Janine Lamy

Dumdedumdesploosh

I feel like I need to start this blog with an apology for not writing sooner. Whoops, we’ve been super busy and had a fantastic summer but the seasons have definitely changed and it’s time to look forward to different things. Winter is for training!

Bomber having fun

The Bomber has been up to all sorts; keeping it varied so that she doesn’t get bored with covering Ehren’s maternity leave. We were 2nd in the BE80 at Stratford Hills, have jumped round some BS British Novices at Felbridge and Cobham Manor, and have been taking advantage of the hacking and hills at Speedgate. She qualified for the Elementary Area Festival Final through Pachesham, has qualified for the Freestyle to Music Elementary Winter Regionals with great scores of 71% and 75%, and has done her first two mediums gaining around 68%. Unfortunately, the Area Festival Final at Parwood didn’t quite go to plan with her getting very overwhelmed in the arena, but she has never seen anything like it and my plans to have a practise run there were all thwarted. Moving forward I couldn’t be more pleased with how she’s going. She’s nearly got her changes both ways and I have my fingers crossed that we might try an easy Advanced Medium before the end of the year. Not bad for a funny little Irish pony that looks like she’s been built with spare parts. This time last year she was just coming back into work after a year off. She’s such a good girl and tries so hard…

Millie Little Downham BE100

Millie has had runs at BE 100 at Stratford Hills, Brightling Park, Chilham, Horseheath and Little Downham. Her dressage has come on in leaps and bounds thanks to some help from Damian Hallam, and she picked up 3rd at Horseheath. In her first three seasons of BE she has never had a XC penalty, how many horses can boast that? Her show-jumping on the other hand is not so easy. She will be practising this skill over the winter!

Comphurst Camp

We had two brilliant adult camps during the summer at Lodge Farm and Comphurst. They were both during glorious hot days, and we were utterly spoilt with evening BBQs to accompany our pony fun. Director of Nutrition at Simple System, Jane van Lennep, kindly came to both giving nutritional advice and interesting lunchtime talks. These were really well received giving riders plenty to think about, and challenging questions for me ever since!

Rodders – thirsty work!

We’ve continued with all the usual SJ and XC clinics, and I taught at another camp for Downe Hall Stables which was also great fun. Rodders is back in work and he joined in two of the XC clinics at Chilham Park and Hurstwood. Rod hadn’t been asked to go through water at that point and we knew it would probably be a bit of an issue for him. At Chilham we had agreed that he would just stand nearby and watch but he volunteered to go in, keen to follow the others. This caught us so much by surprise that we hadn’t really warned anyone what might happen next. Of course, as soon as he was up to his knees in moving water he panicked. He leaped and charged at full pelt straight for our friend Liz and her pretty bay mare. She had a fence behind her and was completely trapped. It very much looked like they were both going to get a ducking and she admitted to thinking ‘if I’m going down so is Martin’ and went to grab him as he arrived in a tidal wave of pond water!! For once the planets aligned and Martin managed to turn away without using them as a crash barrier. Rod stood stock still shaking like a leaf but did finish by going in and out happily several times. It was no surprise at Hurstwood though, when he planted at the edge of the water point blank refusing to even discuss it. Again, eventually he finished going in and out numerous times. His mother was never a huge water fan when she was younger so I expect he will do as much water schooling as Millie does SJ practice!

Baby Eryk

Now of course last time we spoke Ehren was due to head up to the maternity ward at Groomsbridge Stud with Sally and Tom Forster. I’m happy to say that in the middle of morning stables one July Friday, she gave birth to a beautiful chestnut colt. He’s confident and cheeky, and his name is Eryk. They came home after two weeks and have been the centre of attention ever since. Ehren is being such a fantastic mum. She’s really relaxed and chats away to him whenever he isn’t sure of something.

I have now completed the Centre 10 Applied Psychology for Equestrian Coaches Advanced Course. A brilliant course with podcasts and webinars to really make you think. I thoroughly recommend to other coaches and look forward to being able to offer support to interested riders.

