Our blogger Sharon Hunt may not have been out competing at the very top level of late, but her other horses have been keeping her more than busy...
"Hi all, I only have one event left now - every season seems to go past a little quicker each year. Although my top event horse Maisie hasn't been out competing at top level, I still have had a great season.
Superman, or Loughnatousa Fabio, has been unreal. He's never had a cross-country penalty and he has been in the top five of 10 of his 11 starts, with three wins. He is a real super star for the future.
Blazing Scot also jumped double clear in every event and had several placings, I have decided to give both horses an autumn holiday now as they have achieved all their aims.
Aways needing a project, I have purchased two lovely mares, HSB Harriet and Tadmus Star. They have just been placed in their first event and have we have one final event in two weeks' time. They are great jumpers so lots of fun to be had this winter.
My showjumper Double Whammy has improved so much this summer and has now won a few Foxhunters. I hope to jump her in some winter qualifiers, she is definitely an eventer turned showjumper.
The clinics are really taking off too, I've been to Aberdeen, Belfast and and will be in Edinburgh soon. I have had a great time and met some fantastic people. I will be helping BE this winter too with their clinics and am currently doing my BS level 3 so hopefully be an accredited showjumping trainer before too long.
A very busy winter ahead and some big plans that should be exciting, but winter isn't here just yet..."
Sharon Hunt has been in the spotlight recently after deciding to downscale her eventing operation...
The weeks are going past so quickly and so much seems to happen, it's hard to remember all that goes on. The horses are all really coming on well and the youngsters are improving so quickly they are beginning to feel like established grown-ups. I may not have been competing at top level as much as I'd like recently but the pleasure I get from producing horses is so great that I am happy to be patient for now.
I was recently asked in an interview about my change of direction. It is true that I am working towards my coaching qualifications and have a couple of showjumpers - but my passion is still eventing, I just don't have so many horses as I have had previously.
The article has led to a few asking me if I am not eventing anymore, this certainly isn't the case. As you can see from my video I have a whole team of fantastic youngsters to ride particularly Veyga and Loughnatousa Fabio, who are eight and seven-year-olds. I also have a new ride that has flown all the way from Australia; 'Blazing Scot' so there is plenty of eventing to be done and lots to look forward to."
"This has been one of the best months I can remember for a long time! The weather has now finally improved, my chilblains have gone and the five layers of clothing have been swapped for a t-shirt. I am not pasty white anymore after a quick trip to Portugal, so things are definitely on the up.
The most exciting news is that I own a new, all-singing, all-dancing lorry. This is all my dreams come true and I am so over excited by it that even a trip to the vets is amazing. Hopefully the novelty will never wear off as it would be a real shame to get too used to it.
The horses have all been rapidly improving too. Maisie has had her final check and is firing on all cylinders again, so the long term aim is Burghley. In the meantime, she'll go to Bramham and Barbury and run at CIC three-stars to pick up some valuable Badminton points for next year. Loughnatousa Fabio has now had three starts and nothing lower than a fifth place, so he's living up to all expectations. Boo has had a minor setback but will be out again in June. The young horses are getting ready for their first events and young event horse qualifiers, so getting busy again.
I have been out holding various clinics which have been great fun and well received. I am at Gt Witchingham again soon and Herringswell in Suffolk which has to be one of the best cross-country training venues as the ground is always excellent. Details of these can be found on my website.
I have been working on my core strength and fitness with Rider Secrets, a company that are sponsoring me by looking at my overall performance to improve my riding. Great to have this opportunity as I think it's very important to be in the best possible shape.
I hope you enjoy the video, there are clips from Solihull, Gt Witchingham schooling and out and about show jumping with various horses. Until next time...
I can't believe the season has started again already, seems not long ago that we finished - a sign of a busy and productive winter I hope.
