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Jo's Diary

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Tuesday, 6th February 2012

Thriller (aka Harry) owned by Alan Lintott

Well the New year has started with aplomb!! Lots going on and with the shows just around the corner!

Harry (Thriller) is continuing to make excellent progress and we have been taking him out and about to see life. Thanks to Charlottes tuition he has really improved in his way of going and we have really got our act together and he is starting to really sit behind and use his engine. Being a baby still he still finds it hard to maintain his frame but week by week his core strength is getting more established and he has become a really lovely ride. I am so looking forward to our first shows with him. I took him to Katie Jerrams masterclass clinic at Addington to see what he would be like in a class situation and he behaved beautifully . These clinics are ideal to bring young horses to because it is a class situation without any of the pressure and if things don’t go quite right you can have another go and this helps to improve the horses confidence. Also Katie apart from being a very good showing friend is an excellent third pair of eyes that can pick things up that we may have missed along the line. Thankfully we passed our test!!

Curtis and Heather also are continuing to make great progress. They went for a lesson to Ferdi Eilberg who was complimentary about the improvements the partnership had made and gave them lots to work on. We went to Aston Le Wall dressage in the middle of January and he won both his classes and picked up valuable points to gain his summer qualification. We were entered for Swallowfield in February but due to the snow and ice this was cancelled and is now due to be run on 11th March so fingers crossed he will gain enough points for summer qualification. Curtis also really enjoys his hacking and loose jumping. With the fields one minute being rock hard with ice then like a bog the next it has been difficult to maintain turnout so loose jumping really allows him show off his natural exuberance.

Fair and Square (aka Rex) small riding horse owned by Susanmnah Welby

Rex (Fair and Square) has settled in now. It has taken a long time to find the key to this lovely horse. I also took him to Katies masterclass clinic in February and quite honestly he was horrible and I can quite candidly say that I despaired of ever getting through to him. But with a lot of hard work and perserverance we are finally making inroads with him. He can now bend and move his body away from the leg without having a hissy fit. Staying calm and insisting and sticking at it has finally reaped some rewards – we have some way to go yet but I can see some light!! We took him again to Katies masterclass clinic at the beginning of March – different horse – I tacked him up in the lorry and got on him straightway – he was relaxed immediately and when we went into the outdoor school we immediately started his stretching exercises to loosen him up and he remained confident and calm. There was none of his unseating spooks – If he feels like he is going to lock up I can now just bend him and used some shoulder in and quarters in to loosen him up and keep his back free. In the class situation he remained calm and obedient – result!!! One proud Mummy of her protégée!! Some way to go but I am confident progress will continue. He will be going out and about everywhere to de-sensitize him so that he has to learn to just get on with the job in hand and concentrate on trusting his rider. He seems to be a much happier bunny now!! He will be aimed at small riding horse classes in the future.

Spinway Ronan owned by Sarah Hodgkins

Ronan (conemara stallion) belonging to Sarah Hodgkins has also been getting out and about. I took him to Addington to do two unaffiliated preliminary dressage tests. He was rather star struck with everything going on around him and whinneyed rather too much for my liking so did get reprimanded for that. He was extremely good at passing other horses and with horses coming towards him. His first test was in the smaller indoor arena and he was very green going round there on his own and before we started made a bee line back to his mates in the big indoor school. Once over this mis-communication we completed a rather green test. The next test he did was outdoors and we had another 40 minutes before this took place so I took the opportunity of working him some more and he became much more rideable and we went off to do our second test. This was so much better and he finished a very creditable 3rd with 66.68% and was much more relaxed and only whinneyed twice – great improvement! The following week I took him to Katies clinic at Addington and he was so much more confident and then stood in line with the others quite relaxed watching the others work. Again he needs to get out and about quite a bit so that he learns that this is just his job and not a chance to show off in front of the girls!!

