Blog Archives

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: 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

The highs and lows from Oli Lawrence: An introduction

We are very excited to introduce a new WOW Blogger to the team! Oli Lawrence tells us a little bit more about himself in his first ever blog…

“So WOW Saddles asked me to write a blog for them that follows the highs of lows of being, well, me. Great plan. Then it occurred to me that I’d have to write it at 1am surrounded by piles of books, sleep deprived and high on caffeine. The inevitable consequence of this is I’ll end up being brutally honest and make lots of spelling mistakes… I guess for everybody else that can only make entertaining reading. Put some Jack Johnson or other suitable film-esque music on and keep reading. Here goes…”

“My name is Oli Lawrence. A 20 year old, tall, skinny Cambridge student. I study geology – rocks, fossils, oil, mining…stuff like that and play lacrosse and polo for uni. I’m also trialling for the Great Britain Young Rider eventing team this year as well as the other normal things students do – borrow traffic cones, go to lectures, not go to lectures, sleep. The reality of the situation is that I don’t actually get to sleep very much and I don’t really have an average life in any way. Some days its like living in a film – you score in a lacrosse match, drive straight from there and win money jumping and then remember you’re dating an Italian model which kinda tops it off really. On the other hand, there are days when it’s pouring with rain, I’ll be at the yard at 7am to ride, get soaked to the skin and covered in horse poo then have to go straight to 9am lectures that go solidly till 5pm. Realise, I haven’t eaten a hot meal in a week and dig into another Sainsburys meal deal of dry bread and fake fruit juice and run to lacrosse practise. NB – it’s still raining, I still stink of horses and when I get home I’ll be writing essays till 3am. Suffice to say life has its ups and downs… The idea of this blog, honestly, is to publicise my long standing supporters WOW Saddles by getting every man and his dog to read my blog, from which they’ll sell millions of saddles and I’ll find some new generous owner who wants to buy me a yard and a string of horses. Ambitious.”

“So. This eventing business. I don’t come from a horsey family in the slightest, which is ermm… unorthodox and a royal pain in the a*se. We’ll leave it at that. In fact my parents have just left for India for 3 months leaving me to handle the spring circuit on own. Cheers mum!”

“Sox, 17 hands, big, black, positive personality is the other side of the partnership in all this.  Things kick off for us at Oasby this March and from there it’s kick on and aim for Houghton Hall CCI**.  Sox lives with, and I’m trained by, Charlotte Bathe, who is based about 20min from Cambridge. As situations go its pretty ideal. *Hang on, hold that thought, I need to go to a lecture on paleobotany – basically, really old and very dead plant anatomy taught by a balding bat crazy french man with too short trousers.*  Dead plants aside, thats the plan for the first few months of this season.”

“Cutting back to the present. I’ve got Young Rider training at Aston-le-Walls coming up, which should be a good opportunity to get Sox out and about and get a different opinion on how it is all looking. If everyone could touch wood and cross all fingers and limbs that would be great. After that we’ve got just over a week before Oasby and Sox gets his WOW dressage saddle fitted just before that. Perfect timing I’d say. Saddle fittings usually result in two things: Sox going much better and being more comfortable and me being told I don’t sit straight – cue Oli gets shouted at for multiple dressage sessions, which I’m sure Sox finds utterly hilarious.”

“In actual fact I think our pre-season preps been pretty good. The thing I’m kinda worried about is the fact that when I go to events there won’t be a mother to bring food and general organisation and money and just be vaguelly helpful. But hey ho, I’m sure it’ll be grand. Predictably something won’t go to plan (forgetting to get car insurance, cash for a start fee, forgetting a horse…) soooo on the bright side I’ll have something to write about.”

J17_0115 R Lawrence 5by7in 200dpi-1

Hero Seago’s blog: First update of 2014

In between an intense period of school work, WOW Saddles sponsored rider, Hero Seago, has still managed to fit in some show jumping…

“On Sunday 1st December I took both ponies to Markfield EC, in Leicestershire and both the boys got double clears in Discovery. The following weekend, on the 7th December I went to Sollihull EC and came 1st in a strong 80 Open class and 5th in the 90cm on Bobby, he was a little bit lively in the 90cm and took a stride out to the last fence, which made me chuckle.”

“On the 28th and 29th December, Keysoe held a New Year Pony Extravaganza Show, where I got an equal first in Springboard on AJ and a 4th in a very busy 80 Open on Bobby. Then on the 25th January we travelled up to Forest Edge in Norfolk and came equal first in 138cm Stepping Stones, which was my 1st out of 4 double clears to qualify for Scope. We have plenty of competitions coming up so watch this space…”

Congrats to Ian Wynne for qualifying for the WOW Saddles Star Championship

We are very proud to be sponsoring the WOW Saddles Star Championship this year and riders are qualifying left right and centre for the prestigious Blue Chip Winter Show Jumping Championships which will be held in April 2014. We hear from one of the riders, Ian Wynne about his qualification…

“I qualified at Croft Top Equestrian Centre near Accrington, Lancashire. The horse I won on is Don Douglas, a 16.2hh, gelding owned by Ann Wolley Dod who also bred him. He won the Star Championship final this year and we are obviously very pleased to have qualified this year to be able to try and win the final again (which will be very hard to do!).”

“He has been a horse of a lifetime, winning many major championships including the Amateur Title at HOYS and the now defunct British Open. Preparation will be nothing more than competing in the spring in the run up to the championships. I also qualified another horse in the same qualifier – Mirabella, a 13yr old chestnut mare!”

Merry Christmas from WOW Saddles

As we head full steam to the end of the year and everyone gets full of the Christmas festivities we wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers and supporters for making 2013 a fabulous year!

We couldn’t do it without all of our WOW Saddle riders and we hope that you have enjoyed 2013 as much as we have!

There is nothing more to say other than Merry Christmas and have a healthy and happy New Year! We are looking forward to seeing what 2014 has in store!

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

Essential saddlery advice for the show jumper

Some fabulous advice from WOW Saddles Sponsored rider Philip Spivey in the latest issue of Absolute Horse magazine! 

AH May saddlery for the showjumper

Brand new leather detailing available from WOW

Technologically advanced saddle manufacturers are increasingly utilising design creativity to make their saddles not just functional, but beautiful too. WOW Saddles is shortly launching within its new designer range the ‘On Fire’ dressage saddle, which, on the fixed block models, utilises beautifully embroidered, quilt-effect stitching on the saddle flap. This gives a discreet, unusual appearance behind the leg and includes flame-shaped stitching behind the rider’s lower leg. A small burst of Swarvoski crystals behind the rider’s thigh adds light-catching sparkle.

To find out more about this unique customisation contact WOW Saddles through www.wowsaddles.com

designer WOW - on fire saddle