Janine Lamy

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

Screeching in on two wheels

Poor Ehren has been ridden in all weathers these last few weeks with the Regionals in mind. Having had a month of not being at all right then another month off she then slowly came back into work but it had to be in any weather. To be sane she is a 6 days per week girl. Just when I thought we were getting somewhere she then got a lump under her belly, seemingly full of fluid. Three days later it was a lot bigger, then on the fourth day she was covered from head to foot in lumps with swollen knees. Panic!! No option then but to down tools for a few days and take her off the Gastrogard just in case it was an allergic reaction. Two days later we put her back on it at a much lower dose and crossed our fingers. By this time we would no longer just be winging it at the Regionals but screeching in on two wheels! However I made the decision that I would rather she go and experience it for her future even if we didn’t represent ourselves very well. Very pleased I am with that decision as she coped a lot better than I thought she would. There were really nice bits (some 9s, wow!), quite a bit of tension, some spooking and some freestyle movements (3s). She finished up 15th with 67.87%. I was delighted because at times she felt amazing. She has what it takes, just need to keep getting her out and be patient!

Morgan and Debbie have also been out and about in preparation for the Winter Championships at Hartpury. Morgan recently took both boys to Oldencraig BD for an Elementary and won overall with Smurf and was 5th on the little Henry. Jules has good news too as she heard that she and Libby qualified for the BE90 Badminton Grassroots Regional Final. Fantastic!

The lovely Jasmine

The lovely Jasmine

We have said a sad goodbye to Jasmine who worked her way into everyone’s heart while she stayed for five months to be started in her ridden career. She is a lovely sweet unassuming goof of a mare and in her place we have the bumptious self important Tinka back; what a contrast!

Little Lexi restarts ridden work

Little Lexi restarts ridden work

Little Lexi has now done four weeks ridden work and we have slowly built up to walk, trot and canter. She gets better every day and is starting to relax the more we do.

Having got back from the Regionals last night just in time for last orders, we were up in the sunshine today for our first XC school of the year at LMEQ. After the stressy dressage divas yesterday this was literally a breath of fresh air! It was great to be out, even if it was rather wet under foot. Everyone jumped really well and knocked the rust off before the start of the season.

Lily's first XC school of the year

Lily’s first XC school of the year

Coming up we are schooling over a Working Hunter course at Blue Barn, Ehren will head off to Stilebridge for some Elementaries, we have the last Bedgebury jumping clinic of the Winter series, and the Groomsbridge Girls will go and practise their showjumping at Felbridge. Despite the weather we are looking forward to getting started!

I have lots of jumping clinics booked already this year; with riding clubs, at private yards, our own, and even a couple of equitation side-saddle ones. I am aiming to start up more Working Hunter ones too. The schooling livery diary is starting to book up, and I am doing four adult weekend camps this year. There is my Bedgebury one and three more at Adds Farm, all of which are full. With lots of people aiming for the last Milton Keynes three day event we are also trying to schedule lots of XC schooling in the diary. Looks like another busy one!

March 1, 2014 Posted by | Camp, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results, Schooling livery | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy New Year!

Well Happy New Year to you all!

We had a lovely Christmas, although are rather maxed out on food and drink right now. Thankyou everyone for my lovely gifts – chocolate, wine and smellies featured highly! However top of the list must be the blingy plaiting bands, hah!

Since we last spoke Lily has become a global internet sensation. I put a video of her rolling in a muddy puddle on Facebook (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwYXfjSzIRM) and it was shared over 1,600 times and went all around the world. This rather caught me by surprise but most people are in agreement, she is a minger! Thank goodness for her Snuggy Hood which really does help cover some of her but I am starting to wish they made a waterproof onesie complete with legs!

We had a jam-packed December jumping clinic at Bedgebury, the last one of 2013. Quite a few new faces and Martin took both Jasmine and Lily. The first group arrived to see me chasing Jasmine around the arena with a lunge-whip. She was absolutely gob-smacked by this arena with a roof and coloured wooden things and was completely rooted to the spot! Bless her, this was only ten weeks into work and not something you would do with all of them at the same stage but by the end of the session she had cantered around a little course clear. Amazeballs!

