Started off Saturday morning with Sophie and I going to David Pearson-Smith’s yard for SJ lessons on Milli and ‘big’ Milli. As always, we had super lessons and David certainly knows who to get the absolute nest out of both the horses and us as riders! Some pictures attached of Milli jumping rather large fences yet making them feel tiny as you can see from the following clip...!
On returning from our lesson we had our monthly hay delivery and with my new addition to the team we had 4 square bales as opposed to 3. That doesn’t sound too much but they are the LARGE square bales and due to the trees around the entrance to the hay barn we have to divide these up into sections and take them in and re-stack them which is not the most exciting job! Although it is quite satisfying when we’ve finished and the barn is stacked roof high with hay…..well until the next delivery anyway!!!
Saturday afternoon was filled with schooling new ride, Diaz and then lots of bathing and tack cleaning in preparation for a local dressage competition on Sunday with 5 horses from the yard going!! With it being so local, only 15mins drive away we had enough time to do trips backwards and forwards so nobody had to stand around too long which was nice.
First for me was Diaz and I was very excited to be taking her out to her first ever grown up show and I'm very pleased as she behaved beautifully! We did the Intro A (walk & trot) test and scored 59% first, she did what was asked when it was asked but her attention was elsewhere to start with. We then let her stand by the warm up and take it all in before going in for our second test, Prelim 7. She performed a lovely test and really concentrated on me this time which was great and just shows she's got such a good attitude to work and she'd learnt / realised what the job was herself! We scored 65% in this test finishing just outside the placing's in 7th in a class of 20+ so we were very pleased. Her owner came to watch as well and was very pleased with her progress :) For more pictures and a video of Diaz please Click Here...
With a quick dash home, Diaz was turned out, I put some plaits in Milli then loaded her and we headed back over to Shotfield. It was a bit of a last minute entry with Milli as unfortunately we didn't get in of the waitlist for Hambleden Horse Trials so I decided to take her out for a bit of dressage practice, although it turned out to be 'staying on' practice!! Milli was very excitable to say the least and performed some enthusiastic acrobatic displays in the warm up, she felt they were clearly needed to brighten the damp day up! She also added in some additional movements to her tests which was a little frustrating but on the positive she was performing some lovely movements and we were even awarded an 8 for her medium trot in the Elementary test with the comment being 'expressive' which isn't something I thought I would see on one of her sheets for a while as her medium trot is something she finds quite difficult! We got 65% in the Novice 28 for 3rd place, the judge felt the flying change was unnecessary I think! haha! I managed to contain her excitement slightly more in the Elementary 44 test and even with me going wrong once (4 tests in one day is quite a lot to remember!) we managed to score a whopping 76% for second place! My error lost us the win annoyingly but all in all it was a very good for all concerned, just slightly damp due to the typical English weather! For more pictures and a video of Milli please Click here...
A few pictures of the other 3 'four legged' members from the 'Team Gadd' yard that went to the dressage competition getting places including, Sophie winning Prelim 10 on 'big' Milli (middle pic) and Adele coming 6th in Intro A on Todd! Well done Girls :)
Poor Roxie has been continuing her second lot of recovery and for the odd hour last week we did let her out on the garden for a bit, someone has to do the mowing don’t they! Haha This week, after she promised me she would behave, I have been turning her out with Milli in the big field and she has managed to keep all her bandages on thankfully! She even managed to roll yesterday, it did take her a while to figure out how she was going to get herself down to roll without going down on to her knee, bless her – but, as they say, where there’s a will there’s a way and she managed to get herself filthy!! Picture of dirty Roxie attached to make you smile :-) Luckily her new found love for Likit's is keeping her occupied and the field snak-a-ball is great!!
We have a very busy weekend set out ahead of us at our most local BE event of the season, Chilham Park this bank holiday weekend.....I will be glad of the extra day off on Monday I think! I am there competing mum's mare 'big' Milli (Foxborough Star) in the BE90 Open on Saturday morning and then I have two clients competing Saturday afternoon and they have asked if I mind giving them a hand etc. then I am back first thing Sunday morning with Milli (Diamond Mill) competing in the BE100 Open.....wish us luck :-)
***Keep Calm & Canter On***
The sun has started to shine, the ground is drying out nicely, the days are getting longer and it was finally time for our first event of the season! After Goring Heath being cancelled at the beginning of April Milli and I were putting our ‘brave pants' on and going straight in at Novice level. We have done a lot of jumping over the winter and Milli schooled well XC a few weeks ago so I was confident she was prepared enough. Unfortunately it didn’t quite go as well as we had planned…..
