot day and bless her, she was very flat. Her dressage suffered a bit, but she jumped pretty well for one pole, and was clear XC with a few time penalties because the jockey briefly got lost (ahem!). We were very pleased with her efforts but a little concerned that she was so blah, so did some bloods to check the basics and were pleased to see all looks OK. We are also aware that we are rather up against it at this level with Martin away from home so much and basically just jumping on for competition, added to which she isn’t Martin’s normal fiery ride.

Bomber and Martin Eridge BE100

She then went to Eridge BE100 which is a much bigger event with the Country Fayre and Dog Show on the Sunday the whole place is buzzing. The XC too is much more of a challenge and the undulating hilly ground really takes it out of them. She was 6th after the dressage, had a pole showjumping looking at someone dismantling a marquee instead of the jump in front of her, then was a little green on the XC having a step back at the ditch gawping at everything around her and not seeing it until the last minute. She has lots to learn at this level and is having to learn it on the job but jumped well around most of the course. She seemed to run better than at Rackham but we were still not entirely convinced.

After Eridge was Chilham BE100 where it became apparent that things are definitely not right. How she jumped clear around the showjumping I don’t really know and she actually dropped to trot out on the XC. Bless her, you could see how hard she was trying and there was just no petrol in the tank. So we have been administering TLC, and will see how she feels in a week or two before investigating further. Poor BomBoms.

All day clinic at Parwood

We have been very busy having fun with lots of SJ clinics, XC schooling, two Adds Farm camps and all day clinics at Tweseldown and Parwood.

Poor Ehren went to Cobham BD on the hottest day of the year so far. We warmed up for less than 15 minutes, trusted that our work at home would carry us through and did our first PSG!!! I was absolutely over the moon with 63.81%. There were a few spooks of course but she did all the tricky stuff and tried her best in the heat. It almost felt a bit surreal. PSG? Me and Ehren? Wowsers! To say I am proud is an understatement; proud that I have done it – to have trained her from Prelim to PSG but also what a girl. I am so lucky that she has been so generous and so utterly beautiful and clever.

Ehren PSG at Pachesham

While riding the crest of a wave I thought it was time for another debut; this time our Dressage to Music. We headed off to Saddlesdane BD to flick our toes to some 80s tunes and I was not disappointed. She really didn’t worry about the music coming out of the speakers at all and danced her way through Eurythmics and A-ha for just over 70%. Cool bananas!  

Ehren PSG Pachesham

So next up another PSG just to make sure that the first one wasn’t a fluke or a kind judge! And, get this, a totally new venue for her Pachesham BD. She was such a good girl. We parked on grass and it was very open; no drama. We warmed up with other horses; no drama. We went a little anxious in the trot-work in the test losing our self-carriage and going a little against the hand, but we did our thing without any drama and came away with 63.42% and a red rosette as winner! Without going on and on I shall just say wow!

Millie’s first BE80 at Chilham

So last of the home team to venture out was our homebred five year old Millie. She has been a little slow to get the hang of her jumping but we felt she was ready to have a go at Chilham BE80 and boy she did not disappoint finishing 9th in her section and looking absolute class. Amazeballs. She didn’t take any notice of anything going on outside her SJ arena and jumped around the XC like she did it every day. It had started raining hard and the completion statistics for the BE80 were dreadful at 48%. Typical Groomsbridge Girl, she just got on with it. Proud to say the least!

Then awful news on Tuesday morning this week. Our friend, Wobbleberry and client Chloe found her superstar of a horse Rocky in the field with a fractured hock. They had an amazing partnership for a short 13 months and he was the kindest, most generous chap you will ever meet. Totally devastating and utterly unfair. A reminder to us all to live life to the full as you just never know what is around the corner.

Coming up we have Horseheath BE for Millie, maybe some dressage for Ehren if she feels the urge (she has has been having a little rest after that lot), and then anything else depends on how Lexi and Lily are feeling. Holidays are calling too, and I hear a certain ginormous feral three year old is being tamed as we speak. Must dig out my step ladder!

