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

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

Chicken Dinners!

The Black Bomber wins at Horseheath

The Black Bomber wins at Horseheath

Well that’s quite scary. The summer has been and gone and we are now experiencing the first of the autumnal mornings. I am so pleased with Little Lexi’s performance at Horseheath BE80. She and Martin only went and won it!  She led from the front on her dressage score of 22.0 with a double clear inside the time. Absolutely amazeballs! I know there will be lots more ups and downs with the troublesome child but finally a little sign of how good she could be. Hoo-Hah!!! Go the Black Bomber!!

Lily also went to Horseheath and was rather more affected by travelling with another horse. Also the dressage was right next to the XC and Lily was very feisty, hot and ginger! I have seen worse dressage tests from her but certainly not her best. Her SJ round in contrast was the best I have seen her do at BE100. She looked a class act and really confident now. Then on the XC she just jumped in too big at a combination not really giving herself room to get out. She still has a bit to learn having not done many at this level. The result may not look great on paper but we are really pleased with how much more robust she is now.

We had a super last camp of the year at Adds Farm. A really great bunch of ladies and some amazing weather to boot! All the Pony Club camps I taught and examined at were also very lucky with the weather. It has been a very dry summer. We’ve also been jumping at Eaglesfield, Bonfleur, and Carmen Court. It’s hard to believe that the next jumping clinic will be the first one of the winter series at Four Elms.

We were so very sad to say goodbye to Ivy in August. She was such a character and will be very much missed. Laura and Tina did an amazing job of looking after her. She was 25 years old and had started to get recurring laminitis as a result of Cushing’s Disease. It was her time. We all have so many fun memories of a very feisty but generous mare.

Ehren wins the Medium Bronze at the Area Festival

Ehren wins the Medium Bronze at the Area Festival

When I was injured back before Christmas I realised that I would not be able to qualify Ehren in time for the Summer Regionals at Elementary so I decided to try the Area Festivals at Medium instead and maybe work towards her first Advanced Medium. As it has turned out; not only has she done her first Advanced Medium but has also done her first Advanced, and she qualified for the Areas at both Medium and Advanced Medium. She has had an amazing year. Oldencraig is really not her favourite venue but it is local so we thought it was worth a try. When she is good she is very good and she amazed us by winning the Petplan Equine Area Festival Medium Bronze class qualifying for the BD Winter Championships at Hartpury. Oh wow, what a superstar. The realisation of a mounted prizegiving, wearing a sash and doing a lap of honour was cause for some serious putting on of brave pants. A whole host of friends and clients were lined up with their mobile phones all hoping to be the first person to post on Facebook the video of Janine getting bucked off!! Thankfully we were a huge disappointment and although it was the slowest lap of honour you have ever seen (a large portion of it was in walk!), we lived to tell the tale. What a good girl. A constant rollercoaster keeping her happy and healthy but so worth it. Mind you, quite how I am going to help her cope with Hartpury I don’t know!

Coming up there are a few more horse trials left; South of England, Little Downham and Littleton. Ehren’s efforts will be concentrated on having another go at Advanced when we are ready. I expect we will also think about some Autumn Hunting for the Bomber. She’ll like that.

September 5, 2016 Posted by | Camp, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Pony Club, Results | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer silly season

As always the summer months are jam packed busy. With this in mind and since Ehren had lost a bit of weight she has had an easier time and I have concentrated my efforts on getting Little Lexi back up and running.

Lexi at the jump clinic

First of all, as she had been off for so long, I took the opportunity to have back specialist Rob Jackson come and take a look at her. I had heard some interesting things about him and wasn’t disappointed. He threw the Bomber around her stable, pulled and yanked her body parts and when he left she was an inch taller at the withers and two inches wider between the front legs. Wonder what he could do for me?! She feels much looser, much easier to straighten and all together more ‘normal’. I am really pleased with the difference. A few weeks later Martin jumped her at the clinic at home and she looked awesome. I took her for a jump lesson with Vicky Gosling and she said she looked like a different horse, athough I must admit there was a fair amount of drama asking her to walk through the yard to get to the arena. I also have to admit to a hack with her that resulted in me leaving one of my spurs broken on a fence three quarters of the way round, ahem! Next she was off to Felbridge with Martin for Clear Round, and then she went XC schooling to Lodge Farm with me where she was on fire, and then jumped like a star at Petley Wood with Martin. This is a new venue to her and quite spooky. She was only let down by the old man having a ‘specsavers moment’ and going from fence 7 straight to fence 11. Fortunately, she thinks she did a fabulous job and I am hoping that we have done all the necessary preparation for her second BE80 which is at a new venue Horseheath this weekend. Tune in next month to find out how it went!  

