Janine Lamy

Merry Christmas and Happy 2015!

Humungafoal on the right!


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

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

Lily progress

Lily progress

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

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

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

Morgan National Side-saddle Champion

Morgan National Side-saddle Champion

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

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

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

Herman doing his polework

Herman doing his polework

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

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

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

Janine and Martin

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

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

Should have gone to Specsavers!

We had a brilliant weekend at Stratford Hills in the sunshine. Tinka jumped double clear and finished 10th in the BE Novice and Jules and Libby did brilliantly to finish 7th in their first ever BE100. We’ve always loved this event and the last three years it clashed with my Bedgebury camp. This year I had strict instructions and contacted the organiser back in the winter to ensure that we could go, and just as well I did!

While we were there Emma Dendy text me to say she had jumped clear round her first BS British Novice, also something of a milestone achievement! These guys have come such a long way. Emma was too frightened to get on Lilly at one point and I can remember leading her around the arena at Bedgebury because she was frozen with fear. Wowsers!

I give side-saddle a go!

Horse ailment charades, what can I say?!

Horse ailment charades, what can I say?!

Talking of Bedgebury we had the most fun at adult camp. As always a weekend of laughter with horses thrown in, and hopefully some learning! Extra curricula activities included a brilliant side-saddle lecture demonstration and have-a-go (and I did!), Simple System Feed came and did a really interesting and thought provoking talk, and we played Horse Ailment Charades. Crikey I haven’t laughed like that in ages…but you know ‘what goes on in camp stays in camp’…..!

Unfortunately Char couldn’t make our planned lesson so poor Louisa has been tied to the school for two weeks taking video and pictures with me stomping around being grumpy about how it all looks and ranting about my riding while she smiles sweetly and keeps her thoughts to herself! I decided I would take Ehren to Stilebridge BD for as much as anything a progress report on how she is going until I can catch up with Char. She was quite awful in the first test (lots of people congratulating me on staying on!) but generally felt a very unhappy pony rather than being silly and I felt sure that it was something to do with the bridle. She did still manage a blue frillie and respectable score in the second test but was still quite tetchy and I just managed a better cover up job. Since then I have been playing with tack and am pretty sure we have poll and jaw soreness so have some more chiro and also some acupuncture booked. On the plus side she doesn’t feel gastric but now that seems better I can see that there are still other problems. This has been going on now (on and off) since she had her teeth out two years ago. I just want my pony back!!

Tinka at Eridge Novice

Tinka at Eridge Novice

Tinka did a great job in the heat at Eridge BE Novice. A much improved dressage test, clear SJ and one stop on the XC completely due to pilot error. Martin was absolutely thrilled with how she jumped. He totally missed his line and holds his hands up – ‘Should have gone to Specsavers!’ British Eventing had just published an article about looking after your owners, so what was new puppy Billy’s take on this? As Tinka trots down the centre line he starts humping Sally’s leg!!!

Lily jumps really well at Felbridge

Lily jumps really well at Felbridge

We entered Lily for the UA Tweseldown 80 and were completely astonished when they cancelled it due to lack of entries. I cannot remember that ever happening. Anyway we decided to reroute to Felbridge for their BE80 combined training and she was a superstar finishing 4th. She did a much more relaxed dressage of 29.5 and had one pole SJ. Very pleased with the girl.

Bailey heads home now after four weeks of Lamy boot camp. He has been quite the gentleman and done his best at everything I have asked. Hopefully Stephanie can crack on with the rest of the summer now and start to enjoy her jumping again.

Restarting Bailey’s jumping

Martin is now very busy with Pony Club commitments so the Groomsbridge Girls will not be competing until August. With this in mind Tinka has gone home for a summer holiday. Ehren hopefully has chiro, acupuncture, and a Char lesson booked. She will go out and party if she feels happier.  There are plenty of clinics planned and another camp at Adds Farm. Hopefully I will have time to do a little more with Little Lexi. Watch this space!

July 5, 2014 Posted by | Camp, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Results, Schooling livery | , , , , | Leave a comment

Am I bovvered?!

