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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,


Robbie the Rescued Shetland Joins The Bryndafydd Team

“A small pony is led into the nursing home bedroom of a lady who is partially sighted. Her carer quietly explains that she has a visitor…within seconds her face lights up and she reaches out to touch the velvety, soft nose and fuzzy mane that belong to Robbie, one special little miniature Shetland. The lady is overwhelmed with joy at being able to touch and, most importantly, smell the tiny pony who stands calmly beside her bed and clearly enjoying all the attention and fuss. Robbie’s presence instantly reminds her of the time that she and her husband kept their own much- loved horses on their farm in Wales.  In a world that has started to close in on her and become ever more confusing, we all see it suddenly expand with long forgotten memories and experiences that have shaped her whole life. Memories and feelings of warmth, love, laughter, sadness and hardship fill the room…we are all affected by it.”

Pony Visit

This is the scene witnessed just a couple of weeks ago by Rhiannon Pugh, a Volunteer Trustee for the Lluest Horse and Pony Trust and it moved her to tears. The experience serves to remind us why animal assisted therapy matters so much and the importance of the small charity that rehabilitated Robbie and the therapy group he is now a big part of.

Robbie the pony’s life story is a great example of how truly transforming the charity’s work can be. He was found in 2012, collapsed and starving by the side of a busy Welsh city road. He was close to death when his rescuer, Lucy, drove past, initially mistaking him for a pile of rags. A slight movement made her turn around and go back and what she found was a tiny, emaciated pony barely able to stand and in desperate need of emergency care. Robbie was so small that she was able to lift him onto the back seat of her vehicle to keep him warm while she waited for help.  Robbie’s first few hours were critical as he was regularly collapsing and Lucy slept all night with him in the stable, willing him to pull through.

She said “He gave the best kisses and we felt he wanted to be with us.”

Thanks to her amazing care in those first 24 hours, Robbie did pull through and was able to be transported to the Lluest  Horse and Pony Trust which is based near Llangadog in Carmarthenshire.

He soon moved into his first ‘guardian’ home with Barbara who took over his care and was quick to spot his capacity to be calm and comfortable around adults and children.

Barbara brought Robbie back to full health and also nurtured his talent for working with people, taking him along to community events and schools to promote the work of Lluest and highlight the importance of equine welfare.  When Barbara’s circumstances sadly changed, she asked if the charity could find another suitable home for Robbie and so he moved to a new home at Bryndafydd Animal Assisted Therapy, which is owned by another Lluest trustee, Ann Slater, and is also based in Carmarthenshire, near Llansawel.

MolliChaff Donkey

Bryndafydd Animal Assisted Therapy is supported by Mollichaff Donkey and, although a miniature Shetland pony and not a donkey, Robbie is also fed on this high fibre feed as it is perfect for maintaining his weight.

Pony visit

Said Ann: “As a typical miniature Shetland, Robbie is a good doer and I need to watch his weight. Mollichaff Donkey is perfect as it is so low in calories, starch and sugar but high in fibre and Robbie loves it!”

Ann has gone on to develop Robbie’s talents further and he is now part of the Bryndafydd  team of ‘therapy animals’ working alongside youngsters as part of a youth development project and has recently started his work in nursing homes,  already making an impact on many residents. He will share some of his nursing home visits with his best buddy, Enoch the donkey.

Without the Lluest Pony Trust, Robbie would not be alive today and without Bryndafydd Animal Assisted Therapy, this important work would not be possible.

Lluest Horse and Pony Trust is a charity (Reg. Charity No.1150948) and relies on regular donations to continue to transform the lives of horses and ponies in need.

For further information please visit

For further information on Bryndafydd Animal Assisted Therapy please visit

Posted in MolliChaff MolliChaff Donkey by admin.

Tam’s Latest Blog – Hot, hot, hot!

August 2016

It’s lovely to be able to write about how hot July was!  There were a few days mid-month when Beau was sweating in the field, so I just made sure the water was topped up and left him to it.  He owes me nothing and would not have thanked me for schooling session in 38 degrees.  One day I did decide to bathe him and cool him down a little – it’s the only bath he has not strongly objected to!


