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Week two at Lummen

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Skye and FM

Valentino V is entered for Badminton 2014

Week two started yesterday and I am now back at home and was able to watch Skye on live stream. A toe in the water with Hislop - who gets better and better and four faults with FM - so all good. Sadly her third horse has not been well and has now returned to the yard in Normandy as he has not been able to compete. 

My journey home was as easy on Eurostar as the journey going out there - and the overall travel time is far quicker than going by plane. 

It was my Mums birthday on the 15th and Skye's yesterday. Cinny, James her husband and my 11 month old grandson left for a holiday in South Africa last night and we received a text to say that they had arrived in Johannesburg this morning. Meanwhile elder daughter Clare is in Sydney, Australia, Jack is in Devon and Skye is in Lummen so nobody is at home for Easter! 

A real blitz in the house this morning using my brand new Kirby cleaner. Ran Arbel gave the salesman my contact details and I am glad he did as this is a fantastic appliance and was much needed as the Vorwerk cleaner that I have had for 27 years 'died' a few weeks ago. Dog hairs are a 'Kirby's speciality and I have just given Graham the salesman my list of names as Kirby's are sold by word of mouth!

I have often mentioned Valentino V on this blog - bought by my first cousins wife - Charlotte (Ridley) from Ran on my recommendation. Charlotte produced Valentino V and they qualified for the Burghley Young Horse Final before she sold him on and he is now ridden by Sarah Bullimore. Well, Sarah and Valentino have qualified and are entered for Badminton 2014 - so exciting.  

Away for two weeks or more

Monday, April 14, 2014

A row of horseboxes

Many horses bring a cuddly toy for company

This teddy bear is waiting for his owner to return

Travelling grooms come into their own at Shows such as Lummen CSI3*. The behind the scenes preparation is huge and the top grooms think ahead and cater for every eventuality. Every horse needs to have its own set of tack, bandages, boots and a large selection of rugs to cater for any changes in temperature whilst they are away. In addition, spare tack, different bits, feed, with a complete range of additives, water buckets, haynets, wheelbarrows, skips, forks and brooms, tack lockers, grooming kits, washing apparatus, spare sets of shoes, studs, lunging kit, a complete array of veterinary items not to mention all the 'in case of need' items such as a muzzle, twitch, clippers, chifney and the list goes on and on.

Multiply this by the number of horses that you are taking and then you have to put all this kit into place when you arrive at the showground. Generally the feed, shavings, haylage and veterinary items stay in the horsebox which is transformed into a feed room and can be a good half mile from the stables. All tack and 'horse items' are placed in tack lockers outside the stables you have been allocated. Each horse has two buckets of water and these are hung up in the stable on bindatwine with a dog clip. Water taps or water bowsers are situated at various locations - many are at least 100 yards from your stabling and filling up buckets for a large number of horses throughout the day is hard work!

The arenas at Lummen are a fair distance from the stables and grooms walk back and forth to the arenas with the horses to hand them over to their rider on arrival. They always bring a grooms bag with them which has spare items in it - just in case. 

I am full of admiration for travelling grooms, many of whom drive the huge horse trucks all over Europe. They are highly skilled, have huge responsibility and work very long hours.

News from Belgium

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Peter Terry of Techclothing

These waterproof ponchos are very popular

Lummen CSI3* has a small bespoke shopping area and I met Peter Terry of TechClothing

TechClothing supply STORMTECH Performance Apparel to the UK.
TechClothing was formed in 2010 as a retail distributor for STORMTECH Canada. Selling top tier technical clothing online and at major events around the country. STORMTECH strives to set the standard for innovative, high quality performance apparel. These standards are being tested in over 25 countries everyday by people, who work and play in STORMTECH Performance Apparel.
Please visit the website and go to the Performance Outerwear page to view the entire products range. Highlights include top end H2X (waterproof) technical jackets, softshells and fantastic insulated outerware ideal for winter sports.
This is performance apparel of the highest quality and will appeal to all riders. Techclothing are already well received in the eventing world, with Emilie Chandler as a brand ambassador. This was the first time that Peter had been to an International show jumping venue. He plans to go on to the major show at Antwerp in two weeks time before coming back to the UK and attending many events and shows during the summer months. 

