Janine Lamy

Reading my tea leaves….

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

Martin and the Black Bomber in the JAS

Martin and the Black Bomber in the JAS

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

A very green moment for young Millie!!

A very green moment for young Millie!!

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

A more knowledgeable Millie at the end of the session

A more knowledgeable Millie at the end of the session

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

Wobbleberries first pub meeting!

Team Lamy Wobbleberries first pub meeting!

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

A rather strong Ehren at Merrist Wood

A rather strong Ehren at Merrist Wood

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

Ehren seemed to enjoy herself!

Ehren seemed to enjoy herself!

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

Lily having a ball at LMEQ

Lily having a ball at LMEQ

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

The Black Bomber gets ready for the season ahead

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

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

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

A win for the Millipede!

Doing our homework

Doing our homework

Well winter is for training! Ehren has been working hard mastering the movements we need for the PSG test so that we can give this a go next year. Who’d have thought I’d be saying that, very exciting! I have been attempting to knock the rust off my jumping technique with the Bomber. We have been hard at it schooling at Eaglesfield and Duckhurst, plus lots of lessons with Tom Crisp who has been giving me hell. We had originally planned to hunt her but now that I have started to ride her differently it doesn’t seem quite the right time for galloping around the country in a gag with Martin. Poor Bombie, I hope she doesn’t mind!

Char has been up and given me lessons on both. What with her “that was your fault” and Tom’s “I think the problems you are having are down to your riding” I may need counselling by Christmas….

First XC school

Millie’s first XC school

Last time I wrote I was talking about the older three girls’ progress this year versus their plan. So last but not least is our four year old homebred Millie. We don’t do a whole lot with them at this age but always like them to have popped a course of SJ, been XC schooling and done some local dressage before having a little holiday at the end of the year. We took her to Bonfleur and were really pleased when she jumped everything first time of asking including steps up and down, ditches, a baby coffin, the water, everything! She was absolutely amazing, a real natural. With this in mind and with the help of Lucy Thompson, we have started working her over fillers at home and have been very pleased with her progress. She is unbelievably bold, just needs to learn to slow down, think and co-ordinate. While I was at the BD National Convention Martin took her to Hadlow for some dressage and she didn’t put a hoof out of place winning her prelim. What a clever baby pony.  

Millie learning to jump

Millie learning to jump

We have started the first of the winter Wobbleberry flatwork and gridwork clinics. Everyone seems very keen to get going on their challenge and we are very much looking forward to working with them. There were a couple at Hadlow doing their first ever dressage tests. I am very impressed with their determination; they’ve got the bit between their teeth!

From the dressage divas Doo and Mark did really well at Eaglesfield BD in the prelims. Doo and Archie won the Gold section and Mark and Harvey won the Bronze. Next outing was Stilebridge BD for Doo again. Archie very much lacks confidence at the moment in the arena but they picked up some more frillies in their sections. I was riding Lottie for Jasmine. She hasn’t been out for ages again, but won both her prelim tests and is now ready to have a go at a Novice.

Winner winner chicken dinner!

Millie – winner winner chicken dinner!

The cold weather seems to have made all the girls rather feisty. Lily has been clipped, is back in work and looks a picture. I have been planning my clinic dates for next year with pre-season XC schooling, SJ clinics and Wobbleberry training dates.

So all that is left for 2016 is to wish you all a “Very Merry Christmas”. We will catch up in the New Year with a new plan for those girls!

December 4, 2016 Posted by | Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, 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

Ehren on the naughty step!

Felbridge BE80 combined training

Felbridge BE80 combined training

Well the summer silly season continues to run at full speed. I promised that it was time for Lexi to get back out there and see where we are so we headed off to Felbridge for their BE80 combined training. She did very well and although very green still she ended up 3rd with a 31 dressage and clear SJ. I was so pleased with how hard she tried all day, real progress! With Friends of Freddie ODE looming we headed over to Sally Thurloway for a lesson on grass, in fact our first time show-jumping on grass since the Munstead unaff 80. This was a rather illuminating day out as Lexi went into panic mode and made me realise even more how I need to keep plugging away with helping her ‘cope’. I decided to take her to Lingfield to use the gallops. We are on clay at home so can only walk on hacks at the moment, and also I thought it would be more experience for her. In fact it was a huge amount for a scaredy-cat pony to deal with and apart from the home straight and finish posts she coped really well. She isn’t quite yet always thinking forwards but I am aware that she has grown a good inch in the last year so always have in the back of my mind that she may just need some time to physically mature too. Unfortunately when we got back to the lorry I found a huge sore between her girth and elbow. So no Friends of Freddie for us. Groan.

