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Sires of the World Grand Prix

Monday, September 22, 2014


More good news in the 1.50m  Grand Prix Stallions - FEI Zangersheide Sires of the World Final.

The course was very difficult with only 11 of the 49 starters clear in the first round and Skye and Monty were 1 of those!

They had a very good draw for the 2nd round being one of the last to go and this time it was 2013 Hickstead Derby winning rider Philip Miller (Caritiar Z) who stepped in to help Skye warm up. His horses were stabled next door to Monty - all the Brits are together -  and as Dave (see previous blog) had gone home, Phillip offered his services. Having someone with such experience 'on the ground' cannot be underestimated. 

Skye's boss was not at the show, and the way riders step in to help each other is such a lovely and often unseen side of show jumping. 

Moving on Monty, barely breathed on fence 2 in the jump off and it came down - Skye quickly slowed up and protected their 4 faults to finish 8th. A 'globe'  trophy for a podium finish would have been wonderful but a plaque for 8th and other goodies is pretty amazing. 

We had a great time in Scotland and Nick, Jack and I drove home yesterday in 7 hours which was pretty good going. We were listening to Five Live commentary of Lewis Hamilton winning the Singapore Grand Prix and Clare was there, sending me texts and photos - so the journey seemed to fly by! Clare had also been to a Robbie Williams concert prior to the Grand Prix - it was all happening in Singapore this week end. It is hard to keep up with my girls!


World Breeding Championships 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

My photo of the International Arena taken last year

We are in Scotland staying with my brother and sister in law to celebrate two birthdays that end in zero! The first is my nieces 30th and the second is my brothers ..........................! 

News from The World Breeding Championships at held at Zangersheide, Lanaken in Belgium is good.

After a long drive Skye and Full Monty arrived in Lanaken last night and then came 7th in today's FEI Zangersheide Sires of the World warm up class.

The course was very technical and with Skye's old boss Dave Quigley unexpectedly, ( to Skye and I) being there to warm them up, they jumped a clear round in the 7th fastest time out of 50 other stallions and their riders. Monty was a star and tomorrow is the Sires of the World Grand Prix over a 1.50m course. 

The signal on my phone is very iffy in Scotand so I have not spoken to Skye but Dave sent me the results on his phone and Skye was also Best Brit. Thank you Dave for all your help.  

Driving up today and being in Scotland on the first day after the referendum was a moment in time I will always remember. The feeling/vibes that have been generated by the referendum are very apparent and I must admit that I found it very difficult to appreciate this when trying to keep in touch via the press and media whilst in Cheshire. I would not be at all surprised if some sort of 'troubles' started as a result of the Yes votes defeat. Hopefully nothing like Northern Ireland but feelings certainly run very deep.

My only comment is that Scotland is such a beautiful part of the planet and it is a pleasure to spend time there.



    

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. 
 

News from Chantilly

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ariva as a three year old in Holland

A year later with Skye in the 4 year old finals at Scope

A very easy journey to Paris on Eurostar and then a train to Chantilly and a short walk to our hotel. We are staying about a mile from the show ground an easy and beautiful walk across the park land bordering Chantilly racecourse.

We went straight to the stables to meet up with Skye and whilst she rode, we walked round the showground and then into Chantilly, before all meeting up for supper at a restaurant situated just behind the Grand Stables.

Jamie Wingrove and his partner Kirsty who are good friends of Skye's joined us and the walk back to our hotel on a warm evening was a lovely way to end our first day in France. Jamie trains a young American rider who is competing at Chantilly in her very first CSI1*. Emily is only 16 years old and four years ago this autumn I sold Ariva Jensma to event rider Clare Valender for Emily (the daughter of Clare's owners) to ride when she was old enough. Ariva then moved to the USA where he has been very successful with Emily and he has now returned to the UK as Emily and her horses are now based in the UK and are trained and managed by Jamie in a purpose built yard near to Clare!.

Skye produced Ariva when she was with Dave and Shaz Quigley and Ariva went to Jamie and Kirsty on Skye's recommendation when he was ready to sell on and Skye was too busy to be involved in the viewings. Kirsty loved him to bits and wanted to buy him for herself! You can imagine their amazement when Emily sent them a photo of Ariva (when telling them what horses were arriving from the USA). The photo she sent was this one of Ariva and Skye competing in the 4 year old final at Scope Festival in 2009!!!. Emily was equally amazed when they told her that they knew Ariva and Skye very well indeed! 