Ehren has had two Char lessons (always in the dark now to keep rider criticisms to a minimum!) and had a practise run at Patchetts BD to see what she thought of the venue (the Regionals will either be Patchetts or Merrist Wood and she has never been to either). She was pretty sparky and bright in the Novice getting 72.41% and horribly spooky in the Elementary which was in a different arena getting 63.90%. Fortunately the Regional test will be in the first arena but she was still fairly lit up in there and not very rideable! Her next outing will be her practise run at Merrist Wood weather permitting. Martin may or may not be coming with me since he came back from the scoreboard at Patchetts announcing “you don’t know anything about dressage”….so hard to get good grooms.

Stacey and Queenie continue to impress winning their Novice test at Eaglesfield in another big class of 18 horses. I am really pleased with their improvement this year; she has so much to offer and is a shining example of a versatile Welshie.

Unfortunately Lily’s jumping outing to Duckhurst was cancelled because of the flooding but we did take her and Jasmine to Blue Barn for some dressage. Jasmine was an absolute superstar. She is as green as grass and wobbled her way down the centre line but took the whole experience (including an arena beautifully decorated for Christmas) in her stride winning her Intro test with nearly 70% and getting 2nd in her Prelim with 65%. Wow, she only left the stud 13 weeks ago! Meanwhile the Ginge was having a moment about not being the centre of attention. She tried to climb out of the lorry, hung herself in the haynet and got one leg stuck over the breast-strap. When eventually freed (thankyou to those that helped) and tied up outside, she deliberately broke loose and she and yours truly were seen running around the carpark like something in a Benny Hill sketch. She never did settle, I’m sure she thought she should be hunting or something. Martin rode a very tactful first test for 72% but in the second test it all rather bubbled over with Lily adding some airs above the ground for artistic flavour….as groom I was quite pleased to have them loaded back in the truck and be heading home!

Coming up hopefully Lily will get a jumping outing, there are 24 keen riders coming to the January Bedgebury jumping clinic, and Ehren will try out Merrist Wood as a Regional venue. Onwards into 2014 we go!

January 1, 2014 Posted by | Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results | , , , , | Leave a comment

Bring on 2014!

Well another mad year is nearly over….

Ehren has continued to be a superstar. At six years old and in limited outings she qualified for both the Hickstead Masters and the Summer Regionals, including an amazing 75.52% in her Novice qualifier at Chester Hall BD in May. She then went on to qualify for the Winter Regionals in two trips, has started her first Elementaries and is nearly out of Novice points. She has only left home fourteen times!

Other dressage divas have continued their run of form. Morgan Schive and Debbie Reeves have qualified three horses for the BD National Winter Championships at Prelim, Novice and Elementary. Jasmine Forsdick has made her mark at Medium with Kevin. Those of you that know these guys will know what a great job Jasmine has done, a real turnaround and proof of what a mixture of hard work and a ‘can do’ attitude will achieve. There have been lots of other successes both at BD and unaffiliated. So many combinations have done so well and improved so much. Some new entries to the 70% club, and some others striving to get there! At the other end of the scale, two schooling liveries Dylan and Dita went home and made their dressage debuts with their mothers. Both brought home red frillies, wow!

We had quite a few schooling liveries this year. They were all lovely house guests and always welcome back. I thoroughly enjoy playing with other people’s ponies for a few weeks and seeing them go home to their owner a little more polished than when they arrived. I will never cease to be amazed by the reaction to their previously cardboard stiff tack being clean and supple, as though I am some miracle worker. No, it is called saddle soap. You lot should try it sometime!!

On the eventing side Martin and Tinka had a fantastic year for The Groomsbridge Stud. She started the season at a horrendously wet Tweseldown BE100 with a 3rd, she won at Iping BE100, was 7th at Chilham BE100 and finished the year jumping round a Novice at Goring before heading home for a winter holiday. We are all very much looking forward to competing her next year. Clinic regular Jules Izzard also had a great season with her young horse Libby with placings at several BE80 and BE90s. They are new to eventing and doing a fantastic job. I have been lucky enough to be at some of the events and see them compete, always makes me very proud as I remember their first wobbly jumping clinic!

