Our new foal, who I mentioned in my last blog, has now been given a name. Mum has decided to call her Belissiteena (a cross between her parent’s names, Belissimo and Rubinsteena) or Bella for short, so now we have Boris (above) and Bella playing in the field together. The foals are, as ever, massive timewasters and we could watch them all day, although we would never get any other work done if we did.
On the competition front, we had a mass exodus (well, four horses) up to Sheepgate in Lincolnshire for the premier league. Luckily, Anne (my Mum’s best friend) and Amy (my best friend) came with us so we had our top catering manager and our top groom. We arrived on Friday afternoon to a rather wet and windy Sheepgate, but as Geoff the steward said ‘it is Sheepgate weather’!
On Saturday morning it was all systems go as we had three tests in three hours on three different horses. Del (Headmore Delegate) was first to go doing his first Inter II. He was super in the warm up but felt a little confused in the arena when I asked him to piaffe and passage, so it was just a bit tentative but we were pleased for his first attempt at Inter II. He still finished third and just missed out on qualifying for the nationals, so not bad at all for his first go!
Bracks (Headmore Boadicia) was on next in the PSG and after Wellington I was hoping that she would be more settled. Thankfully she was and did a safe ‘clear round’ to finish ninth in a strong class, a much improved performance.
Then it was Wiz’s (Wurlizer) turn in the Grand Prix. He felt even better again than at Wellington and he felt much more confident in all of the collected work. We were thrilled with him but slightly disappointed when we found out that two of the judges had us to win but the other judge had us in last place, which went we finished fourth. I was gutted as it would have been fantastic to win, but I was pleased with him nonetheless. On the plus side however, I found out that Wiz qualified for the nationals at Wellington so I didn’t need to worry about trying to get that qualification.
Sunday was an earlier start but a bit more relaxed as we had more of a gap between the tests. Del was first again in the Inter II and I was hoping that he would be more confident as it was the second time he had done the test. He felt much more sure of himself and the piaffe and passage were much better, but unfortunately I didn’t get either set of changes as he was a bit too hot, but he still finished second by only 0.5 mark. It was a massive improvement from the first day, and when he has settled in the changes he should get some really good scores.
Wiz was next to go in the Grand Prix and I was hoping for another consistent test before we go to Hartpury CDI. He was super again but we had a few silly little mistakes as Wiz was a bit keen, so finished fifth, but I was thrilled with him and am now feeling confident for Hartpury.
Bracks was also very consistent in the PSG and she felt much more confident but also had a few little mistakes so she finished just outside the placings, but we were thrilled with how much more settled she was than at Wellington.
Last to go was Tank (Headmore Wimoweh) and after our near misses we were hoping for a good result in the four year olds. Tank had been very patient and was super, convincingly winning and qualifying for the Nationals, so a very good end to the show.
The entertainment at Hickstead carried on into the night as six of Britain and Ireland’s top show jumpers tried their hands at barrel racing.
The H&C team were lucky enough to get the best view in the house as we went down into the arena armed with our camera and microphone to catch all the riders’ reactions as they came flying across the line. Everyone had such a laugh, and we can’t wait for you to see all the action onRudall’s Round-Up, but if you can’t wait until then make sure you watch Geoff Billington and Ben Maher’s rounds.
Despite the weather taking a turn for the worse as we rolled into June, I was looking forward to a month where I could hopefully get a few decent competitions under my belt as I had missed a number this year.
We took Mischief (Tantoni White Mischief) to Hunters for the final shearwater qualifier that we could get to as she had been so unlucky not to qualify at Crofton. I was thrilled with how she went and we finished third, thus qualifying her for the final held at Hartpury, which made the early start and the long journey worthwhile!
We also had a very busy time at Wellington for their premier league as we took five different horses over the three days. It was like a military operation trying to get all of the horses worked around the show, but we managed it nonetheless and had some fantastic results. On the first day Del (Headmore Delegate) had a rather safe PSG test but as he hadn’t done much competing this year I just wanted him to have a nice ride round, but I asked a lot more of him in the Inter I on the second day and he answered my every question to finish second with 71.05% and qualify for the Nationals, so I am now going to ‘grow a pair’ and step him up to Inter II.
