HMN Sporthorses in 2016

2016

December

Things have been winding down in December in the lead up to Christmas and the New Year! All the horses are in work but having an easier time with fun and training but no competitions. Bertie and I had a good lesson with Gareth earlier in the month where I showed him Bertie's newly learned flying changes, which he was pleased with and gave me some new exercises to work towards as they get more established. I've been doing lots of gridwork with all the horses; all the dressage horses jump regularly too, whether loose in the indoor to work it out themselves, playing in the jump field or working over grids in the arena. It's great for keeping them fresh or teaching them new things and improving their way of going etc. For Bertie the main aim is for less 'bounce' in the air (zebedee impression) and more calmness!! Sometimes he will literally canter up and down on the spot he's so excited but we're making progress and I'm really pleased with how calm and smooth it's getting. For Ruin the opposite is the case - he's naturally super laid back and couldn't care less about knocking poles flying (literally) but he's really starting to get the idea of being sharp and quick with his legs and leaving the jumps up!! He particularly excelled at bounces so there's hope! He may get to do some jumping shows/eventing next year if he continues this way, alongside the dressage. He makes a great shape and is so bold and fearless. The others horse are a little more simple and uncomplicated! For some videos, check out my HMN Sporthorses youtube page.

Christmas meant that I got two days off - from riding that is, not the normal mucking out etc! Had a lovely time and lots of presents for the horses. The only thing left is for me to do is to wish you all a Happy New Year! 2016 has not been the best year for us (me, my horses and all our horses)...some injuries, two big dental extractions and never making it to Bertie's National Champs - to name just a few. I'm not going to lie; I'll be pleased to see the back of it! However, not least because 2017 looks to be a really exciting year, including some great plans for Bertie who had some big scores at his last show, and Ruin who will make his competition debut!

A huge thanks you to my sponsors, my amazing family and all my friends and supporters who do so much for me - they know who they are. Big congratulations to all my clients who are so loyal and kind and have made such progress this year, making me so proud and excited for their 2017! Lots of thanks and love to all of you, celebrate in style then bring on 2017! Xx

November

Well November did not start well! Sunday 6th did not go to plan...plan was to compete at the British Dressage GBPRE Championships with Bertie...result = blow out on the motorway after 3 hours of driving n only 15 minutes from the venue. Not just one tyre but three tyres in the end. So we obviously didn't get to the Champs - gutted doesn't come close; everything over the last few months has been geared toward this show n were going so well, we were so excited. Still can't quite believe it, so disappointed. However the hero of the day was Bertie who stood on the lorry for almost 10 hours - yes TEN HOURS n didn't object for one minute, not even a single paw or stomp - what a superstar, very proud of him. So upset he didn't get to strut his stuff but he's a champion in our eyes.

Thank you to everyone for all the good luck messages, help and support, including Emma coming with us today n doing awesome plaits on Bertie, n Lisa & Jamie for doing all the yard in our absence - my phone died this morning so I couldn't contact anyone (thank god I wasn't alone) but I really appreciate it.


Next was a more successful outing on 9th November, taking Ruth n Greg's Breeze to Hunters Equestrian for a dressage show. She felt very weird when we arrived; really stiff n stuffy - not like her at all n obviously meant our Elementary wasn't great but the judge was at least in agreement n we just got lots of comments about her being stiff!! Still managed a respectable score n 3rd. Then did her second Medium test n she was ace! A different horse in the warm-up n did a lovely test, so thrilled! Her halfpasses were just like at home so really pleased with that n some lovely comments n marks, just a shame it was marred by some lower ones for unnecessary flying changes!!! Not required at Medium Breeze!!! Got to love her, clearly we're holding her back!


October

October starting in style with a great weekend first weekend! Lots of teaching SJ n XC; one day at Tack Farm with a young pupil who did a fab job with her new horse, exceeding expectations after only owning her 3 weeks! Then Leyland Court the next day for a group lesson. Good fun with lovely people n cool horses, even got a ride myself on Sheba. She's very new to XC but I think she has a bit of potential!


The following weekend I had a good outing with Ruth n Greg's Star's Humbug at Burrows, his first outing for over a year! He's had (another) tough year with a big throat operation. He was so well behaved, super chilled n no bronking or cold-backed moments! Did two lovely Novice tests n got 65% in each, really pleased as he's over 18hh n even longer than he is tall!! Did some really nice work, apart from literally falling over once in each test!!