Rod SJ schooling at Four Elms

Yesterday we started the winter series of SJ clinics at Four Elms, next week young Rodders will be making his dressage debut, then there are also monthly SJ clinics at Eaglesfield and East Bysshe starting. BomBoms will get out to flick her toes amongst the white boards and has lots of winter training planned to help us move up a level and we are in the middle of accepting applications for Team Lamy Wright Supported Riders 2020; a new initiative that we are really excited about. More about that next time!

October 13, 2019 Posted by | Camp, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

You plonker Rodney!

Millie Horseheath BE100

Millie had been very busy starting her event season. She’s been to Poplar and Munstead for the BE90s, jumping super slow double clears in both and picking up a 7th at Munstead. We then decided that it was time to try her first BE100 at Horseheath and she didn’t disappoint really trying her best with a pole SJ and clear XC. Millie can be quite tricky to train at home but she jumped a really measured XC round over what was a fairly technical and educational course. Absolutely delighted, and we were really looking forward to seeing what she made of Chilham the following weekend. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be….more on that later!

Bomber at Cobham BD

The Bomber completed her BD Area Festival and Regional qualification at Cobham in the Elementaries with around 69% in both tests and had a practise run for the Festivals at Pachesham with 67% and 68%. We’ve had some great flatwork lessons with Char working on her suppleness and getting her to carry herself; a bit of a working progress! She is doing a little of everything in order to see how sound she is, and keep it varied. She wouldn’t want to be limited to trotting pretty shapes. With that in mind we’ve been XC schooling, did the Munstead 80cm hunter trial, and have also done lots of clear round SJ practise at both Crockstead and Felbridge all with the aim of having a go at a BE80.

There’s been lots of busy clinics; XC schooling regularly at Lodge Farm, the regular Eaglesfield SJ clinics, and clinics at Carmen Court have started.

After the winter SJ clinics and pre-season XC schools it’s always brilliant to see everyone out eventing once the season gets going. The dressage divas have been out in force too and I headed up to Hartpury to support Heather and Okie at the BD Winter National Championships. I couldn’t have been prouder of Okie ‘Bad Boy’. He tried his very best and probably performed one of his best tests to date. What an amazing experience for them both.

Rodders at Comphurst XC

Young Rodders has a mixed school report, as seems to be the norm! He’d been ever so good with a trip out to East Bysshe to see the SJ arena, and XC schooling for the first time in a group at Comphurst. He really looks like he might have a proper pop in him. However, moving him onto summer paddocks saw him turn into a delinquent to turn out, being rather over-keen to get to the lovely grass. We’d just got to grips with this when he had what I can only refer to as a “you plonker” moment. It has been suggested that naming him Rodney has been a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy! Martin had stopped to check his girth and adjust his stirrups at the edge of the arena. Rodders didn’t want to stand still and struck out in temper with a front leg. Being a dufus, he put his giant soup bowl sized hoof through the fence. Uh-oh, panic stations, two metres of broken timber pulled underneath him, an unconscious Martin with a fractured rib and a broken collar bone. Stupid big idiotic creature. If Martin looks like he has put on weight next time you see him it is because I have lined all his clothes in bubble-wrap.

Bomber Borde Hill BE80

So with Martin off games, it was time for this rather rusty jockey to keep her promise to the Bomber and head off to Borde Hill for the BE80. I hadn’t evented for eight years and it was a rather gobsmacking twenty years since I last competed at Borde Hill so it’s fair to suggest I was a little apprehensive! The dressage was OK, a little unbalanced on the grass slope, but a tidy test. I found myself in the SJ warm-up (which is fairly steep) wondering when I last cantered downhill and decided since it was very much more than five years I had better focus on something else! Despite the cheeky pony halting on route to fence two we show-jumped clear, and then jumped a rather slow but great fun clear XC. It was her turn to help me out when I gave a masterclass in how not to come downhill to fence 6. Must keep thinking forwards next time!

Another month to go Ehren

Coming up the Beautiful One heads off to the Groomsbridge Stud maternity ward, gulp. BomBoms has the BD Area Festival at Pachesham, there are Stratford Hills and Brightling Park BE events, and our two summer camps at Lodge Farm and Comphurst. Young Rodders has thrown a small splint so he is having a quiet period of filling out and contemplating his misdemeanours!