Ariva is now 9 years old and I hope to go and watch him compete in the UK very shortly. He is being aimed at 1.40m classes. What a small world we live in and so lovely that Ariva has turned out to be such a star for Emily. 

I first saw him as a two year old in Holland when on a buying trip with Toni Potts. The Jensma part of his name is in memory of the late Meinte Jensma who died just before Scope in 2009 - he and his partner Paula found Ariva and I bought him from them. They were planning to come and watch Ariva and Skye at Scope. Meinte was a legend in 'finding' show jumpers and dressage horses - and the world famous Apollo ridden by the then 'young' Nick Skelton was one of them!

Longines Global Champions Tour of Chantilly

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Skye is competing in Chantilly

We leave this afternoon for this CSI5* show which also incorporates a CSI2* and a CSIYH 1* and hope to arrive in time for the Horse Inspection at 1.00 pm. tomorrow.

Some of the very top riders in the world will be competing including GB's Ben Maher, current World Number 2, Skye's boss who is current World number 7. Kevin Staut - World Number 6 and the list goes on. In addition Edwina Tops Alexander who is leader of the Global Champions Tour - this is different to the World rankings-  will be competing and trying to stay at the top as this is the 9th leg of this tour which is only open to the top World ranking riders!

Edwina has a new ride, having recently bought, with her husband Jan Tops (the organiser and brains behind the Global Champions Tour) the 8 year old gelding - Ramiro Cruise - produced by Dave Quigley - when owned by my brother. Ramiro Cruise last jumped at Bolesworth and many of you may have seen him being paraded in the main arena with his sire Ramiro B who stands at Nina Barbours,  Hart Hill Stud.

The show is held in the middle of Chantilly racecourse and our daughter Skye is competing in the CSI 2* section. We are so proud of what she has achieved and she will be riding two horses for the Leprevost stables, whilst her boss rides in the 5* star section. The horses belong to Belgium and French owners although we will be cheering her on as a GB rider!

Three years ago, Skye was yard rider for Dave and Shaz Quigley and Dominic Webb (20) who is based with Dave and trained by Dave is in Arezzo, Italy as a member of Great Britains Young Riders team at the European Championships.

Good luck Dom and make sure you bring home a medal! 



Politics and country life

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rose and Owen

I am not interested in politics unless they affect my life and the news that Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has lost his job is not good for those who live in the countryside.

Owen understands country life and country people and I like many others, feel that he is one of the very few in the current Government that do!  He was prepared to stand up to all those who are 'Green' many of whom do not have a clue and live in a world where badgers and foxes are cuddly pets!

I believe Owen received a very warm welcome at the Game Fair at Blenheim on Friday and a long queue lined up to meet him and express their sympathy and outrage. The 12 million rural votes are now seriously under threat and I cannot see how the lady who grew up in Leeds - whose parents were both Labour Supporters can be seen by Mr Cameron as a suitable replacement?

I am biased as Owen and his wife Rose are friends of ours and were at our home the day before the announcement was made. Owen was brought up in the country and lives in a very rural area near to here. He follows or partakes in country pursuits and has first hand knowledge of many of the problems that he was brought in to solve. He was doing a very good job and will be greatly missed. Hopefully it will only be a matter of time before common sense prevails and he will be back where he belongs. 

Mirrors for Training

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hire a mirror from Mirrors for Training

Mirrors for Training is delighted to introduce a new service that allows riders to hire a Mirror On A Stand- ideal for those interested in arena mirrors but anxious about committing to permanent mirrors, or for show centres during the season.

“Our Mirrors On A Stand are ideal for those on a budget, for show centres and for people schooling on grass, in unfenced arenas,” says Andrea Miles from Mirrors for Training. “They’re also a great way to try a mirror before you buy, or address a schooling issue that’s a constant niggle, and that’s why we decided to offer these mirrors for hire, so people can give them a try at minimal cost. We’ve already had enquiries from competition venues about this idea, so we thought that we’d give everyone the opportunity to hire.”