All the jumping clinics remain very popular, and adult camp too. They are always a lovely supportive and fun environment. I get a huge amount of pleasure from texts on a Sunday night telling me how well Pony X jumped that day.

Tiny is still having a great life with Clare Drury competing for Dartford and District RC, recently jumping like a star at the BRC National Championships for team 4th. Ivy is still as mad as a fruitcake and being pampered with the Reeves family. I sold Rosie to Lauren as she is very much loved there, fingers crossed for a lovely foal for them next year. We are hoping Lexie will have a foal by the Jumbo sired Med Night Mahout next year too. Her yearling Millie goes between looking like something a child has drawn with a crayon and looking quite smart. Who knows how she will end up! The most recent recruit Little Lexi has been chilling out but it’s now time for her to start work, and currently living in Tinka’s stable is the Groomsbridge Stud’s four year old Jasmine who came to be backed and is looking forward to her dressage debut after Christmas.

Following her Kissing Spine surgery last year, Lily is back in work with Martin onboard. There have been ups, there have been downs and boy there have been tantrums! She broke his nose, she threw them off the bank at Lodge Farm backwards, and she kicked her way out of Lucy Thompson’s arena leaving fence and nails scattered everywhere. She got attacked by a dog, and with customary aplomb she put that in its place too. Lily is not for the faint hearted but boy is she a character! She is slowly learning to tolerate Martin’s rough ‘boy-style grooming’ with the grimace of a child whose grandma has just reached to the bottom of their handbag for a tissue to lick…and her field antics recently went global! She has made huge progress this year when her future was seriously in doubt. Fingers crossed for the Ginger Rocket.

Something for you that Martin stole from a book “What the world needs is a little less sense and a little more faith”. If you believe you can do it, you will be amazed by what you can do.

On that note, we both wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Janine and Martin

December 21, 2013 Posted by | Carmen Court, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results, Schooling livery | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swing low sweet chariot

So what have we been up to? Well Jasmine has continued to improve over the eight weeks she has been with us. She has been for her first solo hack and her first session jumping under saddle was particularly impressive. She was totally unfazed and very bold but also showed a super natural technique. I would say what a clever pony but I think we will hold on the Mensa application….once she settled in she quickly earned the status of ‘nice but dim’. Just recently she has started using her water bucket as a foot spa, regularly standing with her backside in the corner of the stable and one leg in the bucket. Albert Einstein she is not!

On the subject of jumping I have started to jump Ehren again. This is in no way impressive as she is not at all bold. However, I do believe it is good for her!

The dressage divas have been on top form….Sue and Percy from the yard and Stacey and Queenie headed to Eaglesfield. Both scorched into the 70% club in their Prelim and were 3rd and 2nd respectively in a class of 29! That same day Hadlow BD was on and Mark and Harvey had their first run as fully fledged BD members and came 2nd in the Prelim. Morgan was there too with Henry and Smurf in the Elementary, getting a 5th with Henry and a 2nd with Smurf and another 70% club score. Wowsers!

Lily and Martin had their first flatwork lesson with Damian. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go and watch but it sounds like she was a superstar and didn’t put a hoof out of place (proud mummy!). Damian said she was really nice, moves really well and has an amazing hind leg and hock action. The plan of action is to now teach her to be better balanced. Yesterday she was attacked by a dog whilst on a hack. It ran at her from about 100m, leapt up at her and tried grabbing her saddle cloth and flanks. She reared and span, Martin fell off but managed to keep hold of her, and on her first attempt and without pausing to think she then booted it in the head and kicked it into the distance as if she’d run out at Twickenham and had a thing or two to show Jonny Wilkinson. Martin was horrified as it appeared to be dead. He said it dropped like a stone and was laying on the floor for a good 3 or 4 minutes before it moved. Fortunately it had a muzzle on so hadn’t hurt her and she was totally unfazed standing there half asleep watching it regain consciousness. Thank goodness it got up and trotted away looking OK. I appreciate the dog was totally in the wrong but I don’t think we need to add ‘Killer of Dogs’ to Lily’s ever growing CV! Never a dull moment eh….

A week or so ago I took the opportunity of a spare hour and some dry weather to do some loading practise with Jasmine. She was very good, not at all worried. With this done she is threatening a trip to the next Bedgebury jumping clinic and some dressage after Christmas.

