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Jo's Diary

Sunday, 27th April 2014

Holly and Cambridge at winter nationals
Australia judging - Saturday evening performance
Australia judging - sat evening performance!
Broadstone destiny's child owned by Maggie Riley
Australia - meeting the koala's
Sydney grand nationals judging
Judging down under
Me, Sarah Gwilliam and Sarah Chapman judging in Oz
My new lorry!!
Pinky (aka colebourne) being brought in from the field by Tilly!!
Whalton Daydream owned by Jessica Williams - day two of her stay with us
Sarah Gwilliam and john paget (steward) at the grand nationals
Cambridge and Holly
Colebourne winning his maxi cob class at bsps area 15 gaining his RI ticket
Dillon owned by Clare Prentice 3yr old by Grafenstolz
Whalton Daydream owned by Jessica Williams - 2nd and Reserve Champion BSHA Home Counties
Comberton Corncockle Novice Champion BSHA Home Counties
Vicky Nicholls and aristocat
Holly and Cambridge at winter nationals

Rather a long time since my last diary entry – many apologies – with the cold dark wet and windy winter, somehow I have found it hard to get the impetus to keep up with my diary which is no excuse but yet again this winter has been relentless with the wind and rain!!!

But we have been kept busy with all our horses. Pinky (colebourne) has been kept ticking over during the winter and Vicky has been doing a sterling job with her project with me keeping a close eye on progress. He has now just made his debut with us at BSPS Area 15 at Norton Heath Equestrian centre and as is his style took everything in his stride and put in a sterling performance to win and gain his Royal International ticket. He has become a firm favourite on the yard with his lovely character. Hopefully Averil’s work commitments with slow down in the next couple of months so that she can take on the ride but as I said to her I am quite happy to deputise for the meantime!! Five minutes working in is quite unheard of in our yard but we are loving this regime for him!!!

Dillon (Midsummer Focus) belonging to Clare Prentice was very good to back and break in and we took him out hacking on the roads and in the fields and he continued his education in the school. He had a rest at the end of November and then came back into work at the beginning of January and we did about six weeks work with him before he went off to start his eventing career with Bill Levitt who has the other three Prentice event horses of which one (Shannondale Titan aka Alfie) is going to Badminton this year which is very exciting. I will watch his progress with Bill with great interest as he is such an athletic butty horse and I am sure he will love his jumping.

At the end of November I took delivery of Scarlett (Comberton Corncockle) who belonged to Peter and Sally Hobbs. I first saw this mare as a three year old and absolutely loved her but then she was put in foal and has subsequently had three foals. She is an eight year old small hack by Dolphin supreme out of Comberton Carmen which makes her a half sister to the famous Comberton Clancy. I saw her again at Pete and Sals in October and they offered her to me and I jumped at the chance to produce her for the forthcoming season. It is the first mare that I have broken so late in life and I have to admit I was very dubious about taking on this project. I am not going to say it was plain sailing all the way. She was very sensible to back but she did find it hard to learn how to canter and cope with all her power in her amazing movement and she has found it quite hard to adjust her body to new exercises which is quite understandable. She hasn’t had a bad attitude at all but just found it difficult to adjust to her new life which is not surprising as it is a bit like teaching a 40 year old how to ballroom dance or do ballet! She loves her hacking and is the one that leads everyone past all the sights and sounds in the village – very brave. I have taken her to Addington and Bury Farm to ride round and also to Keysoe when Holly has done dressage on Cambridge and then I took her out to BSPS Area 15 (her first show atmosphere) to ride round and she was brilliant. I am hoping to take her out in Novice Hack classes but I am in no hurry to put any pressure on her as I think she needs the time and the more confident she is in her work the more she will give to me.

Thriller (Harry) has been kept ticking over during the winter – Vicky really got on well with him and has enjoyed getting him ready for this season. He has now found a new home with Gary Parr and I would like to take the opportunity of wishing them all the success with this very special horse. I think so much of him and I do believe he has some very big wins in him!

Cambridge has been busy training all winter and Holly and I have made trips to Natalie Allen’s indoor school twice a week so as she can ride him during the weekdays. This has made it quite a long day as Holly came back from work at 6.15 so we had him all ready on the lorry and then 10 minutes down the road to the indoor and by the time we had finished and put him to bed it was usually about 8.45! She has also been getting regular help from Rhett Bird who has really helped to get Holly on track with his training. We took him to Addington at the beginning of February as a breeze up for the regionals the week after. He won both the elementary classes on 72.5 and 75% to partially qualify for the summer regionals. He then went on to his Winter Regionals again at Addington the next week and he scored 70.26% despite not performing up to his usual standard (I blame the horrendous weather which certainly did not help our cause!) and got a wild card for the Winter Nationals which we were thrilled with! He then went to Keysoe to do another two elementary classes and was 1st and 2nd in these scoring a creditable 74.83% and gaining his summer regional qualification. We then made the decision to take him to Rhetts for the two weeks I was in Australia judging as it was going to be easier for Holly to continue her training and riding there. It was a good call and when I went to collect him and watch Holly’s lesson I was very impressed with the progress they had made and the confidence with which she rode. She has just been to the Winter nationals and he performed a really good test for Holly just tiring a bit at the end of the canter work and scored 70% which was equal third but she actually ended up 4th on the collective marks. I was really proud of them both and we are now campaigning for the medium regional qualifications! We have a game plan!!!

