Well its certainly been a week of highs and lows this week.
Monday I took Clare Tewson's Ringo for a dressage lesson with Lara Edwards, we were pleasantly surprised by the lack of wind when we arrived at Lili Brooksbys yard considering it seemed to be blowing a gale when we left home, as it has for most of the week! Lara has a great way of teaching and I feel I have picked up a lot of useful training tips in just the two lessons I have had with her. Ringo was amazing and felt the best he has ever felt. We worked on his flying changes and some lateral work, he can sometimes become a little tense in his lateral work but today he stayed soft and through and felt fantastic.
Tuesday was a tough day as we made the decision it was time to say good bye to our family dog Ellie, she has been an amazing dog who we have had for just under thirteen years and has given us so many amazing memories. She has always been fantastic taking puppies that have arrived at Little Garendon under her wing and the same with both my girls who she adored and equally they adored her back. She has left a big hole and will be greatly missed but if I'm feeling sad I just think of all of the fun times and things she did to make us laugh I find myself smiling and feel lucky that we had her.
Wednesday myself and four friends headed of to Cheltenham for the Cheltenham Festival the olympics of the racing world. We went last year for my fortieth and it was so good we decided to make it a annual visit!! We stayed in the lovely village Northleach Wednesday night and went racing on the Thursday. The standard of the racing was first class, all the horses looked in amazing condition and were turned out beautifully. Every race was exciting and the jumping was some of the best quality I have ever seen, the highlight of the day was when myself and Julie decided whilst waiting for the others to get back from the bar we would pick two horses out by name at long odds and place a bet at the tote, what a good idea that turned out to be when Julies came in at 50/1 and mine was third at 40/1!!! That was dinner paid for that night!! Friday was back to reality but still managed to fit in watching the Gold Cup in between sorting the horses out!
I had a great day teaching my show jump clinic yesterday. Great to see the regulars as well as some new faces. I was glad to be inside out of the horrendous wind! Everyone went really well yesterday, but I think my highlight was watching Caitlin whose pony Emily has lacked confidence jumping and not always given Caitlin the easiest ride, but yesterday Emily was keen taking on every jump and is a real credit to all the hard work that has been put in to her but Caitlin and her family. Keep up to good work.
Today it was the younger generations turn as Ila took Rosie tot a Quorn Pony Club Rally. Thanks to Sarah Johnson who had a work cut out today with a young ride in a spooky arena, it was testing to say the least! Rosie was rather full of herself at the beginning but then settled well and all was going well till she decided that one of the jumps may eat her so to give an extra couple of foot, unfortunately Ila went even higher and they didn't quite meet on landing! But Ila jumped back on and with a bit of encouragement and running from me she jumped round again and then finished the lesson jumping a little course on her own again, she is very proud now that that is fall number 7 so that means she is a proper rider, I'm not sure where that leaves me as I think I must be on about 1007 by now!!!
Another busy week coming up, speak again next week!
We had what felt like a fairly quiet week last week. On Monday we went off in convoy cross country schooling with Lucy, Blinx, Flo and Darcy and met our Friend Jo with her horse Ditsy there. We went to Ansus Smales Eventing in Somerby, it is a fairly new training course and we have not been before but we will definitely be going again, as well as being a top class eventer Angus is also a course builder so there were lots of questions for all abilities all lovely built fences on good distances.
Blinx was a star as is becoming expected of him! especially as I forgot his bridle so he borrowed Flo's who goes in a different sort of snaffle and a grackle compared to his simple loose ring and caveson, poor boy! He's really getting the hang of jumping out of a stride and always trusts me I if I ask him to do something.
Lucy started of amazingly but then I was probably a bit cocky and so was she and we had a miscommunication at the jump before the water and we parted company, unfortunately Lucy is not at all forgiving to rider errors! which meant she then was a bit of a madam but I just worked on jumping out of a good rhythm and we finished as good as we started.
Cherise and Darcy look at great partnership together now and popped everything asked of them. Look out eventers they're coming to get you!