We have done a little practice, though not as much as I’d have liked because I seem to be trying to learn how to do everything all at the same time.  We did go for an early morning hack at the height of the heatwave, so I chose to go ‘wonky’ (side-saddle) as there would be few cyclists and little traffic on the roads should I experience wobbles or loss of steering.  Actually, that particular day a large cycling event was advertised on the internet, with the route going past the end of Mrs Whipcracker’s drive so we planned to be back before they set off.  In the end we saw about 10 cyclists over the whole day!  Maybe not as successful as they’d hoped – or lots of them got lost!

1 Tam's Blog August 20162 Tam's Blog August 2016

In other news – even when they reach their forties, sisters should probably not be allowed to play out together, especially when one of them has a very long pokey-stick and the other is ticklish…


I am still in search of my brave pants, BUT I am getting better through practice by using the jumps set out in Mrs Whipcracker’s field.  I have to surprise myself into it though by deciding as I walk past them (on Beau, obviously) that we’re going to jump round.  Feeling brave (and having been persuaded by my friend to enter), in early August we went to Rugby Riding Club show and I entered the working hunter class to test myself…


My nerves the night before were quite bad, but I was also a little excited at the prospect of more ‘jumpies’.  Thing is, Beau does like it more than I do and, boy oh boy, did he show it!  Batmananna, Tory and Simon came with me for a day out, and we all had a lovely time.  We got there far too early, so to start the day we did the In-hand Veteran class.  I do not envy the judge because you would never know that the horses in the ring were veterans!  It was such a friendly class with some gorgeous horses and ponies, and a very cute mule.  We came a creditable 4th in that class, though the spectators told me that had I put pedal to the metal a bit more in the trot away, we’d have done better.  I don’t do running so was quite pleased that I’d managed to go fast enough for Beau to trot at all!

2a-Rugby-Show-in-hand-veteran 3 Tam's Blog August 2016

Next we entered the Small Working Hunter class and he warmed up beautifully.  Nice and steady into fence 1, then confusion into fence 2 because he had locked onto a cross-country fence in the tree line, and not (2ft) fence 2 which had not come into view yet.  When it did appear he dropped a shoulder, and I almost fell off . A couple of years back (when all I wanted to do was get on a horse again, but even the thought terrified me) I went on a rider confidence course with the Centre of Horseback Combat, and their words rang in my ears as the last bit of my knee slipped over the saddle – ‘Grab ANYTHING but stay on!’.  So I did, and we completed the course

4 Tam's Blog August 2016

5 Tam's Blog August 2016 6 Tam's Blog August 2016


Because of our mis-communication we got a stop.  I did pull him up in front of the fence so I could climb back on so completely fair (though unbelievable because if there’s one thing Beau doesn’t do, it’s stop at jumpies!)  By the time we got to the go-round Beau was being a very naughty boy and our individual show was appalling!  But as luck would have it for me, only one rider went clear so despite our 0 individual show score we came 3rd!

7 Tam's Blog August 2016


Dressage judges may disagree, but I feel that we have started to make some real progress now.  Alison has such an encouraging style and just seems to get Beau and me.  In fact her coaching was assessed by an Olympic synchronised swimming coach during our last session.  A lovely lady who must have been a bit bemused by all the horsey gobbledegook that we all forget we talk!



8 Tam's Blog August 2016

Team Quest

By my calculations, Cherwell Valley Charlatans will move up to 5th on the leaderboard because the last two goes out we have won!  Sadly no pics from the first one, as Tory and I travelled together and met up with Ruth travelling alone, hence there was no one to take pics.  But here’s the super-team at the Vale View competition in early August.  I am very proud of them all, but especially Tory – second time out after 12 weeks’ box rest for her pony; and Mrs Whipcracker who had to manage a very distracted and excitable pony for her test!:  I won’t be troubling the leaders in my Quest though, having done one (rubbish) test and currently in 56th (equal last) place on the leaderboard



@BeauBayou has been picking up followers over the weeks, which is fun!  I must try and think of something interesting to say!