I had arranged two lessons away from home with Ehren before the Regionals so that Char could see how different she is and help me get a better tune from her. In the first lesson Ehren felt really odd, not at all like she usually feels away from home. It turned out that I had the noseband a hole too tight which she absolutely hates and I should know better. Obviously had my brain switched onto standby that day as I foolishly rode her like I would at home and gave her a bit of a kick forwards. Uh-oh! She explained in no uncertain terms that I had been rude and bucked me straight off. No warning, just “Get off now!”.  To add insult to injury I sat on my spur on landing and my backside was agony for weeks; something everyone else seems to think is absolutely hilarious. How embarrassing; falling off in someone else’s school during a flatwork lesson. If she was in disgrace in my last blog, she was definitely on the naughty step after this!

Ehren in her lesson

Ehren in her lesson

Thankfully the second lesson was far more productive and more of a fact finding mission in what upsets her. The plan was always just to survive the Summer Regionals, and to try and be more competitive if we qualify for the Winters. Given the wild performances beforehand it was very much about keeping it calm and giving her a confidence boosting outing which I am delighted is exactly how it went. This would always result in a hopeless score but for the first time in months she was sensible and it felt like a potential regionals ride rather than a bomb that sometimes goes off and sometimes doesn’t. Everything crossed that we are making progress in the competition arena as her work at home has come on in leaps and bounds this year and I am keen to show it off!

Lily Eridge BE90

Lily Eridge BE90

Lily went to Eridge BE90 and jumped really well. She jumped another really smart clear again SJ but unfortunately just tripped up the ditch and step on the XC, took a slice out of her heel and wasn’t focussed in time for the log pile. How frustrating! We decided that as she is so much more robust in her jumping to enter the BE100 at Chilham. It’s funny as most of the other girls started their BE career at BE100, and I appreciate that the courses have changed enormously over the years, but the day Lily does her first one I will be in bits. It’s just a dip the toe in the water day but I will be more nervous than anyone!

And onto the new kid on the block…..young Millie is all done. Tempting though it is to keep doing more I am mindful of the fact she is literally just 3 years old. She has been a star and so long as she has time to think over a new experience, been very easy and taken it all in her stride. In fact I think she looks pretty jolly smart. I love playing with the babies, it is always so rewarding. And of course the fact that she is our first home-bred makes it all the more so. Very proud! A cheesy video link of her so far www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7L4rH6CRRU

August 6, 2015 Posted by | Dressage trainer, 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

Life’s banana skin

So just when the diary is full of plans and everything seems to be going well life’s banana skin just can’t resist interfering! Tinka was going great guns at Keysoe; a clear SJ and was jumping well on the XC when she misjudged a straight forward fence on the way home, banked it and couldn’t get her legs out in time. She had little option but to use her head as landing gear. Ouch! Fortunately neither of them were seriously hurt. Tinka has been back at her owners’ stud for a few weeks where she has had a vet check-up, physio and acupuncture. They are still concerned about her neck and poll so she won’t be back with us any time soon meaning that there will be no one star, NRF or Corinthian Cup at Gatcombe this year. This game can be so very disappointing.

Pea on a drum!

Pea on a drum!

After that we disappeared to Norfolk briefly for a few days with the dogs. When we got back the 17hh Maabof was waiting for me in Lexi’s stable for a week of ’learning to jump’ boot-camp. He most certainly can jump, he showed great natural technique over a fence on the lunge and was a star under saddle. He has not really seen any jumps before and trotted around a little 70cm course with water tray, plank and filler first time without even blinking. How cool is he?!

Jade and David schooling at Coombelands

Jade and David schooling at Coombelands

We have had SJ clinics at Eaglesfield and at Carmen Court, plus an all day clinic at Coombelands with SJ on their surface in the morning and XC schooling in the afternoon. I love it there; such amazing facilities and spectacular views over the downs. We have also schooled a few groups at Bonfleur and Lodge Farm. It is always a very busy time of year but we love it that way.