August 5, 2017 Posted by | Camp, Carmen Court, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Pony Club, Results | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BarryBerry has work to do

BarryBerry starts work for Team Lamy-Wright

Crikey, where to start?! We were lucky to get a few days away at the Badminton Grassroots where we collected BarryBerry. Barry is wearing my XC colours (well someone should!) and has got straight on with his Wobbleberry duties. Three Team Lamy Wobbleberries have completed the challenge so far; first up was Chloe at Keysoe, then Chloe, Ingrid and Catherine did Borde Hill where the organisers made a real effort to support them and gave them special prizes for completing. Fortunately they had also put all WBs together so I could support them in all three phases. They were all awesome, really rode their socks off and deserved to complete their challenge. Seeing them through the finish line was quite something! These people are pushing themselves, training hard and achieving such amazing things. In my gang alone one had given up riding after her horse was killed out hacking on the road, the oldest is 71 years old, and one is so anxious she is actually sick. I have nothing but admiration for them #kickingcancersbutt

Great Wobbleberry training day at Comphurst Farm

So no surprise we have been even more busy than normal with clinics. We had a great one for Wobbleberries at Comphurst. A lovely day in the sunshine with SJ in a grass arena in the morning, some time with Martin talking through how to do a BE entry and what to expect on the day, an amazing lunch provided by Comphurst’s owners Tanya and Will Reid during which I did a short chat on the psychological side of things, then some speed training with Tanya, and some XC schooling with me. We’ve also had the usual Carmen Court monthly clinics, XC schooling at various venues, and another all day clinic at LMEQ.

During this time the Black Bomber has been very busy! Firstly, there was Tweseldown for the BE90. She was quite beside herself warming up for the dressage which is most unlike her but still managed to pull out a 29.0 dressage. The SJ collecting ring was a little chaotic and Martin was being nagged to jump 20 minutes before his time. Unfortunately this seemed to cause a short circuit in the SatNav wiring and he went from Jump 1 to Jump 6. Donut brains!! Luckily the lovely judge let him start again from the second fence and they jumped a lovely clear and were allowed to go XC hors concours. The XC course has had quite a revamp and looked amazing but asked a few questions and caused a fair bit of trouble. The Bomber was rather looky but she did keep going and jumped clear meaning that she would have finished on 29.0 and been in second place. I was really pleased that she had been allowed to run as it was a very educational day for her. Good BomBoms!

She then went to Borde Hill for the BE90 and had another really consistent day jumping like a star. She finished again on her dressage score of 29.0 which was good enough to win her section. Wowee, you should have seen her swagger off the lorry to tell Ehren all about it!

So with two wins, a fourth and a ‘would-have-been-second’ in her BE90s this year we thought it was time to try a BE100 so we headed off to Berkshire College. She got 29.0 dressage, two poles SJ (in a very tight spooky arena that really didn’t suit her), and jumped a super clear XC taking all the straight routes for 0.8 time finishing on 36.8. Very proud!

Ehren at BlueBarn BD

Ehren has been a bit out of sorts. The list includes struggling with her spring seasons, needing a saddle revamp, having another bad reaction to her flu and tetanus vaccination, then just when I thought we were getting back on track the dentist found a fractured tooth, and there is always the need for work on her poll after seeing the dentist….! Hopefully with that lot sorted we can get some consistency in her work again and crack on with getting her confidence back. I have been schooling her away from home with this in mind and also took her to BlueBarn BD for the Advanced Mediums to get her out again. One the plus side she did feel more relaxed and confident, and coped with the warm-up arena much better than she has in ages. However (!) there was this pesky stripe of light on the floor at K. All these stories she has heard from the Bomber about ditches the size of the Suez Canal and she was convinced it was a hole in the floor. So we gathered two 1s, two 2s and a handful of 4s gingerly walking across it when we should have been in canter. At one point I was in extended canter heading right towards it, the sun had gone in finally and I dared to breathe a sigh of relief. Silly me, as I was about three feet away it suddenly reappeared ‘ta-dah!’. Bless her. Really do need to find her some brave pants from somewhere…..

Millie’s first event

Then talking of wearing brave pants, young Millipede went to the Riding Club ODE at Coombelands and trotted round the 80cm like a total pro and finished in 10th place. Awww…..the first homebred does her first event, such a good girl.

Naughty horse fancied a dip at LMEQ!

Coming up we continue with lots of XC schooling and clinics. We have another all day, this time at Tweseldown and the first Adds Farm camp of the year. Little Lexi has another BE100 at Rackham, Ehren will be out and about and will maybe make her music debut somewhere (although this may prove a little too uplifting!). The Wobbleberries continue their training and BarryBerry continues to provide support (maybe he is the man to sit down and chat with Ehren?)