Milli was eating the ground up and travelling at a very good speed as well. She seems to have found a few more gears ‘speed wise’ during the winter. We went straight routes through all the combinations and she was fyling, next was the water and the skinny house in was quite close to the water edge and, as most of your probably know I’m not a big fan of water jumps after my falls on Roxie, but Milli gave me nothing to worry about, flying in, splashing through the water and out over the skinny house to exit the water, staying as straight as ever! She was giving me a great feeling, well until we got two from home and unfortunately she just switched off, which was a big surprise as she was feeling great! Unfortunately this lead to our first big E on her record which is a bit disappointing but on the positive dressage was good a she jumped ace in the show jumping so we are both here fit and safe to fight another day.
There was a big positive from the day at South of England though as it was our first trip out in ‘Fiona The Ford’, the lorry that my boyfriend and his dad have been working on for me over the past few weekends and they’ve done an absolutely amazing job converting it…..check out the pictures below! There are more to follow as I've got stage by stage pictures throughout the whole conversion!
Milli came out of the stable the following morning 100% sound and full of beans so we are thinking perhaps she just ran out of energy, bless her! She did have a slightly ‘puffy’ fetlock joint in front so if she banged a fence she probably thought best to quit whilst she was ahead as she’s not the bravest when it comes to pain……think it’s that Arab in her blood!!
The following day, with Milli enjoying a day out in the field in the sun with Roxie, I was off XC schooling on a clients horse with my sister Sophie who was riding mum’s mare, ‘big’ Milli. We had a great time and the horses were jumping brilliantly. Sophie, having not done much XC before, coped very well with ‘big’ Milli and even jumped some of the Novice fences! Tintin, the horse I was riding was also jumping some of the novice fences, including the steps and the big jump into water and he felt great! We did unfortunately part company towards the end when he banked a fence and just ejected me out the saddle, thankfully my air jacket was fully inflated on landing so I did bounce! Unfortunately though I don’t bounce as well as I used to anymore so I was a little sore and stiff yesterday that’s for sure! So an evening of lunging the horses after work it was for me!
Next stop for Milli and I is Hambleden International in a few weeks time. I have only been to Hambleden once before and that was a few years ago with Roxie for the 1* and it was abandoned after dressage due to the snow! The XC course looks lovely and there is a lot in the woods, which when the weather is nice there is always lots of lovely bluebells which makes for some lovely pictures, luckily one of our fabulous Sponsors Ultimate Images is the photographer there so we'll have some crackers for you to look at! :)
Until next time,
***Keep Calm & Canter On***
Over the past few months, since it became clear that Milli wasn't a fan of the flair system in my previous saddles, I have been searching high and low for top quality saddles that aren't going to break the bank which was seeming impossible, well, until I came across D A Saddles! With them being based in the East Midlands and travelling throughout this area and the West Midlands combined I wasn't sure if they'd be willing to travel down to Kent for me to have a ride in the saddles. I got very excited when Dave replied to my emails and we arranged a day for him to come down.......
The saddles felt absolutely super and they were very light which Milli loved! I rode in two different dressage saddles and the Orpheus Dressage Saddle has my vote as it allowed me to get a super feel of Milli and she even felt thin - I was that close to her! For those of you that see Milli regularly will know she likes her food!! I then tried the Hera Cross Country Saddle which is a really super saddle to jump in. I felt very secure in my seat, my lower leg was stable with my knees free and Milli was jumping brilliantly. I think she definitely liked the fact that this jump saddle weighs only a mere 5.3kg!!! The other thing I particularly liked about the jump saddle was that the flaps were short which is great for riders like me!
After riding in the saddles we had a chat about alterations that would be made for me, making my saddle unique to me and Dave and I agreed that the knee block would need to be about an inch higher than it was in the demo saddle I rode in. That is what is so great about this company, they will try their absolute best to get the saddle exactly how you and your horse want it! Plus they are putting a bit of blue on my saddles making them bespoke, a bit like this saddle made recently for D A Saddles Brand Ambassador Beatle Payne!
Talking of Brand Ambassadors I can proudly announce that I have been offered a place on the D A Saddles team and am now a Brand Ambassador for them! I can’t wait for my saddles to arrive and get out eventing in them. They are very kindly sending me pictures throughout the process of them being made which is very exciting so I can keep you all updated if you wish to follow…..I can’t wait to see the blue on them! Please 'LIKE' their Facebook page and also 'Follow'
So many exciting things to look forward to over the next few weeks with then new saddles arriving from D A Saddles, a new four legged member joining the team (more on this in the next week or so!) and most importantly Milli and I are out at South of England BE Horse Trials this weekend for our first event of the season……fingers crossed we have a good run! We are competing in one of the Novice sections Saturday afternoon – wish us luck :)
***Keep Calm & Canter On***
You'll find regular updates on this page with all the very latest news on everything that we have been up too!