A nasty near-fall in each test...the first one I completely lost both my reins so there was a mad scramble to grab them while carrying on cantering...he was a good boy but it was a heart stopping moment!!


Great day today! Took Bertie for his first trip to Hunters, his final show before the BD Spanish Champs in November. He was seriously excited to be out...could barely get him to stand still long enough for his bandages to be taken off for the tests n I felt like we might acually take off in to orbit!! Apparently it looked a bit like that too, love judge's comment "very keen..."!! Despite being electric he did a lovely Novice test though; felt great n no big errors. A massive class n several big names so didn't expect much but was super chuffed to win it with 73.87%!! Then did the Elementary which felt really messy, plus barely stopped in time before hitting the judge's car at the end!! But lots of nice bits, just didn't feel at all polished or smooth. However got 71.47% n won that one too! Exciting times ahead


September

Really enjoyed doing a photo shoot for my sponsor Balanced Horse Feeds, here is one of my favourites of me with my partner in crime!


On the 10th I took my favourite girl, Orlando Mill owned by Ruth & Greg, to Burrows for her second show of the year. It was rather drizzly but she was fabulous; winning the Elementary and then came 2nd in her first Medium!


The next day I took Chloe Manning's Sheba to her first dressage competition, where she was just fab and came 3rd by a tiny margin! She's only young and has had more than her fair share of challenges but has become such a gorgeous genuine girl, taking everything in her stride and improving all the time. The future is definitely bright!


The following weekend consisted of an education outing for Bertie at Hartpury! All rather alarming for his first test but he was so much braver and more relaxed in the second test to improve by 7%! Probably one of the scariest venues so all good learning for him.

We finished the month with a really good trip with Bertie to Burrows, it was good to take him somewhere local and quiet after concentrating on scary outing to exposure him to different venues in preparation for the Spanish Champs in November! He did a nice Elementary, not super smooth but no major errors and he came 2nd with 66%, then was so pleased with the Novice Freestyle which felt great and we came 3rd with over 69%.


August

A fun start to August with some jumping of the dressage horses in the SJ field. Bertie was hilarious - who knew you had to give a pole on the ground so much space?!

However, nothing beats this shot of Bertie taking off MILES away for the cross pole!!

Ruin was a bit more economical; he's so laid back he really couldn't have cared less! He did enjoy it thought and a nice bit of variety for him.

I've had a lot of fun playing with Evan while he's been on schooling livery for a week at the beginning of August. He competes B.E. eventing so I worked on his dressage and some jumping. His owner/rider did a great job continuing the work I did as they went out the following week and got their best dressage score to date of 33!

Next it was time for another lesson with Bertie with Gareth Hughes. Great to hear that practising my homework since last time has paid off as everything was much improved and we were able to move on to new things. It was a great lesson and lots to be excited about!

Next we had a long day with a 5.30am start for the Iberian Performance Show at Merrist Wood with Bertie. Did Bertie's first elementary which is best forgotten...he was very spooky and light 'stripes' on the ground from the sun through the wooden slats and we were literally unable to move! A bit of a disaster with 8s and 2s and a few "naughty" comments! The Judge summed it up perfectly "What a pity - as so clearly talented but spooking and tension caused problems throughout". Makes for some amusing photos though...

Fortunately we had another chance to improve things with the Freestyle (not fancy dress this time!). What an improvement, still a few little spooks but a very different test. Some great combinations in the class including Jackie Stolper on her popular stallion so we untacked Bertie and popped him back on the box, only to wander over and find we came 2nd with just under 70%!! The perfect way to finish a long day.

July

A great start to the month, taking Ruin for his first outing to Burrows for a play. He was such a star! Completely chilled out (didn't even paw!!), taking it all in his stride and absolutely unfazed about EVERYTHING! So chuffed and proud of him, such a great sign - I've taken it sooo slowly with him as he's bee such a slow developer and still acts like a 4yo but it's starting to pay off. Now he's 6 years old and getting ready to go!


In addition, we only almost left the arena once!! He was very wiggly wobbly at the start..!

Another educational outing the following week when we took Bertie to Summerhouse for their arena hire. Very scary!! After a rather hyper start he began to settle and got better in better in what was a very spooky arena.