Daldorn Lara's Theme - owned by Margaret Benton Jones

Daldorn Lara’s Theme arrived in the second week in January to be broken in and start on her education. She is by the Trakhener dressage stallion Caprimond out of Daldorn State Melody who we were hack of the year with at HOYS in 2006. Lara is a beautiful mare and a lovely mover but is also quite opinionated! It took us quite some time to get her on side. She had quite sharp teeth with two sharp wolf teeth which Mark Slingsby sorted out for us and then her back was quite wrong as well. On the lunge she continually cantered on the incorrect lead on one rein and just could not bend at all one way. Leigh Miller the horse chiropractor examined her twice and has seemed to have sorted the problem. Six weeks down the line she is trotting and cantering round the big open school in a nice balanced fashion and is hacking round the gallops alone and in company sensibly. Week by week she is developing in her core strength and she is building up in muscle. The pictures shown on the diary page were taken when she was just going in the big school for the first time. Her way of going is now much more consistent as she develops her strength. She really enjoys being under saddle and likes going to school and learning to read and write! She will go back to Margaret Benton Jones for a short break and then come back again hopefully to do a few late shows in the season. As she is only four she has plenty of time on her side and she is still quite immature. Gentle steady work will strengthen her up throughout the summer. I am swapping her with Daldorn Ecstacy who has been measured as a large hack and is Lara’s half brother (out of Melody) He will be produced for a few shows but ultimately will be for sale. A very sensible chap with lovely movement – a great prospect!

Cambridge has been steaming ahead with Holly and has now qualified for the Summer Regionals. He went to Aston Le Walls on 18th January where he picked up two 2nds but making quite a few mistakes. He then went on to Addington in February and won one class on 72.07 again making two mistakes – he broke in one medium when he whinneyed and then did the same again in another movement – he cant multi-task!! He was 3rd in the qualifier with 68.62 but was very tired at this stage. At the moment he seems only have the strength to do a fab first test. Once his stamina develops obviously this will improve. He is such an exciting prospect. We have entered him for his first young horse qualifier at Myerscough so fingers crossed. During the ice and snow he bruised the sole of his foot which took about two to three weeks to come right. Very annoying but a lesson learnt not to be in too much of a hurry when conditions are not perfect!

We have also taken delivery of a new horse last week call D’Astaire. He has just been bought by Averill Blundell to be produced as a riding horse. He is 7 years old by Demonstrator out of a TB mare – a winning combination. Having dealt with so many “Dennis” babies at Broadstone it is a bit like getting back into a pair of comfortable old slippers! He is very eye catching and a lovely mover and has a great brain as well. I am looking forward to helping Averill with him and producing him for the show ring. There is quite a lot of work to do on the flat to make him a more established open ride but he has been very well started in his life with the Coopers so no bad habits learnt thank goodness!

Bridgit (Bronze Star) has now gone to a new home. Mr Thomas who bred her has bought her back to replace her mother who recently died. A very sad day for us because we were all very attached to B. I think she will have fabulous babies and I am delighted that Mr Thomas now owns her again. She will be produced for the show ring in hand by Alan Charlesworth who has produced all the other siblings of Bridgits mother Bronze Bubble so fingers crossed one day we will see her again at HOYS!!

Tilly posing for the camera!

Holly and I also took some time out to go to London to see the War Horse Theatre production. We really had a lovely day out – lunch, theatre, shopping then dinner! What normal folks do!!! These tickets were given to us by Teresa Waters owner of Daisy as a thank you for last season and what a thank you!! It was a fabulous production and yes I did cry!!

Holly is keeping busy with her ballroom dancing in the evenings and has now been commandeered for the Strictly Towcester Ballroom dancing competition. As a “semi-professional” she has to partner a local celebrity! We will all be there to cheer her on 25th March. A rather racy latin dress and ballroom dress have been purchased second hand so photos to follow!!!!

Next entry will be from our first shows – fingers crossed for a good season – we have some lovely horses to campaign throughout the season.

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