Blog Archives

Izzy Chaplin’s blog: Moving Dora, training hard and qualifications!

We catch up with WOW Saddles rider Izzy Chaplin to find out how she is juggling university and training with the beautiful Dora…

“Uni has been going really well and I have passed all my first semester exams with a 2:1. Riding on the uni team has been a great experience especially as you have to adapt so quickly to a new horse you have never ridden. Five minutes with a horse before you go and do a dressage test or a course of jumps goes pretty quickly!”

“A month or so into uni, I decided that the best thing for Dora would be to move her up to Henry Boswell’s yard. This meant that I would have the opportunity to ride Dora more, rather than going 3 and a half hours home! I could also have a lot more help, so I could progress quicker and hopefully achieve my goal of young riders sooner (although we are still have quite a way to go). Everyone at Aspire has been so friendly and look after Dora so well, she settled in so easily. It was also lovely to be able to ride in an indoor school!”

Dora Training Henrys Jan 2015
“While the first term was mostly focused around training and getting Dora to go into more self-carriage, when she came home for the Christmas holidays I managed to get her out to a local competition. She warmed up brilliantly. We didn’t do our best test as we were both a bit rusty but we came away with a 1st place and a lot to work on. I was also lucky to go to Olympia Horse Show to watch the freestyle. It was amazing to witness another world record being set by Charlotte and catching up with everyone.”

“Soon it was back to uni and we took Dora back up to Henry’s. We carried on with training for a bit and then we decided to enter a competition that was local to Henry and do 2 mediums. Dora was brilliant and it was so useful to have Henry at the show to give us a hand and shout a few pointers at us in the warm up. In the first test we got a 71.55% which is one of our highest scores to date. I was so pleased especially as she had chucked in a flying change in one of the movements. It was also really nice to see another U21’s rider Becca Bell who I met when I was in ponies.”

“Then it was onto the next test. Dora really tried and we came out 70.94% to come equal 1st! We also got my first 9.5 for our first centre line. I was so pleased to get 2 scores over 70%. Only a few more points needed for regional qualification then onto advanced medium!”

Dora Warwickshire College Jan 2015
“When I got back I got some more good news, Dora and I had qualified for the Winter Petplan championships at 2 levels, medium open and advance medium open! So we can have another shot at the medium again this year and hopefully don’t have the same bad luck as last year. Now it is back to training for a while but we have a lot planned including BYRDS training and more competitions. Now it’s the countdown to the winter championships!”

Advertisements

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

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.”

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

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!”

439
“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.”

Pete posie trot web
“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.”

Pete  web
“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!”

344
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: Ups and downs of horses!

We have a catch up with WOW Saddles sponsored rider Izzy Chaplin to find out what she and her horses have been up to since her last blog…

“Wow, it feels like ages since I wrote my last blog! It has been full steam ahead with revision for my IB exams, but I am pleased to say that I have done 11 out of 15 exams now. Woo, time to spend a bit of time with the horses!”

“After having a great weekend of training up at Keysoe, I was on a high leading up to the winter championships at Hartpury. But then disaster struck. Dora came in from the field with a puncture wound to the chest. Unfortunately she had hit an artery. Luckily we managed to patch her up pretty quickly with the help of some magic crystal things (apparently stitches are very old school) from the vets 😉 Absolutely amazing!”

“Unfortunately this meant that she had to have a week off which gave me a week of working her before the winters. We lunged her for the first few days and then managed to ride her for 3 days before the competition. Not exactly the idea preparation but i didn’t have anything to lose, I was just pleased that I had qualified!”

“So we arrived at Hartpury and I have got to say it is an amazing place. Everything was so organised and it had a lovely atmosphere. I was really pleased with how Dora went the day before and her trot work felt really good. In the warm up Dora was really with me. She obviously knew what was happening! The beginning of our test was great especially the medium and extended trots which felt really uphill and she was moving through her shoulder really well. The extended walk was really good but she didn’t feel quite right in the collected walk and a few strides into the canter it was obvious that Dora was not happy so I decided to pull her up and retire rather than push her and possibly hurt her. There is always another day and it has definitely made me more determined to qualify again for next year! I also got the chance to watch another WOW Saddle rider, Lesley Peyton-Gilbert in the evening gala performance which was great to see the riders riding through the higher level movements and showed me what I am aiming for (in a couple of years anyway!)”

