Friday, 7 December 2012

November/December 2012

Oo what a busy time its been. Firstly with an amazing holiday and then moving the boys to a yard where they can go out in the field all day and where its safe for me to take them out hacking on the byways by myself when we need a bit of escapism! This has made so much difference to Alf and his strength of body, but also more calmness of mind is clear. Calm power is a must for a dressage horse. Mr Del is such a good boy, he just gets on with his job no matter what his field arrangements.
Both boys are going really well at the mo and we had a fantastic two day course with my trainer Ali Cookson at the TTT. With Alf we were working on suppleness behind the saddle leading to a straighter horse and with Del we were working on my (not so adhesive!) seat! Then a fabulous two days with Stephen Clarke. Alf was the best he has ever been and started to show super talent for collection in the canter. Del was brilliant as always and impressed Stephen with his medium trots and canters and his lateral work.

September/October 2012

Well done to Hannah Bown and Fin for winning the Prelim Area Festival at Patchetts. This qualifies her to take part at the Area Festival Final which is held at the National Winter Championships at Hartpury next year.

Clever Georgia Sayles has been working hard on her position and influence of her legs and seat and her reward is a lovely round engaged pony!

Sarah Harington is starting to really enjoy competing her Andalusian Red at Affiliated British Dressage . They had a fab day at Pachesham dressage today. 65% and 4th out of a strong field of 15.
Alf went to Patchetts for the first time and was second in Novice 35 with 71.92%
Delboy went the next day and won Novice 38 with 70.77% and Elementary 45 with 66.90%
Alf went to Pachesham for the first time and was third in both Novices with 69.61% and 68.62%
We also went back to one of our favourite venues East Soley and Alf was second in Novice 38 with 69.03% and he won Elementary 53 with his best % at this level so far 69.71% 

Sunday, 29 July 2012

July/August 2012

Alf went to East Soley and certainly snorted lots! He won both the Novices but not with his normal high % due to a little spooky today as this was his first time at this venue and something had gone wrong at the yard and he hadn't been given his Calm Cool and Collected brain food for a couple of weeks.

Very pleased with himself two weeks later to win his first Elementary with 69.2% and second in Elementary 50!

Delboy went to the Addington pre Regional Championships warm up and broke his own record by winning Novice 39 with 76.55%! What a horse.

He was such a cool dude a week later at the Addington Central Regional Championships. Faultless from start to finish, but perhaps not quite as relaxed and through the body as last week, due to the excitement of  his first regionals atmosphere. The three judges combined scores gave 68.26%. So so proud of him as he really gave me everything he has. 16th out of 40. I was hoping for top ten so must admit was a bit disappointed as it was a mistake free test but i will take the comments on board from the one judge who marked us lower. The standard was quite mind blowing with horses of international calibre in the top 20, so have to be pleased that my Delboy was amongst that bag!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

May / June 2012

Tracey Lawson riding 'A New Day' (Delboy!)
I took Delboy to his first competition at East Soley and Team Catherston were also competing there. What a lovely huge union jack all over the lorry! I watched one of their beautifully suspended elastic horses float round its mistake free test.......The wonderful Jennie Lorriston Clarke helping them warm up and read for them. And then somehow Mr Del wins both classes and beats them?! What?! How the bloody hell did we do that? I am in shock! But very very grateful to Mr Del for being so amazing today. Love you Big Boy! Bless his little/huge cotton clod hoppers. What a clever boy winning another two tests outright with 69.62% and 70%. He has earnt his keep this week!

Happy Happy! Alf  went to Fairoak Grange and got his first affiliated 9! I have always thought his free walk should get a 9. Thank you Judge Angela Cardiff. Alf then went on to win Novice 27 with 73.21%...... Yes! James has brought home Cava!

Two ladies who have really impressed me with their dressage improvements are Jenny Richards and Teri Gray (also know as Team Awesome!) Always an absolute pleasure to teach, they work their butts off doing their homework, and they love their horses to bits. What more could a trainer ask for?
Sandra Clark Bernstein has also really upped her game! Now getting 8's for her centre lines and 7's for the free walks! I would say that means Seamus was straight between both legs and 'through'! Sorry Seamus, your not retiring yet, we've only just started!!!

Anni Denton and Mercury floated around the arena to win N24 with 70% and E43 with 68% at Elstead Riding Club! Cathy Howard showed her versatility as a rider by taking Helen Scourfields Dusty to their first competition at Rycroft Dressage and came 2nd in the Prelim. Samantha Amor and Archie also attended Rycroft and won the Novice 22 with over 68%!

I had the most super ride on Delboy at the Stephen Clarke clinic at the TTT today. This amazing horse seems to know when its an important day for me, and he pulls out all the stops to be the best he can. Full of power, energy and enthusiasm as always, but a new softness, swing and elasticity is now coming through into his movement. Alf went on the second day and had his first outing in a double bridle. He goes beautifully in a snaffle but he offers just a little more lift in the shoulder in the double and i would like to establish this feeling for both of us in the double, then check we can copy it in the snaffle. He behaved and danced just beautifully and gave me everything i could ask for. What a star.

