Category Archives: WOW club dressage
An epic blog update from WOW Saddles Sponsored rider Lesley Peyton-Gilbert! Read on to find out how Garuda’s first Grand Prix went and how Wex has qualified for the nationals…
“Well, like everything in the winter it seems a bit like Ground Hog day! Even this blog, I’ve written it once, was pleased with it and then for some bizarre reason my iPad erased it out of my notes file! So even when I’m trying to be an admin genius and usefully using the days where I can no longer fight the elements, it does not go to plan!
So the winter has been a time of stepping up and moving on! Terribly exciting and exhausting as only the winter can be. Saying that with all the terrible news coming in from my birthplace of Cornwall I can only conclude that thus far we have got off lightly with out sea of mud and slightly squelchy outdoor school.
Having done the summer championships with both my chestnut boys I came home determined to get Wex (World Exclusive) ready for the winter regionals at medium and advanced medium so the winter planning had to include a competition schedule to make that possible before the end of November.
Wex is a star and it’s all to easy to forget he is only seven this year! He has struggled with confidence and I think this goes hand in glove with strength to carry and balance himself. He has a fabulous way of going and it’s improving all the time. After a training session I decided to spend a month of riding with no legs (not literally but not using my legs while riding) I learnt this from my friend Lee Pearson and how he wants horses to go is with a click of the tongue, a light tap with the whip and the smallest leg aid. Initially it was weird but really thinking about it and how I use my upper leg and seat. This also had a positive effect in lateral work. So the end result was a quicker lighter way of going especially in the trot and especially on ten metre circles where he could get slow and lumpy.
A test for all this work and improvement was the high profile show at Vale View, where he won the medium winter qualifier and was second in the other medium.
The best result for me was recently at the Addington High profile show. Wex came out so happy and confident and I feel he has finally stopped physically growing. He felt amazing and was confident and responsive throughout both his tests. The advanced medium was particularly fab where he got a fab score (73.18%) and some lovely comments from the judge. For me however it was how happy, confident and willing he was that was so great and I could not have been more happy with how he had worked for me! The other great thing was his owner Charlotte was there to witness her horse’s progress. This makes the process doubly rewarding.
Wex’s next test was to be the regional championships at Addington in both the medium open and the advanced medium open. Yet more horrible weather, trying to keep up the training schedule was a challenge, I think I’ve been wet to the skin every day for months at least once a day. Usually as I drag poor Garuda out of the stable! (More about him in a mo!) The wind was crazy on the Saturday of our medium regional, driving the lorry was interesting and I was glad it was not too long a journey! Our test was inside in the international arena and thankfully; we had the luxury of working in in the old indoor. Wex was a really good boy, he’s often a little less ‘goey’ indoors and I was happy how he worked but knew it didn’t quite have the power I know he has to win but a good score of 69.38% put us in 3rd (by one mark!) but that was qualification for the nationals so job done!
The advanced medium was also a good test the next day but he was good not ‘wow’ which he needs to be again another 69.13 % score and 6th with 3rd to 7th all on 69% so waiting to see if we get a wild card at the moment!. All in all a good regional with a lovely horse that has a great future so I feel very lucky.
My winter has also been a time of moving Garuda up to Grand Prix. It is a life long dream to train a horse to this level. Its one thing riding to this level, a whole different ball game being responsible for developing a special horse to this level! Any horse that is able to perform the requirements of Grand Prix in a test is a special horse so it’s not just my bias towards the wonderful Woodcroft Garuda K!
Our first test at Grand Prix was at the Bury Farm high profile show in December, a huge entry of 24 starters! How amazing and obviously an indication of how the sport of dressage has come on so definitely an Olympic legacy and a result of the efforts of Carl and Charlotte!
The crazy thing for the Saturday of the Grand Prix was I’d booked a couple of tables at the Towcester vets 10th Anniversary ball in aid of the air ambulance. A chance for my team, friends and family to let their hair down and have some fun together. Unfortunately I’d worked on last years timetable and thought the GP would be in the afternoon, sadly not! So I was first to go in the class at 6 pm as we had to be back and sitting for dinner at 8.30 pm! I definitely had the most glamorously made up groom as Laura had done her hair and make up in the afternoon!
