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December 2016 – Father Christmas is on his way!

Tam’s Latest Blog

December 2016 – Father Christmas is on his way!

BD National Veteran Dressage Championships

The first and most important thing I have to share this month is that my little sister, Tory, and the legendary Spotty Pony only went and WON the BD National Veteran Intro Championships!  They got a prize and a sash and got to do a lap of honour.  I am not sure who cried more, me or our Mum!  Sooooooo proud of Tory.  Spotty had three months off for a fractured splint this year and qualified at Intro as part of her rehab in just two tests.  Zero to hero!  They were even in the BD magazine.  Beau and I could only manage 12th in our section (average), but I was really pleased with how he went – and more importantly with how we worked as a team and finally trusted each other enough to combat scary judges’ tables (2), people opening the door into the gallery then letting it slam shut (1), and the swags on the walls (millions).  He was a very good boy and I was a very good girl :D .



BD National Draught Horse Dressage Championships

The final championship for us this year was the BD National Draught Horse Dressage Championships.  I figured Beau would be the smallest horse there and apart from a couple of lovely Fjords and a Haffy, he was.  The warm up went beautifully.  I can honestly say we have never gone better.  His back was lifted, he was soft in my hand and I wasn’t chucking the reins at him.  Then it went a little awry…  The most gorgeous Shire stallion came into the warm up just as we were called to do our test.  It was about 10 minutes before our time but the timings had gone wrong, and because I know what it’s like to be on the organiser side of the fence, I agreed to go early.  Just as we got to the door between the indoor warm up and the outdoor rings, all hell was let loose! The Shire (stood in the doorway) decided this was the best party ever, and let everyone know with a squeal and some arm waving.  This set off all the horses on the warm up, except Beau who just stood and gawped.  The rider was not pleased, and smacked her horse to get it’s attention, THIS set Beau off! It was a windy day, so seconds later when we rode outside with all the banners round the arena flapping in the wind, I lost his attention, and never quite got it back.  Not our finest hour.  We came last in our section (though not in the class, so others were clearly having a worse day).  The good that came out of that was twofold.  1 – I just smiled, I didn’t get stressed or upset and I wasn’t worried at any point.  A revelation.  2 – there were no more Championships to put ourselves through!!  Relaxez-vous.


Horse and Hound NAF Riding Club of the Year

The results are in……….. Congratulations to Crown RC who scooped it this year.  For me, Cherwell Valley RC most definitely deserved to win, because it really is the most supportive club.  We take on everything together, and help each other.  For example, we always send supporters and readers to dressage competitions, and we never pressure anyone, but at the same time push each other to be the best we can.  For CVRC it really is about the taking part more than the winning (though it’s nice when we do  ).


One side-saddle lesson is all I’ve managed!  After such an amazing season with three championships to go to (I have never qualified for a championship before this year) Beau and I are worn out mentally and physically.  Plus, work has been v. busy, and with attempting to plan for Christmas, nothing especially interesting has happened training-wise.  I do plan to get back out there in the New Year though and work on our way of going more.



Your Horse Live

It was so lovely to see Kate and Becky and the rest of the Mollichaff team at Your Horse Live.  Such a friendly bunch, although they did insist on taking photos.  We watched some marvellous talks and demos and shopped until we dropped.  It seemed as though most of Cherwell Valley RC was in attendance too which was great – a friendly face round every corner.


Gymkhana games hen party

That was so much fun!  We all toddled up to a riding school near Derby to play, and had a brilliant time with some character building moments, and a lovely meal afterwards.  A suitable send off to married life for my best buddy   Here we all are resplendent in purple wigs, jodhs, everything (Simon declined to don a wig) – with the lovely long suffering gymkhana ‘ponies’.




Feedback and suggestions for crazy stuff that we haven’t thought of yet for us to get up to over the winter @BeauBayou.  Interestingly I have picked up more followers since posting a pic of Outlander’s Jamie Fraser than I ever have through posting about horsey derring-do.


