Blog Archives

Izzy Chaplin’s blog: A report on the Winter Championships

We catch up with WOW Saddles rider Izzy Chaplin to find out how her season is going so far…

“Easter was a really busy time for Dora and I. After the competition at Moreton Morell, Dora had a chance to go hacking and do a bit of jumping as I think it is really important that she gets the chance to do a variety of things. Before breaking up for the Easter holidays, I took Dora out to Swallowfield to do a medium and an advanced medium. Dora warmed up amazingly and was definitely showing off in the arena and we came out with 2 great scores of 74.32% and 71.08%. All that training is paying off and a huge part of this success goes to my trainer, Henry Boswell!”

“Straight from uni I went to the BD Southern Training camp held at Keysoe. It was such a fun weekend with a lesson a day, pole work, test riding and some interesting talks, including Pilates. It was also really great to see WOW Saddles there and to show more southern members how much of a difference a WOW Saddle can make to their horse. Dora was amazing in our lessons and we started playing around with the canter pirouettes which she picked up so quickly and naturally, it really makes me excited for the future! I then ran through an advanced medium. We scored just over 69% on the first day with a few mistakes but unfortunately the next day due to a few rider errors and hail halfway through my test we didn’t do the best test we could do, but it was a good experience to go through the test in such a relaxed environment.”
Camp April 2015 2“After that, Dora went up to boot camp with Henry while I went on a family holiday skiing in France, with strict instructions not to break anything. Straight after it was back to Henry’s yard to prepare for the Winter Championships. We had qualified for the Petplan Medium and Advanced Medium Open.”

“The advanced medium was first and Dora was really on form with some amazing scores getting 8’s and 9’s from an international judge. Unfortunately in our walk Dora got attacked by a fly which got her a little bit upset and some tension crept in in the walk and canter affecting out marks. Lesson learnt, put a fly veil on! But we came out with a great score still of 68.53% considering. This made me even more determined for the medium test a few days after. A few days on and Dora didn’t put a foot wrong in the test. I was so pleased with her and we got another 5th place. 2 top 5 placings which was a huge improvement from last year so I was incredibly pleased. Also nice to see Maggie from WOW Saddles there and a huge thank you for checking over my saddle to make sure Dora can perform to her best.”

Winter Champs 2015-3944“Dora then had a bit of a break but just before I went back up to Nottingham, I took her out to Oldencraig to complete our advanced medium qualification. We did 2 good tests resulting in a 71% and a 67%. Overall the Easter holidays were definitely successful and I am so proud of Dora. Now I am focusing on my exams which are in the next couple of weeks but I’m looking forward to our next competition at Hickstead in early June and hope we can keep improving!”

A new rider on the WOW Saddles team!

We are very proud to announce the sponsorship of talented, South East-based dressage rider, David Rumsey!

In continuation of our commitment to supporting equestrian talent, we have added dressage rider David Rumsey to the team of WOW Saddles sponsored dressage riders, which already includes Richard Davison, Wayne Channon, Lesley Peyton-Gilbert and Izzy Chaplin.

31-year-old David turned to dressage ten years ago and is now based in Canterbury, Kent with fourteen horses in training. Each horse has been carefully selected and hand-picked from trusted sources, to progress through the dressage levels, whilst David is fortunate enough to train with Suzanne Lavandera and Carl Hester. David has recently stepped up to Grand Prix level with his 12 year old Hessen mare DRD Florina H (aka Feebie) and now plans to head to the Winter Regional Finals and then the Premier Leagues and International Finals throughout 2015.

“I am so pleased to be working with WOW Saddles,” says David. “I absolutely love the feeling I get from my WOW Saddle when I ride DRD Florina H. I feel closer to my horse and find it easier to sit to her, as she stays softer in her back now.”

“David’s talent, dedication and passion for the sport is very apparent,” says Maggie White from WOW Saddles. “This commitment reinforces our values and ethos, making him the perfect representative for WOW Saddles.”

To keep abreast of David’s progress, like WOW Saddles on Facebook to read exclusive blogs and updates www.facebook.com/wowsaddle.