Talking of dressage, Ehren and I went to Oldencraig BD for more practise indoors and her first Elementary. Not long after we unloaded her someone walked up the carpark with a pushchair, fair enough you would think. Luckily for my father I had just taken her off him when she totally lost the plot and bronced around the carpark with me clinging to the end of the leadrope! Everyone else seemed to be staring like time had stood still! It didn’t get much better in the warm-up with reasons for silliness everywhere, and her Novice test started with a 3 and a 4…..thankfully she settled more for the Elementary and did a calm, if rather fragile test to win her section with 66.2%. A day of ups and downs but I can’t complain about her first attempt at Elementary! Also at Oldencraig were Jasmine (the person) and Debbie. I was particularly chuffed for Jasmine; she and Kevin got their best score to date in their Medium with 64% – this combination were struggling at Prelim and Novice a few years back. They have had some journey!

Little Lexi looks like a little black furrball so has had her first junior haircut so that work can begin. I have just started lunging her in the last week or so…..will get some pictures of the new girl starting work for next time….

On Saturday I was at the BD National Convention with Adelinde Cornelissen as host. I find it a long day driving up to Hartpury but always worth it. This year Adelinde’s message was very straightforward and easy to understand. One of the things she focussed on was the rider’s responsibility to the horse; being fitter both mentally and physically. We expect if from our steeds yet so often it is lacking from our side. Oh dear, am I soon to be found watching the telly balanced on my knees on a pilates ball, juggling cheese and biscuits whilst trying not to spill my wine?!

November 25, 2013 Posted by | Dressage trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Festival goers rule!

Wowee! What a great weekend; fantastic results from the Area Festivals from Morgan and Debbie seeing them qualified for the BD Winter Championships in Prelim (Morgan and Henry), Novice (Morgan and Smurf) and Elementary (Debbie and Jazz). I am so chuffed, three horses through to the Champs, wow!

At fairly short notice I was not needed at Pony Club camp so a few text messages later and I had routine teaching organised around gridwork, SJ schooling and XC schooling. I don’t often have gridwork clinics but this was really popular and proved to be very worthwhile so perhaps something I should do more often. We had three SJ sessions at Eaglesfield, all proving to be very productive. It is always great to practise around a course away from home. Then two XC sessions; one at Bull Farm and one at Lockskinners with a real mixture of riders from first-timers to more experienced competitors.

During all this running around I have Dita back for schooling and for introducing her to jumping. I thought that I would introduce Ehren to the idea too in the hope that it might make her more brave. Dita has taken everything in her stride, is not at all bothered or at all spooky, generally has a real sensible head on her shoulders. Ehren has been utterly remedial, stopping dead in horror and spinning 180 degrees at the sight of a nine inch cross-pole! Dear God, what made me think this was a good idea…..

We had a great camp at Adds Farm organised by Sarah Glynn. They had some lovely hacks on the beautiful Ashdown Forest interspersed with flatwork and jumping lessons with me. Everyone had a fabulous time, and were thoroughly spoilt by Sue. This venue worked really well and Sarah has already provisionally booked two more weekends for 2014.

As expected my first Char lesson in months with Ehren was absolutely exhausting. Ehren is now in her teenage years and is being a little frustrating to say the least (no need to comment thankyou mother). Char spent much of the lesson trying to make me see the effort would be worth it while I swore at Ehren under my breath. I nearly slit my wrists when she said ‘you know she may be like this for three years’….three years?!

Tinka and Martin went to Firle BE100 and we bumped into Jules and Libby who were there for the BE90. It was a lovely day in the sunshine and this year Martin was not bucked off in the lorry park, bonus! Jules and Libby jumped a super SJ round but Libby wasn’t overly keen on getting wet so they picked up a couple of stops at the water in the XC. I don’t think I have ever seen such a big and technical BE90, but they were foot perfect everywhere else and I was very proud. Just some water schooling required before their next outing!

We then had another Char lesson and I am pleased to say that Ehren was more  co-operative (probably due to the grilling I gave her the day before!). I almost enjoyed myself and Char seemed relieved. I think the previous week she was worried that I would give her away to the first person showing an interest. At one point she had asked ‘you do love her?’ I think I probably had ‘that look’ on my face!