All Christmas presents.  I love Christmas, so exciting!  I can’t wait for everyone to open their gifts so I can see their faces.  Plus I have ordered some winter riding tights (not sure what that is all about – think they just mean jodhs with no zip) to try and encourage me to ride when it’s cold.  They’re navy so I’m hoping they go with my eBay special cut-away jacket so I can at least do some wonky dressage, even if I have yet to source a full habit.  The thing with that is, do I buy one that’s tight in the hope I lose some weight, or do I buy one that fits me now and then if I do lose weight take it in?  Quandary.

Christmas and New Year resolutions

I stay clear of New year resolutions, knowing full well that they will be forgotten by the second week of January.  Now is as good a time to make a change, why wait?

For Christmas, my list would be:

A good seat

Good hands

The ability to apply what I am hearing and improve more quickly

A happy horse!


A bespoke side saddle habit that makes me look hourglass shaped and skinny

Living installed in our lorry (currently 2 caravan mattresses on the floor)

A lottery win so I can play ponies instead of working, and build an indoor school!


Wishing everybody the merriest of merry Christmases, and a super successful 2017 with as much pony fun as possible.  Here’s to raising the level of average!


Goals: updated for December and for 2017 (NOT resolutions):

  • Dressage:  The main focus is STILL to get 70% in a prelim test unaffiliated !
  • Dressage again:  Having discovered that BD are allowing Team Quest members to compete affiliated at prelim – AND having coughed up for full membership for 2017, I am now aiming for regional festivals at novice – though I am not sure what’s involved in that yet.
  • Team Quest:  For 2017 it has to be regionals again for the Cherwell Valley Charlatans
  • Side saddle: An intro dressage test ridden wonky
  • Quadrille: Lots of theme ideas already bubbling away for 2017
  • Jumping: No progress this month apart from some bimbling about over tidgy XC fences and through water, over banks etc.  Beau is a legend at XC!
  • Posh dressage: Tracy to compete with Beau at Elementary – am looking for classes….

Much love for now and 2017, Tam and Beau x

Posted in HorseHage Tam's Blog by admin.

December Blog from Spencer Roe

In my last post I told you I was heading out Oliva Nova (in Spain) for their Autumn Tour, it normally takes us three days to get there from our yard in Lincoln. We started at 3am on the first leg of the trip, our first stop being Reims, then on to Nîmes, finally arriving in Oliva Nova on Saturday…


Week 1…

Our first week in Spain started slowly, Wonder Why (Disney) and Chaccomo Agostini (Chacco) both jumped clear in the 1.40m and 1.30m classes, jumping well but not being placed. Then at the weekend I jumped them in the two 1.45m ranking classes; Chacco finished on 8 faults which I was pleased with as he was jumping well and Disney just had one unlucky fence down. I also took two of my five-year-olds, Gusto (Gus) and Gambler B (King) – they both jumped in the five-year-old classes each jumping clear two out of three days. I was pleased with how they both went as neither has been to many international shows yet.

Week 2…

Feeling good about how he was performing, I decided to jump Disney in the Grand Prix that coming Sunday, so all he had to do was qualify in Friday’s ranking class, one clear round and a 14th place later and we were in. Unfortunately things weren’t going so well for Chacco; in Thursday’s 1.45m class he had two down again so on Friday I jumped him in a smaller class and he jumped clear. Sadly when we brought him out to exercise the next day he seemed very stiff and on closer inspection we found he had pulled a muscle in his shoulder, which was quite sore. As a result he got himself and nice holiday in the sun for the remaining time we were in Spain!

Gus and King again jumped clear two out of the three days competing in the five-year-old classes and Disney jumped two super clear rounds in Sunday’s Grand Prix to finish 7th. So we had a good end to the week.


Week 3…

By week 3 I wondered if Gus and King were starting to tire, they aren’t used to competing this many weeks uninterrupted. Gus jumped clear the first day and King just had one time fault. The second day King jumped clear and Gus had one down, then the third day they both had an unlucky rail each. I was still pleased with how they are progressing though.

