Contessa instructor, Jade, reports on their start to 2011.
“I think our last blog was in November, so I will just give you a bit of an overview of what’s been going on. We tried to hibernate for most of January and February due to the horrid weather but unfortunately the horses still wanted to be fed and exercised!
Daughter beats mum!
March brought the early glimpses of Spring as well as our first dressage competition of the season. We had a lovely afternoon for it and the rain was kind enough to hold off until the second we finished! The first class was a Contessa walk/trot test won jointly by Emma-Louise on Razzle and Heather on Solo. It was a special win for Emma-Louise as it was their first outing, so big congratulations. Class two was a victory for Ruby on Moonie and class three was another red rosette for Heather scoring 1% higher than mum, Sharon who took second place.
Zak begins training
We’ve had a John Bowen Dressage Clinic as well as two John Adams Show Jumping clinics. All horses behaved very well and a good time was had by all. In the most recent one, new horse Rosie found her jumping legs with Emilie and Zak began his training with John on Queijada!
Tessa turns 40
Easter brought pony days, Pony Club rallies and an Easter Egg Hunt and for the adults, an In-Hand afternoon, Side Saddle taster and Video Afternoon. My favourite thing about Spring is the lambs and I have already adopted one who we’ve named Tiny Tim. The thing that we’re all getting most excited about though is Tessa’s big 40th Birthday Bash on Saturday, following her birthday this Thursday. Tessa was one on the original ponies that started Contessa in 1977 and is adored by all.
“As Easter had finished, we thought we would make the most of the bank holiday weekend and take Bracks (Headmore Boadicia) and Dream (Headmore Dream On) to Fair Oak Grange on Friday 29 April. As it was the day of the Royal Wedding, we managed to hold off leaving until we had seen the bride’s dress... And we still managed to arrive on time!
A Dream competition
Dream was on first in the elementary and we had only had her back for schooling for about ten days, but we thought that as we were taking Bracks we might as well put Dream on the lorry as well and take her out too! She was a bit cheeky to start off with in the warm up but, once she settled, she started to go beautifully and she really relaxed into her work. I wasn’t sure what she would do when I took her in the competition arena as the warm up is outside and very open and the indoor school is a small arena so I thought she may back off as there was quite a big difference. Much to my delight, however, she was super in the test and didn’t even mind when a rather stupid blackbird kept flying into the mirrors rather than out of the open side of the arena! She scored a very pleasing 71.6% and won, and the nicest part of it was that there is still much more to come from her in a test!
Bracks completes qualification
It was then Bracks’ turn doing her second advanced medium. She had been being a bit naughty at the beginning of the week, which is very unlike her, so, thankfully, Jenny Hadland (my equine physio and one of my sponsors) had been able to come and treat her for me as she had been sore. I also gave her some of my trusty Nupafeed as I didn’t want her to get wound up if she was still a bit sore. She warmed up very well and was doing some very expressive work and I was pleased with how she was going. She was quite hot off my leg but she stayed rideable. I was very pleased with the test, there were just a couple of little mistakes, and she scored 72.3% and won, completing her advanced medium qualification. She has only done two advanced medium tests and scored over 72% both times, so roll on the higher levels!
It was a very good day all round and my chestnut mares both proved the stereotype wrong!
Horses Help Heroes
Finally, we have been approached by the BHS to see if we can help the charity 'Horses Help Heroes' in their quest to raise £1million for our wounded British service men and women. They will be driving a replica World War I horse drawn ambulance from John O'Groats to Lands End in just ten days this summer. We will be helping one of the participants (an injured service person) who lives in our region with some riding and training to improve his or her fitness before this amazing feat. The website is www.horseshelpheroes.org.uk, please give whatever you can to this very worthwhile cause.”
April is now all behind us. It was an unusual month starting with just one foal on the ground. We had some surprises with foals not going in date order - Samantha hfd (Ulster (Nimmerdor) x Farn) was due to foal on 15 of April, but there was still no foal on the 25! She's been running milk now for 24 hours, so round the clock observation is now a priority. Although it is not unusual for a mare to go 12 months this mare is 21-years-old and showing signs of her age, so it's an anxious time here at the stud. This will be her last foal and we wait anxiously!
