Birth year: 2013
I was privileged to grow up around horses. My parents had a hunter livery and dealing yard and my mother and I ran a little pony dealing business. I have always loved producing young horses and ponies, and have produced all my horses from unbroken three or four year olds. The journey with the horses brings me as much satisfaction as competing. I evented for 30 years before concentrating on show jumping, and was a successful working pony rider and so my riding education has been broad and correct and the horses get a very thorough education and a variety of work. We are lucky to have beautiful hacking where we live. With a small yard I am lucky enough to be able to spend a lot of time with the horses, working out the best approach for each individual. When training others I like to continue this ethos, working hard to find the best way for each combination to progress. I have been lucky to ride some lovely horses, and was successful in eventing up to CCI3* level and have jumped up to CSI2* 1.45 level since turning to show jumping. While I was eventing I also competed successfully up to Elementary level in dressage.
April has worked for me for almost three years, starting part-time, and now working full-time. Having started her career in racing April is an excellent rider and her grooming skills and attention to detail are second to none. April's quietness and confidence with the horses, and endless patience and sense of humour with me make her a fantastic show groom, making me relaxed and confident to get on with my job.
Askeaton and BE Khalissy are now fit enough to start working in the school so April has clipped them both and they are looking fantastic. It will be a little while until they are fit enough to start jumping, but they can certainly do some pole work very soon.
I have continued with getting to know Billy Arietta and working out exactly how best to make a real partnership with her. We had an excellent training session at Hascombe Equestrian. What a lovely arena, with a very good course of modern fences. I then jumped my first Foxhunter with her at Felbridge. She was a little bit green in the old ring, a new ring for her, but she is so brave and careful and added another clear round to her tally. She has had no difficulty in making herself at home here, she has got such a lovely character and is beginning to come out of herself in a slightly mischievous way.
I have been so impressed with the fantastic after sales service at the Billy Stud, not only did Arietta come with a very beautiful Billy Stud rug, but also Roger McCrea gave me a hand with jumping her. It's always great to have an insight into the system of how a horse was produced before you had it, so that you can understand it better, and it was very interesting to watch the other Billy horses and riders schooling at the same time. "There are many ways to skin a cat" and I think that it is always good to look outside one's own system and be very open to the ideas of more successful systems.
The foals at Breen Equestrian have now been weaned and Colin is with his friends in a big barn, feasting on haylage and reclining on the thick straw. I have collected Emma for the winter, because I love having her at home, and we also have the wonderful Zarnita to keep her company. We have been lucky to have such a beautiful November, so they are very happy out in the field with lots of grass and two feeds a day. They had their rugs on last night, and when it gets muddy they will come in at night.
Boringly my knee has stopped getting better and is rather unstable and very painful, especially at night. I'm off to have an MRI scan and crossing my fingers that I can be patched up without too much drastic intervention, at least until after the Sunshine Tour which is my current goal.