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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!

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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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Izzy Chaplin’s blog: Introducing myself

WOW Saddles are very proud to now sponsor up and coming South East based dressage rider, Izzy Chaplin. In her first blog for us she tells us a little bit more about her and her horses…

Izzy and Dora at WOW HQ in Kent!

Izzy and Dora at WOW HQ in Kent!

“Hi, I’m Izzy. I am a 17 year old junior dressage rider and I am a member of the Great Britain Junior Potential Squad. I have recently been given sponsorship from WOW saddles and I am really looking forward to working with them as their saddles are amazing. I especially love their new Bling Fly Fringe! The flexible tree in my WOW saddle has really improved how my horse moves, she is so much looser, I could not believe how much a saddle could improve her way of going! I feel like I am able to influence her a lot more in the saddle as well!”

“A bit about me… I live in the South East of England and I am currently in my final year at school. I train with Sarah Millis and Darryl Thickett. I started riding at the age of 7 at a local riding school and at the age of 12 I was lucky enough to get a loan pony called Kizzy who although being a little cheeky, gave me a lot of experience and definitely taught me stickability and how to ride! I did all Pony Club events and with Kizzy I got my first experience of dressage. I also got the ride on a friend’s pony, Rupert, who taught me how to ride the dressage tests and took me up to the Pony Club Novice Nationals.”

“Soon I began to want to move on so we found a 14.2hh pony, Brett. Brett was the ideal Pony Club pony and we did everything together including a bit of showing! We took each other through the stages of dressage and I began to learn how to influence him to get the lateral movements and improve his way of going. We started off at prelim and I then began affiliated dressage and we qualified for the novice open winter regionals together. Soon I had taught him the first stages of medium lateral movements and flying changes.”

Harry was a bit quirky but taught Izzy a lot!

Harry was a bit quirky but taught Izzy a lot!

“We also went up to the Pony Club Intermediate Dressage Championships where we managed to win our arena. As I began to get the bug for dressage I was introduced to BYRDS and I was picked for the Home International representing England in 2012. When I was 15, I was lucky enough to get the ride on an FEI dressage pony called Harry. He was a bit quirky, but taught me all the movements for the medium tests and I don’t think I would have the knowledge I have now without him! We got to compete at the Premier League competitions and we were selected for National Pony Training 2011/2012.”

“However, my 16th birthday was fast approaching and you can only compete on ponies up until you are 16. I knew I wanted to continue with dressage, so we went on the hunt for a junior horse. For juniors, I have to compete at advanced medium level and only being 5’1”, I needed a small horse! So I went on a search for a 16hh or under horse, preferably a gelding. After scouring the country, we travelled abroad to Holland and found a 16.2hh mare, Dora (Taijdora). Dora had just had a foal in summer 2012 so when we went to see her in December 2012, she had only just come back into work. She had an amazing temperament and natural ability, I fell in love with her instantly! Although we have taken a while to build a partnership, we are going from strength to strength and gaining so much experience together. This winter we have been selected for the GB Junior Potential Squad which is amazing, so I know we are going in the right direction! We have also qualified for the medium open Petplan Championships next April, my first BD Nationals!”

“My aim for next year is to hopefully train Dora up to PSG to contest young riders when I turn 18 and have to move on from juniors. I am concentrating on my training at the moment before the upcoming high profile shows next year while juggling my school work. I am really pleased to be part of Team WOW Saddles! I will keep you updated with my progress and experiences in my next blog! In the mean time do ‘like’ my Facebook page here!”

Izzy and Dora hope to contest PSG next season

Izzy and Dora hope to contest PSG next season