Little Lexi SJ at HDRC ODE

Little Lexi SJ at HDRC ODE

The naughty black pony has been hacking for the last month, mostly because we need to get over ourself and we meet quite a lot of things we don’t like out hacking, but also I decided that she is still so immature both mentally and physically I would back off a bit and give her some time. We had already entered the riding club ODE at Coombelands, and decided we would still go as a benchmark for where we are after a month of hacking. I must say she did try a lot harder. She was 5th after the dressage (it still felt like wheeling a shopping trolley round an ice rink but she did try and there was no nonsense about the judges car, hurrah!). The SJ was better. Make no mistake it was messy but we got to the finish and it was hugely improved on Munstead. Then at the XC we had the usual napping to go into the start-box, leave the start-box and get to the first fence but really a token effort compared to some of our epic hacking moments. Most importantly once we got over the first fence a switch clicked in her brain and she was off, taking me…..woo hooo!!! A clear round no less! So yes it’s all very much a work in progress but also a much better effort so I have temporarily stopped calling her the Black Brat…..well, until the next time we find ourselves on two legs in the middle of a field…..

Lily Borde Hill BE90

Lily Borde Hill BE90

Lily has been ‘star of the month’ with a trip to Borde Hill for the BE90. She posted her best dressage to date and a double clear with a few time penalties to finish up 7th. She is doing so well and looking pretty robust at this level, particularly on the XC. What a good girl, showing the world what she is made of. She looks amazing and everyone comments on the difference in her condition.

Ehren at the Hickstead Masters Semi-Final

Ehren at the Hickstead Masters Semi-Final

Ehren on the other hand is in disgrace! The Hickstead Masters Semi-Final was always going to be touch and go but with the rain coming sideways and Ehren in season it was all too much. Sometimes I question my sanity and this was one of those days. As always with Ehren, the good bits were lovely but there were lots of mistakes, stroppy bits, and bits where I just daren’t touch her. I need to learn how to ride her when she is like that, if there is a way. Until then we are trying the snaffle again, working on getting out at medium, and starting to work on our changes at home which I have to say is great fun!

You all know how much I love riding the babies and just recently I took the lovely young mare Lottie to BlueBarn BD for her first ever outing for owner Jasmine. She was not there to be competitive but just for the trip out and bless, she tried her very best coping with the whole thing really well. She was just a bit anxious and dropping the canter, but we were all really pleased. She will be very smart later on.

Lots coming up but top of the list is the arrival of a VIP schooling livery. A young lady is coming in for a couple of months to be backed. My biggest concern with this one is her owner as some are easier than others. We have the ‘dump them and run’ owners, we have the ‘four pages of A4’ owners, and we have everything in between. I am very happy with these guys. Then we have my husband. Oh dear, divorce just before our 20 year anniversary.

June 9, 2015 Posted by | Carmen Court, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results, Schooling, Schooling livery | , , , , , , , | 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

Let’s go!!

Ehren at Stilebridge BD

Ehren at Stilebridge BD

Before Christmas Ehren dipped her hoof back into the world of dressage; only her third outing in all of last year.  She suffered a little from stage fright as I would expect but felt ‘normal’ which was the most important thing. I have completely changed Ehren’s routine, and she has been like a different horse. The old Ehren is back! I almost dare not say it just incase of another setback. Despite everything we are told about what is good for them I have taken Ehren off the grazing and she is living in 24/7. She has not seen a blade of grass since the beginning of November, and she is my lovely friendly relaxed pony again. She is also rideable and trainable. Hurrah! She has been so good that we have started her changes and Ehren being Ehren she is throwing them in whenever she thinks it might be helpful. There is a small box for a brain. If you put something new in, something old falls out. Currently we have lost counter canter, but you know what? I don’t even care!

Little Lexi is behaving like a stroppy teenager, obviously feeling far too well and is on ‘Operation Sweaty Numnah!’ That said she went to Duckhurst and jumped double clear in her first show, so not all bad. She is being pretty ridiculous about anything and everything so I am littering the arena in scary things and risking life and limb turning her into a handy pony.