Gillian Hammond has made a major breakthrough in her dressage riding and can now connect Cuddles hind legs from behind through the back to the bit! Without having to put her hands down! Because she is riding from back to front! Yippee! This is not easy on Cuddles as he has a very high head carriage so its very tempting to want to just put his head down, instead of getting his hind legs under and his back up. Beverly Wright has gone through this exact same journey with her horse Felix. Once Bev and Gill have found the hind legs and the back, the neck becomes their present and they can have it up with poll as the highest point, or stretch it down easily (because the horse is no longer needing to use the neck to balance itself having found its hind legs to balance on and back to carry the rider) Easy!

Clever Delboy did his first two affiliated elementary classes at East Soley and won them both with 71.79% and 75%! 9's for his medium canter, canter 3 loop serpentine, canter down centre line into medium trot, and medium trot to halt immobility salute! LOVE HIM!
He also went to Fairoak and won Novice 38 with 71.94% and second in Novice 28 with 70%!

Mr Alf went for his first outing to Hunters Equestrian in Gloucester and won affiliated Novice 22 outright with 71.72% and was second in the Novice 38 Open with 71.93%. Behaved like a pro. Ah, my liitle boy is growing up. Both have now qualified for the BD Summer Novice Open Regionals.

March/April 2012

Georgia Sayles had a lot to smile about after helping the W&BRC Junior team qualify for the RC Dressage Champs at Hartpury. What a lovely start to her dressage career.
Yay, it wasn't a fluke last time! Alf went out to his second affiliated comp and he won both his novices with 71.92% and 72.31%!
I had a super week training both of my boys with Charles De Kunffy at TTT. Delboy got very very very excited about being asked to do the lecture demo Sunday night but thanks to Charles' brilliant training at getting horses through the back, i managed to do most of it in sitting trot, hooray! That is no easy feat on Delboy. Boing Boing Boing!

Not one but two sponsors this month! The wonderful Wayne Jones Photography take the best photos you will ever get. Seriously!

Thank you so much to Equifeast for including me in the Sponsored Elite Rider Squad. Alf and Del are doing so well thanks to Calm Cool and Collected (brain food) and Winning Edge Gold (everything a sports horse needs nutrition)! Here's a pic of me teaching in my lovely Equifeast jacket!

Well done Annie Denton and Mercury at the BRC Winter Championships, a rather yummy 69.2% in the Novice! Clare Wilson and Loki earnt themselves 72.5% with some 9's at WEC in the Open Prelim! Sue Jones and George had a ball at the Petplan Novice Open Finals. After round 1, Sue and George, 5th best score in a class of 60,  with 69.19%! Very Proud Trainer.
Eilean Appleton made a good start to the BE season by winning the dressage on 23, with a 9 for the trot canter trans. Shes been working on those over the winter so a very well deserved reward!
Delboy is on his way back! He won Novice 22 with 73.10% (thank you judge Scilla Lown!) and Novice 38 with 72.58% (thank you judge Jenny Gillett!) Happy Happy!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

January/February 2012

Well the New Year started with a bang when poor Delboy went into 'orsepital with a tooth root infection. I think he may have hoofed himself in his bottom jaw with all that front leg action. The infection is now gone and we are hoping it does not come back, because if it does, big tooth removal operation. Fingers crossed that is not needed.

On a brighter note, Alf went to his first affiliated Novices winning them both with 74.23% and 73.75%!
Tracey Lawson riding Alfero
Happy happy! He felt and behaved AMAZINGLY and since then we have really seen our confidence in each other go up a notch and we are really starting to engage and believe in each other. It has been such a long haul waiting for his splints to settle down. He is only 6 years old and immature mentally and physically, but oh boy is this horse about to start catching up. No rush, Still lots of hacking for his brain and body, walking up hills for his bum, only schooling 3 times a week......but I'm starting to believe that PSG is not a dream for him, but a definite destination. We are now both really really enjoying the journey.

Sara Malpass is about to start her climb up the BD ladder with some exciting new projects. In the meantime I was very happy for her when Quaker won his unaffiliated prelim class by over 3% with 74.5%, and Basil getting 68%. Super achievement for a lass who was hopping about on a set of crutches last month! Now that's dedication. Basil then went on to win his first affiliated prelim!

Denise Holland and Strider have really improved these last couple of months. Strider is a very tall horse, there's a lot to put together and Denise was struggling to find self carriage in the canter. So we decided to sophisticate the trot work and get that more truly engaged with Strider doing more and Denise doing less. That has now helped with the canter and the self carriage is well on its way. Strider needs to sink down into more articulated hind legs, so that he can push himself more into the air. He needs first to find the suppleness to do this and then to slowly build the strength to maintain it. The 'by product' is that a new medium trot has appeared. Can't complain at that! Now I need to get them to believe they are ready to go show this to a dressage judge. Although to be honest as long as they are both enjoying their time together then i'm happy! That's the most important thing in this art we call classical dressage - Loving the art because its just amazing, not just because we win competitions........

..........However.......Sue Jones and George did their first BD Elementary and came home with a big fat red rosette! Just what she needed to keep her confidence up for the Open Novice Petplan Finals at the BD Winter Championships at Hartbury in April. It may seem like I have just completely contradicted myself but I love both sides of my job. Teaching people how to love riding their horse more and if its what they want, teaching them how this can also lead to higher percentages and better competition results. Just never at the horses expense.

"To be an equestrian in the classical sense is
not just to be a rider. It is a position in life"
Charles de Kunffy

I could not agree with this more.