Lummen CSI3*

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Temporary stabling

A wash down area

I arrived at Lummen CSI3*on Wednesday having had a very easy journey on Eurostar from St.Pancras to Brussels. Then a change of train to Hasselt and a 16 km taxi journey to the showground. I am staying in a very comfortable horsebox with Skye. It has a very good shower, plenty of hot water, microwave, cooker, TV and an excellent heating system to cope with the chilly nights, so we are very happy!

The first days jumping on Thursday went well with clear rounds for most of the horses. I am getting used to the amount of walking and also sussing out where not to buy a baguette! 10 Euros for a ham and cheese baguette compared to 3.50 Euros at another stall! We try NOT to eat on the showground as it is always expensive but sometimes there is not enough time during the day to go back to the horsebox to make up something similar.

The facilities at Lummen are not great for a show of this importance. The nearest food shop is 3km away and pretty basic - thank goodness it is warm and dry as all the stables are temporary, with a grass/mud base and the walkways are the same. A giant Pony Club camp in the middle of nowhere - but the show has a great atmosphere and YES I love it!

Today was a highlight as Skye and Full Monty were clear in a 1.45m World Ranking Class. Please click on this link to watch the round. FM, at 9 years of age is inexperienced at this level and so everyone was over the moon with this effort at this stage in his career. Their good results at 1.45 level on Thursday and Friday did qualify them for tomorrows Grand Prix but they will not take up this option this week. 

Eurostar to Belgium to help Skye at Lummen CSI3*

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Skye will be riding Monty

She will also be riding Aresse

I set off this afternoon to London on the first leg of my journey to Lummen CSI***. A chance to see my grandson this evening with his other granny - we are both babysitting, - before catching Eurostar to Brussels tomorrow morning and then the SNCB connection to Hasselt. Hopefully I will be able to get a taxi from Hasselt station, to the show ground which is about 10 minutes away. This is my first trip on Eurostar and if all goes according to plan I will not need to hire a car.  

I am at Lummen to watch youngest daughter, Skye competing at this show and will be acting as her groom during her classes. She is driving one of the horseboxes from Normandy and leaves early tomorrow morning and should arrive before me. The veterinary trot up then takes place before the classes start. Her boss is bringing 8 in total and Skye has 3 of these to compete. Her rides are inexperienced at this level and Skye is greatly looking forward to competing at this show from the 9th - 20th April. Please visit . Then click on Spring Show 2014 - I think there is a live stream at the show and hopefully some of Skye's classes will be shown.

I am hopeless at travelling 'light' and am planning to take a small suitcase - similar to that allowed as hand luggage by Ryan Air! Skye wants various items that she cannot get in France and I will be bringing her birthday presents for 16th April, so my suitcase will be fit to burst! Skye has advised me to bring 'serious' waterproofs as Lummen can be very wet indeed and drying soggy jackets is a big problem when living in a lorry. 

I popped into Edgemere tack shop yesterday to buy a Kingsland waterproof jacket and Ariat boots. These were a much needed birthday present to me from my Mum and so I now have what I need, providing it fits into the suitcase!  Ariat boots are so comfy - and perfect for all the walking that is involved at this type of show. Skye thinks I could lose a stone - I wish!

I arrive back home next Monday as I am only going for the first week. Fingers crossed that all goes well and that the horses all jump to their full potential

Guess who is wearing one of Caroline's hats

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Caroline wearing one of her hats in my kitchen

The Princess Royal wearing one of Carolines hats at The Grand National

HRH The Princess Royal looked very smart when presenting the trophies for The Grand National. She was wearing a CarolineTitfer hat and Caroline was staying with us on Friday evening, leaving early on Saturday to get home in time to watch the race on TV.