Great news for Mooiman
The IDS Magazine dropped through the post this month with great news for our KWPN Approved international Dressage stallion Mooiman hfd (Flemmigh x Roemer). For those who do not know, it is the most popular horse sport/breeding news magazine in the Netherlands. It reports just about all there is to know about stallions/progeny, international achievements of horses as well as the international and national ranking lists, breeding index and so on.
Ranking of successful sires
The stallions' offsprings' sport record is calculated to give a ranking list for the most successful sires and Mooiman hfd is one of the top 10 breeding sires in the Netherlands. This is quite an achievement - he stands head and shoulders with world champion breeding stallions such as Jazz and Contango. Of course, the more offspring you have, the better the odds of a stallion to be up there in the sire rankings. But believe me, Mooiman certainly has not got as many children as the others on the list and he is in the UK. We think this is pretty good. It is great for breeders to have official records on how successful the stallions' offspring actually do in the sport - a very different, more reliable calculation from the results of offspring in young stock/foal shows for breeders to consider when choosing sport sires.
Dressuur:Kinderan in de sport 10 jaar en ouder
Another new foal
Ilana hfd Keur/Sport/Dress/Prest (Wellington x Zaire) foaled a very big chestnut colt Gucci hfd (Oliver x Wellington) three days early on the 19 April. It was a super straight forward birth, only needing a little TLC from Brian so I was able to once again get some great footage for you to enjoy or for the first time breeder, to give a picture of what to expect. See the video of the birthing below. Editor's note: This video shows graphic scenes of a mare foaling down, and may not be suitable for those of a sensitive disposition.
Foaling is now well and truly underway and Mooiman hfd is working well, so there maybe a few shows in France for him later when we have all the babies safe and sound in the mare and foal paddocks.
“Recently I organised a two day festival at Bury Hill Fishery and this is my report of the events.
Ton up Steve hangs on to early lead
Bury Hill Fishery hosted another spring two day festival with a good turnout of 47 anglers taking part on the Old Lake at this famous fishery in Surrey. Event organiser Russ Evans was pleased with the turnout although three late drop outs prevented the maximum field he was looking for with the whole lake in use for the first time for a silvers festival. With a quality field taking part it was going to need some big weights to clinch the overall weight event and on day one the festival record was smashed by Steve O’Rourke who had a great day on the long pole catching bream, skimmers and tench for a brilliant 145lbs 7oz, 47 fish, from end peg 75. Steve was second from last at the draw bag and everyone knew the peg was going to throw up a good weight as some good practice catches were taken from behind the island pegs leading up to the festival. Catching on soft pellet over pellet and groundbait Steve confessed to his day as being one of the easiest day’s fishing he has had and got a bite on virtually every put out. Geoff Vallence a past winner of the event drew peg 35 on the long bank and feeder fished his way to 81lbs 2oz of bream and tench using a groundbait feeder and pellet attack casting two thirds over to the island.
Third place went to Chris Nicholls on peg 39 who caught a string of bream plus the odd tench late in the match on the long pole using corn and pellet over groundbait to put 73lbs 9oz on the scales.
Result day one
1 Steve O’Rourke (Nash Peg One) 145lbs 7oz
2 Geoff Vallence (P.I Delcac) 81lbs 2oz
3 Chris Nicholls (Garbolino Apollo) 73lbs 9oz
4Jason Weir (Guildford AC) 70lbs 12oz
5 Tony Lock (Garbolino Apollo 64lbs 8oz
6Lee Perry (Carshalton DAS) 52lbs 8oz
With a 60lbs plus lead from Day 1 Steve O’Rourke just needed a decent weight to help seal the festival and when he drew peg 43 along the long bank, Steve knew he needed to work a bit harder to put some fish into the net and he did just that with 28lbs 12oz to give him a final total of 174lbs 3oz and total festival winnings of £530. Nearest challenger Geoff Vallence drew peg 70 which was a good draw and using similar tactics as the previous day put 24 bream in the net for a day winning 75lbs 4oz to close the gap on the leader but his total of 156lbs 6oz put him approx. 6 bream short of winning, Geoff picked up a total of £550. Chris Nicholls put in another good performance from peg 26 using pole and pellet on two lines to put bream and tench in the net for 61lbs giving him a total good enough for third placed overall in the festival and collected £390 for his troubles. Third on day two was Andy Turner who feeder fished his way most of the time to a handy 60lbs 10oz of bream, skimmers and tench with hair rigged corn gaining most of his bites and action.