Rolo hacking round the fields

Rolo hacking round the fields

Rolo restarting his jumping

So where to start? We had the lovely Rolo stay with us for four weeks. He was a very welcome house guest, doing everything we asked of him. He hadn’t done much since last Autumn and turned up in a very bolshy spooky mood. Hopefully he has gone back to the Rolo that Jen enjoyed so much last year and they can enjoy their summer now. In his place we have a larger, wider version called Bailey come to stay with the plan of getting him jumping and progressing his flatwork while his mother is on holiday.

Tinka on fine form at Keysoe N

Tinka on fine form at Keysoe N

Tinka went to Keysoe BE for her first Novice this year. Unfortunately the course had been revamped and was very strong, not at all what we wanted for her first one of the year. She stormed round nearly all the questions but right near the end of the course they had a disagreement at a skinny. Back to the drawing board with bits and steering ideas! They then dropped back down to BE100 at Borde Hill to make sure that she hadn’t lost any confidence. It was hideously wet and caused utter  carnage but The Stinka said “am I bovvered?” and stormed round in the mud to finish 3rd, what a star! Next stop Stratford Hills to try Novice again…

Jules and Libby were also at Borde Hill for the BE90. They had another really consistent performance for 2nd. So proud of these two, they do their first BE100 at Stratford Hills.

To highlight just how well both Tinka and Libby have started their 2014 campaign they are leading four of the South East Eventer League rankings between them! Unreal! I know it’s early days and both are looking to upgrade but wowee, am very proud! Tinka is leading the GG’s Tack BE100 list and the Wow Overall Grassroots list, and Libby is leading the Poppinghole Farm mares list and the Thermal Imaging (Kent) BE90 list. Amazeballs!

Lily was rerouted to a lower key riding club one day event at Coombelands, a perfect event for her. She was top 5 after the dressage, had one pole down being very green SJ, and a fantastic bold run around the XC for a few time faults and an 8th. Just what the doctor ordered. She had been foul at the jumping clinic at home which turned out to be three weeks after Chilham so we now have a black skull and cross-bones marked on our calendar to mark her hormones! Martin still hasn’t quite worked out that telling an angry woman to ‘calm down’ is like lighting the blue touch paper so I will do my best to protect him from himself!!

Adds Farm campers May 2014

Adds Farm campers May 2014

We have been very busy with clinics; several visits to Bonfleur XC schooling, our first jumping clinic at Carmen Court, a couple of SJ schooling sessions at Eaglesfield, then the first of my adult camps at Adds Farm and some XC schooling at Lodge Farm squeezed in!

Ehren has been back in work for two months now and has been hideously spooky. At first I thought it was just lack of work but this week I found myself clinging round her neck with my right knee left of the pommel. It is only a matter of time! At the moment the school fence is being creosoted so there are dark bits and light bits which change as more is painted. I kid you not, this is way too much for Miss Autism to cope with. Frustrating as hell! She also is still not 100% herself so we continue the search for a supplement that sorts out her gastric issues…..

Rodney looking quite beefy at 8 weeks

Rodney looking quite beefy at 8 weeks

Little Lexi is now walk, trot and cantering, starting her first hacks and doing some polework in the school. She is pretty green having not seen poles and wings in such a long time so I am starting to fill the school like a child’s playroom so she has to go through, round and over things. Young Rodney looks a million times stronger and also quite the chunk. The stud have nicknamed him the ‘Foster foal’ as he doesn’t look anything like Lexie! Then there is Bilbo. Our mad lurcher puppy. Another day, another four legged lunatic in the family…….

Bilbo lets off steam

Great to hear of so many of my clients enjoying their Milton Keynes three day event, despite the dreadful wet weekend they had. Top effort from Tiny and Clare who stormed around in the mud to finish 2nd in their class. Go girls! Also fab news from ‘bad-boy’ Okie and Heather who continue to make great forward steps in their journey with a win in the Chilham Combined Training – fantastic effort!!

Coming up we have Stratford Hills BE Novice with Tinka, our adult camp at Bedgebury, Ehren has her first Char lesson in about 7 months (oh dear God that is going to be ugly!), Tinka will also head to Eridge BE, there is a possibility that Ehren will go to Stilebridge BD, and Lily is entered for the UA Tweseldown 80…..

