Laura Collett takes all the media attention in her stride
“It has been a busy weekend for the H&C team, and in our quest to bring you the best footage for our show Rudall’s Round-up, we have been out and about on location.
What's the French for Stallion?
First stop, the was the Stallion event at Hartpury, run by the British Bred Sports Horse (BBSH) association. The day was a real spectacle with interviews and demos from Bernard Le Courtois, Mark Todd, Oliver Townend and Michael Eilberg, plus 65 top stallions from the UK and Europe.
I am not scared to admit that my knowledge on breeding is not up to scratch so I was a little apprehensive about the day. On arrival though my fears were soon put to rest after an interview with Jan Rogers, or as I like to call her the ‘Oracle’. Jan and Kat organise the event and I was soon up to speed on who was who and which stallions to watch out for.
After running into the lovely showjumper Louise Pavitt, rider for the Brendon Stud, and shoving her in front of camera for a quick interview, I then grabbed the hilarious Shirley Light, owner of the stud. My next interview was my most nerve wracking of the day – a chat with the brilliant Bernard Le Courtois. Now Bernard's English is okay but my French is terrible, I come from the Del Boy school of French, so I did fear that the interview may be a disaster.
Bernard, however, was lovely and Jaguar Mail soon stole the show by dancing around in front of camera and reminding us he was once an Olympian.
Other stallions that stood out were the great Grafenstolz, ridden by Alex Hau Tian, and the legendary Parco (who has been recently imported by Ken Rehill). It was a joy to be in front of such amazing animals, and on British soil.
Townend and Toddy
It wasn’t just the stallions on display; lots of top riders were there including Mark Todd, Oliver Townend, Paul Tapner and Clayton Fredericks. While interviewing Toddy, Mr Townend thought it would be funny to ride between us and camera girl Katie. Poor Katie thought she was about to be crushed - and she ensured I was put in the firing line from then on while she remained out of harm's way.
Laura Collett - the next Olympic hopeful?
It was then on to Laura Collett’s yard two days later for our Olympic Watch feature. After what seemed like hours of wrong turns and sat nav blunders, I arrived at Laura’s yard relieved to find that, most of the equestrian press, had the same whistlestop tour of the Wiltshire back roads.
Laura’s yard - with its huge indoor - is impressive to say the least, but what seems more incredible is the record of this unassuming 22-year-old. Laura’s office/tea room is covered wall to wall with medals and pictures of her successes. Laura is a delight to interview and seems to have a level head on her shoulders. Will Laura make the team for 2012? As of yet it is undecided, but if not this year I am certain there will be several Olympics for her in the future.
Putting my feet up
No travelling for me for a few weeks as its hospital on Thursday for a knee operation, to repair the damage inflicted upon it by unruly four-year-old. Hope everyone is enjoying the new site, and make sure you follow us on Twitter to keep up with our latest outings."
"It is not every week you get to meet two Olympic athletes, but then it's not every year that you have the Olympics in your own country. And it is certainly not every year that we actually might win some medals!
With Olympic fever at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment, I have the task of travelling round the country to attend yard days organised by the British Equestrain Federation (BEF) to meet our Olympic hopefuls. A tough job, but someone has to do it!
Last week eventing, this week dressage
Last week we went to see William Fox-Pitt at his Dorset yard, and this week I went to see dressage rider and European team Gold medallist Emile Faurie.
We battled through sideways rain and ridiculous traffic jams to get to Oxfordshire, Victoria (Rudall’s Round-Up producer) and I were relieved to see Emile still riding his top horse with Elmegardens Marquis (Max).
After watching Emile do a demo on Max, it was photoshoot time and my goodness doesn’t this horse like to be in the limelight! There is a clear bond between Max and Emile, and it was touching to see how much Emile clearly thinks of this once very hot-headed horse.
I couldn’t resist posting this little vid of Emile with one of his young horses - who clearly likes being the centre of attention!
Next week it is onto Laura Collett’s yard, so if you have a question for her head over theRudall’s Round-Up webpage and post it in the Four Star Question Box."
Hello everybody. Right! We are well into the new year now so I hope you all have been keeping to your new year's resolutions. Or maybe you're like me - "You don't make them, so then you can't break them!"
A good start
Thankfully I have had a great start to the new year. I've had four winners in the first three week of January, and for the second time in two years, I was lucky enough to win the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton for Nick Williams. This year's win came on board Swincombe Flame, who as you may remember from my last blog, is the horse I won on at Wincanton on Boxing Day. She is a very good mare who is going the right way and definitely a one to keep an eye on for the rest of the season.