Each Mirror On A Stand comes on a durable plastic coated steel frame. Made using 6mm Pilkington Opti-Mirror, the mirror offers an accurate, crisp, clear reflection for maximum benefit. Each mirror is manufactured to British standards and has impact absorbing cushioners as well as a layer of safety film over the glass, meaning that if the glass gets broken, it won’t shatter, it’ll stay within the frame.

To buy, a Mirror On A Stand is £696 (£580+VAT). To hire, the Mirror On A Stand costs £50 per week, with a £100 charge for delivery and £100 charge for collection. This offer is available to UK mainland only.

To find out more, see www.mirrorsfortraining.co.uk or call 01902 791207.


The height of summer competitions

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cinny and Mike after the prize giving

Flash floods have caused a certain amount of havoc at equestrian competitions during the past two weeks. The brilliance of a proper outdoor jumping surface was highlighted at The British Masters CSI 3* at Wettenhall when a serious storm broke over the show ground.The Charles Britton surface - looked after by the man himself - with stood the deluge. The show was stopped until the storm passed as the rain was so heavy that it resembled a very bad monsoon. But normal service was resumed in record time with 'the boss' knowing exactly what equipment to use to get the water away. All riders and horse competed safely and this was a perfect advertisement, if any was needed to endorse  a Charles Britton surface!

On Thursday last week my daughter Cinny judged the 'best turned out' at Ascot for the Long Harbour Handicap - a race sponsored by her husbands company on this Charity Race Day at Ascot. 

Cinny is not involved with horses at the present time BUT was brought up on the importance of turnout. As a teenager Cinny was an expert at plaiting tails and on the last day of the Cotswold Pony Club Camp - was kept very busy plaiting the tales of all her friends ponies!  All this knowledge came flooding back and coupled with knowing (through her father and I) what a fit racehorse should look like, she chose a horse trained by Mike Channon.  

Charles Barnett, Chief Executive of Royal Ascot then told Cinny that in this race the 'best turned out' seems to win - no pressure then - and sure enough it did at 14/1!  Cinny reminded CB that many years ago her brilliant 14.2 hands hunting pony - Rusty was bought by Georgina, wife of CB for their eldest daughter to hunt with the Wynnstay. - small world.  

Then the world was about to get even smaller as Mike Channon was tipped off by CB as to who was presenting the prize to him.  Mike has known Cinny for ages but had not seen her for many many years. He trained next door to Cinny's father - Mike at West Ilsley and James at Chilton -  before James moved to Yorkshire. In his footballing days with Southampton - he had a small stud very close to where we then lived and trained at Whitsbury and when Cinny and Clare were 5 and 6 we holidayed in Yarmouth with another family who are very close friends of his and one of the highlights was the free tickets Mike gave us all to watch him play for Norwich!

A trip down memory lane for us all! 


Wimbledon Men's final is epic

Monday, July 07, 2014

The view from our seats

Roger Federers twin daughters sitting above the big screen

John McEnroe with Jimmy Connors and Sue Barker

Our first ever visit to Wimbledon and what a match!  We arrived in good time and spent three hours having a really good look around before the Men's final started at 2.00 pm. I visited the Museum which was fascinating and I could have spent much longer there, if there had been more time.

Having never watched a 'live' match I was amazed by the sheer speed of play - much faster than it looks on the TV! The accuracy was remarkable, with the ball skimming the net, with very few errors. We had a pair of binoculars and the time between sets was spent 'celebrity' spotting and then finding ourselves standing beside the 'Middleton' family on the Members lawn after the match!

Going to Wimbledon has always been on my 'bucket list' and the whole experience was even better than I had imagined. Many thanks to Charlotte who gave us our tickets and is the wife of my first cousin Tim MacCaw. Charlotte is a very good tennis player in her own right and has been a Member of Wimbledon for 35 years. Her knowledge of the game is huge and she is still involved with the All England Tennis Club.

Our journey home went without a hitch - leaving Wimbledon at 7.15 p.m. we were home at 10.58 pm. with all Tubes and Trains running on time! So easy when it works and a perfect way to spend a day.

Meanwhile the Grand Prix at Southview CSI 3* was the highlight of this three day show and a win for David Simpson of Ireland.  The Motor Racing Grand Prix at Silverstone and a win for Lewis Hamilton with Jenson Button finishing 4th - his best result, from a poor season to date.