June 14, 2014 Posted by | Camp, Carmen Court, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results, Schooling livery | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting the dining room sideboard through the bathroom window

Young Rodney

Well we have been keeping busy as usual! Lexie gave birth to a bay colt “Rodney”. As usual it was a stressful delivery for Sally and I can assure you all, Lexie’s last. She will be sewn up and never allowed near semen again! Another red bag delivery, and to make matters even worse this time the foal got stuck too. Eventually a rather large boy was dragged out, cracking a few ribs on his way and leaving his mum very sore indeed. In Tom’s words ‘it was like getting the dining room sideboard through the bathroom window.’ Thankfully mum is a tough old bird and Rodders has strong ID ancestry and both are recovering well.

The latest blood tests were good for Ehren so she was allowed to try Gastrogard again. Not for long though, within five hours of being given a pretty low dosage she was lumpy, so now we are sure she is allergic to something in it. According to the drug company she is the only horse ever in the US or here in the UK to have an allergic reaction. Well personally I think that’s as likely as a fish driving a car. I don’t believe it. She is special but she can’t be that special!  I do understand though that if these things aren’t logged with the drugs companies they may not have it documented. Anyway we think her gastric problems are only really a winter issue so I am bringing her back into work now without anything and will see how she goes. Unfortunately it means we will have the gastric issue to solve at the end of this Autumn. This is starting to feel like Groundhog Day!!

Tiny and Clare try their hand in the show ring

Tiny and Clare try their hand in the show ring

Tiny has been masquerading as a show horse. She looks amazing for 19 and is having a great time with Clare.

We had two groups XC schooling at Bull Farm in the rain. It’s always lovely to school somewhere you don’t go to very often and everyone had a great time. Both Tinka and Lily headed to Chilham BE. Lily is a complex little character and needs to feel within her comfort zone, so her first event always had the potential for disaster. She was a good girl all day to handle, did a good dressage test for 31 but bailed out in the SJ of the BE80. She was in season and away with the fairies, went to charge at the fourth fence, then went to stop and skidded into the bottom of the filler sitting on her little ginger backside. I don’t need to explain that once that had happened all was lost! Fortunately she did no harm to her jockey who was able to bring her bold as brass sister out the next day for the BE100. The Stinka jumped another double clear inside the time to finish up third for no other reason than to show Lily what a pansie she was I think!

Also at Chilham were Jules and Libby who produced another consistent result of 6th in the BE90. Jules is planning her step up to BE100 soon and has the Grassroots Regionals to look forward to. Very exciting!

That same weekend Leanne and Dennis won their Discovery at Felbridge BS and have picked up lots of ribbons in recent weeks. When Leanne first came to me it was for flatwork lessons. She “used to jump but wasn’t up for it anymore” and thought she might try her hand at dressage. Well “shall we just try some poles on the floor then”?! I am absolutely delighted to see her having so much fun in the show-jumping ring again. Really really chuffed and wish her the best of luck with her new boy!

Bilbo takes it easy

Bilbo takes it easy

Alice and Magic

Alice and Magic

We then headed for Norfolk for a few days to take a deep breath before our new lurcher puppy Bilbo arrives. While we were away I was delighted to hear that Stephanie had won her Intro dressage with Bailey. He is really coming along now. When he comes to stay this summer we will also start his jumping up again. Something for him to look forward to! Alice and Magic were also out having a fantastic day at the South East Connemara Show. They won and qualified in their Performance Connemara class with a clear round, won and qualified in their Junior Mountain and Moorland NPS class on the flat and jumped a couple of fab rounds in the Novice & Training Stakes. Anyone who is a regular at our jumping clinics will know just how hard Alice works and how much this is deserved. Top banana!!

Little Lexi has been on box rest as her fetlock blew up again. She is like an unexploded bomb. I am now walking her in hand and turning her out in a tiny paddock but she has perfected some serious break-dancing moves, none of which are good for her fetlock! Will keep you posted. She has nearly been with us a year, and looks a much stronger more mature girl now but it would be nice to do something with her!!

Rolo has arrived for four weeks flatwork and jump schooling, Tinka goes to Keysoe BE for her first Novice this year, I have some XC schooling at Bonfleur, we have our first jumping clinic at Carmen Court and some SJ schooling at Eaglesfield , Lily goes to a lower key riding club one day event at Coombelands and Tinka heads to Borde Hill BE. That gets us to half term. And breathe…..