In winning the Lanzarote I unfortunately picked up a seven day ban and lost my share of the prize money for my use of the whip. It was a very close finish to the race and when we past the line it took the judge a couple of minutes to call the result, so when he said: "Your winner is number 19" I was so thrilled. I felt I had given Swincombe Flame a very good ride to win by a nose - after she lost her back legs on landing over the last, she dug really deep and battled the whole way to the line for me. At the time I hadn't realised I'd gone over our allocated use of the whip (eight times) and it wasn't until l went into the stewards room for the enquire that I could see I had gone over by two and that one had landed short. It really put a damper on what 20 minutes earlier felt like a great day.
As jockeys we all love horses and I don't know a jockey that would ever purposefully harm a horse. We are all trying very hard to stick to these new rules but the punishments for minor infringements are very harsh. It is virtually impossible to count how many time you have used your whip in a race, especially when you get competitive in a finish and I think having the use of the whip halved was a very unrealistic target. I really do hope things can get sorted out soon as I feel people are losing faith in our wonderful sport, after all it is The Sport Of Kings.
Looking to March
Hopefully in my next blog I'll be talking about horses I'm looking forward to seeing and maybe riding at Cheltenham in March. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask me, on here or on Twitter, I'm @WTKJockey."
"This is meant to be our quiet time... Not a bit of it! Since having a few days away from the yard over Christmas, January has been packed with busy days. I have had my most enjoyable season hunting for years and this has added to the yard being busy as there is a days work to catch up on from being out of action for the day. My very special horse King, who is now for sale on HorseQuest, has made this winter lots of fun. The children have hunted like demons and made me very proud - jumping places that I could scarcely believe.
Busy breaking season
The three-year-olds are now four, which brings with it higher expectations. It seems no longer acceptable to not be broken so thankfully I only have one more heavyweight hunter to start next week. He has always been a pleasant character since buying him as a two-year-old, so I hope he will be a quick and easy project. This winter I have broken one 153 show hunter pony, one lightweight hunter (now sold to Lucinda Henson), two middleweight hunters, one heavyweight hunter and two small riding horses (one sold to John King and John Bland, to be produced by Jayne Webber in the Carol Cardo yard). I also have a lovely small hack who is now five (left) - he is coming along nicely now. He had run in Ireland so had not had any flat schooling as such but he is taking to nice new life well and I have high hopes for him as a hack and in Retraining of Racehorses show classes.
I have sold a lot of my established stars of 2011 so 2012 will be an interesting year. I have started to find out a few judges for the early shows, as it is so important to have an accomplished ride judge for young horses. I have a lot of novice horses for this season and their progression is the thing that really gives me huge pleasure. I have two new lovely lightweight hunters who have just started work to prepare for the early shows and I look forward to showing them. I do also welcome back some of the horses sold in 2011 to ride in the ring and to help their new owners achieve on them and enjoy the show circuit. As usual, most of the horses are for sale so I have been using my network to tell people about them and hopefully find owners for them to enjoy!"
H&C's Jenny and Katie meet eventing legend Tamarillo
When H&C was invited to go to William Fox-Pitt's yard in Dorset yesterday, we jumped at the chance. Not only would we get to explore his amazing yard, watch the multiple Olympian train at home, but we also got to have a bit of a cuddle with his top horses!
Don't miss the William Fox-Pitt yard visit on Rudall's Round Up, on Monday 13 February at 8.30pm. In the meantime, enjoy some of the photos from the day.
When Jenny met Tamarillo, she coudn't resist a cuddle...
Cool Mountain, William's ride at last year's Europeans, has incurred a tendon injury and sadly won't be competing in Greenwich this summer
Parklane Hawk (above and below), one of three horses William has qualified for the Olympics
"I'm pleased to say I survived Christmas with the family (there is a reason you move away from home!), but since New Year we had three days of the worst storms in years battering West Sussex. Two days without either electricty or phone - both my mobile and my landline were down - was totally unbearable, and if one of you says we never had all these mod cons years ago I will actually scream. We live in the present, and life today revolves around communications and the ability to boil a kettle without first chopping wood.
A lovely little box
I've sold my lorry and am looking for something smaller. Fuel and running costs have played a big part in the decision, besides which the client list is not as long as it once was. The global financial situation (I hate that phrase!) has not really improved, and the buying equine public are simply not buying. I have an awesome (another word I hate) client base for next season, with great horses to match, but they are not quite so plentiful as they were. Travelling the southern part of England looking for a lorry has proved both costly and time consuming, with lots of misleading ads. 'One lady owner' - I presume they mean one per year? Living areas like pig styes, horse areas like cattle trucks, and the overall appearance of a Ne'er-do-well.
