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The Hough Bed & Breakfast

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Now that our four children are grown up and have more or less left home, our house is feeling very quiet and empty.

I have been thinking of turning two of our bedrooms into a B & B and this has now been achieved and we are open for business! 

Our son Jack has painted both rooms and they have also had a makeover with beautiful new Egyptian cotton bed linen, goose and duck down pillows, new single beds that can be made into a super king, bedside tables and lamps, suitcase racks, tea and coffee trays, hairdryers, waffle dressing gowns and the list goes on.

In the past we have had 'paid' guests which have included clients of Sophie Gent of SyncThermology who have attended training sessions in our Dining room which can also be used as a meeting room. We really enjoyed having them to stay and met so many like minded people. 

The idea really developed from all of them and now that Sophie has moved to Rutland and runs her courses from Moulton College we have taken the plunge!

The aim is to personally look after our guests and treat them exactly the same as if they were our own friends who were staying in our home. We invite all guests to join us for kitchen supper for an additional charge and this is proving popular.

We are now signed up with www.booking.com and www.airbnb.co.uk and our listing with www.tripadvisor.co.uk should go live next week. Sawdays have been to inspects us and we have been invited to join them as well. They have been very helpful and gave me lots of tips and advice and it is not surprising that they have such a loyal following.

We have bought two, point of lay French Maran hens to add to our two English Maran's as we need more eggs! Barbara and Derek who farm next door will top up our egg supply from their flock. Everything has been sourced locally, bacon and sausages from Wigland Farm, Higher Wych - just up the road, honey from the Cholmondeley Castle bees. Peckforton water, John Huxley for his home baked white or his special brown multi seed bread. Farmhouse butter, our own home made apple and orange juice and fruit smoothies............

We had 4 x cyclists to stay last week end - they were competing in an 85 mile ride from Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse. Their fitness regime was daunting and we were so impressed.

Please visit www.thehough.co.uk and spread the word!


More news from France

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Catapult and Skye

Penelope and Flora had a fall at the water jump when lying in 7th place of the individual show jumping competition. at the WEG.

This brilliant 9 year old mare and her rider are both OK and perhaps it is a blessing in disguise that at this early stage in her career Flora, did not get into the final four that jumped last Sunday. The horses are swapped around and ridden by their own rider and also the other three riders. An ordeal for any top class horse, let alone a 9 year old.  The results have been well documented with individual silver also going to France to add to their team silver.

Yes, my loyalties have suddenly crossed the Channel but hardly surprising considering our huge pride in the part that Skye has played as a member of her boss's team. She was able to ride the horses at the yard very early in the morning in order to get to the WEG to watch the show jumping.

There was lots to do at the yard whilst her boss  was with the French Team. The two horses - that her boss is due to jump at the CSIO5* Masters Event at Spruce Meadows Calagary in Canada this week were being prepared and they flew out at the week end. Please click on this link for live viewing of this amazing show.

Skye was also preparing the five year old stallion Catapult and as soon as she had watched the Individual final at the WEG she set off with him to The Young Horse National Finals of France in Fontainebleau They were clear yesterday and again today and have now got into the final 40 to jump on Thursday. Catapult and Skye have already won the regional qualifier and the final judging takes all this into account as it is not based on jumping alone. Skye also has a six year old mare to compete at this show and her class starts later on today.

Then next week Skye is off to Belgium to compete Full Monty at the World Breeding Championship Show at Zangersheide, Lanaken which starts on the 18th September. He is in the Stallion class for Belgium bred horses and the jumps are huge! 


A Silver medal for France

Thursday, September 04, 2014

News from Caen. Skye's boss is in the French team and was in 7th place on day 1 of the show jumping competition at the WEG. Penelope and Flora then jumped a superb clear round today and this really helped France win the silver team medal. A day of rest before the fianl rounds of the individual competition which starts on Saturday. 

Sadly the Brits did not make it through to the top ten teams that contested the final round of the team competition. Scott Brash has also withdrawn from the individual as he is too far behind to win a medal and far better to save Hello Sanctus for another day.    


News update

Thursday, August 28, 2014

7th place in the CSI2* Grand Prix

So much has been happening that I have not had time to write any blogs! The news from youngest daughter Skye has been good. Skye and a 'new' ride a 7 year old mare - were equal first in her age group class at Auvers CSI2* last week and were then placed second in the 7 year old 1.35m speed class the following day. This was their first show together.

Then Skye and the 9 year old Aresse M achieved a double clear in the 1.45m CSI2* Grand Prix to finish 7th and best Brit. His best result at an International show to date.

Skye is back at Auvers CSI2* this week and this afternoon she and Full Monty finished 4th in the 1.45m Grand Prix which is Monty's best result at an International show! Jemma Kirk and the very experienced 'teenager' Wexford finished 2nd, so they were in good company.

Congratulations to Lee Pearson for his gold medal in the Para Dressage at WEG. and also to Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro. Can they do it again tomorrow?





