Great to catch up with our WOW Saddles blogger, Oli Lawrence. Read more to find out what adventures he has been embarking on this month…
“So. We’re nearly one month into the season and I’m still alive plus I haven’t fallen too behind with work which, in short, is a minor miracle. Since we last spoke/I wrote/you read Sox has been to Oasby, Lincoln and Great Witchingham. Oasby was his first event which normally leads to entertaining stories of general start of season problems but I’m surprised, even suspicious, to report that we had non except 2 poles down but we’ll let that go… Oasby did highlight though that a change of bit was in order for the cross country as it felt a little bit like being on a freight train with minimal breaks. Sox now has an American gag which does everything a bit is supposed to, well actually, it means I can stop which is kinda good really!
With new bit in tow Sox jumped a decent double clear at Lincoln and just had the one down show jumping but was clear cross country at Great Witchingham Intermediate. Coincidentally I discovered after Great Witchingham that if you finish your cross country round, pack up, go home and go straight to the library within four hours you’ll be one of the least productive students alive. Suffice to say I lasted about 5 minutes of sitting down before beginning to climb the walls and abandoned any attempt at work. I keep being told I need to compartmentalise things and focus on work in Cambridge then forget about work whilst I’m eventing. However, when you’re sitting at a desk convinced the table in front is fence 7 and beyond that there is a water jump and you click at your computer like a horse when it won’t start I think it’s safe to say you’ve failed to focus…
I also had the once in a life time experience, if I ever repeat it again someone will kill me, of doing a bad dressage test at Great Witchingham. Normally Sox’s dressage is pretty damn good but as soon as I went down the centre line I knew this was just one of those days – the arena had been moved slightly and there was the trace of a second centre line next to the actual one where horses had trotted before me. For the life of me every time I turned up the centre line I was off, which landed me in a lot of trouble with just about everyone, not least the judge who didn’t empathise with my predicament. I was once told by an old, dubiously wise and slighted bearded old lady at a pony club rally when I was still small enough to actually ride ponies, that some mistakes, like putting pans in a microwave and not tightening your girth enough, you will only ever make once. I hope she was right.
I suppose I should say something about polo too seeing as I missed it off last time. Cambridge uni is lucky enough to own its own ponies which makes playing polo here relatively cheap. As well as the actual polo the ponies have been subject to several experiments for WOW and other companies whilst I’ve been here. We tried cross country boots instead of bandages and WOW’s air adjuster pad under poorly fitting saddles to brilliant effect. What I’m trying to say is that from all of this I’ve learnt one thing – if you can give a product to a group of disorganised students who are either hungover or half asleep still and it works then you’re on to a winner. WOW might produce some wacky designs compared to your standard jumping saddle but their stuff is relatively idiot proof and simple to use – in a world where everything seems immensely complicated that must be the biggest compliment I can give something!
Sox heads to Belton Young Rider’s trial for his next event so watch this space. Actually , even better, come and watch! – its one of the best events in the country for spectators and a great family day out. Blimey, I sound like I’m selling ice to polar bears, but I do genuinely mean it!
On a final note, I have a classic Oli mess up to share. I’d offered to help out with a total beginners polo lesson and was really keen for it to go well seeing as I’d been for a drink previously with one of the girls involved. So she trots along trying to canter and I thought if I just give the pony a tiny tap on the bum as I go past it’ll be enough to nudge it into a nice slow canter for her. Predictably, as soon as I touched him he spun round and glared at me and in the process deposited said girl on the deck. Fantastic. Nice work Oli. Thankfully she got straight back on and seems to still be talking to me… When I got back I found I had an email asking how I’d managed to combine horses, uni and life in general as I seemed to have done a really good job of it and asking for advice… The temptation to reply that in all seriousness I was definitely the wrong person to ask was pretty high. That said, I do turn 21 tomorrow so I’m hoping for some beam of inspiration from on high that might eventually stop me having such ludicrously bad ideas!”
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…”
As we follow the riders who have qualified for the WOW Saddles Star Championships, Amy Thomson tells us a bit more about her and her horses…
“I am 21 years old, a farmer’s daughter from a village called Dyffryn in Vale of Glamorgan. I currently have 3 competing horses and 2 young ones coming through. I event on my 14.2 piebald called Super Snoop and am hoping to do 1* events this year. He has qualified for the Haygain Final at Blue Chip Championships. My top jumper Sunshine V has qualified for the WOW Saddles Star Championships. I have her since I was 17, I am currently the Dodson and Horrell 1.15m Amateur Champion held at Aintree last November. I have qualified for the WOW Star Qualifier this year and the British Amateur Finals held at Arena UK in April.”
“I am hoping to move Sunshine V and my other horse called Boheme up to County shows this summer. Boheme is a grade c gelding and I have had him about a year. He was 5th in the Dodson and Horrell 1.10m Amateur Championship. I was 4th in last year’s Star qualifier so I am hoping to go back and give it my best shot. I am also starting to break and produce a youngster at my yard in Dyffryn. I have just opened my Equestrian Centre called AJT Equestian, where I have a 65 x 35 outdoor arena with silica sand and Martin Collins fibre surface. I am holding my first show in March 15th and 16th, Combined Training Event. I also am starting up my own herd of cows at the farm. On ponies I jumped for the Welsh Showjumping team at 5 HPIs, 8th in the HOYS Foxhunter 2008, Pony Club Eventing Champion, Riding Club Dressage Champion. I also have passed my HGV so drive myself to shows, I currently self fund my competing but am on the look out for sponsors.”
