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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!