Result day two
1 Geoff Vallence (P.I Delcac) 75lbs 4oz
2Chris Nicholls (Garbolino Apollo) 61lbs 0oz
3Andy Turner (Carshalton DAS) 60lbs 10oz
4Billy McKinley (Bury Hill) 57lbs 0oz
5Tony Barthomlew (Anchor Croydon) 56lbs 4oz
6 Steve Gardener (Milo) 54lbs 10oz
Overall Top Six
1 Steve O’Rourke 174lbs 3oz (£350)
2 Geoff Vallence 156lbs 6oz (£230)
3 Chris Nicholls 133lbs 10oz (£150)
4Billy McKinley 95lbs 12oz (£130)
5Lee Perry 95lbs 9oz (£100)
6Don Garnish 95lbs 9oz
The next Silvers Festival will be on 20 and 21 September 2011, £80 all in and to book in please call Russ on 01306 883621.”
“Life amongst the vines is anything but a walk in the park. Some winemakers, especially smaller producers, invest more time and money in marketing and selling their wine than actually making it. This is as crazy as it sounds but first-class winemakers want to devote efforts to wine excellence and Naked Wines have found a way to help this cause with “Angels.”
Sold before grown
Here are a few examples of wines that were sold before the grapes had even been grown and they are perfectly suited for spring.
Benjamin Darnault Picpoul de Pinet 2010 is a refreshingly dry white wine from the Languedoc region in France and a great wine for fans of Sauvignon Blanc who are looking for something a little different. With greenish gold hues in the glass, it has fresh lemon aromas and is surprisingly fruity and full-bodied, which is balanced by high natural acidity, making this wine a delicious partner for shellfish and seafood.
Castillo de Tafalla Rosado 2010 is a Spanish fruity rosé made from Garnacha (or Grenache) grapes. A pretty pink colour, the wine displays berry flavours and a crispnesss to cut through cold charcuterie meats on a warm day.
With all the celebrations and holidays around the corner I wanted to include some party fizz and have chosen Prosecco Spumante Borgo di Sassi, which is an outstanding example of classic Italian sparkling wine. Prosecco spumante wines undergo a full secondary fermentation and are generally more expensive than regular Proseccos but this is a real bargain.
The Italians have got it right and sip Prosecco at any occasion. Here is the UK the wine is rising in popularity as we opt for an alternative aperitif to Champagne.
The Borgo di Sasssi is lightly aromatic and a real crowd pleaser. With light orchard and stone fruit flavours this would also be a lovely accompaniment to puddings with apples, pears, peaches or apricots – even a summer fruit salad. Although lower in ABV at 11% (and therefore slightly fewer calories) the wine is still crisp enough to drink with dishes of pasta and ricotta cheese or else an indulgent tiramisu.”
Jenny Rudall caught up with our Badminton blogger Gemma Tattersall to find out exactly what happened to her and Kings Gem across country yesterday. Watch our interview below to find out what happened to cause her to fall, her plans for the rest of the season and who she's willing to win Badminton 2011. Watch the video below or visit our Badminton video page at http://www.horseandcountry.tv/badminton2011/video.
Jenny Rudall caught up with our Badminton blogger Gemma Tattersall to find out how she felt the dressage phase went and her plans for tomorrow's cross country test. Watch our interview below, set in the beautiful grounds of Badminton House to find out why she walked the course with Ruth Edge and why Kings Gem needs so much hand-grazing. Watch the video below or visit our Badminton video page at http://www.horseandcountry.tv/badminton2011/video.