The boys and more
All horses look as fat as seals and well, the American Hackney pony Hartland Glittering Gal (now there's a name) is a great tease, keeping the boys on their toes. The Donkey, yes he is still here, is wearing a rug. You heard it here first! His 'busy' Christmas, with bookings for personal appearances and as a goodwill ambasador for the yard, didn't really take off even with the addition of antlers and hoof oil. There ia always another year! March and April are all booked up with each weekend accounted for with either an after dinner speech, lecture demo, or teaching so plenty to look forward to. Next will be the final fitting for the new harness, I'll find the elusive lorry, sharpen the clipper blades and we'll be off! Oh, just a minute - it's only the first week of January, I'll have wait a month or two yet..."
“Happy New Year everyone - hope all people and ponies had a good festive season. So despite the winter supposedly being the “off season”, December has been very busy.
New year, new ponies
We seem to have a lot of horses in, which is very exciting for the new year but means there is a lot to do. Also Elodie - my head girl - had December off to recharge her batteries, which makes my life a bit harder. All in all though I am very excited about this season as we have some seriously lovely horses, most of whom I had last year with one addition - Arctic Soul (Spike), who comes with a new owner, Philip Kerr. I am also lucky to have a great team of staff (headed by Elodie, aided by Alice and joined by newbies Louise Andrews and James Bracegirdle).
Inspiration at Olympia
Most of the horses have had their end of season holiday as well as a few quiet days over Christmas and New Year so that we humans could enjoy a little festive cheer! They are all in full work though and I have been to a couple of dressage shows and to some showjumping classes, all with good results. I managed to get to Olympia courtesy of my saddle sponsors, Childeric (thank you Trish!) which was amazing. I love to watch the jumpers and to see a massive class like the FEI World Cup live is very exciting. It inspired me and I am now itching to get out jumping.
Needing some winter sun
I am, however, going on holiday to recharge and do some sun worshipping - can’t wait - so it will be a little bit longer until Team Tattersall is back in full swing. There is already lots planned for when I return, including some training with the World Class Development programme, some dressage, show jumping and combined training. I am really looking forward to getting going, but right now I am off to pack my suitcase…”
"Hey guys, Happy New Year! Are you ready for the next ‘Jay’s world’ blog? Here goes...
After a fantastic few days at Olympia, we came back down to earth with a big thud! On our returning back to the yard we discovered our working pupil had a fall from my client’s horse while hacking. Poor Hannah has sustained a very nasty knee injury and we wish her a speedy recovery. The next day our other groom caught the tail end of one of my yearlings, and had bruising to her arm and was off for a few days, and then I managed to damage my wrist while loading a naughty horse, not to mention all the extra mucking out I was doing. The doctor was shocked to see how bad my wrist was and recommended a trip to the local hospital for a splint, which soon turn into a solid cast. But I have managed to keep mucking out, riding and even competing even with the cast!
Spenny and I had such a good time at Olympia, it’s a great place to catch up with friends and clients, and watch world class horses and rider. The week started with the dressage which was truly world class, the British leaders (Carl, Charlotte and Laura) were amazing and how lucky are we as a country to have such fantastic prospects just in time for the Olympics. In the world cup qualifier, the hero of the night was of course my bo Laura, and celebrations went long into the night! The showjumping hosted incredible combinations and we did not miss a single class. I love watching the rider’s tactics of which classes they put the horses in and how they produce each performance as the week goes on. Many congratulations to Ben Maher on having a fantastic show, his performance with Tripple X was inspirational and a real boost for British showjumping. The social side of Olympia was also great. We got to meet some really nice people, and those that we already knew helped us make full use of the refreshments available! There was all sort of stupidness I won't go into here - what happens on tour, stays on tour!
A tiger is not just for Christmas
A few days before Christmas I received a small box addressed to 'Jay Tiger Halim', and inside was a soft toy Tiger and details of my adopted Tiger from the WWF. How many people get a Tiger from their friend for Christmas? To continue with the theme, I got a new Samshield riding hat from Spencer that was custom-made which had a little detail that no one in the world will have…
Focus on the month ahead
While everyone is making new year's resolutions, I'm too busy sorting out my staffing situation. If there is anybody who wants a groom's position, or who wants to sponsor me with a brand new horsebox for that matter, don’t hesitate in coming forward! And while I am on the ask, a few more rides wouldn't go amiss!