Caroline is multi talented and is well known as a sculptor and artist. Her life size bronze of the racehorse Special Cargo, who was owned by HRH Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother is admired by all at Sandown racecourse.  Hats for special occasions is a new venture and if you got to the CarolineTitfers Facebook page you will see many more of her designs.

The race was full of good luck and bad luck stories - but all returned home safe and sound which made a great day even better. 

The start continues to cause problems which in my opinion is not helped by the huge roar of the crowd who are situated behind the horses as they line up. The 'run and flee' instinct of any horse must be worsened when you have 70,000 people in full voice roaring at you - terrifying for any horse and a good reason to charge off down the course to escape! Once one is spooked the others will sense 'danger' and do the same - herd instinct. 

How can this be prevented - well everyone could keep quiet - spectators manage to do this in Rugby matches - when goal 'kick's are being taken, OR they move the start to a quieter area!

The Crabbies Grand National

Saturday, April 05, 2014

My four each-way bets are Hunt Ball, The Rainbow Hunter - supporting trainer Kim Bailey - Monbeg Dude and Long Run.

Here is a photo of the brand new trophy for The Crabbies Grand National. It was kindly sent to me by Louise Eadie who with Kik Grigson founded Inkerman in 1996.

Inkerman is a British company providing luxury gifts and has dedicated consultants who will help clients choose a selection of gifts to fit their brief and budget. Inkerman also specialises in producing one-off pieces, creating bespoke products and designing special commissions. Inkerman work primarily with British based, highly regarded and skilled craftsmen.   

Although this trophy has not come from them, they are the preferred trophy supplier for the Crabbies Grand National and the Jockey Club Racecourses including Sandown, Epsom and Kempton.

Inkerman are in charge of the trophy tent which receives a constant stream of racegoers They also ensure that the trophies presented to the winning connections are on the podium at the correct time and an engraver is on site to update the various perpetual trophies as soon as the result of each race is confirmed.

Louise and Kiki, previously worked together at Tiffany & Co where Kiki was Director of the Corporate Division. They both have over 15 years experience of working in the corporate gift business especially working at director level with large blue chip companies to fulfill their gift requirements. 

As well as running Inkerman, both Kiki and Louise still focus primarily on sales and work with clients to discuss briefs, propose existing products and to design and produce custom made products.

They choose new products, research and visit exhibitions to find the hottest new designers and producers of luxury products, oversee the production of brochures and make all the important decisions for the company. Kiki is also responsible for overseeing and directing Inkerman's marketing and PR decisions.  

I am a friend of Louise's mother, Moysie and it was lovely to catch up with Louise at Aintree on Thursday.

The Foxhunters at Aintree

Thursday, April 03, 2014

The start of Aintree's three day festival and arguably the best days racing with 4 Grade 1 races. The weather was warm and we arrived in plenty of time to walk part of the National course and then enjoy a picnic in the car park. The Aintree ladies did not disappoint and there is always a lot of good humoured banter between 'us' dressed in the more traditional racing kit and them - who are in their summer dresses and very high heeled shoes. 

Sadly I did not get a decent photo of the two girls we spoke too in one of the bars. They wanted to borrow my fur hat and were both very amusing as they briefly chatted to us and chatted at length and then posed for photos with the other 'tweedies' beside us. 

Liverpool is their patch and we are visitors and that is as it should be.    


Cannot sleep do not sleep

Friday, March 28, 2014

Earthing/computer mats

Earthing sheets in many different sizes to fit your bed

Today is the start of a three day show in Manchester with Biovibes and the main purpose is to educate all those who visit the stand as to why they may not be able to sleep at night.

This is not the only reason, but can play a major part in helping you to understand why your 'brain does not want to shut down at night, why you wake up in the middle of the night and then start worrying about minor problems that you do not even think about during the day, night sweats, aches and pains  and the list goes on and on.

Electro-Stress is caused by Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) emissions radiating into the body. These come from mobile phones, clock radios, electric blankets, house wiring, wi-fi, bedside lamps, computers, televisions in addition to the natural EMF's radiating from the earth - covered by the term geopathic stress.