It is now Monday morning and the latest news from Skye who has just had a win on Catapult in today's five year old class. This lovely grey stallion has had three weeks off and this is his first show since his holiday. He is jumping again on Wednesday.   

Horse Power at Wimbledon

Saturday, July 05, 2014

We set off to London later on this afternoon as we have tickets for the Men's Final tomorrow. Nick and I have never been to Wimbledon, so watching the Men's final as our first ever live match is a good place to start!

I always try and look for a 'horsey angle' in everything that I write on this blog and sure enough a horse drawn steel roller was used on the courts at Wimbledon. 

The roller was only retired from service in 1986 and when it was pulled by a horse. the horse wore lawn boots to protect the grass!  

Here are my photos of the horse drawn roller which is now a Wimbledon landmark.  If you click on the 'horse power' photo you can read all about it!

Meanwhile a busy day at Southview CSI3* - the damp weather of yesterday did not spoil some top class show jumping. An early winner for Laura Renwick and the speedy Beluga got the show off to a good start.


The British Masters CSI 3*

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Skye and Cavalia 2013

The 4th annual British Masters CSI3* held at SouthView, Wettenhall Cheshire starts tomorrow and rumour has it that 2014 Hickstead Derby winner Adventure De Kannan and his rider Trevor Breen will be competing. This remarkable horse only has one eye having had his right eye removed last summer following an infection.

Talking of CSI3*'s - Skye ( click on her name for a link to her Skyline Ltd Facebook page) competed at Cantelau CSI3* last weekend and achieved 2 top 10 placings on Full Monty and Aresse M.

 She was then equal first on Monday in the six year old A class at Deauville with Ugo and Upsala. 

The talented five year old Catapult is having a short rest as he is now rated the 8th best in his age group in France and he and Skye are aiming for the Regionals and then the Finals for his age group. 

Skye won the six year old equivalent last year when producing Cavalia for Ashford Farm. Cavalia is now back at Ashford Farm and recently won the 6/7 year old Grand Prix at Rotterdam CSI5* ridden by their own rider the Brazilian, Marlon Zanotellie.

It is always very pleasing when young horses 'go on' and continue to be successful with other riders.  A job well done!





Heythrop Hunt Fair

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Serena is the rider in the tweed jacket and Jonjo is smiling

Claire Lomas

A very successful Heythrop Hunt Fair was held on Sunday and my roving reporter has sent me these photos.

The gate jumping competition resulted in a four way tie for first place with the gate at 1.65m. These are not professional show jumpers and neither are their horses - all the more reason for being very impressed. One of the joint winners was Jonjo - (Next Optimist) - produced locally as a five year old by Toni Potts for Sallie Cooper and then sold via Nicolette Gidley Wright to his current owner Serena Norton who has had him ever since. JJ is now in his mid teens and rather enjoys trying something new!

Claire Lomas won the Donkey Derby - a remarkable achievement as Claire is paralysed from the waist down as a result of a freak accident at Osberton Horse Trials in 2007. 

Claire completed the 2012 London Marathon wearing a ReWalk robotic suit and became the first paraplegic to do so. Clare took 17 days to do this and raised £210,00 for Spinal Research - respect. 

Congratulations to Sarah Bullimore and Valentino V for their Nations Cup debut in Strzegom Poland last week end where they were part of the GB team that finished second to Germany. Valentino V had a horrible fall at Badminton and it is good to see that he is now back to his best. Regular readers will know of my early involvement with Valentino V and how I love to follow his career.     

Bolesworth on TV

Monday, June 30, 2014

For those of you who were unable to get to Bolesworth CSI3* there is a chance to watch some of the highlights on TV over the next few weeks. Please click on the flyer on the right hand side which has all the viewing times.

Here is a very good promotional video...

The show was so successful that plans are in the pipeline to upgrade it to a CSI4* next year. In order to do this, certain improvements need to be made and so Nina Barbour and her team have taken the bold decision to cancel the proposed show in September in order to build for the future. Nina and her team deserve full credit for taking this route 'in the pursuit of excellence' which just happens to be the phrase that she uses for another of her projects, namely Harthill Stud. This is a case of practicing what you preach and fortune favors the bold! 