I had a great start with the two boys, Veyga and Loughnatousa Fabio, who were both second in their BE100 sections at Oasby. We were fortunate with the weather as it was warm and dry and the ground was excellent. Looking at the photos of the next few days you would never recognise it as the same event! This rain has led to the cancellation of my next event, Swalcliffe Park. I missed it last year due to a heavy fall so hoping next year will be third time lucky.
I am very excited about Maisie starting again in May - which can't come around soon enough - she is aimed at Burghley so no need to come out in the mud yet. The young horses are really coming on too and not far off an competition. They are still physically weak though so taking my time with them. 'Mac' the grey is for sale - details on my website - as are details of all my clinics too.
There have been changes in ownership for a few of the horses, I now own all of Loughnatousa Fabio and looking for co-owners for some of the up and coming potentials. Well I hope this cold, snowy weather disappears for good soon. Sunshine, it would be good to see you again!
"This month has been a one of trying to do as much as possible when possible! The snow keeps trying to ruin my plans but so far so good...
The young horses are really coming on and apart from a lack of cross-country schooling due to the wet ground, they are ready for an event. As the ground is so wet. I will wait until April to start their careers, rather than risk run them in less than ideal conditions. I've been using the chase fences up at the gallops instead of cross-country schooling as the ground is so much better. We'll see if this pays off at Oasby!
Maisie is back from her holidays and feels fantastic. Really looking forward to getting her out again - it should be a good season.
Do have a look at some of the horses in their pre-season training in the video clip above. In the meanwhile I'll keep going out jumping and praying for some sunshine and warmer weather!"
"I can't believe it's so close to Christmas already. This year has flown past and the last few weeks have been no exception. With 13 horses in work, I am back to full swing again - but I much prefer this to being quiet.
It doesn't seem like a long day when you have nice horses to ride, even in this recently revolting weather. I much prefer the cold and frost to warm rainy weather, mainly because I don't have an indoor school. Not being able to hack does change things though as I have been riding up to eight or nine a day, the main advantage with this is I can eat as much as I like and seem to work it off, always a bonus at Christmas!
The young horses have all been coming along in leaps and bounds. I have been so lucky that they have all been easy. I took some down to Guildford to have a lesson with Stuart Harvey, a friend and trainer, who helped enormously with their progression. I often try too hard to help the horses rather than working on their weaknesses.
We have a new addition to the yard named 'Poppet'. She is 12.1hh and seven years old. We have purchased her as a Christmas present for my seven-year-old niece, who is so keen on horses and riding. Aimee comes and helps to wash the horses before shows and puts up fences when I'm jumping, she’s not keen on tack cleaning yet (who is?) but we'll get there, hopefully!
Things are not all so rosy - it was a very sad week to hear Kenneth Clawson, a friend and trainer, has died. He really did help me when I first became a member of the British team and I owe a huge amount to him - as many of us do - for supporting, helping and giving me the confidence to ride alongside the best. I definitely lacked in self-belief, which I still do now at times, but Kenneth helped significantly with this. To have someone believe in you makes a massive difference, and I'll always be very grateful to him.
I have also been doing a lot of teaching - something I'm really enjoying - and it’s great to see my pupils improving and developing. I have lots of clinics booked in for the New Year, which should be fun. Hopefully the weather will be okay and the snow will stay away.
This will be the last time before Christmas and New Year that I blog for H&C, so I hope everyone has a wonderful time and gets everything they wish for. Thirteen is my lucky number, believe it or not, so let's hope 2013 will be my year.
The end of the season has come around so quickly - I really have no idea where this year has gone. It has been a very different season for many event riders, including myself.
I had deliberately reduced the number of horses in my yard as I firmly believed they weren't going to be top level four-star horses, but feel it was quite a brave move to have so few. This has meant I have been to considerably less events, but the ones I have been to have been very good. I am delighted today that my owners have kindly purchased more quality horses for next season so hopefully next year will be about building a good, strong team again.