Time is running out

Monday, August 11, 2014

So smart

The fences are huge

Many of you will be travelling up and down the country in order to try and qualify for the various end of season finals that you have all been working towards all year. 

Congratulations to show jumper Toni Potts (Fowles) who did just that and qualified for HOYS on Saturday riding Terry's Clover. Toni last qualified for the Newcomers final a few years ago riding The Kaiser and I went in the horsebox with her on a grooms ticket for the day.  We had a brilliant time and hopefully I will be there again to cheer her on for a second time! 

In France, Skye has been busy qualifying for their young horse championships with five year old Catapult and two six year olds, Upsala and Ugo. Catapult, for the second week running is the leading five year old qualifier in France and we have just heard that Upsala has now qualified for his final and if Ugo gains another double clear later this week he will also have qualified. Both the six year olds were late starters, but now the penny has dropped and the improvement they have made has been brilliant. 

Full Monty and Skye finished second in a 1.45 m Speed class at the St. Lo Grande National Show on Saturday and won a rug and very good prize money!  FM is so careful and the confidence he now has at this level has enabled him to go faster! Now is the time to go higher, so both he and Aresse jumped in the 1.55 m Grand Prix yesterday and all concerned were delighted with their performances. Well done to all 5 of Skye's 'boys'. 

The Pony Club Championships take place at Cholmondeley this week end and PC members from all over the UK will be busy getting ready and having some last minute lessons.  Good luck to them all. 

Congratulations to Thomas Tulloch who was part of the silver winning GB team in the recent FEI Pony European Championships at Millstreet Ireland. Thomas started off his career on our little wonder pony Blackmail. His last rider - before Blackie retired was Molly (show jumping daughter) of Toni Potts (see above). Molly is now 11 years old and already looking like a star of the future. 

The Trot Up

Monday, August 04, 2014

Skye and Monty

We were delighted to receive this photo of Skye and Full Monty taken at the 'trot up' on Thursday 25th July prior to their participation CSI2* at Chantilly.

The Veterinary inspection at all International events is taken seriously and it can be a worrying time if you think your horse may fail. 

In eventing the trot up that takes place after cross country day is an opportunity for the riders to dress up and many look very smart indeed with a few finding that their chosen attire is totally unsuitable for running beside a rather exuberant and extremely fit event horse! 

Not a good day at the office for team GB in last Fridays Nations Cup at the Royal International Horse Show. The ups and downs of this sport mean that we need to put in a very good performance at Dublin this Friday in order to remain in Division 1 of this competition.

The Royal International at Hickstead

Friday, August 01, 2014

Catapult with Skye at one of his very first shows in May

A Nations Cup competition takes place this afternoon at Hickstead and can be viewed on the TV. It is vital the GB team are on the podium as we need high placings here and in Dublin next week in order to gain enough points to stay in Division 1 of this competition. It has been a tough year for the GB Team Manager Rob Hoekstra as 10 of the 14 horses that were regular members of previous Nations Cup teams have either been sold, or are currently injured e.g. Big Star. 

The good news is, that new combinations are getting a chance and it is very much a case of building for the future. 

News from France and Ugo an Upsala the two six year olds Skye is producing were both equal 1st on Tuesday.

Catapult the five year old stallion - also produced from scratch by Skye is currently the top five year old in France. He did not compete this week but the League table on the right shows he has moved up from 6th to 1st whilst staying in his stable! Skye is aiming him for the Regional finals, and hopefully he will then qualify for the 5 year old final of France. His current position shows that at this stage in the season he is top qualifier for the above. His owner is over the moon and keeps Skye up to date with the overall placings on a weekly basis.  

Home again

Monday, July 28, 2014

The different levels of the hospitality marquee enabled everyone to have a view of the arena even if they were sitting at the back

Lasting memories

We rounded off a wonderful trip to Chantilly by having a stress free journey home on Eurostar. Sadly our train times meant that we missed Skye competing in the 1.45 m CSI2* Grand Prix. She finished with four faults which prevented her from being one of the 9 clear rounds in the jump off, but such was the technicality of the course that she still ended up 'in the money' with 13th place. 

Skye's boss also had four faults in her 1.50 m CSI5* Grand Prix, so one of those days! 

Show jumping in Chantilly attracted many names familiar to those who do not necessarily follow this sport. Here goes for some serious name dropping!

For the Internet geeks, multi billionaire, Bill Gates was at the show to watch his daughter Jennifer riding in the 1* section. 

In the 5* section there was Athina Onassis de Miranda - only grand child and sole heiress of the late Greek shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis who was the second husband of Jackie Kennedy widow of JFK -  President of the USA. Athina achieved her best ever result when she was 5th and best lady rider in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix on Saturday. She rides for Greece and her husband Dodo de Miranda rides for Brazil. Jessica Springsteen was competing at 5* level for the USA and is the daughter of singer songwriter Bruce who has rocked the world with 'Born in the USA'  for nearly four decades.