Lily went to Duckhurst BS and jumped some super confident robust rounds, including a double clear in the Horsequest Qualifier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pI_wpl1yUHU. She remains true to form and only yesterday ran off at warp speed down the yard in full tack with Martin behind her like some Benny Hill clip!

Worker clinic at BlueBarn

Worker clinic at BlueBarn

The jumping clinics at Four Elms have remained really popular, plus we have set the dates for Carmen Court from April through to August. We also have five cross country schooling dates organised for the early – spring season. We did a seriously freezing five hours in the cold Workers clinic at Blue Barn outdoors between Christmas and New Year. The course is always great, and good practise for worker people or eventers. On top of that there are occasional groups at both BlueBarn and Eaglesfield. We have not slowed down this winter!!

Jasmine too went to Duckhurst, her first ever show-jumping show and jumped a double clear in the 60cm like she did it every day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r16sKK8ZeQ  She has such an amazing attitude, a really smart horse. It would be lovely to keep her to do a few events but we are seriously lacking in time and funds, and unfortunately stables too!

Lexie (one of the reasons for a lack of stables) has come back into work like she never had more than a month off. She will always be our superstar but she looks amazing. We thought she might have aged in five years, or be a bit stiff or wonky from three foals but none of it. She is awesome, and appears very pleased to be working again. Once we have jumped her a little more I will be trying to cut Martin’s apron strings and look for a loan home.

I have just had two weeks off to get my paperwork sorted out, and am looking forward to cracking on with 2015. Coming up we have a group schooling at Eaglesfield, a lorry load down to Coombelands for some Arena Eventing schooling, another lorry load to Stilebridge BD, Little Lexi has another Sally lesson, Char is up for flatwork lessons, and we are off to LMEQ for the first XC school of the year. It is then pretty busy with XC schooling, SJ outings and lessons to get them all aimed at the pre-season combined training at Munstead. Their first trip out on grass! Let’s go!!

January 13, 2015 Posted by | Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results, Schooling | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tinka Stinka Winner!

Tinka jumping the Intermediate Novice at Pulborough

Tinka jumping the Intermediate Novice at Pulborough

Crikey I am late writing this! Where to start? The end of the summer has been and gone and it is now feeling very autumnal….

Tinka had an amazing day at Firle Place and won her BE Novice on her dressage score.  Wow! When she gets it right she gets it very right. She then went to Goring and South of England for good consistent runs, then finished the season at Pulborough in the Intermediate Novice. She has learnt so much this year and is now qualified for a Novice Regional Final and a CIC* so lots to look forward to next year.  Go the Stinka!

Morgan took Smurf and Henry to the South East Dressage Championships. Henry was to shine on this occasion and took the prize for best score of the day out of 168 tests. 76.56% in an elementary is pretty cool for a 17 year old 12.2h cob! Bless him…

Lily has also now finished her season at Pulborough in the BE80. She has gained in confidence throughout the year and is thoroughly enjoying herself, possibly a little too much! Joking aside it is amazing to see Lily out competing and testimony to how tough she is after everything she has been through. The flip side of this is that she is an unbelievably opinionated ginger. Just as well she is so pretty, something I am often found thinking as I run after her when she is frequently loose!

Little Lexi popping logs

Little Lexi popping logs

Lexi has had a few escorted XC schools, one of which was to Bull Farm. That was an interesting day! Suffice to say that we don’t really have any hills at home and I was suddenly aware that my pony may as well have been on roller skates, she was all over the place!! She then went to Underriver for a Puppy day with Coakham to get her head around hills. She was an absolute superstar but it has become apparent since that it has blown a fuse in her brain and so she won’t be going again until she is older and more established. She had her first jumping lesson with Sally Thurloway on her grass arena and was very good although it was back to real basics which was rather frustrating. Since then we have hired Duckhurst twice and are making progress again with keeping everything calmer.

Little Lexi out with Coakham Bloodhounds

Little Lexi out with Coakham Bloodhounds

We’ve had the first winter jumping clinic at Four Elms and that worked really well so fingers crossed for a future there.

