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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

Team Quest Regionals

Team Quest Regionals

Quadrille

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

Lineup

Canterbanner

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.

Bikereeny

8-Beforehand

Salute

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

Revving

Les the legendary stable manager

14

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….

Training

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

Eurgh!

scores tracker

Twitter

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

Shopping

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.

Mollichaff Complete Sponsors Class At The Mane Show

The Mane ShowFrom this month we are sponsoring a monthly ‘fun’ class called ‘Make Us Smile’ at The Mane Show with our Mollichaff Complete brand.

The Mane Show is a fun way to compete your horses or ponies in showing and dressage classes online via photographs and video.

The winner  of the ‘Make Us Smile’ class each month will receive a voucher for a bag of Mollichaff Complete and can choose which variety they prefer.

With this type of online show there is no need to travel anywhere and there are a huge variety of classes each month, from traditional showing to some with fun themes – something for everyone – with gorgeous rosettes and prizes.

The Everyday Dressage Series has relaxed rules that allow you to compete in your everyday tack and clothes without the bit restrictions of affiliated dressage. Tests are judged using the traditional dressage format and full feedback sheets are posted to all entrants.

The schedule varies a little each month and entries open on the 1st of every month and close at 10pm on the last day of every month. All classes are judged by professional equestrian experts and rosettes are awarded from 1st to 6th place in most classes plus a winner’s prize for each class. There are also some ‘Special’ rosettes on offer too.

We realise how popular online shows like this are becoming and want to support those horse and pony owners and riders that are not able to travel to shows or are perhaps a little too nervous.

The Mollichaff Complete range offers three fibre-based complete feeds – Mollichaff HoofKind Complete for horses and ponies prone to laminitis; Mollichaff Condition Complete for encouraging weight gain, and Mollichaff Calmer Complete for horses and ponies prone to nervousness or excitement.

Posted in HorseHage by admin.

Tam’s Latest Blog September 2016

My brain only has room for Quadrille and Team Quest

It’s interesting how much I am learning just from the act of writing this blog every month.  Its effects run wider too:  Several people have told me that they are keeping a record of what they have achieved and setting goals for themselves, inspired by the blog.  Not that this blog is super-inspirational – it’s more that the act of keeping a record reminds us that although we may feel like things are just the same, actually we have moved on, improved, learned, and are hopefully now just that little bit better than we were for the sake of our horses

Thank you Mollichaff for helping me, and everyone else inspired by what we’ve been up to, to be better riders and have more fun!


Side-saddle

I have been focusing on making the costumes for quadrille, so haven’t got round to making myself a habit yet.  But – I did get a smart navy cutaway jacket off eBay so all I need is the apron.  I have that partially covered, because I bought a hi-viz apron from a side-saddle contact and will use that as a pattern when I get fabric to match the navy jacket.  I also have yet to get the saddle fitter out to adjust the saddle for Grumps and that needs doing before I can make proper progress in the school

We’ve been hacking out, me in my ace new hi-viz apron.  Sadly dismounting elegantly still evades me.  Lucky Beau is so good!

Image1-My-hi-viz-apron Image-2-A-not-so-elegant-dismount


Horse and Hound NAF Riding Club of the Year

SO EXCITING! Cherwell Valley Riding Club has reached the final five of the 2016 Horse and Hound NAF Riding Club of the Year Award!  Everybody vote CVRC!  CVRC ROCKS!

Image-3-Exciting-news-in-Horse-Hound

The link is here:  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/archives/horse-hound-awards-2016-vote-riding-club-year-582963


Team Quest

Cherwell Valley Charlatans have qualified for regionals!  We won’t be going to the Nationals because although Beau has a fab test in him, my nerves are a bit of a barrier!  Maybe I need some neuro-linguistic programming…. or gin!  The team is very excited and we have a plan for the team selfie :D

I write this whilst reflecting on a test in mid-August where most of our marks were 6.5 and 7, yet we managed a 4.5 for submission.  It’s my own fault, I told Beau before we left that I’d like a good score for submission today please ;)   and his answer was very clear!  We came last in the class, deservedly so.  However, the test was far more consistent overall and our left canter demon is disappearing.  4.5 was also given for the trot (left canter) serpentine, and the right trot (left canter) 20m circle, but those spectators who happened to have turned away during those little (!) errors said it looked like a really nice test.  Sadly the judge was watching…

Training

Coach Alison to the rescue after the rather forward test mentioned above.  I messaged her and she was straight back with advice and support.  It’s FAB working with a coach who doesn’t mind me contacting her with questions between lessons!  I am very conscious to not text/message/call her too often though in case she gets annoyed with me ;)   I save it up for lessons mostly.

I also had a brilliant session on classical dressage schooling with Jules La Garde.  It was a real eye opener.  The approach she takes makes logical sense to me and hopefully I will be able to apply it.