June 7, 2019 Posted by | Camp, Carmen Court, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dressage dinosaur

We’ve been really busy with SJ clinics and another super day Arena Eventing schooling at Pyecombe. We’ve also had three pre-season XC schools at LMEQ, Munstead and Tweseldown. Millie’s event season starts on Saturday and she is quite beside herself!

Young Rodders

Rodney has come back into work and has had his first outing to the Four Elms SJ clinic. He was very well behaved. He is a very different kettle of fish to his little sister. He is mostly really laid back but gets himself into quite a pickle if he doesn’t understand something. The young lad also has a bit of a temper when he thinks he’s being hard done by. The funniest thing has been with our new arena mirrors. He is completely obsessed with the handsome bay dude!

Bomber at Petley Wood BD

Bomboms has continued to play dressage diva with Elementary outings at Petley Wood and Blue Barn BD. She is qualified for an Area Festival now, and also did a music clinic with Gaynor Colbourn. She is back in full work, and seems OK so far. She has had a flatwork session with Char, has dragged her mother around some small XC fences, and has been out and jumped an 80cm SJ round. Everything crossed that the Bomber is feeling more sprightly than the very rusty jockey!

Clients have been having a great time too. Mark qualified Harvey for the Prelim Silver BD Regionals, Heather has qualified Okie for the BD Winter Nationals in the Prelim Festival class, and Molly has been accepted by Voltaire Saddles onto their Junior Program. She has a lovely new jump saddle coming her way; lucky girl!

I’ve been on a couple of good courses recently, something that is only really possible to fit in during the winter. I did a fantastic coaches’ day with Andy Thomas “Creating rider symmetry to improve performance”. Aside from anything else it reminds you that we are all wonky, could all improve ourselves, and not to forget the effect that it can have on the horse. Then a couple of weeks ago I was at Bath Racecourse kick starting the Centre 10 Applied Psychology for Equestrian Coaches course for 2019. This side of things is something that has always interested me, and I did a day coaches’ course with Charlie a while back so I was really keen to get accepted for this. We were lucky enough to have elite athletes and coaches from other disciplines come and talk to us and have a guided tour around the University of Bath Sports Training Village. Wowsers, that place is something else. So inspirational.

Millie showing off!

At the end of last week Jane van Lennep, Director of Nutrition at Simple System came to the yard to assess the team and offer nutritional advice for the season ahead. Unfortunately the Bomber always looks like a goat at this time of year where her clip grows out a completely different colour but the other horses all look and feel great. Millie just couldn’t quite hold herself together for the whole visit. It’s a bit like squeezing a balloon into a box that is too small. Eventually it will burst out, and burst out she did!

However, she was a very good girl at the Munstead pre-season combined training in horizontal rain so let’s cross our fingers for Poplar and Munstead BE90s. BomBoms will hopefully get another dressage outing, and if she’s lucky some more fun jumping.

I have just realised that the unaffiliated dressage I had planned for Rodney is actually a fun fancy- dress day. How much trouble would I have been in as Martin walked him away from the lorry straight into a tyrannosaurus rex!! Best we give that one a swerve…

March 6, 2019 Posted by | Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dumdedumdewhoops

Oh dear, banana skin alert. Just as we were basking in the glory of having all the horses home and back in work Martin had a bit of a whoopsie with Rodders. Eight fractured ribs and a punctured lung, and we were only in walk! Out for a quiet hack in the field and the big lad was spooking at the cars on the road. No biggie but being a dufus he then fell over on a bank, Martin tried to hold onto him and bang. A neat soup-bowl shaped section of ribs moving and a rather disconcerting bubbling feeling. An ambulance, chest specialist, helicopter (unused), few days in hospital and short period of box rest later we are back in business. I always say it’s just as well you have no idea what’s heading your way when you wake up in the morning. Martin was very lucky.

As you can imagine I was rather busy trying to keep his horses ticking over and carrying on with all the normal activities. We’ve been busy with the last XC school of the year, lots of SJ clinics, an Arena eventing clinic at Pyecombe, and some Pony Club B+ assessing.