Getting excited now.  I have checked and entries are full for the competition at Bury Farm on the 1st October.  There has been no loss of interest with the final not being at Olympia.  In fact I see it as an advantage for several reasons.  Off the top of my head:  no need to travel into London, a bigger warm-up arena, the same big riders and big names in the competition, we will have been there before, it’s not actually that far from us in Northampton, it’s a very nice venue with good stabling, the café food is delish.  That about covers it!  Last practice we swapped ponies, Tor and Beau had a nice sleep, whilst Seamus and I stopped off for coffee . We have some good moves in the routine now, and the costume ideas are finalised, so we can start to build.


Royal International Horse Show

As mentioned in my last blog, I was given two tickets to the RIHS by British Riding Clubs as an award for volunteering over the years at many Championship competitions.  I took Tory with me and we had a truly wonderful day!  The BRC team were as friendly and welcoming as ever, and the staff in the British Horse Society box couldn’t have been nicer – and the same can be said of the food which was marvellous.  Even the four hour journey to Hickstead with a fallen over tipper on the M25 and a burned out car on the M23 didn’t spoil it.  We had a fantastic view of the main arena, which is smaller than it looks on TV!  We saw some beautiful show horses, miniatures, top class show jumping and scurry driving and wandered round the shops whilst they changed the course between classes.

I would like to publicly and sincerely thank BRC for taking us, particularly Rachael who it was lovely to meet, and Jennie who missed out herself in the end!  I would also like to sincerely encourage anyone to volunteer as much as you can.  As I have said, you will be very well looked after, and our sport could not survive without volunteers – we simply wouldn’t be able to run competitions.



None.  My overdraft (and probably my bank manager) has gone off for therapy!

Goals: Updated for August:

  • Dressage:  The main focus is now to get 70% in a prelim test unaffiliated.  Wishing I’d never written that down!
  • Team Quest:  This goal now has to be updated to be qualify for the regionals.  *have run out of fingernails to bite*
  • Side saddle: Lots of hacking to be done I think.  It’s surprisingly comfortable on hacks
  • Quadrille: Costume building and routine tweaking is the order of the day now
  • Jumping: I jumped half a course in canter.  Progress is gradual but definitely there
  • Posh dressage: Tracy to compete with Beau at Elementary (and maybe me next year if I ever understand the movements)
  • New goal:  To not make an idiot of myself at Team Quest Regionals!

Much love, Tam and Beau x

Posted in Team HorseHage by admin.

HorseHage – Official Forage Supplier at HOYS

We are very proud to continue our role as Official Forage Supplier at this year’s Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), which takes place on 5th – 9th October at the NEC, Birmingham. HorseHage dust-free bagged forage will be available to all horses and ponies competing there.

A Royal Warrant was awarded to HorseHage in 1983 after Her Majesty the Queen’s horse, Burmese, was fed HorseHage when suffering from a respiratory problem. She was just one of tens of thousands of horses and ponies, from Shetlands to Thoroughbreds that have benefited from this dust-free, natural product.

HorseHage dust-free bagged forage is available in four varieties –High Fibre, Timothy, Ryegrass and Alfalfa, offering a choice suitable for all types of horses and ponies, including those prone to laminitis. It has BETA NOPS certification and comes with a 100% quality guarantee. Containing no additives, preservatives, mould inhibitors or inoculants, HorseHage is lower in sugar than most hays and is packed into highly compressed bales for easy handling and storage. No soaking is necessary and it splits easily into wedges for netting up.

Said top show jumper, Spencer Roe: “The fact that HorseHage is dust-free and sealed is great for the health of my horses and especially useful as I’m constantly on the road. I also like the fact that there are four varieties to suit different horses’ requirements, so HorseHage is a must for my team now.”

Posted in HorseHage HOYS by admin.

Tam’s Latest Blog – July

Summer is now well underway.  OMG!

All bets are now off.  We have been mentioned in Horse and Hound – albeit only on Twitter.  Thanks Mollichaff!

Tams Blog July 2016

Side saddle

Quite the most exciting load my car has carried for a while is this gorgeous Champion and Wilton side saddle!