I was really excited about my test I felt the only way to really find out how our development was progressing was go down that centre line. Its one thing doing the movements in isolation putting them together is where it gets tricky! I was pretty happy with our first slightly green experience! I over rode the piaffe / passage transition and lost balance in the second pirouette but overall was thrilled with a 64% and 10th in a strong field with some more experienced combinations. Lots to work on and a lot learnt! Garuda was warmed down, loaded and driven back with alarming efficiency! And Laura and I made it to the ball by 8.35pm! A great evening was therefore had by all!
My next competitive outing was the Addington High profile show. Another enormous Grand Prix of 26 entries! Running again from 6pm to 10.45 pm! I was on at 9.15 pm. Garuda was a bit bemused by me plaiting him at 6 pm in the evening!
Having done a ‘normal’ GP at Kingswood and got a good 67% I felt happier and wanted a’ clear round’ as I’d been making mistakes in the one tempi changes. My error always, not his, I have to get the balance and the rhythm right then they are really good.
The previous weekend Garuda has been at the British breeders stallion parade and it was a super evening, we closed the show which Garuda loved. The only problem was that the atmosphere in the warm up at Addington slightly reminded him of the razzmatazz of the preceding weekend! So he was a little tense during the warm up.
In the test I was really pleased with his work. We got all the elements, I got the ones right…woohoo! Counted the zig zag and got the pirouettes. I made a slight hash of the pick up from walk to passage other than that I was happy. So 64% again was a disappointment and I felt really deflated. I read the sheets and took the comments on. Its hard to read but you have to be honest and in the cold light of day I can see that I had to address a couple of issues if I’m to break out of the mid 60′s hole I was in. So I called Paul Hayler (my trainer) told him the wheels had fallen off my cart and we went for two days training!
Paul is brilliant, experienced and really gets Garuda and I and where we need to progress. It’s hard work and he is brutally honest, however its what we needed. So I returned from my two days a lot happier and feel like we are back on track. I’ll test this at a two-day show at Keysoe in March before the premier league circuit starts for us in April.
I then want to go to Holland and revisit Roosendaal in the Netherlands as we really enjoyed the show and it would be nice to do our first international GP there. Garuda is also in demand as a sire, I will be riding his daughter in some young horse classes this year as well as preparing to work with his son next year! So more busy times ahead. I’ll try and not do such epic blogs in future but it would be nice if my computer could stop erasing them! I’m also hoping I may have a new interesting sponsor to tell you about too!”
The team at WOW Saddles are really looking forward to supporting Izzy Chaplin through 2014 and here she blogs about the start of the year…
“I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year! All the horses had plenty of carrots over Christmas as we had the whole family over for Christmas Day! I also had the amazing experience of watching Charlotte and Valegro achieve a new world record at Olympia in the freestyle. It was great to be able to see all the top riders, especially Carl and Edward Gal, who both really inspire me. It was also really sad to be saying goodbye to Alf, who put on an amazing display, still looking like an 8 year old despite his 18 years!”
“I have been very busy with school at the moment. I have just completed all my mocks, and its getting a bit scary how close I am to the real exams in May! I am also pleased to say that I have had all five offers from the universities I have applied for, so as long as my exams go well, I will be going off to uni in September to study Accounting and Finance! Hopefully with Dora!”
“On the horsey front, Dora has had a bit of down time over the holidays as she worked so hard last season, so she has temporarily taken up modelling as a reindeer…”
“I have also been up to the junior squad training sessions, watching my squad mates performing their tests, while also getting some great tips from the selectors about what to look for in the tests and how to maximise the marks for each movement. Meanwhile, I have been given the amazing opportunity to have the ride on a very cheeky horse called Cyrano L aka Sid. He is a 16hh, rising 7 year old. I am riding him for WOW Saddles to give him some competitive experience and I can’t wait to get him to his first competition!”
“Sid has an extremely cheeky temperament and unfortunately he also shares the same love of mud as a hippopotamus! Felix, my mum’s horse, has been doing his best stallion impressions when Sid arrived (Felix is a gelding). But they are all friends now and Sid has settled in really well.”
“After a couple of days of having Sid, we took him to a lesson with Darryl Thickett. It was a great opportunity to get to know how he would be away from home while also getting a few pointers from Darryl. I am really excited to take him out to his first show now, which will hopefully be in the next few weeks! In my next blog I will hopefully be able to tell you about Sid and I’s first competitions together!”