June 13, 2017 Posted by | Camp, Carmen Court, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Busy busy

Team Lamy overseeing some XC schooling

Wow, we’ve been just a little bit busy! I have been doing loads of clinics and teaching. We have XC schooled at Lodge Farm in the evening, had 18 riders at Bonfleur in glorious sunshine, another 12 riders at a fantastic new XC venue Comphurst Farm, the first Carmen Court SJ clinic and a SJ clinic at Eaglesfield. My Wobbleberries are carrying on with preparations for their first BE80, Chloe and Rocky are leading the gang with a placing in the UA 80 at Munstead. They are off to Keysoe next weekend for their first BE event and I shall probably be more nervous than them!

Pony Club candidates at Timbertops

During the Easter holidays I examined Pony Club D, D+ and C tests at our local Pony Club Centre Timbertops. The kids were really keen, their turnout was amazing, and they were a real credit to their centre and the Pony Club itself. A couple of them were quite certain that a healthy pony has a temperature of 56 degrees but you can’t have everything!

Ehren has been busy too. I was hoping that a few outings would help to get her ring confident again for Hartpury. So we went to Bury Farm (already scary as it’s new to her) and the weather was absolutely hideous with the rain coming sideways. She did hold it together reasonably well for her tests but was quite upset by someone in the warm-up who insisted on riding at her even when it was obvious the effect it was having. This made her really anxious in the warm-up at Step Aside a week later and horribly tense in the two tests…..Then a week later at Bluebarn she was still very fragile in the warm-up meaning that we didn’t really do enough then was quite wild in the arena rearing and spooking. The judge leaning out of the box and saying “rather you than me” rather summed my whole Hartpury preparation up!!

Ehren practising at BlueBarn BD

Which brings us to the Winter Championships. Let’s be positive – she has never stayed away from home before and gets very stressed at home if everything isn’t just so. She was in a temporary barn at Hartpury with a flappy canvas roof, rattling walls, a neighbour that banged his stable door continually, and mayhem going on with horses being fed at different times, being ridden at different times and everyone coming and going. Munch munch munch……totally chilled!

So onto the warm-up……obviously this was a concern. I needed to keep her safe somehow and it was really busy, at one point with riders screaming at each other (I kid you not). Again, very calm and relaxed. In fact I needed to fire her up a bit!

So we are left with the test itself. 50% chance of getting the arena next to the noisy walkway and tradestands, or the quiet arena on the other side. So no prizes for guessing! As we walked towards the tradestands between our arena and the fence her eyes were on stalks. For starters one of the tradestands had a working mechanical horse in it, jeez! Her heart was pounding and she was not at all convinced by my efforts to tell her everything was OK. “Spsssssss!!!!” someone opens a coke can. Ehren stood right up, spun round and legged it. That was all the proof that she needed and the start of much nonsense. About half way through the test I decided that enough was enough and retired. Never before have so many people come over to talk to me about my performance. Half an hour later and munch, munch, munch. Totally chilled. Bless her, life is just all too much for Ehren sometimes.

Lily and Little Lexi had good runs at Munstead BE90. Lily was very tense in the dressage and warmed up like a loon for the SJ (not for the first time at Munstead!) but then jumped a lovely clear. Unfortunately the loon reappeared on the XC and she locked her jaw and ran past a fence. I was happy though that she still looked really keen and happy to be out. This was Lexi’s first BE90 and she  did a good dressage which is quite something when you take into account that Martin rarely rides her. She then had a pole SJ where she went a bit green having not jumped outdoors since last season, and then a super clear XC.

Lily and Martin were lucky not to be more hurt.

Onto their next party we headed to Horseheath BE90. What can only be described as a day of two halves! Lily was off her rocker again running backwards in the SJ warm-up and being very difficult, and again, despite a lovely SJ round it all fell apart on the XC resulting in a fall and a nasty bang to her knee. Both were very lucky not to be more seriously hurt and it certainly means no more eventing for Lily for a while. It also meant that we had fifteen minutes to get Martin passed as fit to ride by the doctor, get Lily seen by the vet and all the paperwork filled in, get Lexi dressed and get Martin back onboard! BomBoms really tried her best all day and despite still being very green XC she jumped double clear inside the time to win from the front on her dressage score of 23.0. Absolutely amazeballs!! What a clever Bomber!!

Another great run at BE90 for Little Lexi

This meant that I was almost dreading Chilham BE90, feeling like she was under pressure to perform again. Chilham is by far the biggest challenge that she has faced to date. The SJ arena is surrounded by tradestands and there were noisy flags flapping in the wind. She did another great dressage for 27.5 and I was unbelievably nervous watching her zigzag and run sideways as she trotted down one side of the SJ arena. Bless the Bomber, she made all the right choices and jumped a rather spooky clear round. Onto the XC, again much more of a challenge than anything she has seen, and although rather lookie she kept assessing and jumping and galloped round a tiny bit too fast to finish the day in 4th place. Wowee!! Much love for the cheeky black pony!