I recently went back to Ireland to see a really exciting horse, a six-year-old who had been professionally produced and jumping 1.30m. His name is Loughnatousa Fabio, a bay gelding by Temple Clover. He moves very well and has plenty of scope but more importantly he has a wonderful trainable brain, I instantly thought he was perfect for me and hopefully should be able to push on quickly next season up the levels. He hasn't evented yet but I have taken him cross-country schooling and was very impressed! He is naturally quick and very careful and stable name is Superman, so let's hope he lives up to his namesake. Barry and Karen Carter have purchased him for me so naturally they are very excited too.
The new horses have really come on leaps and bounds in the last few weeks; Lola is an absolute gem. She has been cross-ountry schooling twice now and is probably the easiest horse I've ever started. She is very brave and careful and great fun to ride, she also went for a lesson with Emile Faurie who really liked her and her exceptional attitude. Sadly ultimately she will be for sale as I need to keep the cash flow healthy, but until then she is pure pleasure.
It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I have been given some very generous presents, love birthdays but not sure I like getting older now. I love an excuse to celebrate too so this was duly done. This was also the case for my former head girls' hen do. Sophie and several others of us went to Bristol for a very busy night. We had a fantastic time, had definitely felt better the next day though.
I have been busy planning the demo for HorseWorldLive this coming month, it should be great fun and I’m really looking forward to working with Emile and Geoff Luckett who I hear are both great entertainers. Make sure you come to watch and support us, you will not be disappointed.
I have also been busy with work experience applications, always delighted to help and firmly believe it's a good opportunity for both parties involved so don't be shy fill out the form and I'll let you know if we can accommodate the dates asked for.
"I’ve had an exciting and productive few weeks since my last blog - with some excellent results from my horses, plus four new additions to my yard.
Danny and Boo are coming on leaps and bounds. Working with these inexperienced horses has been so rewarding, especially considering their recent results.
I attended Munstead with Boo (1-2 September) which was his first ever event. I was delighted to be at an event after a summer of awful weather and cancellations, and Boo certainly didn’t disappoint. He felt great and won the BE90 Open. He kept up his winning streak at a recent dressage outing that I also attended with Danny. Danny was excellent and came second and third in the Prelims and Boo won his class with 73%.
A trip to Ireland to look at horses resulted in four fantastic youngsters being sent over the following week. I looked at hundreds of horses in five days, which was exhausting but a great way to be very selective with my choices. I have chosen horses that have an excellent attitude combined with ‘rideability’ and talent. Each of my new horses is very different, but their huge potential is something that they all have in common. I am really excited about their progression, so watch this space for their future developments.
My lovely new horses include ‘Mac’, a dapple grey five-year-old Irish Sports Horse gelding, ‘Lola’, a coloured four-year-old mare, ‘Murray’, a chestnut four year-old Irish Sports Horse gelding by Guidam, and ‘Louis’. a three-year-old chestnut gelding by Luidam and out of a Clover Hill/Cavalier mare. All very exciting.
I’m sure everyone is keen to hear how the famous Jasper (Tankers Town) is doing. Jasper still feels great and I am enjoying riding my Olympic star again! Interestingly, I recently had the great honour of meeting Jasper’s breeders and the vet who foaled him - having owned Jasper since he was four we have a long history together and it was great to meet Mary Blundell and her husband Bill, who bred him. It was fantastic to listen to her stories of his early days. Sadly, it was a difficult birth for both mother and foal and they both nearly died. The vet, Paddy O’Hanlan, said he blessed him and this was why he was such a wonderful horse. I asked him if he could bless all of my horses from now on please! I also learnt that his mother was a very good point-to-point mare but was very difficult to get on at the races and if legged in the parade ring would lie down, so he had to be mounted away from the ring… Sounds very familiar!"
The last few weeks have been incredible and very busy. Between keeping the horses fit and well, I was asked to comment on the Olympics for Horse & Country TV and also by the BBC. I was absolutely thrilled to be involved in the Olympics and the atmosphere at Greenwich was fantastic, and I was delighted to be a part of it.