We catch up with WOW Saddles sponsored rider, Lesley Peyton-Gilbert, after the nationals now she has time to draw breath and look ahead to the coming year…
“I must admit I dislike the drawing in of the nights and dismal weather. Made more frustrating by battling with the elements! I find wind the worst as we are working and starting some very young horses at the moment and it can be a bit on the nerve wracking side when its blowing a gale! Excitement I’d rather do without! Lots of my lovely fellow riders keep posting pictures of their lovely indoor schools too which adds to my depression! On the bright side, when it’s rained, blown a gale and even snowed during my tests my horses don’t even turn a hair so it does pay off sometimes! (every cloud and all that!)”
“I’ve been finishing my qualification for Wex (World Exclusive) for the winter regional championships at medium and advanced medium. There are the new High Profile shows at Vale View and Bury Farm this side of Christmas which give the advanced horses something to aim for and also gives us a head start for summer qualification in the advanced test. I’m planning on Garuda doing his first Grand Prix at the Bury Farm show.”
“Wex went to the Vale View show to do the mediums where he won one and was second in the other. The funny thing was it was an early start and by the time we had done our tests both Laura, my groom and I had finished we were desperate for our bacon buttie… all very nice … until it was announced they were running a prize giving! Sadly I’d taken his plaits out and as there was only five minutes no time to put them in! Hence the Horse & Hound photo of us with no plaits! It is important to take part in the prize giving as the class sponsor was there and we must show our appreciation! Just I’m disappointed I’d taken my plaits out! Especially as there was a beautiful sash and rosettes to show off!”
“Wex is a lovely talented chap who internalises his tension. It’s shown by this breathing, he hyper ventilates and then holds his breath in the canter! He then gets a little behind the aids so I was pretty happy with his performance as he started, especially in the second test, to trust me and work with me in the test.”
“I had him booked to do the advanced medium at Keysoe the following week as I feel he needs to keep going out to help him realise that its not a stress at a show and he can enjoy it! He did well at Keysoe and got a good score in the qualifier, won the class and again grew a little more in confidence. Our final qualification scores were achieved at Bury Farm this last week. Again a more relaxed rideable Wex and a good 71.89% in the medium winning the class and a second in the advanced medium. Still he needs to keep the balance on the hind leg but it is improving! The other major breakthrough and believe me this is major….. he managed to have a wee on the lorry! This has been an issue and I think signifies how much more relaxed he’s becoming!”
“My top ride, Woodcroft Garuda K, is working hard training at home but also we were invited to take part in the list one and two judge training seminar with Stephen Clarke and play our part as guineapigs. It was a very daunting day I can tell you. We were riding movements from the new national inter 2 test. I wasn’t very happy with my performance, I overrode the piaffe / passage at first and then slowly relaxed and improved! Still very much a case of going in the dragons den!! With all the top judges from the country there.”
“We did learn a lot from it and I enjoyed watching fellow riders like Alice (Oppenheimer) with her horse doing the Grand Prix work. Some good tips there too on how to give the judges what they want to see to get the marks! It is about presentation when you are in the ring!”
“Autumn is the time of seminars and conventions as I’ve said and the Convention/forum at Bury Farm was a fantastic two days. I spent the time with Maggie on the WOW stand where I had the pleasure of meeting lots of people and telling them about the saddles and how they work for me and my horses. This photo shows Maggie and I watching the activities in the arena from our very comfortable view point! Best seats in the house!”
“Watching the wonderful Valegro was a definite high point and lots of the information was absorbed by me for top tips in the Grand Prix we are about to do.”
“Counting. It’s the key in Grand Prix! The zig zag or counter change of hand is a series of half passes on the centre line with a determined number of steps in each direction with flying changes so in the Grand Prix its the counting of steps of half pass first three then six steps, three times to either side then, three then a final change. Fitting it in can be interesting! Quality of the canter and not trying to make the half passes too steep are the key factors! As well as being able to count! Everything comes down to numbers, 15 one time tempi changes, 8-10 steps of piaffe, 9 two time tempi changes …. 6-8 steps to get around the pirouette … lots of counting!”