Even young Millie has been out and about. She has done two SJ parties at Felbridge. The first time we really didn’t know what to expect but she was mega cool. Handling her remains a nightmare with all the tourettes kung-fu, but she was very good in a really spooky arena with lots of fluffy 12.2 ponies for company.

Riding Lottie at Oldencraig BD

I also fitted in a dressage outing for Jasmine’s Lottie; the first one in five months. She was also a very cool customer having a go at her first novice at Oldencraig BD and feeling a lot more rideable.

Coming up we are cheering on our friend’s daughter in the Badminton Grassroots 90 Championships, carrying on with lots of clinics including some all day ones, Little Lexi has Tweseldown and Borde Hill BE90s and Millie hopefully will attempt to trot round her first RC ODE. On it goes!

April 30, 2017 Posted by | Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Pony Club, Results | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back to the 80s

Martin and the Bomber in the snow at Tweseldown

As I type this Spring has most definitely sprung. My arms have actually left the confines of their many winter layers and seen the air this week. It is almost inconceivable to think of us XC schooling at Tweseldown a month ago in the snow, but we did and it was absolutely freezing! We had suffered with a mild virus on the yard and so only took the Bomber who was on fine form jumping a lot of BE100 fences and looking quite the star. It was our last pre-season schooling day and although there was actually snow on the ground and light showers all day the carpark was full of other like-minded loonies!

Playing with music at Saddlesdane

Unfortunately Ehren’s version of a mild virus included a very good impression of a dying swan, bless her she really is a lightweight….needless to say my hair is greyer, my wallet is lighter and we haven’t been out practising between the boards. We have however, managed a dressage to music clinic with Gaynor Colbourn. Now I wasn’t sure this was really my thing, and unlike your normal clinic Gaynor plays the music live on her keyboards in the corner of the arena. Everyone told me that I was quite bonkers to take the beautiful one, there was no way she would cope and I was sure to hit the deck! Well not wanting to be predictable she was an absolute star. She really didn’t put a hoof out of place, at a venue she didn’t know, and who knew but Ehren is a bit of a music fan and very soon will be the proud owner of an 80s megamix and floorplan!! It was a really cool way of doing it. I couldn’t stop smiling afterwards. Great fun.

The WobbleBerries have continued with great enthusiasm, we’ve finished the SJ clinics at Four Elms for the Winter, and we have lots of clinics, training days and camps planned for the year ahead.

Unfortunately the weather turned very wet and the Munstead pre-season combined training was cancelled so we took Lily and Lexi to Duckhurst BS instead. They both jumped some super rounds and we were really pleased that they seemed very much ready for the start of the season at Poplar BE the following weekend. Exciting!

Infection stops play

However, having a plan and things going to plan are two very different things…..at almost exactly the same time of year that  Lexi spent a three week spa break at Bell Equine last year, another infection and bout of cellulitis struck her down. With no wound that I could find, what started as a capped hock very quickly turned into something infected hot and nasty. I am hoping that as we were on it so quickly this time, we might still be OK for Munstead next weekend. She is back in work, all seems back to normal apart from a slight cap…….here’s hoping.

Urf!

So that meant a very early start for Poplar with only the Ginger Rocket on the truck. True to her name she was well up for it with an OK dressage test (quite calm as the XC hadn’t yet started), two poles SJ (the XC had started!), and a fabulous confident clear inside the time XC looking like a pro. It was so nice to see her enjoying herself and she finished 11th. It was also lovely to be back eventing; the weather was very kind, the ground was amazing and everyone looked relaxed and happy.

Ginger Rocket in her element

So coming up I really need to crack on getting Ehren out before the Winter Championships, hopefully both girls head to Munstead BE, we have the first SJ clinic back at Carmen Court, we carry on XC schooling including a long day with 18 riders at Bonfleur and are really looking forward to getting to a new venue Comphurst Farm which looks absolutely amazing. After that it’s the Easter holidays which are absolutely crammed with Pony Club training and examining and finish with a little family mini-break in Gloucestershire…..well that’s what I am telling Ehren…..it’s a holiday right?

March 17, 2017 Posted by | Camp, Carmen Court, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Pony Club, Results | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading my tea leaves….