Tams Blog July 2016

I was put in touch with the lady selling it by our fabulous (dahhhhhling) instructor Ginny, and we tried it out with her to check for fit and suitability.  So exciting – and it fits!

Tams Blog JULY 2016

It just needs some tweaking in the flocking to be perfect for him.  The only downside is that I’ve been saving like mad and only managed to squirrel enough money away for either a side saddle OR some basic living in our truck.  I am sure Simon would prefer the latter but I figured that because this saddle will fit Beau so well I can’t miss it.  They’re all unique so it could be a while before another one pops up.  I have given it some love and can’t wait for the rain to stop so I can go out and play at home…  The next crazy scheme is to get out and do some wonky-ways Intro level dressage.  In the meantime Simon and I will have to work on our leg-up technique.  It took several go’s and ended with me sprawled over Beau with cramp in both hips!

Tams Blog July 2016


Parker’s jabs were due this month, so Simon booked Mike the vet and took the day off.  Vets are always either late or early, depending on how their previous patients have been, so Simon caught Parker up early and rode, then tied him up ready on the yard.  Mike was a few minutes late, so by the time he got there, Parker had been washed and groomed and trimmed and primped and sprayed and oiled and shined.  He had had a lovely time and was relaaaaaaaaaxing…

Simon then asked if Mike would please check his back for pain, so Mike gave Parker a nice massage too (whilst he was feeling for trouble – and found none).

By this time 18 hand juggernaut, Parker, was very relaxed and falling fast asleep, so imagine his surprise when Mike stuck a needle in him…

Then try to imagine Mike’s surprise at Parker’s reaction – described as all four feet up in the air together and backwards at 90mph at the same time!  He only broke one needle though.  He was a good boy for attempt two!


Post-ride Entertainment

Tams Blog July 2016After a ride, the ponies have a nice brush and get to go and play out in the field.  We decided we should have some fun too, so we played over the jumps and the bank in the field:

Beau cleared the gate – it started out at an angle

Tams Blog July 2016


I think it’s pretty clear that me, Tory and Mrs Whipcracker take visibility on the roads very seriously.  When hacking it’s easy to think that you’re easy to see, but it just takes a glint of low sun, or a driver who is not 100% on the ball for a horse and rider to disappear into the hedge.  My advice: You may look daft in hi viz but you and your horse will still be in one piece to laugh about it afterwards.

Tams Blog July 2016

Tams Blog July 2016

When the ponies are back in their fields and we have a mug of tea on the go, we also like to entertain ourselves ;)

Tams Blog July 2016

Tams Blog July 2016

Training – New faces

In my last blog you may remember I got to play out at camp on Indie, owned by Rachel.  Her coach is a very talented lady called Alison Kenward and, having got talking with her at camp, Beau and I had our first session on 29th June.

Tams Blog July 2016

It had been absolutely howling all day and the rain didn’t stop, so I was not looking forward to it!  I confess to being a total fair-weather rider; I’m too old for driving home in soggy underclothes these days.  Beau was as muddy as you’d expect for a June evening so he had to be hosed off before I could even tell that he is bay.  Up the ramp he went and off we set.  Rachel’s yard was the venue and luckily it is only about five miles from us.  It was still a stretch though, to get from work in Coventry, to home in Northampton, change into jodhs, stuff a soggy Beau and his tack into the back of the lorry, and be five miles away, tacked up and ready by 7pm.  Curse you Camelot!

You can see from the photo that Alison’s words had an effect (thank you to super-supportive little sister, Tory for the pic).  I am looking forward to the next session to try and remember what I learned, and perhaps add in being able to do left canter without asking for changes every other stride.  The next day though, even sitting at my desk hurt my legs…

We had a repeat session at the beginning of July and true to form – I could hardly walk the next day!  Some good work achieved but we are still missing the ever-elusive connection – both through my hands, and through his body.  I suspect if I sort the former, the latter will happen.