Photo courtesy of Carla Jane Photography

Photo courtesy of Carla Jane Photography

Lesley recaps over 2014

Our WOW Saddles sponsored rider, Lesley Peyton-Gilbert makes good of the weather and updates us on her latest antics…

“A dull and wet day gives me the excuse to sit in the warm to do a quick catch up! My boys Woodcroft Garuda K and World Exclusive have had a few adventures! The National Championships in September were fab as always. It’s a great time to catch up with everyone and the atmosphere is always good. I don’t like the venue particularly but it is as it is and we all have to work with it. I feel particularly sorry for the young horse riders! I’m not going to moan but for our National Championships I do think we deserve a better venue now. So many people put so much in to making this a great time of year.”

“I have to thank British Dressage supporters club for my certificate for representing Great Britain this past two years at small and now Big Tour, it was a lovely way to mark something special!”

World Exclusive at the Nationals in the Advanced Medium Open

World Exclusive at the Nationals in the Advanced Medium Open

“In the competition arena we had a mixed bag! Wex always gives his level best of everything he has and did not disappoint in the Medium Open with a top ten place and a 12th in the Advanced Medium Open Championship. Both of these classes are super ‘hot’ and are rich with talent and potential international future stars so I feel very proud of the lovely boy! He was also much more relaxed and grown up staying away this year, he didn’t scrape a hole to Australia at the stable door this year, saying that I did bring a rubber mat to prevent this.”

“Garuda was on fire! Working in on the Friday night he was quite amazing! Not sure I was always in control but he was very happy to be out and about strutting his stuff, he was in for a busy couple of weeks with the nationals and then Saumur the following week. Horses they say are great levellers and being last to go after the amazing Carl Hester, to say the atmosphere was electric was a bit of an understatement! Still, we were here, a national final in my first season at Grand Prix, this had to make me proud and it did. As the test started Garuda felt fantastic, the halt and rein back were smashing and my marks on the test sheet reflected how good the first part felt. As I came across the arena in the extended trot I activated and picked up into the passage, it was lovely, as I turned across the school the little voice in my head said take it steady don’t rush him, Garuda then anticipated the piaffe, I went to push him on he tightened his back and came up a little against the hand, then took one look at the full to bursting stand and went I don’t think so! And sat down! I went to correct him he did a little rear and then I asked him again to straighten and he went up again, before his feet had hit the ground the judge at C had rung the bell and ended my test.”

“Quietly I turned and walked out of the arena. You have to take it on the chin, realise it’s horses but I was quite confused, as were the owners as to why the judge had not given me my 20 seconds, this became one of the talking points of the show as, according to the rules the master judge can send you out if they think the behaviour was dangerous! Well this is ridiculous as, I don’t have the biggest brave pants in the world, G certainly wasn’t dangerous he was just a bit taken by the atmosphere but the judge gave me no chance to rectify the problem and in terms of training this was not a good moment. I worked Garuda quietly outside where he happily did the passage transition several times …… A definite grrrrrrrrr moment. Certainly no room to have an ego around horses!”

“So it was with some trepidation I loaded up Garuda for our 511 mile drive via Calais to Saumur! I was very excited about this show, especially as it is the home of the French classical school and their national equestrian centre. Thankfully Garuda travels well and the French roads were good, even if Rouen is blooming confusing to navigate around! The motorway ends and you have to dive through the outskirts of the town.”

“The welcome in Saumur was fab, super friendly stable manager, lovely stables and super facilities. There are 17 separate ‘poles’ each with an out door arena, indoor arena, stables showers, lunge area wash down area. The hacking is fantastic, indeed some riders bring a second horse just so they can give it a nice international show experience and go hacking! The Cadre Noir are based here, the town of Saumur being the home of the French Calvary with the Napoleonic stables and barracks still being the town centre piece. The National Equestrian centre is a few kilometres out of town set in the forest.”