Progressing to ridden work

BomBoms has also been very busy. I’ve continued with the groundwork and am now onto ridden work which she has taken to well. I’m finding it really rather interesting and can see small benefits already in her reactions elsewhere. She’s been quite the dressage diva with two BD outings and four red frillies. She did two prelims at Eaglesfield BD winning them both overall and one test well into the 70% club, then at Hadlow BD we ended up doing her first Novice and Elementary. This rather bold move could have left me with serious quantities of egg on my face but she tried her very best winning her Novice section with 66% and the Elementary overall with nearly 68%. There is lots to work on and plenty of room for improvement for higher marks but bless her she’s only been back in full work for a couple of months and has never been asked for medium trot. Go Bomber!!

Bomber turns diva

Worried that she wasn’t the centre of attention Ehren has developed non ulcerative keratitis in her damaged eye and then she also came into season. The vets were a little concerned that although pregnant mares can come into season, it was quite early in her pregnancy. Fortunately the scan was fine but we have decided not to treat her eye until later on unless we have to (as it isn’t in any way sore). Oh Ehren, always keeping me on my toes.

Last weekend was the annual BD National Convention which was as always very interesting. Lots of relaxed, supple, happy horses. A blueprint for us to aim for. I try to fit in training through the year when I can but am really pleased to be accepted on the Centre 10 Applied Psychology for Equestrian Coaches course next year, something more meaty for me to get my teeth into and an area that I’ve always been very interested in.

Coming up BomBoms really will be put to the test with a music clinic, there’s some more BD on the horizon and I expect we will drag Martin out for some BS practise over Xmas. XC schooling dates are already set for January onwards – it won’t be long now!

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Pony Club, Results | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dumdedumdedum

Starting work with a flag

Walking over tarpaulin

Well I can’t tell you how nice it is to have everyone home where they belong, and especially good to be riding my girls again. The cheeky little Bomber is home looking like she made full use of the all inclusive buffet on her year out. Next door is her bestie; a pregnant Ehren (yahoo!). She has been scanned in foal to Furst Toto (Furstenball / Totilas / Londonderry) and has also had the all clear to return to work as her suspensory has healed. She won’t be doing much, and certainly nothing stressful, but some gentle work to keep her moving and help strengthen her leg properly until she tells me that she’s had enough. Saying that she came back into the school like something from a wild west movie. Serious brave pants were required and a leap of faith to actually get onboard! I have also started some groundwork with Bombie to see if I can help her trust the human world a bit more as she is generally frightened of her own shadow. Quite how successful this will be for her bravery I don’t know but I’ve tentatively suggested we might do some winter dressage in the place of Ehren who I’m guessing will be on the sofa in her dressing gown eating gerkins straight from the jar.

Rodders goes log jumping

Rodney has been such a good boy. Where to start? He’s jumped his first weeny fences, worn his first rugs, had his first shoes, and even had his first trip out on the lorry. With only four or so jump sessions at home we took him down the road to go up and down hills and pop some logs. He was an absolute star and we have seen lots of benefits back in the school already. One of the reasons that we have gathered a few horses over the years (ahem) is because I love having youngsters. They are so rewarding! The giant dufus is gathering a little fan club #dumdedumdedum

Millie loving her XC

Millie is back in full work and after a XC schooling session at Lodge Farm to assess how she was feeling after her enforced summer holiday she has been to Keysoe, Little Downham and Tweseldown BE90s. We are delighted with how she has performed as she looks so much more robust now at this level. Her dressage has been rather tense but she has really jumped well, especially XC which appears to be her strength. She is now off to Horseheath to finish the season.

Fingers crossed Lily seems a lot happier on her feet and has been XC schooled a few times. The biggest problem we have now is her know-it-all gingerness. We are never going to tame her but even having a say is proving elusive! So good that she is feeling better though. We will see what a winter of training brings….