May 6, 2014 Posted by | Camp, Carmen Court, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results, Schooling, 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

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

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

No retiring the old man!

On the dressage front Debbie and Jasmine have been plugging away at their BD Mediums in order to get qualified for the Area Festivals. We more commonly see Tina and Percy at the jumping clinics but Percy’s sharer Sue has done her first few dressage outings and recently won her Prelim with 66.1% at Speedgate. This is a fantastic result and put a big smile on my face. Taking our time and having a system in place has really reaped its rewards. Competitions were banned for months and months, and now they are ready and really having fun.

We took a small group including Lily and Tinka to Lodge Farm for a XC school. Emma, Sarah and Jules joined us with Jules specifically wanting to get a better idea of the BE90 pace. Tinka looked much improved, Lily however had another ginger hormonal tantrum. I hadn’t realised but it was three weeks since Lucy’s school fence got a kicking. This time, and I kid you not, she hurled herself off the bank at Lodge Farm backwards. Martin just sat there. Lily you have no idea how stubborn he is. Seriously, give it up girl!

Fantastic news from Tinka; following her great run at Brightling it was Iping BE100 last weekend. Not a favourite venue of mine (although Martin loves it) and everything she has been struggling with. I walked the course and thought what a huge test it would be for her; hilly, twisty, spooky, ditchy and almost impossible to make the time. So on a scorching Sunday afternoon she stormed around it, was totally confident and fairly close to the time to WIN! Hoo-hah!! A win! Crikey, they don’t come along very often. As a one-horse working amateur rider getting a win is a serious achievement. We can count them on one hand in all Martin’s many (sorry Martin but I haven’t got over the commentator at South of England saying you first competed there in 1979!) years of eventing – there was a brilliant win in the Poplar Park Novice 2006 on a seven year old Lexie, again on Lexie at Eridge in the Pre Novice 2004, and ten years ago to the day on Debbie Garland’s Mannie at Iping in the Pre Novice 2003. So no retiring the old man, he has promised to carry on kicking!

In all this heat I have a rather overweight but otherwise lovely Connemara in for two weeks intensive schooling called Rolo. I think the poor fellow is wondering what on earth happened (as are my legs!). He is a friend of my favourite little man Dylan, and Dylan had better watch out as I am working on making Rolo a fellow Chelsham and Bromley Riding Club dressage contender! Another schooler ‘Dita’ has just posted her first win; it’s all getting rather competitive!

I have entered Ehren for the Addington Regionals. They are the last one this year, giving her eye the longest possible time to clear up. It does look better but is slow progress and the oedema is still there, albeit smaller. I have started to ride her this week in her fly mask. Quite the fashion aficionada she is…..I do feel for her in this heat though, it must be SO itchy.

Coming up Tinka has Chilham BE100, Ehren may or may not have the Regionals, and we have jumping clinics at Adds Farm, White House and Carmen Court. Dita is coming back to Carmen Court for a month and we have the added challenge of introducing her to some jumping, I have camps at Adds Farm and Ardingly, and I think it will be nice to squeeze in a few days off for Hickstead and Edenbridge. Ah the madness of summer!

July 25, 2013 Posted by | Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Results, Schooling livery | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Little Lexi

The Budget announced a penny off the pint and I have saved enough for a new pony……so all I need to do is persuade Martin….hmmm…..need to come up with a clever plan….. OK I’ll agree to a puppy……but that won’t be enough……need to find a horse that’s right up his street……oh look, a  little black mare called Lexi – tick! Job done and so much easier than I had thought….

Little Lexi arrivesLexi (that will be Little Lexi) is a little 15.2 black ISH mare and she is 4 yrs old. She has come to us having been in Scotland for 6 weeks, previously having been in Ireland where she was bred. She has been backed and jumped her first fences but is obviously still very green and young (she’s not actually 4 yrs old until July) but we hope that she will carry me over some brown and coloured sticks.  She is currently chilling out after a rather stressful move south, and has just started some lunging in her new home. Watch this space!