Next was a very exciting outing when I took Bertie for a lesson with Gareth Hughes! It was fantastic, Bertie worked really hard and improved so much during the session. Lots to work on, I can't wait to get started. Back again in a few weeks after Rio.

No rest for Mr Bertie! A few days later we went to the GB PRE National Champs at Hartpury! I entered him in the Novice freestyle for his biggest experience to date - an evening in the scary interaction indoor doing music in fancy dress with an audience and loud speakers!! Bertie was an absolute dude, however when we started he was a bit over-awed by the occasion and put his tongue over the bit...I had to improvise with the floorpan and make the best I could of it, kicking him around (not a word associated with Bertie!!) and we managed to get around but it felt extremely shambolic - he even halted in one of the canters!! In addition, my witches hat flew off mid-test and hung down my back... However miraculously he still got 66.1% and came 4th out of 14!! GORGEOUS rosette too. Super chuffed with him, such a great learning experience for him and he coped so well even if we couldn't do out best test, it was a lot of fun and I can't wait for next year!

June

An interesting start to June! On the 1st I was meant to be competing Ruth & Greg's little mare Breezicles at Burrows but Ruth rang me when I was already there to say Breeze wouldn't load and in all her tantrums had pulled a shoe off! Ruth was determined to make her load and bring her anyway so we withdrew from the Novice to give us extra time and planned to just do the elementary assuming she wasn't footy or lame. Then she arrived and we decided that the longer Breeze went without a shoe the sorer she would get, so we raced in to the warm-up and un-withdrew from the novice and went in after LITERALLY 5 minutes charging around the warm-up!! She was such a good girl though and did a lovely test (with no flying changes in the counter canters - phew!) so we left it there and withdrew from the elementary. Went to see the results later and she came 2nd in a huge class with 72.45%!! Just hilarious!


A few weeks later we had a busy day competing!

Took Bertie to his second BD show, a Novice at Burrows, and he was fab to come 2nd with 66.88%. The arena was very soggy from the heavy rain the night before and Bertie has 'a bit' of a fear of water (understatement!) so he did struggle on the surface but did such a lovely test. His medium trot is getting to be MEGA!! Plus he was super chilled in the carpark before and after the test, which is a big improvement from his normal paw-a-thon! What a superstar.

Next was Chancer's turn to do the Advanced Medium Freestyle, his first competition of the year so zero expectations as he is a bit of a 'clown'. Really pleased with his warm-up as he was pretty settled for Chancer and did some really quiet work. However we couldn't keep it up in the test! Some really nice bits with pieces of nice trot and lovely clean changes, even in the 5-tempis. But also some not so nice bits, for example when he halted and refused to move every time we went by the judge because the hut is terrifying...62% so not a compete disaster but very frustrating as usual! But Chancer is as Chancer does and he had a wonderful time, he so loves his outings, so that's the important thing.

Some of Chancer's 'twit' moments! The judge referred to it as a bit 'wild' and then chatted to the rider, who I know, who said at least I stayed on!! It wasn't that bad!!

At the end of the month Mr Bertie was his best yet at his competition, his third to date. So chilled and relaxed, becoming quite the pro! A lovely test (Novice) with lots of improvement, he's just getting better and better, somewhat disappointed with 65.53% but that's the least of our worries at the moment - it's all about Bertie finding his feet and confidence at this early stage. Thank you to all our supporters that came along!

May

Not a great start to May as I was very poorly with a high fever and really feeling like death. Thank god for my mum, Emma and friends to do the yard and horses for me. Then an extension of my EG Bursary, which provided me with a fab WHIS headset definitely made me feel so much better! Very lucky, it's going to be invaluable for all my teaching and warming-up clients at shows etc.

A few weeks later I was back to normal again and took Bertie to a Iberian clinic with Victor Alvarez at the Unicorn Trust. He was such a good boy, rather alarmed at the side boards in the impressive indoor but was very brave and had lots of admirers!! Did his first canter-walks and walk pirouettes and he was awesome. Victor had lots of praise and kind words for us. Lots learned and will definitely go next time!



April

A good way to start April with a great lesson on Bertie with Isobel! He was a really good boy, travelled beautifully for his longest-yet journey and was super brave after a spooky start. Love him!


