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Lesley Peyton-Gilbert’s blog: How time flies

WOW Saddles Sponsored rider Lesley Peyton-Gilbert reflects on a fun, crazy, challenging, frustrating and sometimes painful year so far…

“Well here I am and i’ts September! How on earth did that happen?? It’s been a fun , crazy ,scary , challenging, frustrating and at times painful! Woodcroft Garuda K has taken to Grand Prix like the proverbial duck to water and we continue to grow and develop . We have done premier leagues and several internationals, one in France which was very eye opening and disappointing in that we drove 700 miles only to be allowed to ride one test and pay £900 for the privilege. Don’t for one minute think we get any support for going on these international expeditions. I have to say  a MASSIVE thank you to my horses’ owners Woodcroft studs Tim Harris and Bernadette O’Sullivan for making it possible for me to have these international experiences! Deauville was a stunning location found at a very late hour and making like ‘wee Willy winky’ running through the town looking for our stable at 3 am! Hilarious if we weren’t so exhausted! It was HOT, 32 degrees sand arenas that were over watered and rock hard.”

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“The positives were the food! The Australians, French and Brazilians were doing their final team selections for WEG so there was a lot of tensions at the show and some interesting tests and riding ! We got home to have three days break at home and then travel to the CDI at Hickstead! Again a great show and a steep learning curve but certainly the Grand Prix Special was our high light, like the one we did at Hartpury international to come third with Carl and Nip Tuck winning. I had got Garuda ready to travel home and had to do the prize giving on foot!”

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“Yet again the team at Hickstead had produced great show and I never fail to enjoy my time there and the wonderful atmosphere aided by the Irish bar for the riders and connections! I hope that the public enjoyed watching as much as we riders enjoyed taking part.”

“After Hickstead it was time to really turn my attentions to my younger horse, World Exclusive, as it was the regional championships at Addington. The weather was truly awful on the day we were there and at one point hail stones the size of marbles pelted down. I thankfully only had sideways rain to contend with, and Wex was a super star. The classes were huge, and the depth of talent bottomless. So I was very pleased to come 6th in the 30 strong medium and 7th in the advanced medium both with scores a hairs width off 70% meaning as we were one place off qualification in both classes that we did get wild cards for the nationals!”

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“Garuda, who had qualified for the Inter11 got his place in the Grand Prix, realising a massive ambition to ride at the nationals at Grand Prix!  We have to drop the inter11 as we had ridden a big tour CDI abroad. Consequently I am now madly trying to get a Kur together! It’s compulsory to do the music if you get into the top 15! The weekend is going to be a busy one at the nationals (18-21 of September). Outside of my riding I’ve been helping my pony club teams get ready for their area championships and for a couple of my riders the pony club nationals champs. This is such a rewarding process and I am so proud how far they have all come. I think I can say that for all my pupils , young and old! I do give them grief at times but always in good humour! I have also have the pleasure to judge some amazing horses during the coarse of judging the BEF Futurity scheme, there are some  very exciting young horses out there so remember that when looking for your next equine partner!”

“I have managed the odd day off too, here is evidence! A day out with my dogs , to watch my husband play some polo! A bit of a bus mans holiday but I got to chill out for a change! The autumn looks to be as busy as the summer, we are off to Saumur in France to represent GB again the week after the nationals! I’m very excited about this as for me this is one of the real homes of dressage. Just hope I get the chance to go and explore a bit!”

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