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Jo's Diary

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Wednesday, 14th December 2011

Cambridge's lesson with Charlotte Dujardin

Since returning from our 10 days holiday, things have settled into our usual hectic lifestyle. We have had two sessions with Charlotte Dujardin in November which have been inspirational. She is fantastically positive with both horse and rider and all of us had to work very hard but the results have spoken for themselves. We went to Swallowfield Affiliated Dressage and won 5 out of the 6 classes! 4 of the classes were won with over 71% and one with 75%!! It has given us all a lot of homework to do for the next session but confidence is riding high for Team Bates!!

Cambridge and Curtis at their first competition at Aston Le Walls
Heather and Curtis on their first lesson with Charlotte

First off we took Cambridge and Curtis to Aston Le Walls for their first dressage competition. Cambridge was very excited about going to his first party and his eyes were on stalks and his feet hardly touched the ground for the first 10 minutes of warming up but he managed to contain himself and came 2nd and 4th in both Novice classes although going a little green. Heather won the Novice qualifier with Curtis on 71% which was a great start but he too was very excited about going out again. Charlotte came for two sessions at the yard before the next competition at Swallowfield and these were so beneficial and gave us all lots to work on. At Swallowfield Teresa and Daisy competed in the Preliminary qualifier and won it on 65% so she is now half qualified for the Summer Regionals next year and just has to win another qualifier to do this. Heather won both the Restricted Sections of the Novice qualifiers with 71% and 75% - a great start for her qualification campaign for the Regionals next year. His 2nd test was lovely and smooth and deservedly got the very high mark – well done Heather!! Cambridge won both the Open Sections of the Novice classes on 73%. He was much more confident in the working in and Holly rode two great positive tests – although he still made some mistakes, his potential is breathtaking – we are all very excited! All in all Team Bates had a very fun day out with friends and family coming to support and much laughter was shared!! A big thank you to Charlotte for her hard work and inspirational help!

Polo at home in the school

Polo is continuing to make fantastic progress and he is really starting to strengthen up in his work which shows in his lovely big movement. He will go on holiday back to his Mum’s over Christmas and January and we will get him back to campaign him for the early shows. His larger than life personality will be much missed on the yard while he is on his hols!

Harry at schooling at home

Harry is continuing to make great progress and we have benefited from two sessions with Charlotte who has really helped me. She has given me the confidence to push for more from him and he is really starting to develop more expression in his way of going and the connection is so much safer now! Hopefully by the time the show season comes around there will be no stopping us!

Jenson continues to make great strides with his jumping career and Gemma has done a great job on this front. He shows great aptitude and improves each time we jump him. He will make a great working hunter prospect or eventing prospect for next season.

We had a hack two year old in for some education for three weeks and he learnt to become one of the clan in the barn – daily going on the walker, having his feet picked out and his legs washed off when he came in from the field. We also taught him to lunge with a saddle and bridle on with loose side reins as well. He soon settled into his routine and thoroughly enjoyed his pre-school training.

Two more horses have just arrived in the yard in the shape of a 6 year Small hunter/Intermediate Hunter type and a 4 year old large hack. We have just had their teeth done by Mark Slingsby, feet by James Hiatt and Leigh Miller the chiropractor has also checked them over so we have a clean slate to start from. I am really looking forward to getting going with them – lots of work to do – I will keep you posted of their progress.

Tilly making friends with Hugo (Charlottes faithful friend!)

Also newly arrived to the yard is a 4 year old connemara stallion belonging to Sarah Hodgkins called Spinway Ronan who is by Spinway Comet to be broken in and produced. This is a really exciting prospect for next season. He was rather in the raw when he arrived not having much done to him in his early years. He has now been with us for three weeks and he is trotting and cantering round the school. He is a fabulous mover and has lovely limbs and great presence. Still a lot of work to do but so much talent!! It was very exciting and strange for him when he arrived – a bit like first day at boarding school - he has settled in nicely now - we make sure his rugs/numnahs are not used by any of the other horses and we have put a board up so that he cant annoy his next door neighbour but he seems to be a sensible chap but obviously we are all constantly aware that he is a stallion and do not take any liberties with him.

We are off to Olympia for two days to watch the Dressage World Cup Qualifier courtesy of Ginny Duncan who has given me this treat for my 50th birthday present. Holly organised a small surprise gathering in the local pub for my 50th birthday – I didn’t guess a thing – apparently she had been quietly organising it from October – it was a lovely night and I wobbled very unsteadily back home! Those killer heels of course!!

One of Holly's many sunset pictures

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my loyal owners, sponsors and helpers (Gemma, and Chris) and suppliers who have supported me throughout the year without whose help none of these highlights would have been possible. Have a Merry Christmas and a Great New Year and here’s to a successful 2012 for Team Bates!!! Ps I couldn’t have done any of this without my beautiful daughter Holly – thank you!!!!

2014 Nov, Oct, Sept, Aug, July, June, May, Apr, Mar, Feb, Jan
2013 Dec, Nov, Oct, Sept, Aug, July, June, May, Apr, Mar, Feb, Jan
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2008 Dec, Nov, Oct, Sept, Aug, July, June, May, Apr