“I have some more training with David Trott this week as a top list judge and rider it always helps me and I feel a bit more confident after his input (he knows I struggle to count too) I also enjoy training with Paul Hayler but my lorry has been in for it’s plate and needed a new fuel tank and then various other bits so I’ve been a bit stuck. That’s pretty frustrating but back now and going well! Bluebell is my lorry and I’m very fond of her! We’ve had some good adventures this year! Although if the French get their way with their super new lorry tax we simply won’t be able to afford to go abroad, or I will have to find a new way into Europe avoiding France!”
“So the build up to my first Grand Prix and getting Wex more confident is ongoing. I also examine my management of the horses at this time, feeding and the management issues. Check the worming, teeth, vaccination programmes, I’ve also started using a massage rug on Garuda twice a day on work days and once on ‘easy ‘days. I really feel this is having a positive effect on Garuda and his way of going. He seems really very happy with his new treat! Here he is enjoying the relax massage programme after work…”
“My groom Laura has a fabulous new horse, a Garuda daughter and she is so amazing ! We will nibble away with her over the winter and then aim to do some young horse four year old classes with her in the spring. Laura also took the young coloured stallion out to his first show and he did a lovely consistent test to earn a good 71% test so very proud of them both. Working my horses and training all shapes and sizes….. people and horses that is! That is maintaining the light at the end of the winter tunnel for me! From the weather warnings it looks like its going to be a long one. Here is Woodcroft Natalia, Garuda’s daughter, winning her performance test at the Trakhener show. Laura my groom is on the Exel talented athlete training programme and this is her new horse to hopefully be her partner and to follow her dad’s hoof prints to Grand Prix!”
“So as you can see there is a lot to be looking forward to!”
Technologically advanced saddle manufacturers are increasingly utilising design creativity to make their saddles not just functional, but beautiful too. WOW Saddles is shortly launching within its new designer range the ‘On Fire’ dressage saddle, which, on the fixed block models, utilises beautifully embroidered, quilt-effect stitching on the saddle flap. This gives a discreet, unusual appearance behind the leg and includes flame-shaped stitching behind the rider’s lower leg. A small burst of Swarvoski crystals behind the rider’s thigh adds light-catching sparkle.
While showjumping and eventing attire is fairly relaxed, dressage riders are quite limited in terms of their flamboyance in the UK. British Dressage bans clothing decoration, except discreet manufacturer’s logo studs on boots; although patent leather boots are popular, and give a high shine. Conservative-coloured coats are required in BD competitions, although discreet pinstripe patterns are now de-rigour. So, your dressage saddle is the ideal place to add a little bit of interest!
Within the field of showjumping, riders can express their fashion savvy a little more, as they may wear coloured jackets (providing they do not clash with the official ‘team’ jacket); perhaps to correspond with their own, or their sponsors’ colours.
Dress codes for the XC stage of eventing attire are even more relaxed, as there are greater provisions for promotional material and logos on clothing, (albeit at a certain maximum size, or in a designated position on the rider’s clothes.) Bright and bold colour-ways are popular.
Patent bridles or those with diamante or coloured accents are also popular to add interest, while leather riding boots in materials such as ostrich, crocodile or kangaroo are also popular with more flamboyant riders, particularly internationally.
Riding helmets are increasingly being seen with diamante accents and patterns, as well as jewel-inspired colours – the trick is to keep it discreet, so your accents complement each other and don’t over power you and your performance.
Why not personalise your saddle today by speaking to the team at WOW Saddles! www.wowsaddles.com
Within the eventing sphere especially, some riders are looking to their saddles to express their fashion sense, or coordinate their cross country colours. The leatherwork of all WOW saddles may be customised in the rider’s or sponsor’s colours; two-tone coloured leather is popular. Eventer Paul Tapner may currently be seen competing in a beautiful red and black XC saddle with fixed long blocks that give increased support for the leg. He also sports a more neutral Havana brown and maroon version of the saddle.
Why not ‘bling up’ your saddle?
WOW Saddles recently customised a customer’s saddle at the cantle and pommel areas, using appliquéd diamante and crystals. “Some riders like to use a bespoke pattern of their choice, particularly if they compete in the discipline of dressage under artificial lights, as discreet sparkles can really add interest and glamour,” explains First Thought Equine’s Co-proprietor, Maggie White. “It is also possible to spell a rider, horse or sponsor’s name in gemstones, or diamante and crystals. However I wouldn’t advocate that owners simply ‘bling up’ their own saddles – it is best left to saddlers with design experience and all the right materials and technology at their disposal to do this!”