Tams Blog July 2016

Tams Blog July 2016


Royal International

In last month’s blog I told of how much fun it is to volunteer for BRC, and how well it looks after its volunteers.  Well, I had a lovely email from Jennie at BRC HQ to invite me to join them ringside at Hickstead for the Royal International Horse Show!  How cool is that!!  It’s a fair trek from Northampton to Brighton, and all the local motels are booked up (first thing I checked!).  Luckily Tory wants to come too so we can share the driving.  I can’t wait!


My call up hasn’t arrived yet and I see posts all over Twitter from other people who have had theirs.  I am assuming we’re not going to Rio.  We are not overly worried about mosquitos – I’d have taken a fly sheet and some spray for Beau – so that can’t be the problem…;-)


Our dressage scores seem to have taken a dive.  It’s interesting because it feels like it’s coming together more than ever.  When it’s good, it’s now very good, but when it’s bad it’s worse!

Tams Blog July 2016

We did the BRC Area 5 dressage qualifier at Princethorpe.  A lovely day out and very well-organised – it’s a shame the judge was paying attention!  You can see from the pics that it was a test of two halves – we started well and ended badly.  Needless to say we’re not going to the BRC Championships this year.

Tams Blog July 2016 Beau Princethorpe

Tams Blog July 2016

Tams Blog July 2016

Team Quest

In early June we played out with the Questers at Glebe Farm.  Beau was having none of it this time and, very unusually for him, was verging on naughty!  When we got him back to the lorry I realised his riser pads were in the wrong end, so instead of alleviating pressure it was making all the weight of saddle and rider dig into his shoulders.  No wonder he was stroppy.  Lesson learned!  Simon was coming to take photos for this blog, but for reasons known only to himself, he went to Bury Farm instead!  He was quite worried when he couldn’t see Buxton the truck parked up there!  We also played at Swallowfield and got some lovely work in the warm-up but dreadful scores in the tests!  The sheets didn’t give me any clues as to why though.  Dressage judges have such a hard time, comparing everybody fairly and writing motivational words at the end whilst trying to be honest and subjective.  I wish they’d also say “Try X to achieve what you need to for better scores”.  Overall our scores have not improved and have indeed been going down.  I haven’t given up though – we’re still aiming for 70%!


Follow @BeauBayou to catch up with what we’re up to between blogs.  By ‘we’ I mean me, Beau, Parker, Simon, Tory, the cat, Mrs Whipcracker (which is a new promotion from Mrs Motivator) and the rest of the gang at Happy Acres.


What with GCSEs, beach trips and dressage competitions we have only practiced once this month, but we have pretty much built the routine, mixed the music and put together the human costumes.  I know what we need to do for horse costumes too – we just need to do it!  If you are free and near Bury Farm come and see the evening performance on 1st October – it’s very entertaining.


The right side saddle turned up!  :D :D (see above).  This means that there will be no living conversion on the truck now until next year at the earliest.  We will only need it for a stay-away show twice more now this year (Veteran Championships and Quadrille), so a blow up bed and baby wipes will just have to do.

Goals: updated for June:

  • Dressage:  The main focus is now to get 70% in a prelim test unaffiliated.  Hard!  In fact see above for achievement of PW (Personal Worst) score and not much improvement from there!
  • Team Quest:  This goal now has to be updated to be ‘qualify for the regionals’  *bites fingernails*
  • Side saddle: I just want to get better – maybe enter a show if I can find a suitable saddle and habit.  The saddle needs properly fitting to Beau, so that’s the next mission.  Also I think I will have to make the habit.  Perhaps a winter project.
  • Quadrille: To play out at Bury Farm again in 2016 for Cherwell Valley RC.  It would be awesome to qualify but Quadrille is such immense fun it doesn’t matter if we don’t.  So excited to see the judges’ faces when our entrance music comes on.  There will not be another team using our tunes (or even the same music genre) – that is for definite!
  • Jumping: To jump a whole course in canter.  See above for brave pants installed at the end of our hack – getting there..
  • Former goal: To get into Horse and Hound (for the right reasons) which is the only way I can top the Village News – Achieved :D – only on Twitter but nevertheless, we are named!
  • New goal: Tracy to compete with Beau at Elementary (and maybe me next year if I ever understand the movements)

Much love, Tam and Beau x

Posted in Team HorseHage by admin.