Jenny Rudall caught up with our Badminton blogger Gemma Tattersall as she arrived at the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials 2011. Watch our interview below, set in the beautiful grounds of Badminton House to find out whether Gemma's nervous and why her wardrobe for the trot up is so important. Watch the video below or visit our Badminton video page at http://www.horseandcountry.tv/badminton2011/video.
Training can be on and off the horse. Gemma Tattersall is part of H&C's team of experts on hand to offer advice.
We all know how expensive riding and training can be so H&C’s Jenny Rudall looked into how you can get free help to ensure you get the most out of your season.
“With competition fees, petrol prices and the cost of feed going up, it's a struggle to find the funds to gain that all important help and training to ensure a safe and successful season. Any free help and training advice is hugely welcome and I have found some great websites and ideas that can help supplement your own training regime, without you spending a penny!
H&C comes to the rescue
I am obviously a bit biased when I say that the help and advice offered by H&C is not only free but fantastic as well, but it truly is.
H&C has a huge team of experts all willing to share their advice and training ideas and all it takes is a quick email to the editor with your query. So if you have a burning question or are in need of some training tips please do get in touch by emailing [email protected].
H&C has a huge array of videos that range across the disciplines, from How to Succeed at Prelim and Edward Gal's Masterclass for dressage fans, and for those who like their horses hooves to leave the floor, Sharon Hunt’s How Tos are brilliant. A particular favourite of mine that not only gave me a ton of training ideas but made me cry with laughter is the Geoff Billington Masterclass.
H&C has manged to cover many topics, from videos on How to Leg Yield to case studies on riding shoulder in, and if what you want is not there, all you have to do is ask and we we will make it for you.
Enough about us
There are few sites that I really find exciting, but when I saw this Facebook page I marvelled at the simple genius of it. For those of you who event at the lower levels, it is a tricky business deciding which event to go to and with no time or money to school or check out every event, you want to be sure to choose a course suitable for both horse and rider. This page solves that problem. Visit the British Eventing Course Photo page.
It is such a simple idea: When you're out eventing this season, take your digital camera with you and take some snaps of each fence on the course you are walking and then e-mail them to [email protected].
This means that over time there will be a complete and free catalogue of courses to help you in your choices throughout the season. So whether you like a small course or a big and bold course, you can find the course right for you.
My next site follows the same lines and onEqui-spy you’ll experience the thrills and spills of riding through a helmet camera worm by Kate Lukas, a professional event rider in Surrey. Kate takes us through show jumping and cross country rounds with her trusty camera attached and it is great for training and awareness or to help you plan which courses you and your horse would like to undertake throughout the season.
The horses range from BE90 to Advanced and go around a large variety of the courses. With footage unedited, you get to see the good, the bad and the ugly.
Youtube and dressage
Some of us find it easier to ride a test than others and, when reading through your test for the first time at home, have you ever been confused by the movements listed? Check if you're translating the instructions correctly by clicking onto www.youtube.com and type in your dressage test, for example Prelim 18, and I guarantee that some kind soul will have recorded themselves riding the test and you can watch and learn and decipher what to do.
By watching a few, you can take away some tips on how to ride or indeed how to not ride the test.
Another great place to find free advice is on forums and it is worth checking out the forums on BE, BSJA and BD. Although not all the advice on there is helpful, you will find some likeminded people willing to offer some tips and you may even find others who share your worries.
My final tip is to get out there and watch at your local shows. Go onto the BE, BD or BSJA websites or look in our Events database to find out when shows are on and go and watch. These competitions are normally free and even though they are smaller than events like Hickstead or Badminton, the big names will all be there working young horses or giving their more experienced horses a run. Watch how they walk the show jumping course, see how they work on the flat and pick a fence cross country you don’t know how to ride and watch as the different competitors tackle it.