Clients have had a great year. I love seeing how everyone progresses and it’s always great to see the ones that put in so much effort being rewarded. We’ve been blessed with good BE results, BS results and fingers crossed we are hoping that Heather and Okie may have qualified for the BD Winter Nationals at Hartpury with a great result in the Festival Semi-Final at Codham Park. It’s also fantastic to see Mark’s Harvey back out after eight months in sick-bay, and Debbie and Jazz’s first outing in three years; both riders straight into the 70%. Back in the game!

As always there is lots on, perhaps including an indoor dressage outing with BomBoms. Her last was three years ago. She got to X on the centre line, reared, spun and legged it back to the warm-up. I’ll let you know how we get on!

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back in the room!

So with the horses all in sick-bay I found some Lamy-time and took myself to the doctor about a few minor niggles. Tests showed that I was deficient in Vitamin B12. No biggie but a couple of weeks of injections and I feel like a completely different person. This is no exaggeration, in comparison I feel like Tigger! I knew I was tired, but we all work hard long hours and there’s always someone driving themselves harder than you. I realise now in hindsight there was also a heavy fog in my head. I have just gone back to my holiday emails to see what I booked – seriously! I had no idea that I was unwell until I was better. So just to warn you all – I’m back in the room!!!!

Rodney meets the dentist

We’ve been pretty busy on the training front. Some of the dressage divas have been out doing great things with some 70% club scores and Area Festival outings. We’ve had some all day clinics at Tweseldown, Adds Farm and Lodge Farm. As always these were great fun. Things have tapered off a little now with the XC venues being so hard and the arenas everywhere riding so deep. Thank goodness for the recent rain.

It became pretty clear that young Rodders was still very jumpy and nervous, and after bolting with Martin onboard and burying him the other side of the arena in the fence we decided that perhaps he needed some more life skills before we try that again. With Martin so busy abroad with work and summer Pony Club commitments we sent him to Myles West down the road for four weeks work. Myles did an amazing job with him. It was really interesting to hear his plan of action and pop in to watch progress, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. Before we sent him off he had his vaccinations, farrier for a trim, and the dentist and coped with this all really well. We then did some loading practise which he very quickly got his head around, all leading me to believe that he’s a very nice boy who just has some issues understanding things around him. Am excited to have him home now where we have lots more work to do teaching him new things. So far he’s been out on the stubble all by himself and trotted his first coloured pole. How exciting!

 

Ehren tidies up at Groomsbridge

I can’t wait to have everyone home again. The Bomber looks like a child’s roly poly Thelwell. You wait until you see some photos of that one. She will come home fairly soon. Ehren isn’t playing ball on the pregnancy front. Our first two attempts failed completely, and although we got an embryo on our third attempt there was nothing on the heartbeat scan. Sally and Rossdales are doing a fantastic job. We’ve found out more about her hormones and rather chaotic ovaries while she has been away. The list of people I would trust to look after the Beautiful One is very short indeed, and she looks completely relaxed and happy. One more try before the stud closes. Come on Ehren! On the positive, her suspensory injury looks good now.

Jasmine’s Lottie at Cobham BD

Lottie who I ride for Jasmine has seen Char a couple of times before heading out to Oldencraig and Cobham BD. At Cobham she was really smart and got 76% in both her Prelim and her Novice. Tinka has been continuing with her rehab work on the lunge and over poles. I have just started to ride her now in the hope that she will go home soon ready to crack on with work.

Millie practising her SJ

Great news from Lily and Millie. Lily looks sound and Millie has had the go ahead from the vet to start jumping work so both have quietly been practising at home. We decided that a trip to Felbridge was in order to gauge how they were feeling. Last time we went to Felbridge with Lily she explained in no uncertain terms that she wasn’t up for this any more so I was a little nervous about what she might say. Two clear rounds over the 70cm and 80cm. Gulp! We are still very cautious as she has bruising coming through her soles, and she could feel the stones in the carpark but it’s safe to say that the little tough ginger is feeling more comfortable than she was. Millie too was fab, just a little opinionated and strong but jumped the 80cm and 90cm nicely. She hasn’t reverted to loony-toons which is a relief. Lots of clear rounds from the girls. It was so good to be out.