Broadstone Destiny’s Child arrived with us in the middle of February for seven months whilst her owner Maggie Riley recovers from a back injury. She is by Demonstrator out of Grantbourne Atlanta (by Atlantus). She is a lovely mare who we will compete in dressage competitions and possibly at the end of her stay pop her into a small riding horse class as well. A really attractive mover and a great brain. Maggie has been a client of mine since my Broadstone days and bought Broadstone Daystar from us who proved to be a horse of a lifetime for her. She bought Desi in August and is hoping that she will fill Daystars shoes!

Daldorn Lara’s Theme arrived back with us in the middle of January and it was lovely to have her “home”!! I am so looking forward to the coming season with her and her first show will be the BSHA Home counties show at Addington and of course this time she will be competing as an open horse.

Primitive Dazzler (owned by Steven Jackson) wintered with us and enjoyed her holidays out in the field with Dillon who she buddied up well with. She came back into work in the middle of January and again I am really looking forward to the coming season with her. She also will be coming out at Addington as well.

Whalton Daydream belonging to Jessica Williams arrived in the middle of January initially for six weeks schooling. She is by Kilvington Scoundrel and is a five year old small hack. She had quite a learning curve and by the end of six weeks it was mutually decided that she would benefit from another six weeks as she had made so much progress in this time. We have just taken her to her first show at BSPS Area 15 at Norton heath where she behaved impeccably for me in the Novice Hack class and did a lovely show and went beautifully for the judge and went on the win the class. Tears of joy from the owners! She is staying with me until the end of April and hopefully we can squeeze in a RI qualifier for her. Jess has been up to me for lessons at the weekends and has made really progress with her. I am very excited about how much progress this quality mare has made and how she has changed shape in the time she has been with us.

At the end of March I went off with Sarah Chapman and Sarah Gwilliam to judge at the Grand Nationals in Sydney Australia. For me it was a whistlestop tour as I could not afford much time away from the yard with the shows looming up. It was a lovely show to judge at and I first judged there 20 years ago and it was amazing to see how much it has evolved and grown in that time. We judged solidly for four days and saw some beautifully turned out and presented horses and ponies. I was very impressed with the standard of riding especially with the children – such strong secure positions with a very good core. I did have time to have a quick look round Sydney and also went to cuddle the Koalas as well! Many thanks to Bruce Flood, Judy chapman and Leonie Roberts for organising such an amazing well run show - the evening performance on Saturday night was a highlight for us all as we were driven into the indoor arena in a vintage open top car and then had to wave at the crowds! We felt like royalty!

At the end of February I went off to take my HGV and took a weeks course to do this. I can honestly say it was not an experience I would ever like to repeat! I don’t think I have ever been so nervous in all my life during the test and I gripped that gearstick as if my life depended on it – my hand was stronger than superglue! I did manage to pass albeit with nine minors but a pass is a pass! I did hug the examiner – cant say I made his day but he made mine!!! I have bought a new lorry which is a five horse Solitaire lorry which I am very proud of – it is a lovely lorry to drive and work in and already I am enjoying driving to the shows. Helen Jepson kindly mentored me for the first few occasions until I passed but I still hope she can come with us to some of the shows.

Holly has made the decision to leave her office job at Easter – she has decided that the office life is not for her at the moment and wants to concentrate on her dressage career whilst helping me on the yard and at shows. Vicky is sadly leaving us as her father is unwell again but will come back as and when for the shows which she loves. She has been an invaluable member of the team and I shall really miss her. She is a very talented rider and is a great team member on the yard. I am going to make sure she comes to as many shows as I can get her to come to!

Latest update – Easter Weekend – We went to BSHA Home Counties Show at Addington. Comberton Corncockle was an absolute star at her first show and behaved beautifully in the international indoor arena to win the Novice Hack class and then went overall Novice Champion! There is still a lot of improving to do but I am very proud of the massive strides she has taken in the last few weeks. Primitive Dazzler went beautifully in the Large Hack class and won and got her Royal International ticket and then went Reserve Champion. Daldorn Lara’s Theme also went well and won the large riding horse and went champion riding horse. – A very good day at the office!! Two days later on Easter Monday I took Whalton Daydream for Jessica Williams to the Spring Horizons show to do the Royal International Small Hack qualifier (her second show with us). She was pulled in top and just did a little bit of a green show to be dropped to second but in the championship she went reserve. This little mare is improving all the time and I am very excited about her future.

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