image“The competition arena was stunning! As you can see. I was really excited about being able to ride in such an amazing place.
At the same time as the CDI the French national young horse and breeding championship was on so it was lovely to see their best young horses and for them to enjoy the atmosphere of the CDI, their classes were in the lovely outdoor arena where the spring CDI is held. The show was sponsored by NAF and a local champagne company! We were very well looked after! The riders welcome was fantastic, lots of free sparkling stuff and canapes! We also had a free tour of the wine caves on the Saturday morning! With a spot of tasting of course!”
image“The business side of things started on the Thursday with the trot up, really well organised and a big relief when over! And everyone passed! The draw for the Grand Prix put me in the second half of the class, the French tend to do a draw based on world ranking and as I now have a world ranking! (I can’t believe it! 340th but a world ranking all the same!) I was a little tentative going into the first piaffe but once we had that over and done with my confidence grew and we had a good test, he jumped together in one step of the one the tempis, costly as a x2 movement but we ended up with 66% and a top 15 place so good enough to go into the Kur. Which was my aim as I have finally got a programme!”

“So it was on the Saturday night with a pretty full house I did my first ever Kur to music, I’d never even had a run through! Luckily I followed the advice from David Trott to keep it simple and the wonderful Kay from Music In Motion did an amazing job of my music from the film Rush. The moment for me was as I hit the one time tempis totally on the music, it was fab! He lost a bit of balance coming out of the right pirouette but other than that smashing and a 69.97%! Just shy of the magic 70%, I was thrilled and came 7th! So we got to do a prize giving trot round!  The other great thing was that all the Brits had a great show.  Charlie Hutton was unbeatable in the small tour but Hannah Biggs and the lovely Welzin danced to fantastic superman music to win the Kur! You can safely assume we consumed a few glasses of the champagne we bought earlier in the day!”

Saumur - waiting to do the prize giving

Saumur – waiting to do the prize giving

“So the next day we packed up and made the long journey home after some great times, beautiful weather……..Older, wiser and happier! Our next adventure is the high profile show at Bury Farm. Wex does his first advanced! And Garuda has a run out in the Grand Prix on Saturday night and the Kur on Sunday. I’m hoping this will be a good wake up having not been out since the Saumur trip as we head off to Roosendaal in Holland to do the Christmas show there.”

“I can hardly believe that it’s a year since we did our first Grand Prix at Bury Farm! It’s been a real voyage of discovery! And one that I hope we can continue to make next year! Sadly Wex is going to be put up for sale as his owner is wanting to downsize her business and move to Spain. I’m really sad as he is such a joy to do, I hope we can find his a great home where he can continue with his career and give as much joy as he has us. I shall therefore be on the look out for a new project as I only have time and space for a few at a time if they are to be done properly and given my attention. So the pending new year will, I hope bring new challenges.”

“Not long until the shortest day, then Christmas ! So I hope everyone has a great close to this year of highs and lows and looks forward to the next! Thank you to my sponsors, especially First Thought Equine and WOW saddles!

Izzy Chaplin’s blog: Uni life and riding for the team

Despite her being very busy with student life, we had a lovely catch up with WOW Saddles rider Izzy Chaplin to find out how things are going with university and the horses…

“I have been at uni over a month now. It is such a change from being at home and definitely a bit of a shock not riding every day! Before I came up to Nottingham I managed to fit in a bit of training and competing. I took Dora to 2 Area Festivals to try and qualify for the winter national championships at Hartpury next spring. I also took Sid out to a competition in the first week of September. He behaved impeccably at the show. We did have a mistake in the test but we still managed to score over 67% to come 2nd so I was extremely pleased with him.”
Speedgate September 2014“Unfortunately the day before I was due to take Sid out to another competition he managed to pull his shoe off and due to early test times the next day we couldn’t have the shoe put back on until midday. I was absolutely gutted as he has come on so much in the past couple of weeks and I know that he still isn’t going at his best, especially at a show where he sometimes gets a bit nervous.”

“Then it was Dora’s turn. Firstly I took her to Wellington Riding area festival to do the medium open. I was one of the first to go in my arena so it was a nice and early, 4 o’clock start. Dora warmed up really well and didn’t put a foot wrong in the test. Unfortunately, I pushed Dora a little bit too much in the extended trot which meant she broke into canter so we were marked down quite a bit for that. But we ended up in 3rd place, just 5.5 points behind the winner’s total marks, so it was very close. This made me even more motivated to do well in the next area festival.”

