Gillett Cook

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Addington Training Show
Addington Training Show

Next stop was a training show at Addington. I was excited to be going back to Addington after a three year absence, and the concept of the training show, where you get two rounds at your chosen height, is perfect for where my horses are in their progress this season.

I felt Askeaton needed another very easy round, so we had a brutally early start, made easy by having both Frankie & Lauren to help. I’m spoiling myself with help for these first few shows to allow Lauren to find her feet with the pace of show grooming, and to feel a little bit more relaxed about time while the horses are still very fresh.

We arrived in perfect time. Askeaton jumped two lovely easy rounds in the 1m. She feels great so fingers crossed we can keep it that way.

The real value of the training show was revealed in being able to go straight in at 1.10 on Breakdance with no pressure, as these rounds aren’t recorded on their BS records. I have made a few changes to his management as he is a little bit nervous, he now has a small dose of Calming Powder from Premier Performance CZ, which I have consistently found to be the best calmer, and we tried the titanium mask from Just Equine as well. Although I managed to get in his way once in each of his first two rounds, and at the second fence in his third round, I was able to keep starting again and posted an almost foot perfect final round. This was a really big confidence and self-belief boost. It was like a show for him, but like training for me. There was plenty going on in both the warm-up and the ring, and he was definitely more focussed on going from fence to fence without worrying about pole-pickers, photographers and other horses.

BE Khalissy then jumped two cracking rounds in the 1.10. She’s a real expert now, my only job is to read the numbers. I feel I have taught her all I can now and she needs a lovely home where she can teach someone all she knows, and fulfil her desire to go a bit quicker and actually be allowed to win things. She has been the most lovely and rewarding horse to produce.

We had a bit of a wait for Arietta to jump in the 1.20. She worked in really well, no acrobatics or objections to other horses and jumped two lovely rounds. A bit too many brakes this time, but having felt so green last year she really feels super confident in her job now.

It was a long journey home and a very long day for all of us. But it was well worth the trip. Many thanks to the team at Addington, sadly I can’t make either of their three day shows, but definitely have some others in the diary. Many thanks to Lauren and Frankie for all their help and to Mark for getting up early and helping me finish so late. A big sigh of relief from Mark as we flew off to India the next day and he was worried about how the lorry, girls & horses would be retrieved from Addington if I fell off!

As always many thanks to Saracen Horse Feeds, Protexin Equine, Premier Performance CZ, Just Equine, MacWet Gloves and NDS Equine for their support.


First show of the year was Hascombe with all four horses. I didn’t make the best start when I drove out of the drive with an open locker, leaving the door in the hedge. For some reason the locker light got stuck on drawing attention to the missing door the whole way to Hascombe! It was a cold, drizzly and windy day and more like the Wild West than a horse show.

First up was Askeaton. Her first show for seven months so I opted for the 1m. She was a little bit fresh and silly when we started working in, but she settled quickly and jumped a lovely clear round, BE Khalissy also jumped a lovely and very authoritative round in the same class. She’s definitely ready to step up.

Billy Breakdance didn’t have the best warm up, as it was very busy with very fresh horses, and he is a little nervous. He actually started very well and just got a bit tense after the first double so I turned a circle to settle him, but he jumped the rest well.

Billy Arietta seemed to be ridiculously fresh, and at one point I thought I was definitely coming off, but she settled to jump a good round in the 1.20. I’m still not entirely happy with our bitting arrangements, and she was definitely on the strong side in a nathe Pelham.

Many thanks to Lauren Andrews and Frankie Walker for all their help.