My last few entries have been focused around the lack of events that I have been able to attend, though on foot, my attendance at the biggest competition to grace London, perhaps ever, was outstanding. The 2012 London Games showcased the sport to its highest level and I was thrilled to be at Greenwich, watching the action live. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate William, Nicola, Mary, Tina and Zara on their Team Silver Medal – they all put in amazing performances and did Team GB proud. I was also in awe of Michael Jung, his Gold medal winning efforts were incredible.
The build up to the London Olympics brought back so many memories for my experience with Tankers Town at Beijing in 2008. The road to Greenwich has been tough for so many riders. Many have been selected for their national teams and had to withdraw for a variety of reasons, which must be such an incredible blow after years of preparation. This makes me appreciate my own Olympic experience so much more, I feel incredibly lucky to have been part of the team in 2008.
I attended Keysoe BD on the recently which, despite being another very wet event, was a successful day. Rubin won both Novices with 71.4% and Maisie won the Elementaries with 70% and 67%. I was thrilled with these scores as it proves that my relentless hard work is paying off! Of course competing is wonderful, but producing horses and moving up the ranks gives me such a great feeling of satisfaction.
The Olympics was such a busy time for me, I was delighted to be asked to work for Horse & Country TV on each night of the eventing phase. I co-hosted the eventing four days on Rudall’s Round-Up live from a house in Greenwich. I was also asked to comment on the day’s events by the BBC, which was an amazing experience and something that I would love to do again.
After the Olympic Eventing, it was back to work as normal. Though I had only been away for four days, it was great to be riding again. I rode Jasper for the first time in months, which was fantastic. He may be eighteen but he certainly doesn’t feel it. He was on great form and was definitely happy to be back in work, hopefully this time he will return to work fully.
In the last seven weeks I have only been out to one event. Luckily it was a good one – Little Downham. The past few weeks have shown the control that the weather can have over this sport, leaving us helpless to do anything but wait for it to improve. Nevertheless, the organisers of Little Downham managed to put on an excellent competition with surprisingly great ground. An amazing feat, especially considering the torrential downpours we have endured lately.
Although the horses were a little over-enthusiastic about their first outing for a while, both horses performed excellent tests and were close enough to the lead. The showjumping was right next to the cross-country course, which made it hard to maintain the horses’ focus as the other competitors were literally galloping alongside me. Consequently, Harry was so strong that I had two fences down, which is most unlike him. Maisie’s incredible ability didn’t falter and she jumped clear, however she was a little too keen and distracted at times.
The cross-country course was great – not too big but had enough questions to get the horses thinking. Harry’s performance was very good, still a little keen on occasions, but I think this can be rectified with some different bitting solutions. However, overall I was very pleased with him. Maisie was fabulous, easy to ride and very confident. She finished third - 0.2secs behind the winner, sadly!
I returned on the Sunday with Rubin and Columbo. They were fairly fresh as the wind was even colder. They did brilliant tests and were both in the lead afterwards. Both horses went on to jump a clear showjumping round, which was even more commendable when you consider the galloping horses next to the ring. Columbo put in an enormous leap into the water (I somehow managed to stay seated) and ended up with 20 penalties coming out, as I lost my steering. Disappointingly, Rubin had a green run out, without this he would have won by miles. I feel he needs a few more runs and experience under his belt yet.
We took Maisie to Houghton, just for the dressage in the end, and she scored a disappointing mark. She performed some excellent trot work but lost marks on halts that weren’t quite square, and for the first time ever, she jogged in the walk. As Bramham is looming ever closer, I decided to not risk her for a minor placing so we will now go to Bramham a little fresher, which isn’t always a bad thing. I am working on the test in a different way for Bramham – so watch this space for my result. The jumping is always excellent and soon the dressage will be too…