Ehren Speedgate BDEhren was a total superstar at Speedgate BD. In the first test she was a little distracted and spooky but she still managed to win overall and get 69.64% In the second test she was amazing, she really let me ride her and won overall again with a stonking 75.52% On top of a fantastic score she has qualified for the Summer Regionals which we weren’t expecting this year. What a clever girl, she even got mentioned in the pages of Horse and Hound! Next trip out was to the Southern Masters Dressage Semi-Final at Hickstead. This outing was always going to be more for exposure to a bigger occasion than anything else, however I wasn’t expecting her to be so frightened of the large open spaces! Poor girlie got terribly upset by the view in the lorry park, was totally on one in the first test and then rather flat by the time the Masters test came. However it was all experience for her and she didn’t disgrace herself with a 6th and an 11th with 67% and 65%. She will probably now have one local trip out and then we are off to Addington for the Regionals. Again, this is more about her seeing these bigger days, building blocks for later on.

Lexie has had her first two scans and is in foal to the Jumbo sired stallion Med Night Mahout – wooo, very excited!

Lily and Martin headed off to Coombelands for the Riding Club ODE. We decided that I would lead her out to the dressage field (a good ten minute walk) to avoid any confrontation, then lunge her down there before putting Martin up. My word, I have never led a colt at the races but I suspect that was close! This was a huge day for Lily, never having experienced anything like it. She was obviously anxious but coped with everything and didn’t misbehave once. In a very tactfully ridden test her trotwork got 8s, but her jumping showed up her inexperience (Martin fell off twice!!). Bless the Riding Club rules, whatever happened they just allowed you to continue which was fantastic and Lily got her training day! She has been to see her chiropractor this week who says she is in much better shape than three months ago, and I cross everything when I say this; she hasn’t spat the dummy in about 6 weeks……come on Lily, we are all rooting for you…..

Tinka went to Borde Hill BE100. She posted her best dressage to date and was lying second, had an unlucky pole show-jumping, and set off on the XC like a steam train again. Unfortunately as soon as a question was asked she shut down. Tinka is a very genuine jumper and has obviously become confused, so some schooling and training days beckon. She has so much ability; it is just a case of untangling her brain. So off to Lucy’s for a lesson they went, and a very interesting lesson it was too. It ended with Tinka zipping around a course of 1m25 with some very scary jump-off style turns like a serious superstar speed horse. It started with Lucy watching him pop a 90cm rail with a placing pole and thinking ‘this mare is never going to cut the mustard’. So what happened in between? Once Lucy got Martin to ride her like a 12 yr old boy on a 13.2h jumping pony the mystery was solved. As soon as you try to set her up, her attention goes to the rider and she stops looking and thinking. Point, kick and leave her alone and she is absolutely fantastic. Now to take this new found knowledge onto the XC course…..

Talking of lessons I saw Char this week for what turned into a thoroughly exhausting grilling. I shall be more careful what I say about her in Horse and Hound in future!! It looked like someone had poured a bucket of water over my head by the time we finished. Louisa watched the lesson and said afterwards “that looked like such hard work it has put me off wanting to do dressage again”!

Diane Daynes talks muscles at campI have been really busy with all the usual clinics and teaching. Lots of people have been out and about having fun and doing really well at shows and the recent Riding Club dressage qualifier. On top of all this we have just about recovered from Adult Camp at Bedgebury. A laughter filled weekend full of fun. Everyone had a fantastic time and the only problem was the alarm clock going off on Monday morning, ugh! We had an animal communicator come in on the Friday with some hilarious snippets from the horses and dogs. One word of advice from Louisa’s Labrador Keira “don’t knock mice until you’ve tried them!”

Coming up Tinka has a run in the BE90 at Eridge to trial out their new technique over a smaller course, hoping to give her a happy run before going back to BE100 somewhere like Brightling Park. I have two more grillings with Char and a trip out before Ehren heads off to Addington.  Lily has her first jumping lesson with Martin at Lucy’s. We have all the usual clinics including some more XC schooling, plus there are the Pony Club Area Dressage and SJ competitions. The longest day is today so we’ve got to cram everything in before winter comes…..!!

June 21, 2013 Posted by | Dressage trainer, Eventing trainer, Instruction, Our Horses, Pony Club, Results | , , , , , , | Leave a comment