The ducks don't answer back

The ducks don’t answer back

We have been very busy on the clinic front with several SJ clinics at Eaglesfield, Carmen Court, and Felbridge, plus a super all-day clinic at Tweseldown. Finally, a fun Friday without the drama of an accident on the M25. Just a shame that Louisa was still in hospital so there are no pictures of the day. Tweseldown are keen to promote training and are changing the XC course every month with this in mind. We had a great time! I have also been XC schooling at Nurstead which is always good for a top up, and regularly at local venue Lodge Farm where you can guarantee good ground. The Pony Club camp season has started and I had a day with the Ashford Valley doing dressage training. Some of them were so well informed on test riding they should have been teaching me! Plenty more PC days to come….

So many regular clinic clients are having a fun and successful BE season. I love following their progress and seeing them at events. The dressage divas have been a little quiet but are soon to be out in force too with the Area Festivals coming up.

Lily has been supporting Willberry Wonder Pony

Lily has been supporting Willberry Wonder Pony

So what of the Ginger Rocket? Lily went to Tweseldown BE90 to knock the rust off. This turned out to be the right decision as although she was second after the dressage, she took one SJ out at the roots and had a silly stop on the XC (although that seemingly straightforward fence did catch out 40 odd other competitors). Next they headed off to Eridge for another BE90 and she was totally awesome coming 3rd with a double clear inside the time. So it was time to step back up to BE100, which she did at Chilham; the very place that she crashed in the spring! No such error of judgement this time, she jumped a super clear inside the time and had one unlucky pole SJ. She looked great, and was having a ball again. So nice to see her with her ears pricked galloping and looking for the next fence. What’s more I managed to get permission to drive Louisa around in my car so we had photos. Yay!  It almost made up for the carpark assistant saying to me “you can park your car over there sir”.

Lily and Martin Chilham BE100

Lily and Martin Chilham BE100

Lots more clinics coming up to finish the summer, Horseheath BE for both Lily and Little Lexi, some PC camps, PC examining, and Martin will be off to the PC Championships. There is also adult camp at Adds Farm, and hopefully both clients and Ehren are off to the first of the BD Area Festivals, then I think it is time for a holiday!

August 8, 2016 Posted by | Camp, Carmen Court, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Pony Club, Results | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

April Fool Dressage

Lily SJ at Munstead BE100

Lily SJ at Munstead BE100

I can’t believe that not only is the eventing season fully underway but we are already in April! Lily started her season at Poplar Park BE90 and was remarkably relaxed by her standards. She had a great run and finished on 39.0 after having a pole in the SJ where she was rather too keen. She then headed to Munstead for the BE100 and in contrast was a little hormonal and distracted and had two rather unnecessary poles SJ so Martin just gave her a slow school around the XC to get her thinking. She was absolutely awesome over the brown sticks and was really looking forwards to South of England as it would have been her first real test at this level, but unfortunately they have had to cancel.

Little Lexi SJ schooling

Little Lexi SJ schooling

I continued schooling outings with Little Lexi. We went back to Munstead to SJ school in their grass arena, XC schooled at Lodge Farm, and SJ schooled again down the road at Team Manhatten. I had made the decision after the pre-season combined training antics that I would put Martin on her for her first few events as he is much stronger and gung-ho than me and I hoped he would be able to pick her up by the scruff of her neck and fire her forwards. I am pretty sure once you get her thinking this way her confidence will grow and grow. So pick her up by the scruff of her neck he did! The 12 year old boy in him made an appearance in the SJ arena at Munstead BE80 but it worked and she jumped a clear. She also jumped clear around the XC, albeit rather too quickly where he was trying to keep her in front of his leg. So a very educational trip out for her, excellent. Love it when a plan comes together!