Contemplating this pregnancy mallarky with a Lucie Brix

Huge congratulations must go to fellow local Simple System rider Ashleigh Hill who won her Novice Silver Regionals on her homebred mare. The stuff that dreams are made of. I repeat, come on Ehren!

What we do next very much depends on the weather and the ground. We are hoping we might XC school Millie at the weekend. Pack your parachute Martin!! Then maybe we might get Millie to some events before the end of the year but we need some more of the wet stuff. Nice to be looking forward to things!

August 1, 2018 Posted by | Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New kid on the block

OK so when I said in my last blog that ‘it never rains but it pours’ I may have had some weird sixth sense. I mentioned that Millie had banged her leg in the field, well after a couple of weeks there was a very slight lump about the size of my thumb on the inside of her leg. Unfortunately scans showed slight damage to the digital flexor tendon and check ligament so young Millipede has been off games for a while. We’ve since had the go ahead to start working her and we have another scan planned for mid July to check on progress.  

As I mentioned in my last blog, her older sister the Ginger Rocket has not been herself for about 18 months and although we’ve had good days, generally things haven’t been great and I kept thinking that she was feeling the ground in front. Poor Lily was bilaterally lame with paper thin soles. She is styling out some goo in her feet, in the hope that we can get her feet to grow a bit and encourage the soles to regenerate. We also x-rayed her spine and that wasn’t especially great news either with some regrowth and one quite large bone spur. Fingers crossed we can help Lily be more comfortable, even if it turns out that she can’t be ridden. It won’t be for not trying.

The Bomber left home for her holidays and being a good girl sends regular post cards usually starting “OMG you won’t believe….”

So that leads us to the Bomber’s BFF Ehren. Well you all know that the Beautiful One had a weekend away with the family planned in Gloucestershire for the BD Winter Championships. Something that we had spent the winter preparing for; hours of riding and competing in freezing temperatures and sideways rain….. Well the day before we were due to leave she came out of her stable lame. I was so shocked. She has many foibles but in six years never a lame step. Disaster. I was absolutely gutted I must admit and was just as close to punching someone (anyone, I wasn’t going to be fussy) as I was to bursting into tears. So another one to the vets to find that she has a lesion in a front suspensory. Looking back I think that this had maybe been bumbling away under the surface for a couple of months. Despite making progress on our Inter I movements, we weren’t on our best form and a few times she nearly had me off. My left pinky now points at ‘ten to’.

I am sure if you are a school teacher everyone looks at your children and judges you. So following that logic what on earth would people have made of the trainer whose horse got loose at the vets and galloped around the arena like a wild mustang dragging a lunge rope behind it in a cloud of dust.  I said to her “Ehren you are making me look like an idiot, this is not good for business” and she looked at me with those big brown eyes…..

In my infinite wisdom I then decided that it would be a good opportunity for her to have slightly longer off and have a foal. What I should have done was invite people round to watch me setting fire to fifty pound notes. It would have been cheaper. We had no luck with the first insemination; in fact all that happened was that a stay at the vets really upset her. Today she left home and went up to our friends at the Groomsbridge Stud. If anyone can get her pregnant, Sally can. It is so weird not seeing her when I drive through the yard gates. She’s been a huge part of my life for six years and we are mates. In her place the ego that is Tinka has come back to us to work off some of her baby blubber so that Sally can start riding her again. One of Martin’s favourite horses ever. He can’t wait to see her cheeky face over the stable door.

Handsome young man

Last but not least that leads us to the arrival of young Rodney. Rodney is four years old by MedNight Mahout out of Martin’s Intermediate mare (big) Lexie. He is around 17 hands and not anything like our little girls. He’s been living at Stud UK for the last two years and in the last six weeks they’ve done a great job taming him. He’s arrived as a very friendly, if slightly nervous, young man. So far he has been very good and tried everything. The only thing he has reacted to was being asked to trot with the roller on for the first time. His sister did exactly the same when we asked her to move the first time with me on her. He is a LOT taller on two legs!     

Learning some steering

Jockey on

Bit of lunging

June 10, 2018 Posted by | Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses | , , , | 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