Patchetts Petplan 2014 2“I then entered Patchetts area festival. I entered both the medium open and the advanced medium open. We didn’t have a single mistake in the medium test. Dora could have been a bit suppler, especially in the canter half passes but I was extremely pleased with the overall test. We got 67.5% to come 5th. Then in the advanced medium I came 4th, half a percent behind 2nd. We still have a lot of work to do in the advanced medium as I didn’t set Dora up enough for some of the movements so threw away marks.”
Patchetts Petplan 2014 8“After going to uni I managed to come back home to have a ride and have a lesson on both Dora and Sid with Henry Boswell. Both lessons were brilliant especially with Sid. We got great leg yields and the canter work improved so much! Unfortunately as I am at uni we decided that Sid should go back to his owners. It has been a great learning experience working with Sid and he will be missed by everyone at home, especially for his cheeky personality. He is such a talented horse with so much to give and I am so grateful to Maggie and Dave for giving me this opportunity.”

“Lastly, I have some good news. I have been picked for the Nottingham Uni Riding A Team. This means that I will be competing for the University of Nottingham at competition against other unis. It will be a very different experience to what I am used to as you ride a big variety of horses, but it should be very fun and I should learn a lot! I will keep everyone updated on how the team does.”

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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Izzy Chaplin’s blog: Red rosettes to finish the summer

As WOW Saddles rider Izzy Chaplin prepares to go off to university, she looks back at what has been a very exciting August… 

“Well August has been quite a successful month! Early in August I found out that I have been accepted into my first choice uni, Nottingham University to study Accountancy! I was absolutely thrilled as I was a bit nervous before hand. Then it was on to Sheepgate U25’s championships. I had an intensive training week before going up to Sheepgate where I was lucky to be able to have training every other day for a week with my trainer, Sarah Millis. We worked on getting Dora suppler and in self carriage and we had a massive breakthrough. It was as if everything has clicked and Sarah has given me some brilliant exercises to work on that I can also use in the warm up, which came in very handy in the warm up at Sheepgate.”

9th August 2014 6“You could tell you where further up north as soon as we got out the lorry, it was so cold! But luckily, thanks to WOW Saddles, we had our team clothing to keep us warm and looking very smart! As I had been picked for the Southern advanced team, I did two medium tests for the team over the 2 days. I also entered into the music class as this is something that I have wanted to do for a while. After sorting out a floor plan I decided on music from Narnia and Prince Caspian.”

“On the first day, Dora and I got just under 69% in the medium team test which I was really pleased with considering we had a mistake where Dora broke into canter in the shoulder in. My other team members also did really well and this meant that we were lying in 1st place as a team overnight. Later on was my music class. Dora felt fab in the test. We got a bit ahead of our music in the canter but apart from that the music worked really well with the test and I got all the extended trots in the right place! Our score can through at 74% to win. I was absolutely thrilled as this was only the second run through of the test and this meant a new personal best. You can watch my test on my YouTube channel.”
Sheepgate 2014 Dora“Day two was just as successful for the team. I was one of the first on in the team test and we did a good test although I felt that she could have been a bit suppler and in more self-carriage. We got a score of 70% to get 3rd place. As a team we all did brilliantly again on the second day so we managed to win by a big margin. Prize giving was amazing as every southern member that had been competing was in prize giving. A very successful show! Unfortunately that was it for another year for Dora and I but it is such a lovely show and always a highlight of the show season. After Sheepgate, I went away on holiday with my family so the horses had an easy week but now that I am back I am looking forward to fitting in some training and competing before I go off to uni. I will keep you up to date on my Facebook and Twitter page.”
Sheepgate 2014 Team

Pete and Gaynor have a great weekend at the Petplan Area Festival

Great to hear from WOW Saddles advocate Gaynor Ranshaw that Pete (Zero to Hero) had a winning weekend at the PetPlan Area Festival in his WOW Saddle
 
439“We arrived on a VERY WET Friday morning and had a super lesson with Jill Grant who is based at Morris. We ran through our tests for the weekend and worked on improving a couple of the movements, Jill thought he was looking good and his canter work was much more through with greater cadence than when she had last seen him. I then installed him in his stable and gave him a shiatsu massage before spending the rest of Friday helping 4 pupils and warming them up for their various classes on Friday evening. They all did good tests and we had a fun evening when they had all finished.”
 