Galloping home at Munstead BE80 with Martin

Galloping home at Munstead BE80 with Martin

Next up I took her for a jumping lesson with show-jumper Vicky Gosling. This was brilliant and just what we need. She is absolutely lovely but totally kicked my butt. Constantly at me on my position and the quality of our canter flatwork. Then there was my position over a fence…..oh dear, rather a lot of homework. She thought Lexi was lacking mileage and it is time to get out more, plus I need to be MUCH more disciplined about her staying in front of my leg. This sounds easy enough but there was at least twenty-five minutes in canter, some of which was on an 8m circle drilling us both. Lots to work on.  I hadn’t appreciated just how much weaker my flatwork is in the jumping saddle. Discipline Lamy, discipline!

So then we had a mad morning back at Munstead for the hunter trial to see if we could keep repeating the forward message. Martin was on at 9am because he was needed at Addington Manor at 11am as Quiz Master for the PC Championships! It all worked out really well with her going much much better and Martin screeching into the carpark at Addington at 10.53am. Phew. Especially pleased with the Bomber. Sadly a few days later her off hind was fat and infected again. A little worrying that the abscess she had back in September, the fat leg in January and this are all linked.

Mille after her winter out

Mille after her winter out

Somewhere in the middle of all that we picked up young Millie. Bless her, she walked straight out of her field with her mates and straight up the lorry lamp. Since then Martin has been onboard and she has had her first canter under saddle. She has been a different horse this time; so much more relaxed and really sweet and friendly. She is now the proud owner of two front shoes!

We had a great SJ clinic at Eaglesfield but unfortunately lost most of the planned XC clinic at Bonfleur due to the awful Easter weekend weather. Fortunately, it had cheered up a bit for the Pony Club Area 11 Mock B Test day at Crockstead where I was assessing the SJ.

Ehren back out after 6 months

Ehren back out after 6 months

After six months away from competing due to my injuries, and then Ehren getting a winter cough, it was time to get back out there. We headed off to Oldencraig BD on April Fool’s Day no less, fully expecting fireworks. I am not saying my daughter is manipulative but she must have been fluttering her long eyelashes and nuzzling her Grandad because he very kindly has decided to join the sponsorship gang and support her dressage outings. As an aside Lily has the Unions involved and is mounting a campaign “equal rights for grand-children”! Anyway, I digress…..we have form at Oldencraig and I had visions of a wild one. Totally threw me to find that my pony was dozing in the sunshine, and even dare I say it, rather lazy in the first test. In hindsight I could probably have asked more from her, and didn’t really feel back on our game until the second half of the second test. However, we are new to Medium and were rather ring rusty so absolutely thrilled to get 65% in both tests and two red frillies, especially as I know there is much better work in there. What a good girl.

So plans as always are changeable with South of England cancelled and Lexi on three legs but we are hoping to do Munstead unaffiliated and Chilham horse trials. Ehren is hopefully back out next week, and Jasmine’s Lottie too. We have the first SJ clinic of the summer season at Carmen Court, more clinics at Eaglesfield and XC schooling at Lodge Farm and Bonfleur…..woohoo!

April 7, 2016 Posted by | Carmen Court, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Pony Club, Results, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No rush to be an event pony

Emma schooling at Lodge Farm

Emma schooling at Lodge Farm

Wowsers, August is always so mad. There has been lots of SJ schooling. We have been to Eaglesfield, Felbridge and had our last summer clinic at Carmen Court. We’ve been XC schooling at Lodge Farm, more adult camps at Adds Farm and also our PC camp at Ardingly, plus a day examining B test in the most awful rain! The weather has been shocking!

Piaffe instead of halt!

Piaffe instead of halt!

Lily had her first run at BE100 at Chilham. She was in a mega feisty mood and galloped through each phase at speed. Her dressage judge was twenty minutes late and although Martin got off and quietly stood under a tree she was furious to have been kept waiting. As he was trying to salute she was in piaffe and as his hand went back to the reins she ran backwards up the centre line at warp speed. All this was making me feel very nervous indeed. It has not been uncommon for Martin to eat sand when Lily is in this mood. She cantered into the SJ arena and grabbed the reins out of his hands, locked onto the double going backwards and shot off with Martin desperately trying to veer away. My heart was pounding in my ears. Not sure whether to vomit or cry I watched them gallop to the first fence steeplechase style…..clunk! Fortunately after having two early poles down she seemed to settle into her rhythm happy that Martin had adopted the role of silent passenger (like he had a choice!) She was most certainly not in any way concerned that the fences had got bigger. Onto the XC warm-up and Martin dared to offer an opinion. Not when she’s in this mood Martin! They got straddled over the warm-up fence and I walked up the hill to the start thinking about how much I was enjoying the experience. 5…4….3….2…1 and off they go, Lily was on fire and not prepared to listen to anyone. All going well until she over-jumped the ditch in the middle of the coffin and chested the log out. Undaunted she trotted a circle, popped it and continued on her way, finishing full of running and bluster. So that was it, the first BE100 done only 18 months after being eliminated in the BE80 SJ at the same event. Lily does not make life easy but she has needed to be a tough nut to work through her problems. At Chilham Lily had her boxing gloves on!

