Janine Lamy

Dumdedumdedum

Starting work with a flag

Walking over tarpaulin

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

Rodders goes log jumping

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

Millie loving her XC

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

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

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

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

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

Back in the room!

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

Rodney meets the dentist

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

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

 

Ehren tidies up at Groomsbridge

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

Jasmine’s Lottie at Cobham BD

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

Millie practising her SJ

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

Contemplating this pregnancy mallarky with a Lucie Brix

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

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

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

New kid on the block

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

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

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

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

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

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

Handsome young man

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

Learning some steering

Jockey on

Bit of lunging

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

Girl Power

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

Bomber and Martin Rackham BE100

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

Bomber and Martin Eridge BE100

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

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

All day clinic at Parwood

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

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

Ehren PSG at Pachesham

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

Ehren PSG Pachesham

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

Millie’s first BE80 at Chilham

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

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

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

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

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