“Up early on Saturday morning to take Pete for a walk prior to warming up Moira, Siobhan, Pam and Marita for their tests that started at 8.20am! Between working with pupils I took Pete out for various walks around the show ground, massaged him and let him munch grass in a nearby paddock. By 5pm Pupils were all finished so it was time to scrub off the stable stains and plait Pete up. At 7pm I got on and walked him for half an hour then went to warm up. He felt absolutely super, really listening to me and as we entered the arena I felt confident that he would do a really relaxed test. I could have probably asked a bit more in my Medium trot but was pleased with our test and even more so an hour later when I discovered that he had WON the Petplan Elementary Open. Both judges said it was a lovely test from a harmonious partnership.”
 
“5.30am Sunday came round awfully early and Pete was sound asleep when I gave him his breakfast. He was lying down again when I returned an hour later to plait him up and scrub those hocks! I got myself ready and went back to the stable to tack him up and yes he was lying down again!!! However, as soon as I got on him he felt great and we arrived in the warm up arena at 7.45am. He felt good and Jill assured me he was looking good so in we went. Other than a not too brilliant walk pirouette, I was really pleased with him and Jill assured me that it looked flowing and easy!  I was hoping to be in the top half of the class and was completely overcome when I discovered that we had won the Medium Restricted. So that’s us qualified for the Championships at the Spring Nationals 2015 at both Elementary and Medium level – Pete really is a Hero!”

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Gaynor Ranshaw tells us how an unusual shaped back hasn’t stopped Pete’s progress thanks to WOW!

We were fascinated to hear how well WOW Saddle fitter Gaynor Ranshaw’s horse is getting on with his WOW Saddle. As an Equestrian Shiatsu therapist and dressage trainer as well, she explains here that despite an unconventional back shape, Pete is thriving in his WOW…

“Pete, AKA Zero To Hero, is a 17.1hh grey gelding by Marston St George, born in 1998. He was bred at Warwickshire college and born with rather unusual back conformation!”

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“He was originally produced by David Wadge BHSI and sold to Kim Young in 2007. Kim continues to own him and I have had him on loan since 2011. I have known him for over 10 years as I used to train with David and when Kim took over the ride I coached her and also regularly gave Pete Shiatsu sessions. Kim competed Pete at novice, elementary and medium level and I often accompanied them to competitions including regional and national championships. In 2011 Kim offered Pete to me on loan and I decided that as I had not competed for a number of years I would get us both down graded to novice level so that we could have some fun and also see if I still enjoyed competing.”

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“I work as a dressage trainer, equine shiatsu practitioner and WOW saddle fitter so don’t have very much time to compete but when we have been out Pete and I have had a great time together. In 2012 we won the Petplan Area Festival and Scottish Championships at Open Novice and came 3rd in the Open Elementary Petplan. Last year we were 3rd in the Open Elementary Scottish Championship and won the Scottish Veteran Trophy – but I am not saying who is the veteran out of the two of us! Unfortunately we missed last year’s Petplans due to illness but have qualified for them and the Scottish Champs at both Elementary and Medium level this year.”

“We have only competed a few weekends this year but most of his rosettes have been red ones and we recently won both Elementary and Medium music classes to qualify for next year’s winter regional champs. He qualified for the summer regionals at Open elementary but we are going to do the Petplans and will hopefully complete our non music winter regional qualifications at our next outing.”

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“I train regularly with FEI 4* judge Jo Graham who is really encouraging and really likes Pete – all trainers love him as he tries so hard. He has an absolutely amazing extended walk and loves his medium trot & canter. He is very established in his lateral work and we do lots of it to keep him supple. Generally I follow a routine of hack/school/lunge on alternate days and include plenty of hill work and canter work plus paddling and playing on the beach in his hacking.”