Ehren at BlueBarn BD

Ehren at BlueBarn

Back to the serenity of dressage and Ehren headed off to BlueBarn BD for the Elementaries. This is a new venue for her and all part of the plan for seeing new places. If she had been wild to warm up I was prepared not to ride the test, just put her away and bring her out to warm up again until she had more confidence. However she warmed up really well and was much better than normal in a new place. The first test was very tense and the canter particularly fragile with a few extra unscheduled dance moves. However she spooked then carried on with the test, she wasn’t completely beside herself like she has been this year. In the second test she was much calmer and got a qualifying score which is pleasing. The aim is to qualify for the Elementary Winter Regionals if I can, then play a bit more at Medium. However over-riding any of that is a plan to keep it calm and help her gain her confidence in the arena. So far so good….

Talking of dressage divas (big) Lexie and her new rider Beverly only went and won the overall ride-off to become Freestyle Dressage to Music Rider at the Pony Club Championships! How amazing is that? After five years off having babies, and only five months with Beverly. Amazeballs!

Rodney, aged one!

Rodney, aged one!

Martin has been up to visit young Rodney and I am amazed that Lexie could produce such a giant of a son. I think I can look forward to being an owner; best go and buy a hat! At one year old he is already about 15.3 hands high and has knees and hocks like dinner plates.

After her debut at BE100 we thought Lily ought to drop back down to BE90 again at Firle. She was in a much easier mood and cruised round looking well within her comfort zone to finish on her dressage score and get a 5th place. We were very pleased…..she has been placed four times this year and very much exceeded any expectations. Last event of the year will be Munstead BE100.

I had promised that I would get Lexi out and about and she has pushed back at that idea with ailment after ailment. We currently have an abscess in our hoof and missed Chilham ODE. She is clearly in no rush to be an event pony!

September 6, 2015 Posted by | Camp, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Millie starts school!

Millie starts work

Millie starts work

In the absence of Tinka we brought Millie home so that we could back her and get her a little more civilised. She is only just three and a bit of a midget so we won’t be doing very much with her. In three weeks we have progressed from her behaving like a wild thing and screaming like a banshee when we tried to touch her back legs (I kid you not!) to being led short distances with me onboard around the school. Most things she has tolerated really well, but when she isn’t sure she is very quick to react. Like the first time we asked her to move with me onboard. Ahem….

I have now done my first two camps at Adds Farm in glorious sunshine. Adds is a lovely venue and Sue is a great host. If you fancy organising a group of friends for a camp, then Sue is your woman.

Little Lexi at Lodge Farm

Little Lexi at Lodge Farm

Lexi has been continuing with the hacking with mixed results. What really bugs me is that when she gives in and walks past whatever monstrous thing it is that I have pointed her at, she doesn’t even glance at it. She just walks straight past it. So, not really that scared then are you?! I did nip over to Lodge Farm for a quick XC school earlier in the month, and Eaglesfield for a SJ school last week and she was mostly very good. On the plus side she is jumping well, when I finally crack her attitude and persuade her that life can be fun she will be great. Nobody else in our family behaved like this as a teenager, I can’t imagine where she gets it from. School parents evening was always very much looked forward to in our house. “If only all the girls could be like Janine” the teachers used to say…..

I decided that Ehren needed to start seeing some new venues now that we are up and running again. So we headed off to Belmoredean (Step Aside) and she did not disappoint (or rather she did!). So there is now a plan to have some lessons away from home so that Char can help me tame the beast and come up with a plan. Since then however, she has had a reaction to being vaccinated and has been in sickbay. Well of course. My sickly child. The one we should keep locked away in the attic.

