Gemma on Arctic Soul, who is currently up for sale unless Gemma can put together a syndicate to keep the ride on him
Gemma Tattersall’s eventing season has come to an end for this year, and she's facing the prospect of losing her top horse…
“So it’s the end of the season again and it seems to have flown by, with the usual mixture of highs and lows. I am very lucky to have continued support from a fantastic bunch of owners, sponsors and my team at home without all of whom I would struggle to do anything so a big thank you to all of them.
Highlights of this season for me have been selection for the World Class Elite squad and being part of the winning FEI Nations Cup team. This new eventing series has been a great opportunity for us to get to know other future team members and compete together under pressure, in preparation (hopefully) for championship team selection. I think all of us involved have very much enjoyed being part of it and to win the series and beating the ever dominant Germans was icing on the cake.
Another top moment was coming fourth at Blenheim CCI*** with Arctic Soul. It was confirmation that we are on track as a partnership and it was exhilarating to be the only person in the whole competition to go inside the time cross country. This achievement was, however, tinged with sadness as the current owner of Arctic Soul needs to sell him so I am currently in the process of trying to put together a syndicate in order to keep the ride and hopefully secure my place on the British team. So pass on the word and hopefully someone out there can help me keep the ride on my beautiful boy.
Even though the season is over we are still very busy. I am off to Ireland for the Goresbridge Going for Gold sales with three lovely young horses I produced for Donal Barnwell. Fingers crossed all the hard work throughout the year will result in some good sales and maybe even replicate the success of the previous two years by getting top lot. It is usually a pretty manic week, but always good fun with a great bunch of characters - and as they say, a change is as good as a rest!
Gemma has had a busy season - but even she has to make time for schooling the horses and making adjustments when things don't go to plan...
"Sorry for the lack of blogs but the season as always has been really busy. Busy or not, you have to make time for schooling, so as prepration for Blenheim I took Chico Bella and Arctic Soul to Rosamund Green Farm for a little cross-country tune-up. It is a great facility with pretty much every cross-country fence imaginable and, although it is a long way from us, it is always worth the trip – hope you enjoy our little video of Artic Soul above.
Chico Bella has been on great form recently and felt great schooling, so hopefully she is ready for Blenheim. She is doing the Eight- and Nine-Year-Old CIC*** and should be pretty competitive, if things go to plan!
Arctic Soul has been a bit trickier this season. We had a whoopsie at Bramham and I fell off, which I think has really knocked his confidence. We have gone back to basics and have spent a lot of time jumping at home, rebuilding his confidence in himself and in our partnership. We also tried a few different bits and I think have found the right one now. There are so many variables that sometimes it takes a while to get everything right. As you can see from the video, he is back on form and like his old self again.
We managed to get him back on form just in time as we were lucky enough to go to the WEG test event in Haras du Pin a few weeks ago. It was an amazing experience and he ran really well so I hope we are ready for Blenheim but we shall see.
Keep everything crossed for us and hopefully we will see a few of you there!"
“The 2013 season has barely begun but has already been full of highs and lows. Due to some really bad luck I have lost my two top horses to injury. Both Kings Gem and Stormhill Kossack have will no longer compete at top level. This means that I have had my hopes for Badminton this year dashed not once but twice, which is massively disappointing.
To add insult to injury, the temperature has not risen above two degrees for as long as I can remember and the cold makes me very grumpy!
Rant over… On a much more positive note I have been upgraded to the Elite squad on the World Class training programme and selected to be part of the Great Britain Nations Cup squad. So, having managed to get two Open Intermediate runs in despite the British weathers best efforts to deter me, we headed off to Fontainebleau in France for the first of the CICO*** Nations Cup competitions. I took Arctic Soul (Spike) and it was a fantastic honour to receive my first senior cap at International level.
The competition was immense with a host of top horses and riders, not to mention the whole of the German Olympic squad! I was drawn third to go and our dressage score was pretty good considering the judges probably hadn’t finished their morning croissants. Spike got a bit tense, as there was quite a lot of atmosphere, but I was pretty happy with his test and he scored a respectable 51.4pen. The rest of the team all did good tests, especially Kitty King on Zidante, which left Team GB in a good second place (predictably behind the Germans).
The cross-country was a testing track. We had all walked it individually and as a team with Yogi Breisner, and there were plenty of difficult combinations and places for mistakes to be made. As the trailblazer for the Brits, I was feeling the pressure but I have to say I had the ride of my life. Spike was fantastic and made it feel easy (see video above). We had a few time faults but I was incredibly happy with our performance as it was a twisty course and the time did prove difficult to get.
Unfortunately as a team we didn’t have a fantastic day with both Kitty King and Izzy Taylor having unfortunate run-outs. My cross-country time proved to be one of the faster rounds and I finished the day as top of the Brits.