As we track the progress of the lucky riders who have qualified for the WOW Saddles Star Championships we hear from Vanessa Jobson-Scott who qualified Arthur van de Helle at Colraine…
“I have two horses, my mare Boheme Van De Ganzenakker (Bo) and Arthur Van De Helle (Arthur). We have had Bo about 4 months and Arthur about a month and we already have had a write up in Horse 7 Hound as Bo and I won 14 classes in 14 weeks! I qualified them both for the WOW Saddles Star Championships at Colraine, winning with Arthur and coming 3rd with Bo! I have also qualified for another class at the Blue Chip Winter Show Jumping Championships as well!”
“We are looking forward to Championships and also the Amateur finals as I’ve qualified for a few classes there too! Hopefully we want to compete at Hickstead this year and give the Derby a bash – the smaller version of course! But other than that just want to have fun and keep up the winning hopefully and start jumping the bigger tracks!”
“Mum is my trainer, Sally Jobson-Scott, and she is a very good one as I’ve only recently got back into my showjumping. Until 4 months ago I hadn’t competed since my junior days… I’m now 23 so that’s a 7 year gap!”
“I was thrilled to win the qualifier at Easton College,” says Anna. “My horse, Hello Vegas, (William) is a 13 year old British Bred Chestnut Gelding by Hello Oscar and out of Clare Clover by Clover Hill. He is owned by myself and my father Peter Peruzzi and we purchased him at 18 months old. Our biggest win to date was winning a British Open Amateur Qualifier back in 2010 and we were 5th in the final. That was a fantastic experience!”
We wish Anna the best of luck in the run up to the Blue Chip Winter Show Jumping Championships at Hartpury in April.
As we follow the progress of some of our WOW Saddles Star Championship qualified riders we hear from Joanne Burns who qualified at Northallerton for the prestigious Blue Chip Winter Show Jumping Championships…
“Firstly I would like to say a big thank you to WOW Saddles for sponsoring this series and supporting our sport! I won the qualifier at Northallerton on ‘Tempting Business’, Sunny to his friends. He was very spooky in the warm up class and put 2 strides in the one strided combination but in the qualifier settled and jumped a fantastic clear. In the jump off there were 7 of us so we all knew we had qualified so I threw caution to the wind and had a blast round. Sunny answered every question and flew round a good second in front of everybody else, I was really please with him!”
“I bought Sunny as a 6 month old weanling off a friend Laura Russell, I used to compete Sunny’s mother ‘Little Temptress’ who was a 15hh welsh section D x Swedish Warmblood and Laura had bought her from me. Sunny’s father is called Sunnora’s Son and his Grandsire is the well known It’s the Business.”
“Sunny started his career at the end of his 4th year of age as I had broken my leg and has been produced slowly, last year he was diagnosed with gastric ulcers and had to have some more time out. Sunny is now 6 rising 7, this year he has achieved all his double clears for next year’s Newcomers 2nd Rounds and we are now getting them for Foxhunter. Winning this qualifier was a real highlight as it will give Sunny the opportunity to compete in a championship arena and take in the colour, the pressure and the atmosphere, we will definately be attending the final, he is on a break now for christmas and whilst I go to Mexico to get married and then he will be back in work training ready for the Blue Chip Championships in April.”
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!”
We are very proud, at WOW Saddles, to be supporting young rising star Hero Seago as she pursues her quest to take the show jumping world by storm! Here she tells us a little bit about herself…
“My name is Hero Seago, I am 12 years old and show jump my ponies. I started riding at 5yrs old and got my first pony at 6. He was very naughty and bucked and reared so taught me a lot about stickability. Next we got Sammy, a perfect little 11.1hh, whom I show jumped and also went to the Pony Club Areas Mounted Games with. Then along came Bobby, who started me off in BSJA at 10yrs old, and then Atlantic Jewel the following year. I currently run these ponies along side each other most weekends, jumping in the 138 classes and 90cm/1m opens. The three of us have had much success together, the NAF shining star award, 2nd over all in the NAF 5* Style and Performance Class at the Inter-Academy show this year and 1st in an inter-schools style and performance class. Also with my school, we got four teams through to the inter-schools Championships at Addington Manor in October and there we gained team champions in the 1.05m-1.10cm, and team 4th and 7th in the 95cm.”
“I am so excited to have gained a sponsorship from WOW! It is such an incredible opportunity for me. Since I got my WOW Saddle I have loved riding in it and Bobby felt much freer underneath me. I think he particularly likes the freedom of movement the saddle gives him through his shoulders.”
“This weekend was his first show in the WOW Saddle and he was on fire! We gained our second double clear in the Springboard class, coming equal 1st and qualifying, and a 5th in the Discovery/90cm open. There is no stopping Bobby now he has a WOW!”
We can’t wait to see how Hero progresses with her ponies! Keep your eyes peeled for more blogs coming soon and in the mean time make sure you visit our Facebook page to keep up to date with all the ‘up to the minute’ news!
Richard Maxwell explains why the WOW H-girth stops his show-jumping horse lifting its head upon landing
Richard Maxwell, or Max, is a widely recognised equestrian trainer and showjumping enthusiast – here, he demonstrates the benefits of a WOW saddle, including the innovative H girth – the ultimate in stability for saddle and rider. “The pressure relief provided by the centre pad is extremely good for the horse’s pectoral muscles and helps in the elevation of the fore limbs and shoulder,” Max says.
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