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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 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