A few weeks later we had a big day - took Chancer Prancer to Hunters for their ride-in day. Now anyone knowing Chancer will know he's the spookiest horse ever and I can barely get him around my arena that he's known for 7 years!! Well I can hardly believe how brave he was! We went in every arena with all the white boards etc and he coped so well, the only way you knew he was terrified was the INCESSANT pooping and he had the handbrake on a bit (not his normal way!). So unbelievably chuffed with him, he really is growing up and I'm so thrilled, this was a really big deal for Mr Scaredypants.

Look at his alarmed face!

Next I had a lot of fun playing with Tally for a mini bootcamp week while her owner was on holiday - she was fab! Not done a lot of schooling as she's only young but has a great hind leg in the canter and is a really smart cookie. Loved working with her!

To finish April my and Sarah Varney-Wiseman's youngster Bertie did his first dressage competition! Took him to Burrows BD to do a Novice and he was such a star, his first time riding with so many other horses cantering around him in the warm-up and he was so good! Settled really quickly after a slightly exciting start and then did a lovely test for just over 67%. So thrilled! Lots of 8s for the good work and his highlights like his medium trot, then a few 5s for my diplomatic give and retakes and free walk where he's not quite mastered the stretch yet. A great start to his competition career! I must say a huge thank you to all our (Bertie's) supporters - counted 10 people!! Very lucky.

March

On a different note I've been having lots of fun going through videos from my young teen and pony club years! From my second pony, Bobbie, doing baby jumps as a 6yo including a tight turn in the jump-off where I nearly fall off!! To my AS-Level P.E. riding video on Legacy, who I had on loan from his owner/rider when she went to Uni. It was such an opportunity for me and he was the first horse that I went affiliated B.E. eventing on, coming 2nd in our first one. Loved 'Legs', he had such a mega engine and power - a seriously awesome horse. Check out my youtube channel to see all the videos!


February

A fun start to February with some jumping for the 'dressage' horses (in their dressage saddles...) Ruin LOVES his jumping and thinks it's the most fun ever! Don't think his technique is that bad?! Check out my youtube channel for some videos.


Some drier sunny weather was greatly appreciated and took full advantage with some videoing of my owner's horses! Here are some shots of my favourite little Breezicles. Despite being a little coloured trotter and therefore not your 'conventional' dressage horse, she has the perfect temperament and is so trainable that I adore working with her. I have been riding her for several years now after re-backing her as a youngster so we have a great relationship. Can't wait to get out BDing with her again soon!



Next was for some fun jumping my and Sarah's Mr Bertie for the first time! He loose-jumps but makes a change for him to jump under saddle rather than his normal dressage work. He is just hilarious!! Personally I do't think he took off quite early enough for his first attempt or jumped high enough... Again some VERY funny videos on my youtube page, including his famous walk-jump!!



For the final weekend of February we took Mr Bertie for his second outing at a test clinic ad he was just fab! Despite having little work over the last few weeks and me feeling shattered and a bit crappy he scored just under 70% with lots of 8s! Shame about the 5s when I left out one of the movements (oops!) and rode incorrectly-sized circles (I blame not feeling 100%!) The Judge thought he was great and working very correctly, lovely and uphill with lots of potential for higher level work. Me and Sarah are very excited about him, we have a star!

January

A quiet January to start the new year. Lots to look forward to and be excited about, including my & Sarah's spanish boy Bertie! Mid-Jan we took Bertie on his first proper outing in the horsebox to Burrows Court, which we are lucky to have just up the road. We hired the arena for a play and he was such a star! He behaved impeccably and looked super handsome in his new purple clothes. Planning a few little outings to get him out and about in a relaxed fashion before hopefully some competitions in the spring!

Another boy I'm hoping to take competing for the first time this year is my youngster Ruin. He's really building up and muscling now, he's getting quite the bottom! All going in the right direction. Still forever filling out and maturing but hopefully will go on some play dates next months and some shows in the spring. We do lots of variety to develop his whole body and to keep him fresh, he's particularly loving his jumping at the moment! Only little cross poles but he's super brave so I'm planning a few mini jumping shows for fun before the more serious dressage stuff! Not the most stylish jumper but he thinks it's great fun, won't be a career change but you never know!!

January has finished with a schooling livery, Dougal, for a week. He's been a lot of fun, a real sweet little guy. A keen bean learning to be calmer in the canter and steadier when jumping. Lots of progress made and looking forward to working with his owner and rider Amy to improve this.