Lily at Brightling Park BE90

Lily at Brightling Park BE90

Lily and Martin went to Stratford Hills BE90. She looked amazing, did a much improved dressage test for 26.3 (OMG!), then went on to jump a lovely clear SJ. I was walking over to the XC telling myself not to get excited but I couldn’t entirely prevent myself from thinking it might be Lily’s day. It wasn’t, they had a spooky refusal at the most straight forward fence on the course. Agh! So after a little chat with the jockey about following his own advice (ride every fence like you are expecting a refusal) they headed off to Brightling Park BE90. This time she was in season so we didn’t expect much but she was pretty relaxed and got a 31 dressage, one pole SJ and clear inside the time XC to finish 6th. Clever Ginger Rocket!

Lily and Lexi in the morning mist!

Lily and Lexi in the morning mist!

There has been lots on; SJ sessions, clinics at home and away, and on Friday we had an excellent schooling day at LMEQ with SJ in the morning and XC in the afternoon. Morgan and Smurf qualified for the Pony Club Championships in the Open Dressage – excellent stuff! Plus I hear that (big) Lexie did too with her new mum Beverly. Top job girls!

Coming up Little Lexi has some outings planned again. And breathe…..wish me luck!

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Camp, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Pony Club, Results, Schooling | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The importance of two sponges

Little Lexi SJ schooling

Little Lexi SJ schooling

We’ve had a busy few weeks getting Little Lexi and Tinka ready for their first events. I finally got around to buying Lexi her own saddle; a lovely second hand Devoucoux which puts me in much better balance and makes everything feel a lot easier. I have to say I love it and Lexi seems happier too.

Having fun at Bonfleur despite the weather!

Having fun at Bonfleur despite the weather!

She XC schooled at Lodge Farm and Bonfleur and is gaining in confidence and thoroughly enjoying herself. I also schooled two groups at Bonfleur in what I think is probably the worst weather I have ever schooled in. The wind and rain was something else but fortunately the horses took no notice and we carried on smiling! We also SJ schooled Lexi at LMEQ, and I was especially pleased with this as she was far less green than at the Munstead combined training.

Little Lexi's first ever XC round

Little Lexi’s first ever XC round

So of course the moment had to come for us to leave the start box; the first time for Lexi ever and the first time for me in four years. Gulp! We headed off to Munstead Hunter Trial and our task was to jump around the BE80 course. Crikey she went green, not at all bold and confident like her recent schooling sessions but wobbling and spooking at the fence judges and their cars. It was just hard work just getting her to the fences and then getting her to look at them! We got round but have work to do before we can enter a BE event. I have to remind myself that a year ago she had a habit of bolting. We have come a long way already and I love her to bits, she is a lot of fun.

Tinka practising her flatwork

Tinka practising her flatwork

Char has been up again and helped us with Tinka and Little Lexi. Tinka is looking really smart and has also XC schooled at Bonfleur and LMEQ. We are very excited about her this year; she will go to South of England Novice for her first event.

Lily went to Munstead for her first BE90 and did us very proud by jumping double clear. Anyone that has followed Lily’s story will understand what an achievement this is. I can’t tell you how chuffed I was. Her dressage however was something else (I found it best to pretend they weren’t with me). She was very fired up, left the arena more than once, and for the first time ever Martin’s score started with a 4. She also got loose in the lorry park. We wouldn’t want everything to be easy now would we?!

At 20 years old Tiny is continuing to enjoy her competing with Clare. Just recently she was 2nd in her arena and Team 1st in the Riding Clubs Area 10 combined training to qualify them for the Festival of the Horse. The following day they were at BlueBarn for the Le Trec and they won both their classes finishing up Champion in the Starters and Intermediates. Clever old stick!

XC schooling Tinka at LMEQ

XC schooling Tinka at LMEQ

On Monday we took Lexi, Lily and Tinka to LMEQ for some clear round showjumping. It was really interesting as Lexi went very green again, having to go straight into the arena and jump without warming up in there. We need to do this a lot more! Lily jumped two lovely rounds, and Tinka was very perky popping round the 1m10 for fun.