Wowsers, the weather has been so changeable. Earlier everywhere was frozen and it was really difficult to keep the horses ticking over, and now we are drowning in mud with the forecast of more snow and freezing schools. Harrumph, looking forward to Spring!

Martin and the Black Bomber in the JAS

Martin and the Black Bomber in the JAS

The Four Elms January clinic was a great success in their lovely indoor. We had planned for Lily to go to the Merrist Wood JAS90 that day but as she had not jumped particularly well at Duckhurst BS over Christmas we changed our minds and Martin took Little Lexi instead. Now this caused me a sleepless night as the JAS is always very full on and the Bomber is still very spooky. Not only that but she has barely schooled over skinnies and the JAS is full of them. Anyhow, she coped and although slightly lacking the Style part of ‘Jumping and Style’ (Martin that is, not Bombie obviously!) she only had one fence down and finished in the top third. Wowee, clever Bomber!

A very green moment for young Millie!!

A very green moment for young Millie!!

We also bit the bullet and took the decision to XC school as planned at Munstead in the rain. It actually wasn’t anything like as bad as forecast, everyone was well up for it, and it was a good reminder of how to ride in wet conditions. Something we don’t do very often any more. All the horses went really well, and we were particularly pleased (and just a little bit excited) with young Millie who was exceptionally brave, if rather green!

A more knowledgeable Millie at the end of the session

A more knowledgeable Millie at the end of the session

Next up was Ehren’s turn to go out for the first time in three months. I packed my parachute and crossed my fingers. Ehren was a little light on work and therefore quite bright but it wasn’t quite as wild as I expected. The first test was pretty awful. She was out of balance, really strong and I wasn’t allowed to touch her let alone ride her. The second test was considerably better, not great but not the car crash I was expecting and more rideable than the first. I could at least suggest a movement here and there. To come away with 65% in an Advanced Medium qualifier after three months at home was a pretty good effort I reckon, especially considering how bright she was. Plus (or so I thought) it’s done now, first one out of the way and we survived!

Wobbleberries first pub meeting!

Team Lamy Wobbleberries first pub meeting!

Jasmine’s Lottie had an abscess over Christmas, then could barely be worked as their school had been frozen so we aborted both the Stilebridge and BlueBarn plans for her. We also had to cancel both WobbleFlat days, my Char lessons, and the first WobbleGrid of the year. The second WobbleGrid session turned into flatwork but that was productive, and we did all get to meet up in the pub for a chat about the basic rules, registering and things to start thinking about for the BE season ahead. It was great to get everyone together.

A rather strong Ehren at Merrist Wood

A rather strong Ehren at Merrist Wood

Ehren then had a trip to Merrist Wood BD as a practise for the regionals. Well that WAS a car crash! She was a little light on work, and being a 5 or 6 day a week girl this certainly has an impact. Plus she came into season that morning for the first time of the year with what can only be described as a whoosh and a bang. Add this together with a lack of match practise and we were the laughing stock of Guildford! Oh the shame…..

Ehren seemed to enjoy herself!

Ehren seemed to enjoy herself!

That morning I was quietly plaiting Ehren and we heard what sounded like something cantering down the road outside. Up the drive bounced a ginger pile of froth in passage (never believe Lily when she says she can’t do dressage). So Ehren is now slightly agitated and I am thinking how much easier things are to get done in the peace and quiet of mid-week. Martin then ties the wild one up next to us. Lily is waving her backside in Ehren’s face and threatening to kick her every time she attempts a sniff. Martin grabs my bucket of clean water and sponge, washes the Ginger Rocket down, and gives me back a bucket of sweaty water! I won’t repeat my response, you can use your imagination! However it obviously hit home as he wandered off to refill it, at which point Lily grabbed the opportunity to break loose and make a run for it. So there I am hanging onto a plait like it’s a magic control halter while Ehren is rearing up, boxing out and having a bit of a breakdown about the whole affair. This rather set the scene for the rest of the day, and if as a friend said, I had read my tea leaves properly I should probably have stayed at home! However you can rest assured that all my planned outings before Hartpury are back in the calm and serenity of mid-week…..

Lily having a ball at LMEQ

Lily having a ball at LMEQ

Four Elms February then came and went, only one more Winter clinic left here and we are outdoors for the Summer series. We then XC schooled at LMEQ in very wet conditions with lots of puddles everywhere. This was also an educational day for everyone with lots of steps, banks, ditches and the water to think about. We took a very excitable Ginger Rocket who zoomed about like a little racehorse. It was nice to see her so up for it but she wasn’t exactly what I would call rideable! Also on fire was the Black Bomber who looked a lot more confident than at Munstead so that was great fun for both of them.