Competing in the 1* was Charlotte Casiraghi daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco. 

Also, Electra Niarchos - granddaughter of Stavros Niarchos the late Greek shipping tycoon and multi billionaire. In the 1* YH section was Alexandre de Rothchild who is the heir apparent of the worlds biggest family owned bank. 

We also saw riders from Qatar including those from the ruling family. Qatar is the richest country per capita in the world and they have decided that show jumping is a sport they want to excel at!

All the above have been able to invest in some serious horse power and are all competitive at their respective levels!

Exciting times for show jumping and I am sure that there were others competing who should also have a mention but I did not recognise their names! 

The Chateau de Chantilly

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A wing of the Chateau

These were huge

One of the canals in the gardens

The main arena was packed for the LGCT Grand Prix

As Full Monty had already qualified for tomorrows 1.45m CSI 2* Grand Prix he was rested and so Skye rode Aresse M in a 1.40 m CSI2* qualifying class today. Only 8 clear rounds in total, over a technical course and an unlucky 4 faults at the second last fence halted their progress. Nick Skelton and Aristo did get through to the 8 horse jump off and finished 8th!.

This competition took place in the afternoon and so we spent the morning visiting the Chateau Park which is regarded as a unique testament of Western landscape gardening. The sheer size of the 'water garden' with its Grand Canal waterfall, fountains and parterres was staggering. We walked for miles (literally) around the ornamental lakes and still did not cover the whole area!  

From afar, the Chateau appears to be dwarfed by the Grand Stables and it is only when you walk to the main entrance that you realise that it is huge - similar to Blenheim, Burghley or Badminton and the gardens are 10 times bigger!  The sheer scale of the whole site is deceiving and Nick and I were blown away by its beauty.

Its last resident, the Duke of Aumale was a son of King Louise-Phillippe and he created the Conde museum to house the chateau's magnificent collection of paintings, furnishings, books, manuscripts and art treasures. Sadly we did not have time to go inside the Chateau but hopefully we will be back at this show next year and can do so then.

Meanwhile back at the show we were in for a treat. The LGCT Grand Prix of Chantilly lived up to its star studied cast. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson from Sweden fully deserved his win having been runner up in the same class at Monaco and Antwerp. Four of the worlds best reached the third round and all four were clear again.  Second spot went to fellow Swede, Henrik von Eckermann, third to Canada's Eric Lamaze and fourth was Ludger Beerbaun of Germany who had an unlucky slip which must have cost him time in this frenetic jump off.

Skye's boss, was one of the 15, first round clears but four faults in the second round still gave her a top 15 placing but not a podium finish!   



Location Location Location

Friday, July 25, 2014

The main arena in front of the Great Stables and you can see the white racecourse rails between the two

The racecourse with all weather track on the right and then the showground

Behind the Great Stables are two huge courtyards with garages for carriages which now house the museum

Inside the Great Stables

The main arena of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Chantilly CSI1* 2* and 5* Show is situated right in front of The Great Stables built by architect Jean Aubert between 1719 and 1736 for Louis-Henri de Bourbon-Conde. This truly breath taking building is the perfect backdrop for the arena - talk about location, location, location! 

The Great Stables were built to accommodate 240 horses, 500 hounds and 23 carriages and are considered to be the most beautiful in Europe. 

From the Renaissance with the Montmorency family then to the 17th and 18th century with the Conde family, Chantilly is the absolute reference for Hunting. Daily hunting expeditions took place in the forests bordering Chantilly and Kings and Princes from all over Europe came to hunt at Chantilly and to send their Masters of Foxhounds to copy the hunting of the Conde family.  

In 1833 by a stroke of luck four friends on the way back from hunting improvised a race on the grass field which separated the forest from the Great Stables. The winner Monsieur de Normandie attracted by the quality of the site and the elasticity of the turf had found the perfect place to organise races and in 1834 a racecourse in front of the Great Stables on that very same grass field was developed. In 1836 the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) and in 1843 the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) were created according to the model of our Derby and Oaks run at Epsom.  

Today, Chantilly has  the biggest and most functional race horse training facilities in Europe. It represents 1900 hectares, of which there are 4 training grounds, 120 hectares of turf tracks, 120 km of sand tracks much of these are within 47 km of the original Forest. There are 12 km of 'obstacle', tracks and over 80 trainers and 2600 thorougbreds with about 4000 horses in total involved in either racing, polo, equestrian sports or for recreational riding within the area.  

We could not resist having a look inside the Great Stables, part of which is now a museum which is located in some of the 23 garages for carriages!  Quite a few of the stables are still in use and even though it was 33 degrees outside, we went inside, to discover that the enormous height of the building kept its current occupants - which included three shetland ponies - very cool indeed. 

I can honestly say that I have never seen anything quite so beautiful and to top it all Skye was placed in both the International CSI2* classes that she competed in today with Aresse M and Full Monty.