“The weekend of 9 to 10 April saw the LG Arena at the NEC in Birmingham packed to the rafters for the Parelli Celebration – two days of education and inspiration from Linda and Pat Parelli and some of their top instructors from across Europe. It was quite the weekend!
The theme of this year’s event was Horsenality, a system and tool to help people understand horses through their basic personality types. Throughout the weekend we learned about the four main categories of horses (from a behavioural and personality perspective) and the relevant strategies to apply with horses in different situations to help them become more balanced and centred. Through the eyes of Pat and Linda we observed several different horses and learned to read their body language and behaviour. We also got to see the Horsenality strategies in action in lessons Pat and Linda did with several Parelli instructors and their horses. Linda has since written about the lesson with UK instructor Larisa Tasker in her own blog here, Horses don’t think like people.
The Horsenality tool has been available to Parelli students for some time now, and it’s been the catalyst for many a breakthrough, including for me and my own horse. At the Celebration the next pieces of the puzzle were also revealed: a Humanality report, which looks at each individual’s psychological characteristics, behaviours and traits, and a Match report, which brings together the horse and human profiles to explain the appropriate strategies for each unique combination. I did a Horsenality report for my horse Sol last year and it gave me a ton of insightful and practical tips and strategies. I haven’t done the Humanality survey yet but look forward to doing that and finding out more about myself, particularly as it was developed in conjunction with Dr. Patrick Handley, a professional psychologist and personality assessment expert. At least I think I want to know!
Magic’s last UK visit
The weekend was also Pat Parelli’s 20-year old Quarter horse mare Magic’s last visit to the UK. Magic is a well-known and much loved horse around the world, and there was hardly a dry eye in the house as Pat had his “last dance” with her – there’s a clip of it now on YouTube which is just lovely. Magic will return home to the US for one last appearance there before enjoying her retirement as a broodmare. I love that horse!
Another highlight for me were the spotlight sessions with three of Pat’s top European instructors: Silke Vallentin from Germany, who lost the use of her legs in a car accident in 1983, and Swiss instructors Walter Gegenschatz and Mikey Wanzenried. Their demonstrations playing with their horses on the ground On Line and at Liberty, and then riding (both with bridles and without) were simply awe-inspiring. The event’s official photographer managed to capture some amazing photos of them which you can see in this public album on Facebook.
Helping out behind the scenes
This year I was helping out behind the scenes so got a very interesting perspective on what it actually takes to prepare and set up for such a massive event, what goes on during the event itself and then do the tear down afterwards. There were many moving parts, but they all worked together incredibly smoothly. In addition to the core Parelli events team and UK staff we had over 60 volunteers from across the UK and many other European instructors, as well as one lady who’d travelled all the way from Western Australia! We had several days of very early mornings, long days and lots of hard work, but it all worked beautifully and no-one stopped smiling for the whole weekend. What a team! I co-led a fantastic team which manned the Parelli Connect booth – several hundred new members signed up to the membership program over the weekend which was very exciting!
The worldwide community is one of the most remarkable aspects of being a Parelli student. In the last few years I’ve met people from all over the world. What’s becoming increasingly apparent is the power of that community to have a positive impact in the equine world. A really exciting development is the Parelli Horsemanship Fund, which was also launched at the Birmingham weekend. With money raised through Parelli members and other initiatives (like the cute Parelli Ponies which were sold at the event, plus a fully sold-out party on the Saturday night at the Hilton hotel, with all profits going to the Fund), the Fund will provide educational materials and support for four main causes: horsemanship for kids, scholarships to help develop future professionals, horse rescues, and therapeutic riders. I think this is a bold and exciting development and I can’t wait to see how this will unfold. I know it already benefited a lot of people from several UK rescue centres who were given VIP seats at the Celebration courtesy of the Fund, as well as donations of educational materials to a kids’ scheme in Hertfordshire. This is just the beginning...
As the dust settles after this massive event, it’s been great to see feedback about it all over Facebook and Parelli Connect from people who came along – people inspired by what they saw and learned and who have already noticed an uptick in the relationships they have with their horses and what they’re able to achieve by being positive, progressive and natural. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.”