Disney jumped the 1.45m ranking class on Friday and jumped another super clear round finishing 12th which qualified us for the Grand Prix. He much prefers jumping on grass to indoor arenas. Sunday rolled around and Disney jumped a great clear in the first round but regrettably had a fence in the jump off so we only finished 9th.

Week 4…

We were now at our final week in Oliva Nova which is when they have the five-year-old final. Both Gus and King were clear on Tuesday, but Gus had a fence down in Wednesday’s class. Thursday was the day of the final and was an Instant Jump-Off class. Gus was early to go so I wasn’t sure how fast we needed to go, we took the course reasonably fast and had a double clear. King was last to go, which meant I could push him to go as fast as I thought he could manage, and did a great double clear. Gus finished 5th and King finished 3rd.

Disney’s last week was a little unlucky, having had the last fence down in the first qualifier and another in the second. We still managed to qualify for the last Grand Prix and he went much better, jumping a fantastic clear in the first round. But fate caught up with us and we were drawn first to go in the jump off, not knowing how the other riders would fare, we went for it. We finished with a good time but had downed a fence and ended up placing 7th.

Next time…

I had a really great time at Oliva Nova and was pleased with all my horses; I was very happy with how both of my five-year-olds performed and look forward to taking them abroad again in the new year.

I’m now at home in the UK again and we are winding down for Christmas. Disney and Chacco are having a rest before we bring them back into work in January, ready for the Sunshine Tour in Vejer de la Frontera. I’m still going to be working with my younger horses as I hope to take them to Spain as well. I won’t be competing abroad again until the tour in two months; so I’m looking forward to spending time with my family this Christmas.

Until next time.


Posted in HorseHage Team HorseHage by admin.

Great Value Complete Feeds from Mollichaff

Mollichaff Complete Feeds

The Mollichaff Complete range offers three fibre-based complete feeds: Mollichaff HoofKind Complete for horses and ponies prone to laminitis; Mollichaff Calmer Complete for nervous or excitable horses and ponies; and Mollichaff Condition Complete for encouraging weight gain and condition.

When fed at the recommended amounts, these complete feeds can be used as the sole bucket feed as they each contain a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement and only require good quality forage to be fed alongside. Being fibre-based feeds rather than cereal-based, they are a much more natural way of feeding.

A fibre-based feed will weigh a lot less than cereal and so the recommended feeding amounts may seem like a lot, but it’s important to ensure your horse or pony is getting the correct amount in order for him to get all the vitamins and minerals he requires.

Because the feed is fibre-based it takes longer to eat and more chewing is required, which is good as the horse is a natural ‘trickle’ feeder. By stimulating the production of saliva and slowing down the passage of food throughout the gut, Mollichaff can help to promote good digestion and will satisfy a stabled horse’s psychological need to chew, requiring up to 8000 chews per kilo to eat compared to as few as 1200 for concentrates.

All three varieties in the Mollichaff Complete range come in a 15kg bag and we have worked out some average weekly feeding costs below. Levels will vary according to the size of your horse and pony, so please consult the table on the reverse of the bag for your horse’s individual requirements.

Cost per week to feed an average 15.2hh, 500kg horse at the recommended level of 2.5kg per day:

Mollichaff Condition Complete (RRP: £10.50 per bag) = £12.25 per week

Mollichaff HoofKind Complete (RRP: £8.50 per bag) = £9.92

Mollichaff Calmer Complete (RRP: £9.00 per bag) = £10.50

So feeding a complete fibre-based feed can work out to be much better value than feeding several different concentrates and vitamin supplements and is also a more natural way to feed your horse or pony. It is also much easier to store a single bag of feed and no shopping list required!

