Blog Archives

Lesley Peyton-Gilbert’s blog: Time to plan and train

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!”

image copy

“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…”

image copy 2

“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!”

image copy 3

“So as you can see there is a lot to be looking forward to!”