The next day Spike flew through the trot-up and was feeling on top form. There were a lot of other activities going on at the event, which made it fantastic for spectators but unfortunately was not good news for me and Spike. He got incredibly over excited by it all and the horseball match was more than he could take! He reverted to his racing days and steeplechased his way through the showjumping, knocking down four fences on the way. Gutted was not the word. It was disappointing, as I know he can jump clear rounds.
Hopefully the weather will get better so we can get on with some eventing in the UK. As always, onwards and upwards!”
"It's been a while since my last blog, and time seems to have continued to fly by!
I have had a lovely few weeks of downtime, enjoying catching up with friends, family and even fitting in a week in the Caribbean – amazing! It was really great to have a bit of me-time and a big thank you to my team at home for keeping things ticking over while I was away.
We are now back to preparing for the forthcoming season. Most of the horses have had a lovely holiday as well and are now back in work, getting fit and having a lot of hair removed. They have been doing lots of hacking and a bit in the school while I have been off, and I have had the pleasure of starting them jumping again. Check out my video of me jumping the super talented Chico Bella. Although quite lively, they all feel great and I am so excited about getting out competing again.
Hopefully over the next few weeks we will be able to get out to some dressage and show jumping locally and get back in to the swing of things.
I am actually fitting in one last week of holiday and heading off skiing (with strict instructions from all of my owners to come back in one piece!) so fingers crossed I can stay on my feet and I will be back soon to get the 2013 season under way."
"Arctic Soul went brilliantly at Boekelo to complete a wet and technical cross-country course, clear and within the time. Check out our round from my head camera, you can hear me talking to him all the way round as he is so keen and needs lots of steadying.
"He was such a super star and we finished 13th in the CCI three star among stiff competition. Big pat, clever pony - he has been brilliant all season and you can see how much he loves his job in our video."
So to add to our tally of international events this year Team Tatt set off last month to Breda in the Netherlands, this time with Tropique (Austin) and my new ride Stormhill Kossack (Devon). Due to a slight change in the advertised schedule we had to go earlier than planned so ended up arriving in the middle of the night, which is always a challenge - especially in a foreign country! Nevertheless we managed to get the ponies settled and crawled into bed.
The following day we realised that this was not an ordinary event. It turned out that it was the Carriage Driving World Championships and there were horses pulling carriages everywhere. It is quite an incredible sight, seeing some of these driving teams and poor Austin could not believe his eyes. Despite this distraction, both boys managed to do good tests, with Devon’s being particularly nice to be lying in third place - very pleasing as we have not had him for long.
Show jumping next and this was in an enormous arena and seemed to be causing a lot of trouble. Austin jumped a lovely clear round and I was very grateful for our regular trips show jumping, especially recently to Hickstead. Devon finds this phase a bit more difficult and I have not yet had time to click with him completely so unfortunately we had three fences down. We redeemed ourselves the next day though with a lovely clear round cross-country. I was really chuffed as there were quite a few questions and it gave me a good chance to get to know him.
After his clear show jumping round, Austin was lying in quite a good spot so I thought I would go for it cross-country. It has taken a while to get my brakes and steering sorted with him so I hadn't yet let the handbrake off! Anyway off we went and he was amazing. Jumped all the tricky fences beautifully and came back to me when required. Towards the end of the course he was a bit bold jumping in to a complex and to be honest I was a bit slow changing my mind so we ended up running past the second element. We were given a very annoying 20 penalties which scuppered any chances of a prize. Grrrrr!
Another mad dash for the ferry and home we went.
Then before we knew it we were Blenheim bound with Chico Bella and Arctic soul (Spike) in the CIC*** eight and nine–year-old class. I have never actually completed Blenheim (as the only time I have been there it was cancelled due to the weather) so I was very excited as it is such a prestigious event. Spike was first to do dressage and the occasion got to him slightly. He is still quite green in some of the movements (understandably as he was only Novice at the beginning of the year) and combined with a little bit of tension we had a few little blips, but still scored a very respectable 51. Bella had been a bit of a madam all week so I was quite concerned about her test but fortunately she was good and actually did her best test ever to score a 43.
The following morning was the show jumping. It started quite early and there was a very heavy mist which made seeing some of the fences quite a challenge. Both horses jumped beautiful clear rounds though so I was delighted. It did seem to cause quite a few problems so clear rounds moved Bella up to fifth and spike up to 18th. A whole day then to wait for the cross country but it was nice to have a few hours to relax.
The cross-country was big and bold and I was slightly concerned about my two relatively inexperienced horses. They both surpassed expectations though by flying round and finishing sixth (Bella) and 11th (Spike) – pure class! Spike put in one of the fastest rounds of the day and Bella was not far behind. I was absolutely thrilled with the pair of them and am so excited to have such lovely future superstars.
As fun as it is to be away, I am now enjoying the luxuries of home. At least for a couple of days...
The last three weeks have been hectic and exhausting but absolutely fantastic. It’s been a while since I have done three CCI three-day events on the trot, but we managed it and are still all in one piece.
First off was a trip to Northern France to Haras du Pin. A fantastic event that we went to for the first time last year, and it has us hooked. It is a great venue with good classes, interesting courses and a fantastic social scene. There is so much to be said for the French way of life, good weather, good food, good wine...
We took Chico Bella (Bella) for the CIC***W, Dinky Inky (Inky) for the CIC** and Quicklook (Pebbles) for the CIC*. Three screaming mares who certainly made themselves heard throughout their stay.
It was a first time at one-star level for Pebbles and she was fab. A bit green in her dressage but jumped a super double clear (very strong cross-country) to finish 11th out of a huge class of nearly 100.
Inky did a lovely test but just at the end she tripped and struck in to herself. She had not cut herself and seemed ok but the following morning she had a very big leg and was very sore. There was no way that she was going to be right for the following day so we had to withdraw her, which was very frustrating. She is absolutely fine now and has been selected for Le Lion d'Angers seven-year-old championships in October which I am very excited about.
Chico Bella was doing her first three-star which just happened to be a World Cup qualifier. The cross-country was enormous and very technical, and when I walked the course with Yogi Breisner he said it looked like a four-star track. To be honest when the time came I was very nervous, but Bella was fantastic. She jumped those massive fences easily and felt amazing. We had a really annoying run-out at a skinny in the water but I think it was just a little blip and I was thrilled with her round. She also jumped a beautiful clear show jumping the next day over a very big course which caused a lot of trouble.
Anyway we headed home sun drenched and pretty happy, with Breda in the Netherlands and Blenheim next on the agenda...
“I don't know about everyone else but I have been totally blown away by the London 2012 Olympics. Right from the opening ceremony, through all of the different sports and up to the closing ceremony I was proud to be British.
I was lucky enough to go for three days as I was chosen to be part of the Olympic Ambition programme which selects three potential Olympians from each sport. The idea is to become part of the Games so that when you get to an Olympics to compete you are not overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. I got to see where team GB live, eat and train and of course got to watch the Eventing. It was an amazing experience and I am now more determined than ever to get to be part of that British Team. Bring on Rio!
There does seem to be a bit of post-Olympic blues around but luckily I have my fabulous horses to keep me busy. Touch wood they all seem to be on good form and we have been out and about winning prizes.
Very exciting news is that I now have three newly upgraded advanced horses. Arctic Soul, Chico Bella and Tropique have all done their first advanced and were all fantastic. We are now aiming at various three stars which is great – I can't wait to be riding at that level a bit more.
We also have a new advanced horse to add to the team as Stormhill Kossack has been sent to me to ride. He has not been here long but seems to be a lovely chap so I hope we can get a good partnership going and get on with it!
In other news, another Kings Gem foal has been born and it’s another chestnut. He is absolutely gorgeous and takes our tally of ginger babies to six. My lovely mare Dinky Inky has also had an embryo taken, and the surrogate has had her 40 day scan and is looking good. Very excited about that one for next year and there is even a real possibility of it not being chestnut!
Lots to look forward to in the next few weeks with a couple of trips abroad and then the eight/nine year old CIC*** at Blenheim but right now I am off now to teach at pony club camp – never a dull moment."
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.
We have just got back from a fantastic week in Jardy, France, where I had Chico Bella in the CCI** and Dinky Inky in the CCI*. It is always nice to compete abroad, but especially when the weather is like it is at home at the moment with pretty much constant rain. France was much drier, and most days there was lovely hot sunshine to keep us all happy. Only on the last night did we see signs of the English rain resulting in a lot of soggy stables and gear!
It was a lovely event on a permanent site so with great facilities. It was our first visit as it clashes with Badminton but it is definitely somewhere I would go again. The courses were interesting with enough questions to make it a good competition and the ground was great, typically French and sandy. Both of my lovely horses performed amazingly producing good dressage tests and jumping double clears with no time faults. Chico Bella finished third in the CCI**, which was the best of the Brits and meant we got a interview on French television. Dinky Inky was seventh in the CCI*. I was so thrilled with both girls, they were both pure class in a competitive field.
The social side was good as well as there was a good crowd there and it was my groom Elodie's birthday whilst we were out there, so that added a bit of frivolity to the trip!
We came back to more rain and more events being cancelled. It is frustrating as you spend so much time preparing the horses and aiming towards events that it makes it difficult to remain motivated when your goals are no longer there. It is also hard as we have horses aiming for spring three days who will not be able to go if they miss many more runs, so it leaves everything up in the air.
Although frustrating for us it must be a total nightmare for organisers and also for Olympic hopefuls and selectors. The fact that Badminton, the most important event of the year was cancelled, is unbelievable and now that Chatsworth is off, it will leave everyone in a bit of a panic. Not to mention all of the poor foreign competitors who have come over to England to compete, run at Badminton and qualify for the Olympics – what a nightmare for everyone.
We will just have to wait for the rain to ease up but until then I will be going showjumping, building cross-country courses in the school and making the most of having some time to get the young horses out and about. Also there is a distinct possibility that Team Tattersall will be perfecting their sun dance...