The Black Bomber gets ready for the season ahead

Then we get home and find that Ehren wasn’t feeling herself. Frustratingly she has a virus and that means no Regionals on Monday. I am pretty sure that she wasn’t keen if the practise run was anything to go by, she really didn’t need to move back into sickbay. Oh well, we will wait for her to feel better and get as many outings as possible to get her confident in the arena again before Hartpury in April. Gulp!

Coming up we hope to beat the weather forecast and school at Tweseldown, Tiny comes home after 8 years with Clare, we have WobbleBerry clinics galore, the last Four Elms of the winter, and then dum dum dah……the Munstead pre-season combined training on grass. Time to get some BE entries done!

February 9, 2017 Posted by | Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A very tricky time of year

Well Happy New Year to you all, I hope that you had a fantastic Christmas. Now it’s back to work starting with a big thankyou to Simple System Horse Feeds for agreeing to sponsor us again in 2017, and to Equilibrium Products for allowing us to be Product Ambassadors for another year. Brilliant news. Such lucky girls!

Ehren doing her winter homework

Ehren doing her winter homework

We are all fighting frozen schools and trying to keep the horses in work with pre-season XC schooling and the Winter BD Regionals both on the horizon! Ehren hasn’t been out for three months so we are planning to knock the dust off at BlueBarn in a few weeks. This could be a spectacular car crash but it needs doing with the Regionals looming. I also think a practise run at Merrist Wood is in order. Last time I competed her there I very nearly fell off!

The Black Bomber and Ginger Rocket both had a Christmas trip to Duckhurst BS with Martin. The Bomber was amazeballs jumping clear around the Clear Round twice, and then jumping double clear in the British Novice. Lily jumped really well in the British Novice but not so well in the 95cm so we are back to the drawing board with her to see if we can get her happy again. With this in mind the Bomber is going to have to step up and be Martin’s main eventing pony until Lily is back on form. Nobody tell her!! (And yes, I have plans to steal her back for the odd day when he isn’t watching.)

Wobbleberries Caroline and Amber

Wobbleberries Caroline and Amber

We have SJ schooled at Duckhurst, Blue Barn and East Bysshe, and had the first clinic of the year at Four Elms. The Wobbleberries seriously have the bit between their teeth and we have been busy with flatwork and gridwork training at Louisa’s. It is great to see the progress in these guys. I am so excited to be part of their challenge.

Millie first time out SJ schooling

Millie first time out SJ schooling

Millie is coming on really well. She was so slow to get the hang of a pole on the floor that we honestly wondered what we had bred. She is starting to look really smart now so we decided it was time to school around a course for the first time away from home and took her to Blue Barn. She walked straight through the narrow door into the arena and strutted round like she owned the place. She then warmed up with her ‘come on then, let’s crack on’ face and jumped like a star. She didn’t look at anything. Bless her, definitely a Groomsbridge Girl!

I am really looking forward to getting out XC schooling. I do hope frost doesn’t get in the way of our plans. I find January and February are always such a very tricky time of year for me. You see, I always take some time off to do my accounts and sort out the paperwork in the first couple of weeks of the year. On top of this there is often very little work because of frozen schools, or worse if it has snowed. It can go on for weeks and my mind wanders. I am not good without focus! In 2012 it snowed. Whilst meandering about on the internet I came across an advert for a lovely looking young bay warmblood mare going cheap because of some damage to one eye. Louisa was shocked “but you said you weren’t going to get another horse?” Louisa dear I told you in 2006 when we came to the yard that it was only for three months, that I would do my best to help and that I wouldn’t be any trouble. Still you believe the things I tell you?! In 2013 I bought a little Irish mare over the phone. An animal communicator that I had invited to a summer camp that year told me “oh wow, you are in for trouble with this one! Nothing you can’t handle but she is going to be very cheeky indeed and take quite a few years to get going” Not what I wanted to hear, YEARS?! Then in 2014 a friend popped into the pub one Friday with news of a lurcher litter and I really didn’t need another dog let alone a giant yellow antelope but we all know what happened next! So if you bump into Martin or Louisa it might explain why they have that look in their eye. Out of interest do you think Ehren would prefer a pig or a donkey for company, I have been wondering……

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses | , , , , , , | Leave a comment