One of the regions of concern at Bolesworth was the drainage in the stabling area and this can now be done sooner rather than later in order to be ready in time for 2015. A change of date means that next year Bolesworth will take place the week before Hickstead and will mean that International riders will now have two International 4* shows on consecutive weeks making the journey and travel costs from Europe and beyond, to the UK even more cost effective. 

Exciting times ahead and a chance for show jumping in the UK to increase its profile. Surely the Hickstead meeting will also benefit from this as yesterdays Derby seemed to be lacking in top class riders from both home and abroad. Last year, when a Nations Cup was held at Hickstead the standard appeared to be much higher. 

I have always said that there is no need to keep moving the goal posts in order to achieve a result and yet again the Hickstead Jumping Derby proved this. The course has been the same for 50 odd years - no clear rounds this year with a jump off between two on four faults! The 'equine' is NOT improving as an athlete so why make courses harder?

Perhaps all those who course build for the cross country phase of Eventing should take note!     

Congratulations to my old friend Charlie Brooks and his wife Rebekah for being proved innocent. Charlie and I shared a desk when he was Assistant Trainer, and I was Assistant Trainers Secretary to the late great National Hunt trainer Fred Winter. I saw Charlie at Cheltenham Races the day after they had both been arrested in the early hours of the morning two or was it three years ago. My first question to Charlie  was - are you innocent?. Yes, was the answer and I never doubted him for one minute - but how on earth could they prove it - and now they have!   


A few days away

Friday, June 27, 2014

My finger encased in blue foam

I have been unexpectedly out of action! I had a sore finger for 6 weeks and it was gradually getting worse. 

I tried soaking my finger in salt and water, applying a Manuka honey poultice and also Animalintex with a Vetrap bandage! Two, week long courses of antibiotics did not appear to have any effect either and the throbbing continued. A third visit to our local surgery gave me choices of a six week wait to see a specialist - or speeding up this process by using private healthcare, which I have.  I opted for the latter but that entailed a four day wait for an appointment and then a possible one to two weeks before anything was done. This was also too long as the pain was bad, so I set off to A and E thinking that if I went in the day time there would be less of a queue!  I arrived at the Countess of Chester A and E on the morning of Monday 23rd June.

A and E were very good indeed. In a nut shell - I had a chronic infection - an X Ray revealed that the infection had caused 30% of the bone in the top of my index finger to disappear. The plastic surgeon operated on me straight away for debridement and a wash out of the infection which he thought may have got into my bloodstream or into my bones. Lots of intravenous antibiotics followed and I was allowed home 4 days later. A visit to the Countess on 30th June showed that the test to see if my bone had been infected was negative and so the pressure from the infection in my finger had caused the bone in my finger to dissolve rather than the finger being 'eaten' by a bone infection. No wonder it hurt!

The upshot means that I am now on very strong oral antibiotics rather than on a drip for six weeks - much better! Sadly, my finger will never fully recover as there is permanent damage to nerve endings and the bone will not grow back! I am still bandaged up and office work is tricky as the finger has to be in a sling to keep it upright to stop it swelling.  What a performance and the plastic surgeon and nurses all told me I was very lucky.

Lesson learnt? - very much so - firstly if you have throbbing pain over a period of time it is normally caused by an acute infection so you need to act quickly. Secondly - follow your gut feeling and be assertive as if I had waited for an appointment I could now have a life threatening blood infection.



Mother and daughter

Friday, June 20, 2014

A lovely video of  Skye's boss and her daughter to promote Penelope's clothing range. Skye wears this range and the show jackets and causal wear are all stunning and very stylish in an effortless French 'chic' sort of way!

Skye's boss continues her brilliant form with a big win at Cannes CSI5* last weekend and today she is representing France in their Nations Cup team in the CHIO5* in Rotterdam. France currently lead the 2014 Nations Cup table and a big result today would consolidate their position. Having such a strong team of horses capable of jumping at 5* level week after week is a huge accomplishment and the behind the scenes work in keeping them at this level cannot be underestimated.  

The feedback from Bolesworth CSI3* continues to be very positive and the Show is now in a perfect position to build on their success. Great momentum, in all aspects has now been generated and a very good crowd were there as well. So often equestrian events do not have crowd support - but Bolesworth are different in this respect.   