"Hello everyone, I hope you all have had wonderful Christmases and I'd like to wish you all a very Happy New year, l hope it's a good one for all of you.
Boxing Day bonanza
Christmas is always a pretty busy time for me, with so many meetings on Boxing Day you're always looking to and hoping you pick the right meeting to go to, and this year I think I did. I had four nice rides at Wincanton, but with 10st on one for them there wasn't a lot of Christmas dinner for me this year! Unfortunately l just got touched off in the big race of the day on a little horse called Shoreacres for trainer Brendan Powell, but thankfully we got a winner on the Nick Williams' trained Swincombe Flame, so it wasn't a bad day at all with a winner and second.
Okay, so how awesome was Kauto Star in the King George? After being upsides him for the first mile-and-a half in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in Kauto's previous race, I gained a whole new respect for the horse. It's the ease in which he gallops and jumps that is just so remarkable, and to be still doing it at the ripe old age of 11 (or 12 now that 1 January has been and gone) is amazing. So much credit must go to his trainer Paul Nicholls, who kept the faith in Kauto when so many others said he should be retired. What a great training performance, and from a jockey's point of view well all I can say is I wish I was Ruby Walsh.
I've been very busy every day since Boxing Day too, which is a good thing. I picked up my first ride in the Welsh National on a horse called Indifference Curve, he gave me a great spin for two-and-a-half miles and jumped really well, but just got tired very quickly so I had to pull him up before four out. I then had a nice trip to Musselburgh in Scotland on New Year's Day for three rides - a long drive but unfortunately no joy!
Well 2011 had its ups and downs and I'm sure 2012 will too, but with the support from some owners and trainers and from my fabulous sponsor Mayiclaim I'm trying very hard to put myself in the position to make sure I have a lot more ups in 2012.
"We may have had another month off competing in December but it was still a very eventful month, as December usually is.
Window shopping goes awry
I got an early Christmas present when we went to the Brightwells Stars of the Future Sale. We had a table booked as we originally had Headmore Wimoweh entered, but after we were offered a sum we couldn’t refuse, we thought we would still go for the night out. Mum and I went up in the afternoon to watch some of the trial rides, and there were a few that caught our eye (even though we weren’t looking to buy). We did check through the list of x-rays so we knew which horses to avoid, but we weren’t overly thorough as we were just going for the jolly. However, after a few glasses of wine, one of the horses that both Mum and I had liked came in the ring, and the bidding was very slow on her so I asked Mum if I could have a bid. We still didn't think we'd get her for the price, but no one else bid again, so we now owned Elvedina (Evie), a rising five-year-old 17hh bay mare by Ehrentusch. She is lovely and will be out competing in Five Year Old classes in 2012.
Pathyway to piaffe
Del (Headmore Delegate) had an outing for the first time since the Nationals as we had an equine pathway session with Ferdi Eilberg at the Unicorn Trust. It was the first time that we had really practised the Grand Prix movements away from home, and everyone was really pleased with his progress. His piaffe and passage was super and his one-time changes are coming. The team vet, farrier and physio were also pleased with him, so it was a good day all round!
A dream Olympia
December always includes a reasonable amount of partying and celebrating, starting with my 22nd birthday, which consisted of a day out with Gayle, Amy and my sister, Kate followed by a lovely evening meal with all of my family and loads of friends. We also had a trip to Olympia. Amy and I went up for the dressage day to watch Charlotte Dujardin, and we weren’t disappointed. We were treated to a British top four, and the three members of the gold medal winning team were simply outstanding. It’s not outrageous to think that at least two of the individual medallists at the Olympics could be British!
We were also lucky enough to see a British winner in the show jumping world cup qualifier in Ben Maher. It was, as ever, a very exciting class and all of us had a fantastic time in the box. We also got to see the pony that we bred, Murkas Headmore Little Lightning, ridden by Harry Charles finish a close and very respectable third in the 128cm class in the evening, which made us all very proud!
A very Merry Christmas time
That just left Christmas... The Christmas period is always a bit manic with horses, but this year we had an absolutely amazing Christmas day and I managed to see all of my closest friends, which meant a lot of eating and drinking! I will be quite pleased when everything is back to normal. We also said goodbye to 2011, a mixed year for me with some good results, starting at Grand Prix, and some that I was disappointed with. Roll on 2012 however, a year that I saw in with style with an eight course meal and lots of champagne with a group of amazing people. What a night!
Happy New Year to everyone, and let’s hope that 2012 is a good one!"