Dora Keysoe 2014
“After that it turned out she had tweaked a muscle, so I did light work with her for a while. I had entered Keysoe premier league and Dora felt good when I started the more demanding movements so I decided to take her with the aim of doing a safe test. On the first day was the team test and I achieved my aim of getting round the test and I felt it was a good test to get Dora’s confidence up after the last competition. Unfortunately we didn’t get a great score as I feel I didn’t ride her particularly well. So bearing that in mind I focused on the individual test the next day. She was a lot more supple and responsive to my aids the next day and this showed in the test, especially the trot work. We still have areas to improve on. I overrode the changes which meant that some were late behind, but we ended up in 5th place which I was really pleased with for our first premier league of the season!”

“It has been great to be able to watch the WOW Saddles sponsored event riders at Badminton this weekend. Congratulation to all riders as it looked like a pretty tough XC course! At home, I have been really focusing on getting Sid to stay in a steady contact. His counter canter is really balanced now and the leg yields are becoming increasingly fluent and he is showing so much talent. I’m looking forward to taking him out to a local competition this weekend so I will tell you how it goes in my next blog! Also, I have finally decided to open a twitter account! Taken my time 😉 My twitter name is @IzzyCDressage so if you want to keep up to date with what is happening, follow me. Hopefully my next blog will have a few more results. Fingers crossed!”

Sid May 2014

Izzy Chaplin’s blog: Sid’s first show and camp with Dora

We hear from WOW Saddles sponsored rider Izzy Chaplin as she gets going for the new season…

“As I am writing this blog, I am staring at my physics textbook willing myself to get the motivation to revise and try and understand the quantum nature of particles (!!!) as well as other physics related stuff! Eugh!! Now is the countdown to my exams which start on the 5th May (the IB doesn’t seem to recognise the word ‘bank holiday’). So I thought this would be the perfect time to start planning my show season!”

“First up was Sid’s first affiliated competition at Cobham Manor. The Great British weather didn’t fail to disappoint with gale force winds battering the lorry as we drove down the motorway. Sid was extremely excited to be at a show where obviously every horse was there to see him, he thought he would be better off without a saddle and a bridle and proceeded to stride down to the warm up arena with me hanging onto a lead rope behind.”

“After much discussing with Sid, we managed to get his tack on and we started warming up. He warmed up really nicely, however when we went into the other arena to do our test, unfortunately Sid spotted a very handsome horse in the mirror that he just had to stare at. Once he realised it was actually himself he was staring at, he decided to listen to me and went really nicely.”

Sid Cobham Feb 2014
“Although being a bit rusty as it was the first time I had been out competing since the Petplan regionals, we did 2 lovely tests without any major mistakes. We have a lot to work on especially getting the medium trots in the test, and being a younger horse, I have to prepare a lot earlier for the movements than with Dora. I now have a lot to work on before our next show!”

“I then took Sid to his first lesson with Sarah. We thought this would be a great experience for him to go somewhere different in a relaxed atmosphere. Although we had a few difficulties at the beginning of the lesson with getting him to concentrate, we worked on getting him to work more over his back and I got a great trot out of him!”

“Next up was Dora’s turn. I took her up to the BD Southern Camp held at Keysoe. It is a great camp with a lovely atmosphere and it was really nice to see everyone from BYRDS as well as my sponsors WOW Saddles. It was also great to see so many people riding in WOW Saddles, obviously seeing the benefit of them. One of my fellow BYRDS riders didn’t want to give the saddle back after trying it, she loved it so much!!”

Dora Keysoe Lorry
“Over the weekend I had two lessons and two test riding sessions. My lessons were with Henry Boswell who really helped in getting Dora to collect in the canter which also producing a much more uphill canter. I was able to take this into the tests later on in the day and I was really pleased that we managed to keep the work I had in the lesson in the test. Unfortunately, I had a few silly rider errors in the first test, but it was a great opportunity to use a test riding session, especially as it had been a while since we had been out competing. ”

“I am now utterly exhausted after the packed camp, but it was another great camp with many laughs! My next show will be Brook Farm with Dora and then Nationals (eek!!!). Roll on the Easter holidays!”

Keysoe BD Camp 2014

Lesley Peyton-Gilbert blogs about Garuda’s first Grand Prix…

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.

image copy
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!

image copy 2
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!”

image

Izzy Chaplin’s blog: A new ride, mock exams and looking forward to 2014

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…”

photo
“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!”

photo-2

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!”

image

“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!”