Blessed with good weather

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The International Arena

The hospitality tent and moat in the foreground

Four days of excellent show jumping at Bolesworth CSI3* and the weather stayed fine. Sunday saw huge crowds enjoying the Trade Stands, Camel racing, Ben Potter Birds of Prey Display, Polly's Parrot Show, Magical Punch and Judy, Newfoundland Rescue Dogs, Flyball Dog Display and last but not least a thrilling 1.55m Grand Prix won by William Whitaker!

I believe the concert by 'Blue' - on Friday night was voted a success and the after party even more so! 

Call me old fashioned but I could not understand why Callum Best was there and seemed to 'get in' on rather too many photos? His only and dubious claim to fame is being the son of George Best and surely he lowered rather than raised the profile of Bolesworth. Entries on social media sites started to refer to Bolesworth MD Nina and her younger sister Cleo as the Barbour 'babes' - this word is more often used when describing a topless model on Page 3 of The Sun. 

Surely this hugely impressive Show needs to distance itself from these hangers on? It is already doing a very good job in attracting Show Jumpings 'elite' in terms of owners, sponsors and competitors. This knock on effect will mean that everyone attending needs to raise their game - not lower it. Therefore it is not necessary to associate with a bunch of B list celebrities to enhance the shows profile. Bolesworth has a very special USP (unique selling point) and could easily be too show jumping what Badminton and Burghley are too eventing.   

On Friday evening whilst sitting in our garden  we were able to hear music from Blue and also Status Quo (legends) - who were performing at nearby Cholmondeley Castle on the same evening as part of their Pageant of Power event. A real feast of entertainment and a shame they clashed as each must have detracted from the other, being only a few miles apart. 

Please do not think that I was not hugely impressed by Bolesworth and all the hard work put in by Show Director Alan Beaumont the Team in general and the vision of Nina Barbour. We really enjoyed ourselves and are already looking forward to next year!  Well done to them all and a big THANK YOU. 

 

Bolesworth is awesome

Thursday, June 12, 2014

First impressions of this new arena - an amphitheater which literally nestles into the side of the sloping park land in front of Bolesworth Castle it that is a truly stunning feat of engineering. The moat surrounding the arena, the landscaped gradients, walkways, roadways, lorry park, hard standing, warm up arenas and overall layout is breathtaking. It is a long time since a venue of this scale has been built from scratch in the UK.

I have had to borrow this photo and good as it is - the only way to truly take in the showground is to go there! The show runs until Sunday and if you cannot get there, then why not watch the live stream by clicking on this link to the website and then selecting 'live stream' on the top right of the Home page, If you wish to see the running order then go to the Competitor information and print out the start list for the class you want to watch. The live stream is only available for classes held in the new International arena. 

There were 3 International classes today and 2 of them were won by Stephen Whitaker. The 1.45m class had Stephen in 1st place his nephew Robert in second and John - Roberts father - who is also Stephen's brother in third. In 14th place was Dave Quigley riding my brothers young horse to a confidence giving double clear. Prize money was to 15th place - everyone happy then!

My youngest daughter Skye is not at Bolesworth but has just sent me this video of her 4th place in a 1.50m class at Deauville last Friday. Pure class or am I biased!!

 

New stables

Friday, June 06, 2014

Our new stables are more or less finished and have been put up as a replacement for our old stables that are in the process of being sold.

The old stables have planning permission to be converted into a stunning home with lovely rural views. They are currently used as storage for items that we do not want to throw away and these can now be rehoused in the new stables.

I found these stables in the adverts on this website and they are exactly what we need. They are very good value for money as the whole lot including the base and putting them up came to under 4K. For two 12 x 12 and a 12 x 6 tack room this is pretty good. They would not be sturdy enough to accommodate every type of horse but you get what you pay for and they are good value. We are delighted with the colour we have chosen as we did not want the traditional wooden look! You will see from the photos that a little bit of painting needs to be done and we are missing some hooks and a door knob for the tack room.

If anyone wants details as to where they came from - then please contact me via this website.  

Charles Owen Pony Title

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Blackmail a portrait by Refna (Liz) Hamey

Many congratulations to 14 year old Thomas Tulloch for becoming Charles Owen British Pony Champion at Brand Hall last week end. 

