Janine Lamy

Sparky Forever!

Unfortunately our Sally lesson was cancelled due to the weather so we went to Munstead without a top-up. I like to have a lesson every month as it keeps me disciplined at home and Sally understands Harry much better than I do!

Munstead didn’t quite start as planned with our lorry up to its axles in a swamp, and I have to admit to berating the chauffeur as the rest of the car park was at that time dry! However Harry did his stuff so all was well; he performed the best dressage yet leaving him 8th in his section. Then my plan for the showjump warm-up was completely thrown as it was based on his last two outings, yet he came out really flat so I was about as useful as a chocolate kettle! It was a relief to leave the warm-up behind and get into the arena and jump. Fortunately he seemed to regain some sparkle and jumped what actually felt like the best round so far although we did have one pole down. He was super on the cross-country again, and finished up 11th by 0.5 penalties. I’m really pleased with him, another nice consistent result. He has the EHOA Spring Training Camp in April, then I think I will aim for the 100 at Mattingley in May…

Lexie was there on Sunday for the Open 100. She was a little feisty in the dressage but jumped a super show jump round and stormed the cross-country in fine style. Alas, a little too quick and her time penalties put her out of the running although Martin was delighted with her. She now has a busy few weeks with Open Novices at Goring, South of England and Nurstead.

Louisa (who takes most of the photos for this website – thankyou!) took her horse Strider to Stilebridge for his first outing of the year and first ever prelim. He’s such a huge big moving horse that he has really struggled with finding his balance and co-ordinating his canter. She has taken him slowly and was rewarded with good scores, a qualifying result and places in both classes. An excellent first attempt, smiles all round!

Caroline Savege and Abi McNally also both did very well to post dressage wins at Chelsfield, Roz Barwell won two Hadlow Riding Club jumping classes, and Sam Hemple had a good day with her new ride Gabriel with two 2nd places in the 85 and 95cm trailblazers at Duckhurst. Go girls!

Lily has had a few more goes at leaving the ground on the lunge and is getting more clued up. She is now proudly sporting her first set of front shoes and is all grown up in her jointed bit. Bless!

Romy Saville and Hannah Bartholomew are hoping to get onto the BE 100JR training programme which is a fantastic opportunity for them at thirteen and twelve years old. It prompted a conversation of what we were doing when we were that age. Maybe I should try and find some pictures and you could play ‘Spot the Difference’….I can’t see me piloting my old 12.2 pony round a BE100 in my red ‘Sparky Forever’ sweatshirt somehow!!

Hmmm…perhaps I’ll leave you with that image!

March 29, 2010 Posted by | Our Horses, Results | Leave a comment

Pub Lunch

Char came for our lesson on Friday and had Harry working on taking more weight behind. I think she despaired at my description of our maiden dressage outing but she didn’t leave with her head in her hands so a big plus. There’s plenty to improve on – staying in the arena would definitely be a bonus!

Ivy posted a win with Romy in the Inter-Schools dressage competition at Duckhurst on Saturday. Must just be me that’s struggling with this dressage mallarky!

So onto Tweseldown Sunday for our debut and what a star Harry was! He was somewhat bumptious to warm up but performed an improved dressage test with everything in the right place leaving him about half way up his section. We had a pretty hairy start to our showjump warm up – he seemed really tense and kept zooming off into the practise fence taking it out at the roots. Not very inspiring I have to say! I dread to think what the other competitors thought but keen to avoid a teenage tantrum (“You can’t tell me what to do, I have my rights!”) I continued to do nothing and he eventually relaxed and the penny dropped that it was his job to organise his body and legs. He then went and jumped a super clear round. On the cross country he was amazing, just galloping and jumping, not an awkward moment, he really impressed me. Finishing on our dressage score was a fantastic effort and 8th place to boot!

Debbie had another good day at Eaglesfield BD with her first win in the Restricted Novice. Best I book Harry in for schooling!

Nick Coles the horse dentist was in this week doing routine checks. All was good on that front. Harry is really easy and takes it like a man, however both girls require a fair quantity of chill-out gel beforehand! It’s about time to move Lily on from the plastic straight-bar and start developing more of a contact so it was perfect timing for a check-up. More pics of Lily soon!

The decision was made to cancel the Chelsfield lecture demo so I’m looking forward to having the day off. I may venture out to the pub at lunchtime like a ‘normal’ person!  

Then this week we are going to Sally’s for a lesson and then both Lexie and Harry go to Munstead at the weekend…keep you updated!

March 20, 2010 Posted by | Our Horses, Results | Leave a comment

Never has an arena felt so small

I have a new XC schooling date, Sunday April 25th, 2pm at Chilham Park. This is particularly beneficial for anyone doing their unaffiliated event in May. We’re also taking names now for the first Carmen Court jumping clinic on April 17th. I’m looking forward to starting these again, and am hoping for warmer weather!