If you want to ‘bling up’ your saddle and make a statement then get in touch via www.wowsaddles.com
Leading saddle manufacturer First Thought Equine now offers a personalisation service on all new saddles.
The leatherwork of all saddles may also be customised in the rider’s or sponsor’s colours; two-tone leather is popular, for example. Eventer Paul Tapner recently commissioned a striking red and black saddle in his country colours.
Key features of WOW Saddles:
• The only longitudinally rigid, but laterally flexible tree – offers greater shoulder freedom
• Large bearing surface
• The widest range of interchangeable width fittings: XN-8X
• Features Flair air bag flocking; a flexible, gaseous bearing surface that increases pressure distribution over the horse’s back & provides shock absorption.
Call (44) 1227 831614 for stockists or visit www.wowsaddles.com.
It all started with the WOW Competitor Range. For the first time one could buy a traditional looking saddle and by buying different components, alter all of its’ characteristics to suit different horses, riders and disciplines. WOW is the world’s first modular saddle. The seat, panels and flaps of the WOW Competitor Range are all available separately, so you can easily change component parts. When they are combined they make a saddle whose performance for the horse and the rider is unbeatable!
The WOW Competitor Range offers…
Flexible Carbon Fibre Tree. Using the latest materials to give the ultimate in flexibility and strength. Lateral Flexion allows the horse to rotate the scapula fully under the saddle without interference, whilst also proving a very big bearing surface and hence very low pressures on the horse’s back.
PPS™ “Pointless Panel System” The unique shape of the tree with no conventional points and an extended floating plate on the panel top produces a bearing surface larger than a western saddle!
Double Stirrup Bars Allows the rider to ride with both a straighter leg position for schooling and a more forward leg position for hacking or jumping disciplines.
Adjustable Tree Width The width of the tree can be adjusted by the rider using the unique Flexi-Head™ in conjunction 11 interchangeable headplate width fittings from extra narrow to 8X Wide.
Interchangeable Panels Enables you to change the panels of your saddle to a design more suitable for a different horse with different back profile i.e. higher or lower gusset height
Double Wishbone Girthing A unique girthing arrangement centers the pull of the girth to keep the saddle still and stable on the horses back.
Interchangeable Flaps Extra flaps can be purchased and these are interchangeable allowing the rider to remove one flap and replace with one for a different discipline flap i.e. dressage to jumping
Two position flaps All flaps have two fixing positions so you can change the flap’s angle forward or back as well as removing them totally. This allows for riders with longer leg/thigh length.
Choice Of Seat Designs Flat to deep with differing degrees of softness of support.
Anatomically Designed Seat Allowing the rider to achieve total closeness to the horse with their thigh lying flat against the horses side.
Choice Knee Blocks Fixed Blocks or Moveable Blocks. moveable blocks allows the rider to adjust the knee support.
Single web stirrup leathers included so there is no buckle under the rider’s leg and Flair – The Adjustable Air Flocking System is fitted as standard. Flair allows the panel to be adjusted to and continuously mould to a horses changing/moving shape. There is a choice of colours and styles of leather, stitching and facings as well as flaps, panels and seat allows the rider to customize the saddle to their own preferences.
The WOW Club Dressage shares the same tree as the Competitor and has the same range of headplate fittings. The WOW Club Dressage cannot change flaps or seat and is just a dressage saddle. The Panels of the Club are inter-changeable and come fitted with a foam panel as standard, this can be upgraded to Flair. The colours for the WOW Club Range are limited to black and brown.
The WOW Club Dressage still features the following…
Flexible Carbon Fibre Tree
PPS™ “Pointless Panel System”
Double Stirrup Bars
Adjustable Tree Width
Double Wishbone Girthing
Anatomically Designed Seat
Proceedings got underway on Wednesday 6th March for WOW Saddles sponsored rider, Richard Davison, as Myerscough College hosted it’s Premier League Show, with classes up to Grand Prix.
Richard made his return to the scene following the sale of his prolific ride Hiscox Artemis to Swiss Under 25 rider Phinie von Bremen earlier this year and dazzled the judges with a plus-70% win in the Grand Prix with 12 year old Holstein gelding, Hiscox Aliano. This horse had already shown much promise at Small Tour under Richard’s wife, Gillian Davison, and now proves to be one to watch!
Here is the fabulous write up featured in Horse & Hound magazine the following week…