I have had a continuation of my bad luck this year however as I got kicked trying to catch Dexter after he escaped. I have been left with a haematoma on my pelvis and a possibly cracked hip so I have to be a bit careful at the moment. It also meant that I missed the British show jumping area ball that I was supposed to be going to which was a shame but I should be fine in a few weeks.
We have had plenty of good news however, Bracks had two embryos when she was flushed out at Beaufort and Doris (Headmore Daydreamer) had one so hopefully we will get some embryo transfer foals next year. Also, Ruby, my Mum’s brood mare, had her foal, a lovely chestnut filly by Belissimo M with extraordinarily long legs, so now Jaffa and Boris have got some company and someone to play with.
As far as non horsey stuff goes, I had a fantastic trip to Thorpe Park with Carol (our head girl) and her boyfriend and Becky, who used to work for us. We managed to go on all the big rides, got a little bit soaked on the log flumes and did plenty of screaming before going to Carol’s house as her Mum had prepared one of her famous picky teas. It was a fab day and a well deserved break from the horses for all of us!
Last weekend I made my first trip to the Bramham International Horse Trials, and what a Bramham it was. I wasn't filming for my usual H&C show, Rudall’s Round-up, but instead I was fronting the Bramham highlights programme - so I wasn’t without nerves as I tackled the four hour drive up north.
The first two days of dressage we endured pouring rain, and I was half expecting the riders to come out wearing snorkels and armbands. To start the filming, I had to do a course walk with Angus Smales, and we talked through a few jumps to camera. Having never met Angus I didn’t know what to expect and certainly didn’t think I would spend the next two hours in hysterics.
It all started to go downhill, when Angus - being a gent - offered to help me up the enormous wall beside the next fence to be discussed. My feet slipped and I fell back down, letting out the girlish of screams and landing on the feet of none other than Mr Fox-Pitt, out walking the course. Angus clearly found this highly entertaining and spent the rest of the day threatening to push me in any jump which had a coffin, ditch or water.
Next stop, interviewing the legend that is Ian Stark. Starky is, in my eyes, equestrian royalty. He designed the Bramham course, and was my absolute hero when I was growing up. I was nervous to start with but we soon got chatting about Murphy Himself – a true horse legend – and it was my favourite interview to date.
The weekend’s competition was fierce, but on the Saturday it wasn’t only the weather that dampened our spirits. Two horses had heart attacks and collapsed on the cross-country, one out on course and another after finishing clear. This is a tough sport but when you see horses like Lenamore pinging round, there is no doubt in my mind how much they love it. I shared a B&B with the owner of Lead The Way, one of the two horses that died, and though she was so sad she remembered the horse like he was a member of her family. It was so unlucky and we have to remember this can happen at any time and not just to horses. My thoughts go out to Michael Jackson, Jagganath’s rider, and Clea Phillipps, who partnered Lead The Way.
After interviews with tonnes of riders, including a certain member of the Royal family, the weekend ended with a chat to Mr Bramham himself - William Fox-Pitt - who despite me trying to lame him during the course walk was on startling form to win both classes.
Even after hundreds of interviews and competing three horses, he was on sparkling form. Before our interview, he regaled the story of how his long time groom – Jackie Potts – ended up in A&E after an involuntary dismount from her bike at a previous Bramham.
Congratulations must also go to William, Tina Cook, Mary King, Piggy French and Zara Phillips on team selection, I cannot tell you how excited I am.
Watch out for the Bramham highlights show on the 19th June, and I hope you enjoy the show as much as I enjoyed filming. We have tried to make it a great mix of competition, interviews and fun, so let us know what you think - email [email protected]
A lot seems to have happened since my last blog. The incessant rain finally stopped for a little while, which meant we have been able to get out eventing. Hooray! It seems that a little break has done no harm and the horses are going well.