On our stand we were able to demonstrate, using a simple electrical voltage test meter just how much electrical current the body (of every visitor to our stand) was holding. When they touched an earthing mat , this reduced their electrical charge to zero. They were fully earthed and many felt the immediate effect of this.

Biovibes sell 'earthing items' - mouse mats and computer mats to help all those who use computers to be earthed whilst doing so. But their main product is earthing bed sheets that earth you when you are in bed at night. This can have the most amazing effect on whether or not you sleep due to eliminating the electrical charge in your body, which at night gives many of us, the feeling of being wired up to the mains with a buzzing brain! When the body shuts down at night it auto self heals but if it is unable to do so due to the high electrical charge held in the body then this self healing process is limited. 

This is so simple and yet it can have a drastic effect on the quality of everybody's sleep and general health.

The response we received was fantastic - nobody had every heard of this and spreading the word is a huge task. Go to



Shepherds Hut selected as a viewing platform

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

 Shepherds Hut used as a viewing platform

Following on from Cheltenham last week - I thought that I would continue with a racing theme and bring you details of an innovative way of viewing racehorses on the gallops:                                                                           


Blackdown® Shepherd Hut selected as no.1 gallop viewing platform

There is little doubt Robins Farm Racing can spot a winner. From a standing start one year ago, husband and wife racing professionals, Olly and Hetta Stevens', state-of-the-art training facilities, based on the Surrey/Sussex border, has helped train 17 winners, including one at Royal Ascot.

Attention to detail runs through the lifeblood of the yard and their latest acquisition has turned heads with a caring nod to both old and new. When the couple assessed gallop viewing platforms to fine tune race training, they quickly identified the perfect moveable building, a bespoke Blackdown® Shepherd Hut. 

Trainer, Olly Stevens takes the reins to explain, 'A protective covenant in the Robins Farm Deeds restricted building on the area needed for viewing gallops.  We thought hard about it and realised a tailor-made, shepherd's hut provides the ideal, weatherproof, raised-base to assess the horses from.'

'Looking at the market, we knew if we chose the right hut specialist, it would be long-lasting and totally in keeping with the stunning local countryside.'

'We own the land, so no planning was needed, and with a moveable structure, the sturdy hut could simply be moved around the gallops as needed.

The Blackdown® Shepherd Hut offers the ideal mix of traditional countryside charm, blended with a perfect, cosy, covered platform-structure to fine tune training gallops, that remains unobtrusive to the countryside and an ideal place from where owners can watch their horses train.

Built on Blackdown's signature oak chassis, the 16ft by 7ft moveable shepherd hut, has uniquely insulated Thermafleece sheep's wool insulation in the floor, walls and roof cavity, with year-round use achievable thanks to Blackdown's® double-glazed windows, professionally treated double-door and a cosy, Windy Smithy-supplied Louis Ranger wood burner.

Hetta continued, 'Choosing Blackdown® was a logical step. They were great to work with and helped personalise our hut with large windows on the front and both sides, allowing extensive views of the gallops, with floor length glass in the double doors that can be opened wide during the summer months. There is also a log-burning stove, which is lit when we have owners watching work during the winter. The colour of the steps and the natural wood was chosen to match the landscape and it always attracts the delight of our guests.'

Royal Ascot winning trainer, Olly Stevens concluded, 'Our smart Blackdown® hut impresses everyone who sees it. The workmanship is fantastic, it's incredibly versatile and fits perfectly into the surrounding Sussex countryside.'

Established in 2013 by Olly and Hetta Stevens, Robins Farm Racing has rapidly become a major player in the UK and international racing world, targeting major prizes for a wide range of clients. 

In the past year, the couple have won more than £214,000 in prize money from 17 winners and 30 placed horses, a Royal Ascot victory plus a Group Two success, all have combined to give the couple a trail-blazing start on the racing circuit.

Blackdown® Shepherd Huts options are endless, if you dream it, they’ll craft it to your reality. For info about Blackdown Shepherd Huts please see: