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February 2013

Cassie’s Diary – February 2013
This month I have been very busy with the horses and they are going very well. The highlight though has most definitely been…..

Rupert meets Mary King!
Training with Mary King

I was very lucky to attend a Mary King cross-country clinic at Kelsall Hill in Cheshire this month. It was fantastic. Rupert had only cross-country schooled twice prior to going, due to the bad weather and ground, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect, especially in front of such an equestrian legend!

We were on at 9am, so had a very early start – little did Rupert know who he was going to meet when he was loaded into the horsebox first thing. For a still fairly green youngster, though, he behaved impeccably right from the start.

To begin with Mary got us all to warm up so she could have a look at how we rode and how our horses worked in. The group consisted of six horses and riders and we were in the 80cm group. Everyone seemed a bit nervous about having Mary watch them, so I was glad I was not the only one that felt that way!

After a quick chat and some tips and advice, we got going. The first jump was a log which must have only been about 50cm and Rupert refused! I was so embarrassed, but after a few snorts we came around again and jumped it fine.

Leaping the ditch

We then went on to jump bigger fences, which he coped with fine. Then we combined a course of fences and also did some drops, steps and ditches. Rupert hadn’t done a drop or step before but after a little hesitation and a cat leap, he soon got the hang of it!

He can be very strong to ride cross-country and so I tend to steady him up a bit. However Mary told me to push him forward and let him go, which I did and this gave us so much more confidence together. I don’t think I would have done that without someone like her yelling at me to do so, especially with him still being fairly green.


To finish with we went down to the water complex and had to jump into and out of the water. Again, Rupert hadn’t done this before, so with our new-found confidence I pushed him on and gave plenty of leg and he jumped off the step and went straight in and out and then came around and did it again! I was speechless that he had been so trusting – but by now I think he was really starting to understand that cross- country is fun.

We ended the session with Mary critiquing our performance. Her advice to me was to get Rupert out as much as possible now, and to keep building him up and improving further. She liked him a lot and even said that my position was good – I was so chuffed! This was a huge compliment!


Throughout the clinic Mary was lovely and kept everyone interested by explaining where riders could improve as they each had their turn. She was critical but in such a nice and helpful way that everyone left feeling they had achieved something.

Rupert did not seem star struck at all and was keen to get back to the trailer to his HorseHage net and a wash off just like any normal day!

Other News….
Poppy is still going well. She will be having her back medicated again this week as her steroid injection will be wearing off. She has started jumping now and is really enjoying it. She also does a very good job of keeping Rupert in check.

Rupert has been out show-jumping, and was placed 2nd in his first event, qualifying for a local championship. He was also placed 4th and then 6th after we took a slight detour on course after losing our brakes!

I thankfully passed my exams; I have more in June so fingers crossed for those too!

Welcome to Patch
We have a new horse, Patch, who has been with us for a short while. He had been out of work previously so is now starting to get fit. More details on him next time – he’s lovely and has settled in really well.

So this month’s diary has mainly been about Rupert and his ever growing autograph book! Next time I will hopefully have some more results and news on the others too.

Don’t forget with all this odd weather (rain, sun, rain, sun, snow!) to keep an eye on those prone to laminitis with the fresh grass shoots coming through. Although fields may look bare, what’s coming through will be very rich.

Take care
Cassie, Poppy, Rupert and Patch