Ehren is in sickbay just by way of a change….groan. When I came back from holidays it was really clear that she still is not right and all the chiro and acupuncture is making a difference but not addressing whatever is wrong. Turns out she now also has fluid on her chest to add to her long list of complaints. Let’s not even go there, she has pretty much been out of work all year. I have come to the conclusion that Ehren and I would never be drinking partners. She is an absolute lightweight!

Not to be outdone, young Billy puppy thought it was a great idea to eat an empty Diet Coke can. What planet?!  Fortunately for him it all seemed to come out the other end with no ill effects other than to my bank balance. Unfortunately for me, someone needed to check its passing…..eww.

Char has been in for flatwork lessons. If you see Martin around and about you need to remind him “to ride more like a girl”. I am not sure “has Janine ridden this horse, I would be interested to see how she goes for her?” went down particularly well. Put it this way I keep finding my knickers are full of horse hair…..! They were very interesting lessons as she hasn’t taught Tinka before or seen Lily in about three years, plus lots to work on with Little Lexi who is getting more and more rideable on the flat. In the first lesson Char said “well she is what she is”. OK, not a fan of my irish pony then! In the second lesson we rose to the dizzy heights of “you know I think this might have potential”. Ooh!!

Tomorrow I need to clip Lily just as I see a reminder saying that my personal accident insurance is unpaid. Not good timing. A&E and Lily are words that hang very easily together…..all going well we then have another Lexi jump lesson with Sally,  jump clinics at Golden Cross and Four Elms, another Lexi schooling session at Duckhurst, more Char lessons and I was thinking about taking Lexi to a dance party to see the white boards and learn the rules. At some point Tinka will go home for a winter holiday and her sister Jasmine will come back to play with Martin…..no rest for the wicked!

October 18, 2014 Posted by | Coakham Bloodhounds, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ave Satani!

OK…it’s been a while as we have been so mad busy. Brace yourself as it’s a long one!!

I have done two more camps at Adds Farm; one in July and one in August. Everyone loves the facilities there and has a great time hacking in the Ashdown Forest in between seeing me for flatwork and jumping sessions. Sue’s breakfasts are legendary and quite how they ride afterwards is completely beyond me! We are already talking about dates for 2015 so give Sue a shout if you fancy getting some friends together. Everyone who has been thoroughly recommends!

Wet from head to toe!

Wet from head to toe!

Our own branch Pony Club camp was a little damp, with yours truly found standing in a field with thunder and lightning at one end of the week and ending up in the water jump in her Ariats at the other end. Not good, especially when you bear in mind that the wellies were in my car a few hundred yards away. Doh.

Morgan's write up in Horse and Hound

Morgan’s write up in Horse and Hound

Great to see Elize Zelenka pass both her B test Riding and Care this summer, always a great achievement that does not come without hard work over the years. Morgan Schive has also had an amazing year. She won the Alexander James  Side-Saddle Championship up at Aintree for the second year running meaning that once again she will lead in the winners of the Topham Chase in 2015. Then off to Addington where at 19 years old she was the youngest rider ever to win National Side-Saddle Rider of the Year. Totally amazing and thoroughly well deserved.  

Lois strutting her stuff sideways

Lois strutting her stuff sideways

I did two jumping clinics with Pippa Doran for the Area 8 Side-saddle Association at Eaglesfield. I find this really interesting and hope that we will do some more through the winter.

There has also been Carmen Court jumping clinics in July and August, the last ones this year. Autumn seems to be heading in early but we have a roof booked at Four Elms and Golden Cross for the winter. What a thought.

Herman doing his polework

Herman doing his polework

I have had two more horses in for schooling. Alpha came in while her mum was on holiday for a few weeks, just for general schooling work. Hopefully she left rather more supple and off the leg than when she arrived. Her tack certainly left looking more supple! Then a wee irish lad came to stay. At 17.3 hands Herman is quite the hulk. Fortunately he is a lovely lad as he came for some jumping work and my leg barely gets below the saddle flap! His brain is a long way from his feet and we spent a while just walking over tiny fences and trotting and cantering poles to get him to understand that those four legs were his responsibility and not mine!!