From the world of dressage…Debbie Reeves came back from Eaglesfield last Tuesday with the judge’s comments in capitals “I LIKE IT!!!” – crikey, think we must be doing something right, I suggested framing the sheet and hanging it in the loo!

Sarah Hetherington on the other hand had ventured out to Stilebridge. She was feeling a little bit under-horsed as everyone floated past her little mare on big bay warmbloods, when a fellow competitor came up and explained that her horse had been frightened by Sarah’s coloured because it thought she was a cow!! Well ‘cows rule ok’ because Trinny was 2nd overall – that’s the last time someone will call her Buttercup!

And then for my own efforts….On Sunday Harry and Lexie ventured out to Heath Farm, Munstead for some pre-season combined training. It was my first dressage test on Harry, and of course we were on a grass arena. He was much more forward than at home, which meant our usual lack of balance was rather magnified, but nothing quite prepared me for the test itself. Oh my god, it would have been easier to steer the horsebox around the arena! Clearly no-one had explained to Harry that we were supposed to stay inside the white boards. Down the centre line (hey, this is straight, good), track right (ok, bit hollow but not bad), 20m circle at B (ooh, where’s my steering?), up the long side (OK let’s make the best of this bit), short side next (Harry turn, Harry turn!), and we clunk out over the boards at A! The test had some positives (we got five 8s) but the judge didn’t seem to appreciate us leaving the arena (4), the mincing jiggy-joggy walk (two 4s), or the Irish Jig we did at G for a 3 (did someone say halt?!). Let’s just say I’ve got some work to do, but that’s what these early outings are about – fact finding missions! I’ve got a Char lesson tomorrow, hope she doesn’t leave with her head in her hands….

He was also very different to jump on grass and in a big arena – rather opinionated and keen! So this too will need some practise, but the big fella did leave them all up for a clear round so I was very pleased. Lexie and Martin, as usual, pulled out a very nice test. Lexie looked away with the fairies and had the first fence down which was a shame as otherwise she jumped very well. She finished 5th in her section. Harry was 12th in his I think. It was great to be out, although absolutely freezing. I look forward to seeing how we go at Tweseldown on Sunday. Will let you know!

I lunged Lily over a small fence in the school this week. She stopped, looked at it, said “I can’t go forwards, something is in the way!” Then we persuaded her that forward was the only way so she stepped her front legs over it and looked at me as if to say “now what do I do, I’m stuck!”. The lightbulb eventually came on thank goodness. Today we cantered around a course of poles with wings – it was a bit like riding someone’s gymkhana pony but I was very impressed with her attitude. She just got on with it. 

The jumping lecture demo at Chelsfield is suddenly next weekend, best I post this and go give it some thought….

March 11, 2010 Posted by | Instruction, Our Horses, Results | , , , , | Leave a comment

Diamond Tyrera (1994 – 2010)

Tyra came to us as a scraggy three year old, just a couple of days after arriving in the UK. She had been bought by a local dealer at the Goresbridge sales, having been bred by John Murphy in Dungarven, County Waterford.

She was dark grey, with an upside down ewe neck, in fairly poor condition, and had the worst case of rain scald we have ever seen. But for £2000 she was not an expensive horse – she seemed perky, bright and interested, and we had very little funds!

She was quickly backed and soon started the rounds of local competitions with Martin. Unfortunately a  year off with a tendon injury in 1999 meant that she did not start her eventing career until 2001, where she quickly showed a natural talent for cross country with that typical Irish ability to find a fifth leg at all times. However her show jumping technique was not the best and she found this phase increasingly stressful. Once she progressed to Novice it became obvious that she was not going to be competitive and was no longer enjoying her eventing.


Late in 2002 we made the decision to loan and later sell Tyra to Bill and Angela Boniface where she took to her new role with immediate relish. Bill and Tyra whipped in for the Coakham Bloodhounds for 5 seasons, going first or last over the biggest hedges and through the heaviest ground without a second thought. It was as though she had found the job she was born to do.

In the spring of 2008, although still resolutely sound, Tyra was found to have serious damage to the tendons in her front leg and the sad decision was made to retire her at the age of 14. She was then loaned to a stud in Tunbridge Wells where, despite her age, she quietly and calmly produced a beautiful Arab cross foal last spring.  

The last time that we saw her was mid summer 2009, happily grazing with the other broodmares whilst her foal cantered around her in the sunshine. The plan was that she would be put back in foal this year.  Sadly this was not to be and Sunday morning Tyra was found dead in her stable, just as she had lived her life, quietly and with no sign of any fuss; we can only suspect a heart attack.  

Tyra went so much further than we could have predicted and spent her entire life with a friendly eye and her ears forward – she will be sadly missed.

March 4, 2010 Posted by | Our Horses | Leave a comment