We managed to get to Aston le Walls for the Intermediate day where I had the two boys, Tropique (Austin) and Arctic Soul (Spike). They were both super, managing to hang on to their sanity in the dressage, despite having to walk through the cross-country to get to the dressage arenas. Good tests with scores in the 20s, followed by super showjumping and cross-country, resulted in a win for Spike and a third for Austin.
The following weekend was Little Downham, which turned out to be well worth the trek up to Suffolk. The ground was great despite all the rain and it was a well run event with a lovely atmosphere. The two boys were out again, this time in the CIC**, a step up for them both and I also had Chequila (Quila) and Quicklook (Pebbles) in the Novice.
The boys made the move up to two-star feel easy, with spotless performances from them both - I finished third on Spike and fourth on Austin. The two girls were also awesome, both winning their sections. Such an exciting bunch of horses and a great weekend with a bit of sunshine and a great haul of rosettes for team Tattersall.
Almost as exciting as my lovely horses was the fact that I had the following weekend off. I managed to book a four-day break to Portugal for me and my lovely boyfriend, James. Off we went for a bit of relaxation and sunshine. Unbelievably as we were sunning ourselves in the Algarve, the rest of the team were sunning themselves at home as it was a UK heatwave. Typical! Despite the irony of the weather we had a lovely little break and I came back refreshed and ready for action.
Next stop was Eridge, which was due to be a busy one with five horses to ride on the Saturday. I went on the Friday to ride a friend’s horse in the five-year-old class and was shocked by the state of the ground. Only three weeks after events were being cancelled due to excessive rain, I now had to make decisions about running the horses as the ground was too hard. Not only was it very firm but it was also rutted and very uneven. After discussion with the team and owners we made the decision not to run the two boys who were due to run in the Intermediate. It was disappointing as this was their final prep run before their CCI** in Balcarres but we didn't want to risk them.
Chequila went to do the Novice Regional Final (the Gatcombe qualifier) which she won convincingly and so will now be aimed at the Novice Championships in July. Quicklook went for the Novice and was good in the dressage and show jumping but went a bit green across country so I pulled her up. Whether it was the ground or just her inexperience I didn't want to have anincident so called it a day.
Amongst all of this rosette winning we have also had two new arrivals. Chico Bella and Wolfgang Penelope have both had foals (via embryo transfer) that are gorgeous. Both chestnut colts are a delight and absolute timewasters, it is so easy to spend ages just watching them. We have another one due this month (out of Kings Gem) so fingers are crossed for a bay.
Make sure you check out the recent 'How to' videos that I filmed with the H&C team.
I am writing this blog on a lovely Monday morning - I rode out first thing and got completely soaked right through. Not the kind of weather you expect to get in June.
Our new season is well into stride now. Although the proper jumps horses won't be seen till October/November time, there is plenty of summer racing on at the moment. I finished last season on 25 winners from 274 rides - and the most winners I rode for an individual trainer was four. It wasn't a bad total but nowhere near what I was aiming for, which means a lot more hard work to be done in the coming season. I'm really looking forward to it.
Just a couple of weeks ago came the sad news that Henrietta Knight was retiring from training. I've been very lucky to have had the pleasure of riding for Hen over the last couple of seasons, and she provided me with a very memorable day in 2010 when I was fortunate enough to ride a winner for her and The Queen. It was definitely an honour to have rode a winner in those colours. Hen had her last two runners at Fontwell last weekend and is now going to start on various new ventures. I would like to take this opportunity to thank her and Terry for all their help and wish them the very best of luck for the future.
The Flat season is in full flow, with Camelot a very impressive winner of The Derby. Royal Ascot is just around the corner, and there will be a very international feel to the week with horses from all over the world - and none more exciting than Black Caviar. The mare has run 21 times and is unbeaten, and she's due to run in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on June 23 - definitely a race not to be missed! I might take a social trip to Royal Ascot for one or two days, hopefully the weather will clear up a bit and it will be fun. You should try to come along if you can, it will be a great day out.