Hannah and Flo are looking better and better, Hannah is realising although Flo is almost perfect she will try you out if you let her! After starting a bit to sweet with not quite enough energy they soon got into gear and put the rest of us to shame.
Jo and Ditsy had a fab time, Ditsy is still green although you wouldn't have realised if you were standing on the sidelines. I'm sure they are going to enjoy a good season this year.
The rest of the week was spent at home generally exercising and schooling and enjoying the to good to be true spring weather.
At the weekend me and the girls headed down to see Leon (My Husband) in Windsor where he is based with the Coldstream Guards. A friend of his works at Knightsbridge Barracks as a Lifeguard in the Household Cavalry and invited us to a guided tour of all the horses and to see behind the scenes and as someone who never says no to anything horsey off we went. It was fascinating to hear how the horses are all bought over from Ireland every year and most work until they are at least 20, they can house up to 340 horses at peak times which is some going in central London, it reminded me a bit of a multi storey car park but all the horses seemed very happy and look amazing. They make sure they all have good holidays where they can just be horses for a bit. The girls, and me enjoyed feeding lots of them carrots including the enormous drum horses and Prince Williams horse he rides in parades. It was a really interesting day and one I will remember.
What a lovely week we have had, warm sun and hardly a cloud in the sky! I only hope we don't pay with snow when we are meant to be out eventing!!
We had a super day out hunting on Monday with Blinx, Flo and Darcy. All three were brilliant, this is expected by Darcy and Flo! I was so pleased with Blinx as although always been a good boy today he felt like a grown up, he stood patiently at the meet and then was awesome all day jumping everything asked of him some of which were bigger and more testing than we have met before.
The rest of the week we have been busy at home keeping up with the fitness and schooling of everyone as well as keeping up to date with the tack and rug repairs.
Saturday I was meant to be holding one of my jump clinics away from home but due the the Equine Flu and several cancellations I relocated to home and had a thoroughly enjoyable day, the sun shone and all the riders and horses went brilliantly.
The evenings have been taken up by sorting out the new website, I hope you all like the new version, and after many hours our new online shop is up and running, please have a look and let me know what you think.
A lot of people say to me, "I don't know how you fit it all in" well my main secret is I have a lot of help. My girls are very good and enjoy coming to work with me as they spend a lot of time whizzing round on bikes and running round fields and I feel they are so lucky to experience this freedom as I did when I was growing up, they do resemble grubby urchins by the end of the day but are very happy little girls. Both my parents and Leons are brilliant helping with child care as is Cherise, as some one asked me the other day do they see her as a second Mum to which Ila replied more of a big sister as she's not old enough to be our Mum, Cherise was thrilled that they thought that!
We have enjoyed another busy week here at Little Garendon, it started well on Monday morning when I had a dressage lesson with Lara Edwards on Clare Tewson's Ringo, I have not been taught before by Lara who is one of the country's top producers of young dressage horses. She had a great way of training and gave me lots to work on and think about.
Wednesday we headed to Vale View Equestrian with four horses looking fairly respectable (I hate greys!!!). They are holding eventing dressage tests which are a great way to get in the arena before the start of the season and practice your test riding and find the areas you need to work on, Blinx was a bit inattentive so he will be heading out again soon as it is all so new to him especially as there you warm up outside and then go into the indoor which is quite spooky, although very green the judge really liked him and he will certainly be scoring some good marks in the future, Lucy was good warming up but again she went tense as she went in the arena, though she doesn't have the same excuse as Blinx for finding it all a bit scary! These practice tests are great for her as you can really ride to get the best out of the horse and not worry about ruining the day as you would in an event when it's too tempting to sit still so not to upset the situation. Lucy did the intermediate test and still scored a fair mark of 36.2 with lots more to come and I was pleased as although tense she stayed rideable and the test got better the further we got through it. Hannah took Flo, this was their second test together and it was a 100% better, Flo is a proper school mistress and will only do exactly what you ask of her, this time Hannah didn't tighten up as much and got a lot better mark. After all the dressage was done we headed over to the show jumping,Chris and Dannielle Farnsworth were running the clear round, it was great to have two such experienced people advising from the ground and they gave us some great pointers on all of our horses. Hannah took Darcy for a play as Cherise was out of action (don't worry she back!!) she jumped fab especially as only about the third time Hannah has sat on her, She then took Flo, it's lovely to watch them really beginning to become a partnership, they jumped two super rounds I think they're ready for bigger. Blinx was a really good boy, a bit wobbly the first time (lots of doors to look out of!) and then the second round he popped round beautifully. I was really pleased with the way Lucy jumped, she jumped two good clears and our rhythm was good and she didn't get too tense, I think the training shows seem to suit her better.
