Well the season started really well and then sadly had a dip around my favourite show Royal Windsor, coming home from there with a bag of blue ribbons instead of red! Dont really know why as the horses and ponies went beautifully as ever.
Thankfully we are now back on track with a hatrick of major wins for the fabulous hunter Major Moylaw, most recently being awarded the reserve supreme at the North of England summer show to the prolific Comberton Clancy (look out Jayne and Clancy - I am going to beat you somewhere)!
All three generations of the family are having a good run actually with Dad winning a super hunter championship on Gilly's Boy and Alice claiming the mountain & moorland working hunter pony championship with Tynymor Twm sion Catti (aka Shaun) at the Three Counties Show. Malvern is definitely Alice's lucky showground, getting two Royal International tickets there in March and now a HOYS one. We will be returning there in August for the National Pony Show with high hopes.
Until this year I had not been involved with the pony scene at such a high level since I rode in pony classes myself many moons ago. What a different world it is to the horses! The standard right down the line is absolutely superb and I find myself delighted with consistently being placed highly. That would not do in the hunter ranks - it is all about winning. Alice (age 10) is turning into a really super little rider, gaining high marks for her show, and her ring craft is improving all the time. If you think I sound like a proud mother then you're right, I am. Oscar and Ginger Boy are both having a great seaon and we will keep pulling out good performances in search of more HOYS tickets.
I have seen two exemplary displays of ride judge riding this year from Lizzy Murray and Kelsa Sears. I was lucky to win under both these judges but that is not why I write this. Anyone looking to become a ride judge watch these two ladies - they know exactly how to do it.
The four-year-olds have been frustrating to produce this year with several shows taking the classes off and several local shows being cancelled due to the non existant summer we are having. However, I started the season with four horses and they have all managed to get out and win. I am happy about that but would like to have been able to do a bit more with them really. The modern showground is not ideal for giving experience as we seem to have less and less space.
One of my favourite shows Great Yorkshire is fast appoaching so I am hoping to keep the luck with me.
Loraine Homer and Sir Rubens get the season off to a great start
What a week I've had! Friday started off a bit foggy, which was worrying as I had a photoshoot for my sponsor Aloeride, but thankfully it turned out to be a lovely sunny day. We had lots of laughs with Han, the owner of Aloeride, PR Ashley Rossiter and photographer David Miller. We did several sets of images with different horses, including the fabulous Major Moylaw who took centre stage. The three new four-year-old boys all took their turn too, for conformation, schooling and casual at home shots. They all seemed to love the camera which hopefully bodes well for their career as a top show horse. I was also really proud of how the horses looked, their coats all gleaming in the sunshine.
Saturday was spent in the sunshine again, at the NPS Area 13 show at Onley, where my daughter Alice and the unstoppable Shaun (Tynymor Twm Sion Catti to give him his full title) took the junior working hunter pony championship. Sunday was another outing, this time to the BSPS Area 9a Hereford Marches show at Malvern. Alice had a great day, picking up two Royal International tickets - she won the first ridden on Birtley Rainbow Quest (below) and the nursery stakes on the fabulous Shauny, my how we love him. A couple of bottles of fizz just had to be drunk to celebrate a really super day.
Monday was back to the grindstone preparing for my first show of the year. We have a new lorry packed with Alice's clothes. Would there be a small space for mine and Dad's?! A frenzy of riding, bathing, tack cleaning and loading got us all finished in good time and prepared for the next day.
On Tuesday we set off to the Addington Spring Festival, which went well. Sir Rubens, a very exciting prospect purchased from his breeder last autumn, won the four-year-old class. He behaved impeccably and I was delighted with him, a real star in the making. My Dad [David Tatlow] then won the lightweight novice with Marjorie Glasgow's chestnut gelding Gilly's Boy, who then went on to be novice champion at his first show ever.
Wednesday we were back at Addington with Gilly's Boy, this time to be ridden side-saddle by me. He duly won his class, taking the Royal International ticket. He is going to be one to watch I hope this season.
I did not hang around as there was a lunch invitation at the back of my mind with some friends at Daylesford. A quick change and off to meet Anne Leaver, Jackie Berry and Hayley Hankey for a sunny lunch. Not much horse chat actually just a quick acknowledgement of the success and onto the rose wine! Fantastic food and company, what a way to round off a brilliant few days.
"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!"
"The 2011 show season was probably my best season ever. Winning the hunter championship at both the Longines Royal International Horse Show and the National Hunter Show on Major Moylaw, a stunning chestnut heavyweight belonging to Alan and Isobel Hall, was amazing. I did go to HOYS full of hope that he might win there, but it was not to be.
I was not very well at this year's show, so it was hard to enjoy myself partying as well as riding the way we all like to at HOYS. But my week picked up on the Friday with a championship win in the Mobile Phones 4 Business Ladies Hunter of the Year class. My horse Jonas O'Shannon came to me in May of this year and I bought him thinking he would make a nice ladies horse. He is only five years old so it was a very big achievement for a young horse, and I was delighted with how he took everything in his stride. It was my first title win at HOYS, and trotting down the centre line was as big a thrill as I hoped for.
Since finishing the season at HOYS, the focus at my Oxfordshire yard has changed a lot. We sold a lot of my established show horses this Autumn, and I wish their new owners lots of luck next season.
We are now busy with the breaking of the three-year-olds, and I have a number of exciting show horses for 2012. Having been to Ireland on shopping trips in September and October, it is now time to get cracking as next season will be here all too quickly.
Two of the three year old horses I bought in Ireland are to make riding horses - a small riding horse called Ava, who is by Cult Hero, and a large riding horse called Suzy, by the stallion Sylvano. Both have been really easy to break, and they are now ready to go on to new homes.
Ava was amazingly straightforward. From first putting the saddle on and lying across her on Monday morning, she was trotting with me in our small arena by Friday. By the following Friday she was cantering and riding sweetly round the large menage. Quite incredible - I hope they are all going to be as easy as her!
I have also got a four-year-old riding horse, by the Thoroughbred Millenry - who won the St Ledger - back up following a summer in the field to mature. He is really exciting and has been sold to lovely new owners, so I'm looking forward to bringing him out next season.
Keeping up with the children
Hunting has been particularly pleasant this year, as I have a lovely horse to ride called King. He, like all of them, is for sale but I would love to keep him for the Christmas holidays so I can take him hunting with my two children Harry and Alice. They both have cracking ponies so I need to be well mounted to keep up! The ground has been so dry it is a pleasure to ride on, and not having filthy horses to wash of in the dark is always a bonus."