Tam Thompson’s Latest Blog – October 2016

The Team Quest and BRC Quadrille results are in…

Aaaaaand breeeeathe!  Team Quest Regionals and Quadrille are now over for this season.  Just BD Veterans and BD Draught Horse Champs to get through before I can start worrying about Christmas instead.  I need to decide whether to clip the furball before, between, or after these two competitions.  Before and between, I risk making a mess of it.  After and I risk him looking like a hairy yak again like last winter…

...and relaaaaaax!

Team Quest Regional Championships

We did it!  We went to Championships and we did not disgrace ourselves.  Beau was aptly described afterwards as having been a ‘perky pony’ in the test, which wasn’t his greatest timing!  He went beautifully in the warm up, but I was out too early and let him stretch after twenty minutes.  When I came to pick him up again he objected – he was quite happy stretching thanks – so we had some tension in the test.   Also, the preparation phase may have been hindered by me setting my stirrups four holes different to each other.  How did I even stay on?!  I didn’t even notice – Alison had to tell me.  The shame!!  It’s my first time out under two judges which was a little bit intimidating coming down the centre line.  I managed average (eurgh) score-wise so all was not lost.  The team was not placed so no need to panic about Nationals – though I may have lost some weight had we qualified.  So next year, in lieu of a diet, we need to get to the Nationals.


Team Quest Regionals

Team Quest Regionals


We have now completed our Cherwell Valley Riding Club (CVRC) quadrille madness for 2016.  When we discovered we were first in the running order we all got so excited!  I realise it’s supposed to be a disadvantage going first but we wanted to watch everybody else so were very happy!  We had dress rehearsal on 21st September and the final sewing bee on 22nd September to finish the costumes.  Then we just needed to pack Buxton the truck…

Costume sewing



Quadrille really is the most fun you can have on horseback!  Even more so than wonky riding.  The standard this year was astounding – and I am not just saying that because we came last.




The costumes were amazing and the riding was so polished – and we know this because we actually did get to watch most of them.  I liked our music best – slight biased but I think it is so key for the pereformance that it’s mixed well and fits the theme and paces of the ponies.  I am not sure everyone felt the same, and certainly our funny section didn’t get the laughs I had hoped for so maybe it was a little obscure.  Perhaps we could be a little more mainstream next year, though mainstream is not a specialism for any of our team.  There are several more people in CVRC who want to have a go at this quadrille lark now so we may not even be going in 2017.  That’s a scary thought but it’s only fair to let others have the opportunity to have this much fun .  Mum and Dad drove down from Cheshire to see us too so we had everyone there supporting and cheering and helping.  It’s an absolutely BRILLIANT weekend and because all the stewards are ace (and the same year from year) everyone has a total blast.

Costume judging


Les the legendary stable manager


British Dressage National Veteran Horse Championships

This is the next challenge – on October 14th (the day before hen party gymkhana madness).  The test Prelim 17 in a long arena!  Commanders are allowed so that’s a blessing.  Tor and her old lady, Sardra, have also qualified through BD Quest so it’s going to be a family day out up to Leicestershire.  Beats working for the day ;)

British Dressage National Draught Horse Championships

I received an email from the super-efficient Karen at the British Dressage office informing me that Beau and I have qualified for the National Draught Horse Dressage Championships!  I didn’t know that was even a thing so it’s very exciting.  It’s at the beginning of November, two weeks after the Veteran Championships so we’ll be busy.  Even if I get eliminated I will no longer be able to say I have never done long arena dressage (apart from quadders) because Veterans is P17 and Draught is P19.  Thank goodness we can have a commander.  Believe me if we couldn’t, I would not have entered!  Beau qualifies because his sire (and most of his dam’s family) was registered ID, and he is a registered ISH pony.  And I mean pony because he is such a shorty at 15.2 despite his rug-busting shoulders.  He will be dwarfed by the proper draught horses.