So what about our own horses? We have been continuing with chiro and acupuncture with Ehren. Her gastric problem seems to be under control, although historically it is the winter that causes us more problems. Her body has become very crooked and blocked and her lovely movement is somewhat diminished. I am told by those that understand more than I do that having her teeth out in July 2012 is the reason for her problems including probable headaches, jaw and TMJ problems, poor body movement, gastric issues, and balance/crookedness….Time will tell whether the needles will help. I have to say after the first two sessions she felt considerably worse. I did feel for Julia the vet who is helping. There was a ridden session before the third lot of needles where she was feeling awful, worse than before we started treating her. She made some suggestions about what to try and I could hear myself muttering and grumbling “I’ll do it but I really don’t think this will help”.  Oh Lamy you sound like a sullen teenager, get a grip! It had got to the point where I didn’t want to ride her any more. I am not a bully rider, it just isn’t our way, but in order to work Ehren through this I need to get at her a bit and I am hating every moment. She did feel slightly improved after session three and Julia was right, the transition work she suggested is helping. You have to trust your hired help. Will keep you updated. Two years of being wonky does not resolve itself in two minutes.

Little Lexi's first dressage test

Little Lexi’s first dressage test

XC schooling at Bonfleur

XC schooling at Bonfleur

Onto Lexi…..well, the young girl is now up and running like any normal baby horse. A year down the line she is physically and mentally recovered from whatever happened on her journey south. She is a terribly sweet, perky, feisty and fun girl; exactly what I ordered.  She has twice been to Eaglesfield to trot over some jumps and see the sights. Her first trip out she walked straight up the ramp, travelled well, took everything in at Eaglesfield, trotted round a little two foot course, stood on the lorry in silence for an hour while I did a lesson. Superstar! She then had an identical second trip to Eaglesfield before heading to Redlands one evening for the Sevenoaks RC informal dressage. Again, she was a total superstar taking everything in her stride and gaining 74.21% in her prelim. I was absolutely delighted (if rather shocked!). Then on Monday we took her to Bonfleur for her first XC school in what turned out to be monsoon conditions! Tinka came as a lead but was barely needed as Lexi jumped everything in front of her first time with just a little look at the water. Wowsers!

Lily and Martin Borde Hill BE80

Lily and Martin Borde Hill BE80

So onto Lily…..after the Felbridge BE80 combined training she was back to Chilham BE80. Woo-hoo!! After thousands of pounds in vet bills, blood, sweat, tears and three trips to Darenth Valley hospital between us Lily has completed her first BE80!!!! She was very nearly placed, finishing on the same score as 10th. We must be stark raving bonkers but what an achievement!!  A week later at the next Carmen Court jumping clinic Martin was laying in the sand in a cloud of dust with Lily’s bridle in his hand. There will be enough Lily stories for a book soon. You can’t tell Pigtails anything. The week after we were at Borde Hill BE80 and it was the Ginger Bullet that came of the lorry. She was on fire. The most appalling dressage test ended a warm up that had Martin screaming at passers-by as Lily lunged towards them on two legs. This was followed by a very gung-ho SJ round, and she stormed around the XC with Martin not even breaking a sweat. She ended up 14th and we were delighted as she seemed so much more confident, had most importantly had fun and hadn’t even got loose in the lorry park. She saved that for a few weeks later at the Carmen Court jumping clinic…

Now it is with a heavy heart that I have to admit to Tinka’s latest misdemeanour. I was a little nervous when she was invited home for a holiday mid-season because that meant Tinka going home in party mood. I sat her down, and we chatted about Tinka’s attitude to life “let’s have fun now and worry about the consequences tomorrow”.  I thought the message had gone in. It hadn’t. Tinka got pregnant whilst holidaying in Newmarket. I am told the father is a charismatic handsome young German lad called Diarado, but he is not admitting anything. The humiliation for the family! Could we imagine Tinka in a Catholic-run home for unmarried girls? I don’t think so! The decision was made to flush the embryo. Her stay-at-home sister will carry the child, do the messy stuff and be mum. Tinka gets to come home and carry on with her career. The 42 day scan has just been done and all is well. So on the sixth hour of the sixth day of the sixth month in 2015….

     

August 28, 2014 Posted by | Camp, Carmen Court, Instruction, Our Horses, Pony Club, Results, Schooling livery | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment