Calisto and I headed south to Blackdyke for what we hoped would be the last competition of the year. The aim was to get his last points for Elementary Open qualification and also qualify for the Elementary Open Freestyle. He borrowed Colin’s music and floorplan and went very nicely to win both tests with good percentages and so qualify for the Winter Regional Championships. It was a lovely way to finish my time riding him. He is quite a different horse from six months ago when he arrived. I am really looking forward to working with him and Sophie, now he has returned home.
Colin and I had a trip down to see Carl for a ‘changes check-up’ and I am pleased to report he got a gold star! I was really pleased that our first public flying changes were calm, clean and actually really nice – especially as it is only a few months since he started them. For now, I hope every night for no snow in the morning. So far so good, but I’m sure it won’t last for long!!
October always feels a bit of a let down compared to September…the Nationals are over for another year and winter gets ever closer.
Colin and Freddie had both completed their qualifying for the Winter Regionals before the National championships and so competition focus turned to Calisto. Due to the number of points he has won I had to be quite careful how I competed so that I could give his owner maximum qualifications for her return to the saddle. He completed twice at SNEC this month and finished his Novice Open qualification and through ‘having a bash’ at a couple of elementaries he gained 14 points! Elementary looks like it may really suit him and the 84% (14 x 9’s!!) that he got showed his agility in a difficult 20x40m arena elementary test. So the project for November is to try and complete his elementary qualification – fingers crossed!
Dudley had a couple of weeks of work when he first arrived home after the Nationals. I always forget how novicey you feel getting on a very wobbly baby. Once we got over the initial timid introduction he became very brave in the arena and I’m looking forwards to re-starting his work next year. For now he is enjoying time out in the field.
Colin has started work on his flying changes and I am really pleased with how they are developing and his attitude to the whole thing. We mentioned them last year and at the time he did have a minor meltdown but it seems having a break from them has made all the difference. I have just worked away quietly with him since the Nationals and now feel we are in a place to let Carl see.
I am pleased to announce a new sponsorship from Sankey Saddles. I have ridden in these saddles for the last 10 years and have really felt that both horse and rider’s needs are catered for. Andrew Sankey, who makes and fits the saddles has worked with me to allow Colin and Freddie have optimum freedom and that I also have the best seat and leg panel to suit my style of riding. Andy also is a huge fan of ‘bling’ so his saddles will suit many ‘dressage diva’s’ cravings :-). Unfortunately for Andy I am not hugely into the ‘bling thing’ but a compromise has been met on Freddie’s saddle!
Congratulations to Calisto’s parents, Sophia and Dan on the birth of their beautiful baby girl!
So…back to Rowallan for the Scottish Championships. Calisto showed a big improvement in his confidence from the Regionals to win the Novice Championship. Colin decided that the judges box at B had monsters in it and everything on that side of the arena was a disaster – thankfully the other side of the arena was safe so we had some good work to get 70% and finish 2nd. Normal service resumed in the Medium and he gave me a very nice ride to win that Championship. Freddie and I were pleased to be back out and produced a very consistent PSG test to win with 72.6%.
The other exciting news this month is that Lady Hope and I have bought a 3yo. Like Colin we have bought him from Carl and he is by Negro. Fanegro (Dudley) is being broken by Ryan Shannon at the moment and we hope to bring him back up with us from the National Championships. Would also like to say a big thank you to all my pupils who have done so well over the last 6 weeks. I have had many lovely comments in the press regarding the help I have given them and wish you all good luck at the National Championships, Pet Plan Finals and Winter Regionals.
The Nationals have flashed past in a blur, can’t believe it is all over!
My week away started with a very windy and wet journey down to Carl’s with Freddie and Colin. Unfortunately Carl had been unable to see me for the last 6 months due to his own diary and competition commitments so I was very grateful that he could fit me in before the Championships. I then met up with Cantos, his owner Judy and Mum at Stoneleigh for the Championships.
The PSG with Freddie started off very well gaining exciting marks until movement 17…then unfortunately things went downhill. He became very anxious during the canter work and 5 movements were less than perfect and our marks dropped considerably. These mistakes were expensive but I was pleased to still get a credible 68.7% and finish 17th.
Cantos was amazing…no one would have guessed this was his first time in temporary stables, outdoor competition and in a Championship atmosphere – he just loved every minute that he was there! He gave me a lovely ride in the Novice Open Championship to finish 2nd with 70.62%. We were the highest placed BDSC members so received their lovely rug – it made his owner’s day to see him in the prizegiving with his rug on and enjoying being a star for the day!
Finally it was Colin’s turn and what a good boy he was. In the Medium Open Championship he did the best he could at the moment and got 68.83% to finish 7th. Not a bad result for having only done his first Medium test 5 months ago! On the final day it was back to Elementary and a level he is very comfortable at. He did a fabulous test, everything just came together when it was needed and he scored 72.31% to become the National Elementary Open Champion!!!
The boys budged up on the way home to welcome Dudley on board and we travelled home without any problems. Time for a few days off for Freddie and Colin and a few days to get to know Dudley before having my first sit on! 🙂
Finally just a thankyou to Lady Hope and Judith Douglas Miller for being great owners, my sponsors…TopSpec, ForestFarmacy, JM Horseboxes, Sankey Saddlers and Uvex and to everyone on Facebook and beyond who have supported me during the week.
I am very pleased to announce that I am now being supported by UVEX Riding Helmets. I look forwards to wearing these lovely hats at both home and competition and thoroughly recommend them for their comfort, look, protection and realistic cost. Very relieved to say I had a great Regional Championships! I felt far less pressure with Freddie not being there (he had already qualified directly at Hartpury PL) , I am always so worried that I may let him down and we won’t get to the Championships! Calisto and Cantos competed in the Novice Open. Calisto went well but got a little nervous and didn’t do himself justice but still managed to gain a credible 68%…better tests still to come! Cantos was super, despite his lack of experience he gave me a lovely ride and won with 73.79%. Colin felt the best yet at a competition, he really let me ride him from the start of the test. In the elementary he scored 73.44% and in the Medium 72.25%…winning them both. Really looking forwards to the Nationals, having 3 horses going at 4 different levels is going to be hard work but a great challenge and thrill! I took Colin and Calisto back to Rowallan at the end of August to do a couple of Freestyle classes. I dug out some of my old music compilations to use for them. It was nice to have a low pressure outing and doing the freestyles is always fun. Calisto got 80% in the Novice and Colin 78.7% in the Medium – both qualifying for the Winter Regionals.
I managed to combine alot into my trip to Hartpury Premier League. Freddie has a great win in the PSG gaining direct qualification to the National Championships and Colin was 2nd in the Medium – only his forth Medium test and first Premier League competition. Both boys managed to have a lesson with Carl and Colin had an additional lesson with Christoph Hess – which was so nice of Christoph to make the time during judging commitments and special for me to be taught by him again. It was lovely to see everyone down there and I also managed to make it to Carl’s now famous Hartpury festival BBQ – lots of fun, thanks Carl! I took the three C’s to Rowallan at the end of July for an outing before the Regionals. Cantos, Calisto and Corchapin had a great show, all coming away with wins and more importantly valuable qualifying points for the Winter Regionals. Marks ranged from 71.4% to 78.2% with Colin getting a 10 for a simple change!
We had a new arrival at the end of May, Calisto a 6yo KWPN gelding by Santano has come to stay while his owner Sophia Morrison waits for the arrival of her baby in August. Sophie had already managed half of his Novice Open Regional qualification and I completed it for her at SNEC and Rowallan before end of qualifying.
I was also reunited with Cantos during June to try and qualify for the Novice Open, which we managed to do. ‘Ted’ is having a lovely time with his new owner Judith Douglas Miller who is enjoying getting to know him in the relaxed atmosphere of home while I compete him for her at shows.
I took Colin to SNEC early in the month to do another Medium…it was Medium 75, so a real challenge for him at this stage. I was so pleased with his efforts and concentration, it was definitely the best he has gone at SNEC (which is not his most favourite venue)…he won with 74.32%.
Congratulations to Donnabel who now has a lovely black colt!! ‘Henry’ was born at 4.45pm on 9th May. Henry is by Rilke and this makes him a full brother to Freddie. Both Mum and baby are doing well 🙂
Colin managed to complete his Medium Open Regional qualification at Rowallan. He got another chance to have a practice of Medium 75 and improved on his previous score getting 75.14%. I am really pleased with his attitude and confidence at Medium, he feels to be enjoying the challenge!
Due to the heightened EHV risk and that Donnabel is due to foal next month we decided to stay off-site at Hartpury. Carl very kindly let me stay at his so it was very relaxing for Colin & Freddie during their non-competitive days. It was a long but successful week away with alot of early starts and late nights but definitely worth it!
Colin started the week competing in the Elementary Open Freestyle. He was quite nervous and scared in the test but did well to get 72.44% and 6th. In the Elementary Open the next day he was so much happier in the arena, I was pleased with his test and we finished 2nd with 71.67%.
Freddie’s first class was at the Evening Performance on the Friday night in the PSG Freestyle Championship. He gave me a fabulous ride to music that was created by Tom Hunt, including canter music especially composed by Tom for him. We were placed 2nd with 72.42%. Our final class was the Advanced Medium Freestyle…again another great test from Freddie…another 2nd, this time with 74.28%!
A huge thanks to the Sponsors and Organisers for all their hard work during the Championships, the Winter Championships are a fantastic competition to take part in!
After the Winter Championships Freddie and Colin had a well deserved week off. With both now being back in work, Colin had to get back out competing to complete qualification for the Summer Regional Championships. We headed to Rowallan at the end of the month and he produced two lovely tests. He won the Elementary qualifier with 77.5% and also won his first ever Medium test with 71.6%! Perhaps now I’ll need to think about trying to qualify for the Regionals at Medium!?
The Winter Regional Championships were the first weekend in March. We had a bit of a logistical problem as we had to ferry horses back and forwards to Rowallan so that they did not have to spend hours in the lorry waiting to compete -thanks Mum for all your hard work! A 3hr sleep on the Saturday night was worth while when over the two days we won 3 tests and had two 2nds. This means we gained qualification in all 5 classes for the Winter Championships in April at Hartpury. Cantos will compete in the Novice Freestyle, Colin in the Elementary Open and Freestyle and Freddie in the Advanced Medium and PSG Freestyles.
A week on and we headed down to Myerscough Premier League with Freddie. This was his first Premier League at Small Tour! I was very pleased with our performances and even though they weren’t perfect it was fantastic to know we could score so highly in that company. He was 3rd in the PSG class with 71.3% and then went on to win the PSG freestyle with 72.3%. The Freestyle was held during the Evening Performance and he was very excited to have a large audience :-).
After Myerscough we had a short training trip down to see Carl. This was the perfect preparation for the Winter Championships which were fast approaching. I went home with lots of exercises and homework to do! Colin then had an outing to SNEC for an Elementary qualifier, despite being on his toes he got 78%!
Freddie, Colin and I headed down to Carl’s at the start of February. It was the first time Carl had seen Freddie since November and he saw a big improvement in his strength. The main aim for this visit was to film a floor plan for Freddie’s PSG Freestyle which we finally managed on the last morning! To my disappointment we were 25secs over the time limit and so had to edit the floor plan and re-film when I got home. This was done in the middle of a snow storm and makes amusing viewing…it looks very dramatic! We have sent it to Tom Hunt who is arranging the music for me. It is the first time I haven’t done it all myself and so it is exciting to see the result!
We went to Rowallan on the 22nd to have a practice run through of the freestyle tests with Colin and Freddie. Colin was doing the Elementary and Freddie had the Advanced Medium and PSG. It was my first public run through of the tests as I have re-done all their choreography for the Winter Regionals. All went very well with plus 75% scores in all of the tests.
Freddie has been selected to join the HorseScotland Performance Programme, this involves support and a grant which will help fund some training and trips.
New Year Resolution….get more training!
So on 2nd January the lorry was packed and I headed down to Carl’s, this time for three days with Colin and Cantos. Both boys were great and Carl was very pleased with how Cantos had developed as he hadn’t seen him in over 6 months. I am now happy in the knowledge that I have two more sets of training dates in the diary and I’m looking forward to our next trip down, this time with Freddie and Colin in tow.
Congratulations to Sarah Tyler Evans who has just received an award at the BEF Breeders’ Awards Dinner for breeding Colin. This award was for being the Best British Bred Dressage 5yo in 2012…well done Colin!
Just before the snow arrived…it started as we were leaving…we managed to take Freddie and Colin to a competition at Rowallan. Colin was a little wild as he had not been to a show since the Nationals in September but managed to hold his exuberance in the Elementary to get 75.9%. Freddie made his PSG debut, I was thrilled with how he went and his score of 73.4%!
Now hoping that the snow disappears quickly as I have a trip down to see Carl for training at the end of the month.