Horse and Hound NAF Riding Club of the Year

Voting is now over.  It’s been humbling actually how many people from other clubs have been in touch to wish us well, and hopefully have voted for us!  We have all voted as many times as we could.  CVRC really does deserve to win, if only for its policy of letting numpties like me have a go and being gracious about it when we mess up!  Even when I trotted the show-jumping at the combined training qualifier (and had I cantered would have won it and the team qualified) there were nothing but smiley faces and encouraging words because they understood it was a HUGE thing for me to be in the ring at all.  By the time my next blog is out we will know who has won.  I and the rest of CVRC will be heartily congratulating the winners, whoever they are.  It’s a lovely recognition of grass-roots riding and development and long may it continue.

Gymkhana games hen party

Later this month my best friend since Pony Club is having the first of her hen nights.  We are off to Derby to play gymkhana games for the afternoon!  I can’t wait.  We all have to dress as much in purple as possible to keep the bride happy….


Who has time to train?!  In between all the competitions I have had to go to work, so training has lapsed badly this month.  We do have a session planned this weekend actually with our CVRC Chairman Amanda.  It seems like months since we all played out together!  I am riding Tor’s horse, Simon is riding Beau, and Tor and Mrs Whipcracker are riding two of hers so it should be an interesting session.

Dressage scores tracker


scores tracker


Feedback and suggestions for crazy stuff that we haven’t thought of yet for us to get up to over the winter @BeauBayou


Purple breeches, purple wig, purple socks, purple nail varnish, purple everything! ;) plus entry fees for all the Championships Beau has got me into this year :D

Goals: updated for October:

  • Dressage:  The main focus is STILL to get 70% in a prelim test unaffiliated !  Does over 70% in quadrille count? :D
  • Team Quest:  WE DID IT – WE QUALIFIED FOR REGIONALS!!!  24th September at Quainton Stud.  Eek!
  • Side saddle: Lots of hacking being done.  Even though it’s comfy, my hips still hurt for a few days after each one.  Maybe after all the quadrille and championships are done I should step up the intensity a bit.
  • Quadrille: Done and dusted for another year :’(
  • Jumping: No progress this month :/
  • Posh dressage: Tracy to compete with Beau at Elementary – am looking for classes….
  • Strict goal:  To not make an idiot of myself at Team Quest Regionals and to not let the team down.  What a fabulous team it’s been.  We’ve had a really fun summer supporting each other and trying to qualify!  Placing will not be an issue, we are happy just to be going.  Done :D

Much love, Tam and Beau x

Posted in HorseHage by admin.

Feeding For the Changing Seasons

Feeding for the Changing Season

As the season starts to change from summer to autumn, your thoughts will be turning to when to bring your horse or pony in from summer turn-out, along with which forage and fibre feeds to choose for the winter ahead.

Every horse owner should take into consideration their horse or pony’s diet with the changing of the seasons. From summer to autumn, there is still a risk for horses and ponies prone to laminitis, so you should be aware of this.

When grass grows under normal conditions, it contains high levels of soluble sugars and non-structural carbohydrates (NSCs). When there is a ground frost and grass is frozen, the grass accumulates more sugars to try and enable it to carry on growing in adverse conditions. This extra sugar content can be one of several different triggers for laminitis. If a horse or pony is prone to laminitis, it should be fed a low sugar, low starch and high fibre diet. It is important not to starve horses and ponies prone to laminitis as this can cause further problems. Choose forage that has a lower sugar content than hay and, ideally, a complete feed suitable for horses and ponies prone to laminitis that contains a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement such as Mollichaff HoofKind Complete.

From autumn to winter, as the temperature drops, your horse or pony will need to consume more calories to maintain its body temperature. These extra calories should, ideally, come from forage as the horse’s system has to work harder and longer to digest fibre, thus creating more warmth. Also the nutritional value of grass will be reduced too and so extra forage or concentrates will need to be provided to make up for this. From winter to spring, calories may need to be reduced again to prevent too much weight gain once horses are out grazing on the fresh pasture and the weather warms up, and at this time there is once again the heightened risk of laminitis.

Posted in HorseHage MolliChaff by admin.