At this point in our training it feels like I’m tidying my room:  All the clothes and make-up and trinkets are on the floor and on the bed, and I have almost sorted out what to keep and what to bin before putting it all away again!


Dressage scores tracker

I have updated it – but I want the final score to be from Team Quest (hopefully not too shameful) so I will post that in October.


Twitter

@BeauBayou for news and random thoughts


Quadrille

The costumes are now well underway for the big day.  We are later this year than we have been – life seems to have got in the way!  We have also been quite adventurous with glitter and stick-on items so we won’t be able to have a dress rehearsal for fear of damaging the horses’ outfits.  Alison has been drilling us in spacing and making circles circular instead of riding our usual ‘rectircles’ or ‘squovals’, so if we can do it on the night we will look quite organised!  I am still excited about our music choice – I hope the speakers at Bury Farm are man enough ;)

Image-4-Our-Team-Back-Patch

Image-5-Practicing-quadrille

Every year we make a promo video to get the rest of CVRC in the mood – this year’s is here:  https://www.facebook.com/tory.dobb/videos/10154618240984009/

We’ve been working on flag desensitisation too – I think we’re OK with that one.

Image-6-Working-on-flag-desensitisation

Image-7-More-flag-proofing


Shopping

MORE glitter, paint and metallic felt for quadrille costumes.  Stopped adding it up now, far too scary.  Bank card melted.
Goals: Updated for September:

  • Dressage:  The main focus is STILL to get 70% in a prelim test unaffiliated !
  • 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: Not long now!  By my next blog we will have done it.  1st October at Bury Farm EC from 6.30pm if anyone wants to come and see the annual ritual public humiliation ;)
  • Jumping: No progress this month :/
  • Posh dressage: Tracy to compete with Beau at Elementary (and maybe me next year if I ever understand the movements)
  • 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

Much love, Tam and Beau x

Posted in HorseHage by admin.

Spencer Roe’s Latest Blog

There have been some changes for me and my horses, the biggest of which was moving back to Lincolnshire after having moved to West Sussex. In my last post I mentioned we had moved to a new yard, and after working there for six months I decided the situation wasn’t going to work for us and made the move back to Lincolnshire in May. I also mentioned that due to unforeseen circumstances we didn’t have the best end to the season and were working on improving that, but things are turning around for us now…

Geesteren and Zuidwolde…

After spending a few weeks getting settled back in at home, we headed to the Netherlands for three weeks, competing in Geesteren and Zuidwolde. We took Wonder Why and Chaccomo Agostini, who are both now back on top form. The first day at Geesteren started with a bang… a bang to the head that is! During the trot-up Chacco got a little too excited and reared up, hitting my head with his on the way down. It looked worse than it was and the show doctor stitched me up fine. It seems that having a bandage under my hat all week made no difference to my riding as we had a great show with multiple placings and Wonder Why and I won the Grand Prix.

5th in the Grand Prix at Zuidwolde

From Geesteren we went on to Zuidwolde which was another great show. The first week I was placed 4th in the ranking class with Wonder Why, but we unfortunately had four faults in that weekend’s Grand Prix, with the last part of the triple combination catching us out. The second week we were 9th in the Friday’s ranking class, just jumping a bit too slow and having a time fault. The Grand Prix also went well with us jumping clear in the first round but having an unlucky fence in the jump off, we finished 5th in the end.

Weston Lawns…

Once back in the UK we spent some time with our younger horses, taking them out to a couple of shows at Weston Lawns. My four-year-old, Hero vd Akkerhoeve, went especially well, coming equal first in the four-year-old final with a double clear.

Roosendaal and Verbier…

In August we packed up the lorry again and caught the ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland, heading for Roosendaal. Having never been before, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I had heard good things. The facilities were all quality and the new arena they had just put in was excellent. It was another great show for us with a 6th in the Friday’s ranking class, as well as a 3rd in the Grand Prix. I was really pleased with how Wonder Why went in the Grand Prix as there were only three clears through to the jump off due to the time being really tight.

Wonder Why at Verbier

The spectacular setting at Verbier

From there we headed on to Verbier in Switzerland. What an amazing place to host a show, the setting was astonishing. The drive was a little scary – we had to drive up the mountain to the ski resort and at one point I thought we were going to roll back down! Wonder Why jumped amazingly in the ranking class coming 4th. I was worried because he can sometimes get worked up in smaller collecting rings with all the other horses and it’s difficult to keep him relaxed. Unfortunately that was the case on Sunday when the Grand Prix came round, but we only had four faults so I was still pleased as tight arenas aren’t his strong suit.

Next time…

I’m now back in the UK again having a bit of down time and working with the youngsters again. We haven’t got another international show now until October when we head to Oliva Nova for their Autumn Tour. I’ve also got a training session with the European Young Riders Academy in Stockholm and a friend’s wedding in Italy to attend. Don’t forget to check out my social media pages to see what I’m up to.

Until next time,

Spencer