While we were jumping at Carmen Court for the last clinic of the summer, Martin and Tinka went off to BE Goring for their first Novice of the year and last event of the season. She had an early run out but on a course where half the fences were skinny she seemed to gain confidence as she went and finished up locking on and assessing the questions much better than before. Excellent, everyone very pleased with the girl!

Tinka is going home for a holiday and in her place we have her full sister Jasmine coming to stay who is four years old and unbacked. Hard to believe but she comes with the reputation as having plenty of ‘personality and attitude’…..oh and in case I forgot to mention, she is also 17 hands and currently built like a bullock.

September 9, 2013 Posted by | Carmen Court, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results, Schooling livery | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vee haf vays!

Busy, busy busy! I think I mentioned that I had a Connemara in for schooling ‘Rolo’. Well that was a short but intensive two weeks while his mum was on holiday.  He came on in leaps and bounds in that time culminating in a lesson with his owner Jenny grinning from ear to ear “I don’t believe this is the same horse”. Always great to hear, hopefully they will head out for their dressage debut sometime soon!

Lexie has had her next scan and all looks good. Fingers crossed there, very exciting. The young Millie has changed enormously and looks very much the weedy scraggy yearling, a real contrast to the buxom foal that she was! Lots of you are asking about Little Lexi; she is on holiday and being left for a while to mature. We are in no rush and both physically and mentally I think she would benefit from more time. She is a real baby at only just four and has already hunted and jumped her first baby course of fences before coming to us.

Tinka went to Chilham for the BE100 and delighted us with a great dressage test and clear XC to finish up 7th. If you remember Martin parted company from her there in the spring so we were particularly keen to see how she would go. Next event for her will be Firle BE100 and then hopefully she will have a go at a Novice at Goring. Gulp.

From the showing side Stacey and Queenie had a great weekend qualifying for the Great Bookham Sunshine Tour winning their Novice Ridden Showing and Ridden Mountain and Moorland. Unfortunately a sandwich distracted the girl (Queenie, not Stacey!) in her Workers but still managed a 5th place and ended up Reserve Ridden Champion. I am so pleased with the improvement in this pair.

Showing diva Morgan has also been out with Smurf side saddle. At Aintree they were Lady Champions meaning they get to escort the winner of the Topham Chase at Aintree in 2014 into the winners’ enclosure in front of Channel 4 Racing, plus get kitted out in a new habit. Cool prize! Then onto the National Championships; this was her first year in the Open Adult classes so brace yourselves – SSA Open Equitation Champion, Amateur Champion, and Reserve Reserve (3rd) Rider of the Year, also winning the Small Hunter, Open Working Hunter and was Reserve Hunter Champion. She’s not very good at it, not sure why she bothers…

Morgan had also qualified both Henry and Smurf for the BD Summer Regionals but due to all her other commitments decided that the Area Festivals would be easier later in the year. Ehren got the go ahead from the vets on the Monday to go to the Addington Regionals on the Friday. She was very much lacking match practise having not been out for three months but even surprised me with just how awful she was. Spooking at the markers and arena boards like she had never seen them, so six and a half hours in traffic for Ehren to be a plonker; great! Well Ehren my dear ‘vee haf vays of making you verk’!

Dita has just arrived back at Carmen Court for four weeks schooling and also to introduce her to jumping. While I am doing this I have decided to start Ehren off too. I have a feeling I have been a little soft with her (‘awwww, bless her she’s had a bad eye’) and that I may be in trouble next time I see Char so I think a little jumping will focus my mind on whether she is really off my leg!

Loads of you were at Lodge Farm for the Riding Club one day event on Sunday. Mark and Harvey were 5th, Sarah and George 6th, Philippa completed her first ever ODE and Emma did me very proud indeed by taking it on after a 24 year pause. So very chuffed.

I hate to say it but Autumn is in our sights; there is a chill in the mornings now with dew on the grass and we only have one more jumping clinic at Carmen Court before moving to Bedgebury.  Must nearly be time for a holiday!

August 15, 2013 Posted by | Carmen Court, Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results, Schooling livery | , , , , , , | Leave a comment