I have a very special interest in Thomas as his first proper pony was Blackmail owned by our family and lent by me to Janny and Andrew Tulloch for Thomas to ride. Another of Blackmails riders  Sophie Martin went on to represent Great Britain at the FEI Pony European Championships and that is what Thomas is hoping to do this year. This takes place at Mill Street Ireland from 30th July - 3rd August 2014. 

My eldest daughter Clare also started off on Blackmail and although she did not get in the FEI pony team she was long listed for the team as was another rider, Tessa Clark. Tessa went on to represent Great Britain in a Junior team and is now married to seriously rated National Hunt trainer Warren Greatrex and is a very successful bloodstock agent in her own right. Tessa's elder brother Simon - husband of Irish International rider Aoife was yet another rider of Blackmail as was their sister Polly (Stockton)! 

Blackmail did not confine his abilities to starting off future event riders as this little legend was instrumental in starting off show jumpers as well! 

Skye my youngest daughter is a professional show jumper making a name for herself in France where she is based with that countries leading lady rider. His very last rider, before he finally retired - was Molly Potts who is now 13 years old and also making a name for herself in showjumping - no pressure Molly!! 

Blackmail lived to a great age and his role as a 'first time off the leading rein pony' cannot be underestimated.  

   

June is always very busy

Monday, June 02, 2014

A stunning back drop

Not a bad idea

As we head into June a CSI3* takes place at Bolesworth from 12th - 15th June. There is also a full schedule of National classes for horses and ponies and entries for these classes close on 3rd June. In addition, there are many other attractions and a concert by Blue on the evening of Friday 13th June will appeal to those who love showjumping as well as those that do not! 

The new International arena is, by all accounts breathtaking. A true feat of engineering - surrounded by a moat with the castle as a backdrop. A spectacular setting by all accounts and please click on this link for the promotional video taken at last weeks test day. 

Jonny Wilkinson has now retired from Rugby and did so in style by leading his team to victory as French League Champions. We watched the game and as soon as it had ended the National Anthem struck up!. A lovely gesture by France to honour Jonny - who they regard as one of their own since he started playing for Toulon five years ago.  He then conducted a post match interview in perfect French and received his match winning medal from the French President. Jonny is a true ambassador for all sport and Rugby in particular. A role model in every sense of the word - surely a knighthood is on the cards? Toulon are in the process of 'retiring' the Number 10 shirt that Jonny wears as a mark of deep respect and gratitude and I do NOT think that this has ever been done before.

So sad to hear that well known racehorse trainer John Hills has died from pancreatic cancer. The speed of his illness has been a huge shock to his very close family and many friends. Our thoughts are with them all and in particular his wife and four daughters.



The Young Riders do well

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The perfect number 10

Jonny being interviewed by his old boss

Following on from my last blog - Rebecca Marsh was a member of the silver medal winning young riders team in Deauville and although Dom Webb was not in the team he ended up winning the Young Riders Grand Prix on Sunday. A fantastic result for them both.

Dom is trained and based with Dave Quigley and whilst Dave was in Deauville he nipped twenty minutes down the road to watch one of his ex-protegees - namely our daughter Skye competing at another French show. I got a lovely text from Dave to say that Skye was in great form and riding very well.  

Talking of France and I was glued to the Heineken Cup Final on Saturday with Toulon beating Saracens at Cardiff and my sporting hero Jonny Wilkinson playing for the last time in the UK before his retirement. A true ambassador for Rugby and surely he will be knighted for his efforts once he finally retires this coming week end.

Nick and I have just booked a hotel in Chantilly so we can attend the show that takes place there from 25th - 27th July. This is a CSI2* and a CSI5* which includes a leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour. Skye is entered to compete and with accommodation rapidly getting booked up we needed to get organised.

I have not been racing at Chantilly since attending the French Derby in 1972 won by Hard to Beat ridden by Lester Piggott. Talking of French Derby's - this years French 2000 gns winner Karakonti trained by the highly successful Englishman, Jonathan Pease from his yard in Chantilly will be running in the race this Sunday. Mary his wife is a childhood friend of mine and her family home where her brother Peter lives is just down the road at Tushingham near Whitchurch. Mary and I were in one of, if not the first Wynnstay Pony Club one day event team and Mary still has the photo - which she showed me when we stayed with them last year!