Easter holidays mean I am very busy with training. Yesterday I was at the Area 11 Pony Club C+ and B Training Day at Crockstead doing the flatwork assessments all afternoon. I love this kind of work; loads of candidates came forward including two of our North West Kent girls, and everyone said how useful it is in preparing for the exam proper. In contrast today I was doing D and D+ tests for a local Pony Club Centre. One young girl was very serious in explaining why she needed two sponges in her grooming kit. “One is for the face” she explained, showing me how to gently wipe around the eyes. “You need to rinse it out between wipes so that it is always clean” she went on. “OK” I said, quite impressed with how grown up she was sounding, “what is the other sponge for?” “That” she said, still looking very serious, “is for bums and poo juice.”

April 8, 2015 Posted by | Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Pony Club, Results, Schooling | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas and Happy 2015!

Humungafoal on the right!

Humungafoal!

Where to start?! Well 2014 saw us gain two new family members in Rodney and Billy. You know when you order something on the internet and you think you clicked on the right size but when it comes you ordered an extra-large? Billy is like a big yellow antelope squished into the back of my little car with arms and legs awkwardly pressed up against the windows, and Rodney has been nicknamed humungafoal (measuring 15 hands at 8 months).

Tinka and Martin had a great year for the Groomsbridge Stud and breeders/owners Sally and Tom Forster, the highlight of which was a win in their Novice section at Firle BE. They are now qualified for a Novice Regional Final and a CIC* and on top of all that Tinka had an embryo flush to German jump stallion Diarado. Woo-hoo!

Lily progress

Lily progress

The thing that we are most proud of this year is small, angry and ginger. Lily has made great steps forward finishing her first season at BE80. It may sound insignificant but to come through what she has is testament to how tough she is. She is more opinionated and tricky than anything I know (as I write this Martin has a hoof-print shaped bruise on his thigh). It is just as well he is both patient and stubborn in equal measure!!

Little Lexi is slowly building up her skills, hopefully for some proper parties in 2015. Ivy, now 23 is still enjoying her retirement with Laura and Tina Reeves. Tiny, despite being 19 is doing a fabulous job competing with Claire Drury and Dartford and District Riding Club. They were placed at the Milton Keynes three day event this spring. Millie, now 2, looks quite smart and her mother Lexie is now home and back in work. It’s great to have her home but due to lack of space she will be looking for a loan home in the spring. It’s a shame as she looks amazing. That just leaves Ehren….

Well….starting high….she scored some 9s at the Winter Regionals. Wow, I knew she had it in her but 9s?! Go girl! We then lost much of the year with a virus that took months to clear and gastric problems, very frustrating. A recent return to form needs to hang around us a little while longer before I am cracking out the champagne, but I do have a bottle at the ready! Fingers crossed for 2015 Ehren.

Morgan National Side-saddle Champion

Morgan National Side-saddle Champion

Enough about us. Three horses went to the BD Winter Championships at Hartpury with Debbie and Morgan, a fantastic achievement. Lots of BD successes throughout the year from you all which is fabulous. Morgan also had an amazing side-saddle season, doing absolutely brilliantly to be the youngest ever rider to win National Side-saddle Rider of the Year. Wowsers!

The BE gang have also done brilliantly with Jules leading the way being placed in every event she entered including her debut at BE100 and a win at Munstead in the BE90. Great stuff, we love catching up with you all at events.

As usual lots of great show-jumping and cross country clinics with both old friends and new faces. We have used some new venues and tried some different things doing Workers clinics and Side-Saddle Equitation Jumping. Most of all they are always great fun and we are very lucky to have Louisa provide some excellent photography to accompany the day. We also did several camps at Adds Farm this year, plus my own camp at Bedgebury which possibly included one of the funnier evenings this year. If Carlsberg did camps….!

Herman doing his polework

Herman doing his polework

Our schooling liveries have all been lovely house guests. I thoroughly enjoy having your ponies to play with but I do hope that Rodney does not turn out to be quite as big as Herman!

My Pony Clubbers have done amazeballs. Elize passed her B test Care and Riding, and no less than six North West Kent members passed their C+ test. Top banana!

There is a lot to look forward to next year. Merry Christmas to everyone and kick on for the best of luck in 2015! If you can believe it, you can achieve it…

Janine and Martin

December 24, 2014 Posted by | Camp, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Pony Club, Results, Schooling livery | , , , , , , | Leave a comment