“Pete was fitted with a WOW saddle in 2005 (I think) when he was with David as with his rather unusual shaped back he was a saddle fitter’s nightmare. It has certainly worked for him! Kim inherited the saddle with Pete and when he came to me I had the one owned adjusted to fit him. I purchased a WOW saddle in 2005 as my horse had kissing spines and the WOW combined with shiatsu really seemed to help keep him as supple as possible and gave him another few years of work. I currently ride Pete in an Extra Deep seat with Giant High angled back flaps. He has DWG no tab with 2.5” rear gusset panels and insists on a sheepskin saddle cloth so I really hope WOW start doing Sheepskin saddle cloths soon! I became a fitter when the fitter in our area moved away and having just taken Pete on loan I thought it might be a good idea to learn what I was doing.! I now fit WOW saddles throughout southern and central Scotland & Cumbria!”

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Find out more about Gaynor’s Equine Shiatsu by visiting www.equestrianshiatsu.co.uk or emailing info@equestrianshiatsu.co.uk. To discuss WOW Saddles with Gaynor call 07818 006 079 or email info@gaynorranshaw.co.uk

Izzy Chaplin’s blog: All systems go for the Home International

Read WOW Saddles sponsored rider Izzy Chaplin’s latest blog and find out how Dora and Sid have been going…

“I can’t believe how quickly the summer holidays have gone already! After finishing my exams (hooray!), I got to go out to Spain with my friends for a week for a girlie post exam holiday. It was so nice to be able to relax by the pool and go to the beach. Once I was back from Spain I have really focused on the horses, getting them out training and competing ready for competitions later on. Hickstead Premier League was a success where Dora and I got a personal best in the Junior tests coming 3rd in the individual test. Unfortunately I had a bit of a blond moment, thinking my test was 1 hour later than it actually was (my mum and I were quite happily shopping over at the showjumping) and only realised 15 mins before I was meant to go into the test! Luckily the secretary was extremely nice and let me go in at the end of the class! Panic over! But I was extremely pleased considering all the hurdles we have had to jump this year! She needed to be a bit softer over her back and I made a few silly rider errors so there is still a lot to improve on but it was a great competition with a lovely atmosphere.”

“Shortly after I found out that I have been selected to represent England as part of the Southern Team at the BYRDS Home International in Wales next week! This will be my third time competing at the Home International but my first time competing in Wales! In preparation for the Home International I have been fitting in a lot of training sessions with my trainer Sarah Millis. We have been working on suppleness to improve the quality of her way of going and improving the quality of the movements. Some of the exercises included doing a figure of eight around blocks with a pole in the middle. This really helped with getting Dora to bend round my leg. I have already noticed a difference in her half passes which seem so much better and easier, so fingers crossed it will pay off next week.”

“Sid has been out to a few shows recently. I have been doing a few novices and he is really settling down and growing in confidence at shows and is improving all the time. I was extremely pleased with him at Hadlow College where we gained 67.5% in a novice getting great comments from the judges.
I am also pleased to say that both horses have qualified for the Petplan Area Festivals. Sid has qualified at Novice Open and Dora has qualified at Medium Open. I am also hoping to qualify them both for the music regionals and to qualify Dora at Advanced Medium open.”

“Currently I am working on putting together a music routine for Sid and Dora, however my limited musical ability is failing me at the moment while trying to search for music for Sid but I will keep everyone posted! In my next blog I will tell you about the Home International but you can keep up to date on my facebook and twitter page in  the mean time!”

Hickstead PL 2014

Lesley Peyton-Gilbert tells us why she loves spring!

We catch up with WOW Saddles Sponsored rider Lesley Peyton-Gilbert to find out why she loves spring time…

“Last time I wrote it was the run up to the  NAF Winter Dressage Championships, I had both the boys there, Wex (World Exclusive) at his first winters and Garuda in the Inter1 music gala night. I love the winters as it pretty close to the atmosphere that you find at international indoor shows and it marks the end of winter, plus it is a great time to catch up with all my friends! It was lovely to see Maggie there with the WOW trade stand!”

“Both Wex and Garuda went really well. Wex coped amazingly and did a lovely mistake free advanced medium to finish just out of the top ten. In the medium he was very good and earned a top ten place and his first championship rosette! This, in a hot open class, as he is only just seven, is quite pleasing! Better still he was a very good boy with his sleep over! Finally growing up I think!”

