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Nov/Dec 2014

Uni has been manic this month, with lots of deadlines and my research project to plan. Can’t believe I now only have 6 months left at uni – very exciting!

My 30th!

It was my 30th birthday last month (I don’t feel any older!) and I had some fantastic presents which included a jumping lesson with Geoff Billington.

Rupert meets Geoff Billington…

Cassie Jumping

I was quite nervous about my lesson, because with uni being so busy I’d hardly had chance to ride him properly and Rupert can get a little excitable, to say the least, after time off! We went to Geoff’s yard in Nantwich, which is a lovely place and not too far from us. Geoff was incredibly friendly and down to earth and within about five minutes had Rupert completely sussed! We worked on rhythm and control using cavaletti, and then we were shown a really good trick to get Rupert listening using poles and leg yielding that really worked. As well as this, he helped me to improve Rupert’s canter transitions (walk and halt to canter and reverse), and flying changes. We jumped a big water tray that I think took Rupert by surprise when he flew over it the first time, before stopping and spooking the second time (with his best ‘did I just really jump that?’ face). Geoff then had us jumping a course with a few technical lines to finish, informing me that there was £250,000 to the winner if I went clear! I have since discovered that this philosophy certainly works – as Rupert has since won at evening show jumping in the 90cm! My number one tip from the lesson – every class has £250,000 to the winner!

So, this was certainly the highlight of the month and I am very excited to say that we are going back for another one over Christmas as the improvement in Rupert after an hour with Geoff was amazing.

Patch takes it easy 

Patch show jumping RC Team

Patch being daft

My lesson has also really helped me with Patch too, as after Moreton Morrell, both Patch and I had lost a little confidence as a combination and having a fresh look at jumping has enabled me to put this behind us while we practice over the winter to be ready for next season. Patch also had a mini holiday, which really did him a lot of good. He had six weeks of just hacking once a week to keep to him sane as he is a real workaholic and gets very fed up during time off. He then came back with a nice second place at combined training which I was very pleased. I’m really happy with how his dressage has come along this year. He’s becoming really consistent now and I actually look forward to dressage competitions which I never thought I would! I’m hoping that before the season starts we have made the scary move up to Elementary level – fingers crossed! Patch is next out at a couple of arena eventing competitions, one of which includes a British Eventing Qualifier. I also hope to do some of the JAS competitions with him to try and improve his show jumping further.


Poppy also had a bit of a holiday. She is now back hacking. I decided to clip her again this year – she’s got a very smart full clip again, as although she is only hacking, we have so many hills and long hacks around us that she has benefited from it.  She has been hacking with her horsey friend ‘Annie’ and her new rider who is keeping Annie fit whilst her owner is pregnant. It’s amazing how good friends these two are, although Annie lives down the road they see a lot of each other and Poppy gets quite grumpy now if she doesn’t meet her for a hack!

Poppy is still looking fantastic on Mollichaff ShowShine which has cherry flavouring. So far she has kept a really nice weight – people often don’t believe me when I tell them her age as she still bounces around like a spring chicken at the bottom of the canter tracks!

Rupert showing

In other news, this weekend Simon and Rupert retained their showing record and won another class! What’s more exciting is that in doing so, they have now qualified for The Royal London Horse Show and Equifest which are both held next summer. I can’t wait especially for the Royal London! Patch and Rupert also represented the riding club in the Novice and Intermediate show jumping where the intermediate team finished 7th.

So, I better get back to uni work as I have two essay deadlines this week – and then I am off for Christmas for almost four weeks. However I need to remember that this time is supposed to be for revising not just riding!


Have a lovely Christmas,

Cassie, Poppy, Rupert and Patch