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“Garuda was a seasoned pro, and even coped with having started his covering the day we left for Hartpury! The inter1 music was probably one of the most amazing classes for years, every combination deserving of their place there. Garuda was really up for it! And put in an energetic performance, just a little tension in the left pirouette other than that very nice! Two judges thought exactly the same but one I think must have watched another test! Ha ha that’s dressage! Still we finished 7th and watched a lovely test or two. I particularly liked Sophie Wells and Valerius. Sophie is the consummate performer and the music and the test were fabulous! So I really enjoyed my winters experience!”

“From the winters we’d planned training with Paul Hayler before the Premier leagues started for us. I go down on one afternoon have a lesson and then stay the night and have a lesson the following morning. I find this help so beneficial and Paul has helped both me and consequently Garuda so much. The criticism from the high profile at Addington ‘stung’ a bit but I took it on board discussed it with Paul and it’s been brilliant to say the least. This training session was really good and Garuda was much happier to cope with the extra demands in his way of going, engagement, straightness and ultimately collection and expression.”

“So from this we went armed with a ‘tool kit ‘ that we can use in the arena to Keysoe premier league. Grandprix and inter2 were on the cards. As always it was a super show, well organised and friendly it is such a nice venue. The hilarious thing was that none of us realised that the inter2 was the BD test not the FEI and none of us knew it, let alone had ridden it! So having done the Grand Prix on the Friday and being really pleased with Garuda and a super 67.78% and our first top ten placing at Grand Prix, I had to familiarise myself with this new test. It worked, we were 2nd with a rather lovely 71.25%! Very happy in fact! Not that it was mistake free but he did some really lovely work! It’s quite a confusing test with everything of diagonal lines of one kind or another! So that qualifies us for the national dressage champs and gives me more qualifying scores to support my international nominations as there are a few international shows I’d like to go for now! (The other thing was 3 hrs before we did the GP on the Friday Garuda had had to go to Towcester vets to jump the dummy as we needed to collect from him! It just goes to illustrate what an extraordinary character he has.) I got a late entry for Wex on the Sunday to do the advanced medium and he won with a smashing 70.89%! It was a strong class too and he was just lovely! Very very lucky to have two such special boys!”

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“I then had a quiet week working my boys before going down to Badminton horse trials to help one of my long standing eventing clients , she was in the grassroots BE100 final. This is the third time she has been on three different horses. I always love going down and I love the camping out and wonderful food she always brings! It was great to walk both courses and I as in awe of the huntsmans close! I also had a very interesting meeting with Alexander James of Pendlebury, a wonderful traditional tailors who make wonderful jackets and whom I am now going to be one of their ambassadors and try and ‘modernise’ their look with a tail coat and short jacket. I chose the most beautiful fabric so now they are working on the new pattern! I also caught up with Maggie and David and spent and hour on the Wow stand and even helped a few people!”

“The following weekend was Addington Premier league again inter2 and GP, last year we were in Roosendaal so missed the Addington Premier league. The weather was not helpful! Gale force winds and blustery showers. Still it’s a beautiful venue  and the show was very slick and went well. Again a super inter2, the BD one again and I made an error of coarse grrrrr some times I make myself annoyed! Garuda was mega and I was very very please with him. Some lovely transitions with good engagement and confidence. We were 2nd and another good score!”

“The following day was the Grandprix and again Garuda came out in such good form he did a lovely test I terms of way of going but I let him over rotate  and loose balance In the right pirouette (costly as it it’s a x2) movement Garuda also thinks its fun to do 17 1x tempi changes! Costly as that’s another x2 movement! He did a solid 66.667% to take 6th! So thrilled with him as there were some really super horses (25 of them) in the class. He really is doing a super job and really finding his feet at this demanding level.”

“I’m now waiting to see if we get our international nominations! I’ve been designing my new GP Kur too (with strict instructions to keep it simple……. Hmmm think David Trott may have heart failure when he sees what my idea of simple is!!!) So………. There in a few words is why I love Spring! It’s always a time of hope and progress! Oh and then… There’s more!….. I did a photographic shoot for a super talented fashion student who did equestrian sport clothing for her final year show! The clothes were amazing and Garuda and I had a blast being super models for the day! Thanks to Emily Lumb and John Minoprio!”

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