The rest of the week has mainly been exercising horses in either gale force winds or pouring rain and sometimes both. I have to admit I have been pleased to get in my workshop and do some rug repairs or tack mending! We have got lots more planned for the future, I will keep you updated.
We were lucky to enjoy a weeks Skiing the first week of January, I only started skiing a few years ago and from the first tine I went I loved it, We have been the last few years with friends and my Dad John, Elsie my youngest daughter is only 2 1/2 so she spent some of each day at nursery whilst we were out enjoying some skiing she obviously enjoyed it as when I took her back to normal nursery last week she asked to go to new nursery, I tried to explain France was a bit far to go for two mornings a week! Ila my other daughter is 7 and she has skied since she was 3 so puts the adults to shame, my Dad first skied 50 years ago but had a few years off after his knees began to give him grief but he enjoys coming with us and taking it slightly easier, he makes it look so easy! Leon my husband has skied a few times with the Army so is a good skier now so he can go off with our friend Harvey and have some serious skiing and then meet up with me, Ila and my friend Kate for a slightly slower pace and obviously a large beer or a mulled wine!
A massive thank you as always to Mum and Cherise who make it possible for us to go by looking after everything at home, also to Demi who came and mucked out every morning and Hannah for riding and helping out with all the other jobs.
Anyway back to real life, and we have certainly been busy this week. On Tuesday we had a lovely day with the Quorn Hunt unfortunately the saboteurs were out and were very threatening in there balaclavas, carrying spray bottles but as the Quorn hunts with in the law they had nothing to report. All the horses were great, I took Blinx, Cherise on Darcy and Hannah on Flo we had plenty of jumping and all three horses were brilliant, Cherise suffered slight brake failure but Darcy knows her job and next time will check her curb chain! The horses that hunted had Wednesday off but we have two horses in for holiday livery so they both had a nice hack and I schooled Lucy working on my lateral work and made myself ride with out stirrups for some of the session, Thursday we gave all our horses a quick jump as Friday we had a Caroline Moore training session, Lucy was first on joined by Hannah and Flo, Lucy warmed up really well on the flat and started jumping well but then decided she wasn't that in to discipline!! (see photo below!!!) she did improve through the session although she was a bit quick but she is always more difficult to train in the winter so we just have to ride the storm and look toward the event season. Hannah and Flo are gaining confidence in each other all the time, Caroline has given them lots to think about and work on. Blinx went for his first session with Caroline and he was an absolute star he just gained in confidence throughout the lesson, he has a brilliant brain and is so trainable. Saturday was another busy day this time I was teaching 6 hours my show jump clinic, which I hold at Graham & Holly Smith's Fox Covert Farm where they have a lovely indoor school, I had lovely day teaching lots of lovely riders and horses. To finish the week we headed off to Hargate Equestrian Centre to do the combined training, Blinx and Darcy were doing the Prelim 12 and Lucy and Flo were doing Novice 27. Blinx did a very green but good test to gain a good mark of 67% and jumped clear to finish 2nd, Darcy was just behind in 3rd. Lucy was a really good girl in her test and scored 72% and had some lovely comments, Hannah was a bit nice to Flo but still did an accurate test and jumped clear.
Next week looks a bit quieter but will keep you updated.
Looking forward to 2019
Well Cherise and I started the new year in style by taking Darcy and Flo out with the Readyfield Bloodhounds at Osberton. Its a beautiful estate with fantastic ground and we are very grateful for all the land owners who let us over there land. Also a big thanks to all who make the day happen as with anything like this it takes a lot of organising. Both horses were as usual complete superstars flying everything we pointed them at including a few of the 2* event jumps! Flo really is my superstar she is just fab, so mannerly but at the same time keen and loves her job flying every obstacle asked of her. Cherise and Darcy look like a real team together now and as long as Flo is just in front or just behind she's happy as long as no one dares to come between them!!
If all goes according to plan we have lots planned in 2019. We have had a new stable built at home just in time for two full livery's arriving on Thursday for the next three months, which might be a bit of a shock to the system after having 5 for the last few months!! Ringo and Maverick belong to some good friends of ours and always fit in well when they come to stay, both are lovely horses so we will look forward to working with them.
Lucy is back in full training for 2019 event season, we have got some training sessions set up in January as well as doing some training shows. We will aim to start eventing in March, starting with a couple of Novices then hopefully move back up to intermediate all being well, I would love to do a 2* which is now a 3* this year.
Blinx is going really well and he is also booked in for his first Caroline Moore lesson, and hopefully a combined training at the end of the month aswell as a couple more days hunting. He hopefully will be ready to do so 90cm events early in the season.
Flo is feeling on top form, our friend Hannah is hopefully going to do some events on her, she will certainly pleased to be out eventing again.
Darcy is going to make her eventing debut this year, she will start with some 90cm and go from there.
Finally we have Rosie my Daughter Ila's pony who is certainly feeling well at the moment, Ila is hopefully going to have lots of fun with the Quorn Pony Club this year.
May has been a super busy month at Little Garendon, I have been super busy with rug and tack repairs but now it seems to have calmed down a bit! If you do need a repair I can normally do a quick turn around, Jill's wash and dry in Loughborough pick up from us at least twice a week so if its easier you can drop your rugs off here for washing and reproofing.
All the horses have been going well. We have had two horses in for schooling both who have now gone home to continue thier education back with thier owners. We do have a few spaces available at the end of June and throughout July and September. Please get in touch if you would like a chat about sending your horse to us for either holiday or schooling livery.
We went to Rockingham International Horse Trials with Lucy a couple of weeks ago, the preparation wasn't as | hoped it was going to be with all but one of my prep runs being cancelled due to the bad weather but I knew I had put in as much training as I could. It is very atmospheric at Rockingham and Lucy wasn't sure she could cope when we went to warm up for the dressage and be checked by the vet. After about 15 minutes she began to relax a bit! By the time we went through for our test she was working well outside, unforunately she did get a bit tense again once in the main arena which affected her work but we scored a very fair 36.4 with marks ranging from 5s where we made errors to 7 and 8s when she had relaxed more towards the end of the test, hopefully the more she is exposed to this sort of atmosphere the more relaxed she will become. We were up early on Saturday for morning for the jumping phases, last year she wasn't in the best place anyway and the show jumping here just blew her mind and we were eliminated when she napped so we were all a little nervous to see how much she had come on, she warmed up like a mega star and there was nothing else in the arena I would have rather been sitting on, she went in the ring a little tentatively but soon settled and jumped one of the best rounds she has jumped she just got a bit low over an upright two from home jumping towards all the stands and then had the first part of the treble down again just a little greeness in that sort of arena. Normally I be gutted having two down but I was so pleased with how she handled the arena and how smooth the round was I came out really chuffed with her! It must of been fairly good it made Cherise cry!! (for the right reasons) The cross country course was lovely big and bold and then quite a technical section then finished off the way it started, Lucy was great making it feel effortless she did have a couple of OMG there's so many people I don't know if I can cope! but just told her it would be ok and kicked her on and she trusted me so we picked up a few time but clear all the quick routes. Hopefully we will continue to improve from here and she is finally chilling out and letting all that talent she has come through!
We have had a busy week training this week, We had a Charlie Hutton lesson on Monday he has improved us so much, I have put a video below of us being put through our paces. The following day we went to Vale View to train with Caroline Moore, she was the most chilled out she has ever been and we worked hard on being accurate and maintaining the rhthym at all times.
Its been a super busy week for us here at Little Garendon, as well as our own four horses we have had Scooby and Obi in for schooling for a couple of weeks. We broke Scooby in last year, he was always a good boy but was quite nervous so took a little longer than some but once he realised that life was going to be fun not scary he came on really quickly and went back to his owner and they had a great time at the end of last year, he had a bit of a break over the winter so came back to us to restart. Again he was a little nervous first couple of days but he soon settled back into it and has now gone back home to carry on his career. Obi had had an injury over the winter and came back to LG to restart his work, he is a lovely horse and was no trouble and was a perfect guest!
We took Flo and Lulu showjumping to Field House on Tuesday, Lulu was a little star as we have come to expect from her! She jumped a lovely double clear in the 1.05m to finish 4th and was fab in the Newcomers feeling the most confident she has at that level and was foot perfect until the very last fence in the jump off where we seemed to have a bit of a miscommunication I realised we were going to be to far off so sat still but she went on the big one and we had it down. Flo was rather to pleased to be out and was a bit fresh which makes her almost to sensitive to ride and she is always second guessing you as she is so experienced that she thinks she knows best and doesn't alwasys listen. She jumped the same two classes and Lulu and picked up four faults in each, having looked back in the video I didn't get a strong enough rhythm which resulted in the faults.
We were meant to be show jumping on the Thursday but again it was cancelled due to the bad weather, which you can hardly believe as it's been the hottest day of the year so far today. So instead we took Flo and Lucy show jumping to Weston Lawns, Flo was back to being little miss perfect today finishing second in both the 1.05m open and the 1.10m open. Lucy was really fresh as she has not been out since Solihull but she settled well and just had a silly fence down when she spooked at something outside the arena and I just lost the softness and rhythm but the rest of the round was lovely with no rushing.
Sunday, finally I got Lulu to her first event of the year at Eland Lodge to do the 90cm, she was brilliant from the moment I got on her till I got off her after the cross country. It was very hot so I didn't want to long to warm up for dressage but when I go there they were running 15 mins late so I gave her little stretch, then stood and had a bitof a chat with a friend and then warmed her up, the dressage arenas at Eland are always spooky as you either have a walkway and show jumping behind the hedge or the cross country, I was really pleased how she kept her concentration especially when someone who was obviously very pleased with their round show jumping started hollering during my long rein walk! Her show jump round was foot perfect as it should be at that height but then I have a tendency to put to much pressure on myself and not ride to my best ability. I was really pleased with her cross country as last year she still felt like such a baby but this year she was like riding a school mistress and we stormed round (a bit to fast!!) to pick up 2.8 time faults for being to fast to add to our dressage score of 31.7 which dropped a couple of places to 5th.
Next week is another bust one. I have a dressage lesson on Monday with Charlie Hutton on Lucy, Tuesday Caroline Moore training with Lucy and Lulu then Leon my husband who is in the Coldstream Guards and based in Windsor has got us free passes for Windsor Show which will be a lovely day out and then I have my jump clinic to teach on Saturday, looking forward to another fun week!
Below are lots of videos from last week.
Yay we have finally got out eventing!!! The end of April wasn't when I was hoping to start eventing but the weather has been a nightmare causing so many competitions to have to cancel!
I didn't start my dressage till 2.30pm so I had time to pop up to the inaugural Quorn Hunt Forest Relay to watch Cherise and Darcy, I have been on the committee and we have all worked so hard so it was great to see it going ahead especially as we had to postpone the event a week due to the amount of rain we had the week before it was meant to be held. Cherise and Darcy lead Jo Payne and Ditsy round, both combinations did a super rounds, Darcy then had to go a second team as Flo wasn't quite sound (she was fine the following day!!) again Darcy was a star though I think she wasn't that impressed to be pulled out the box for second time!
Lucy was pleased to be out but she did a good if a little tense test, so I was really pleased with my score of 32.5 and was in the top 5 which shows how much stronger we have got in this phase over the winter, thanks to Charlie Hutton for helping us with this phase. She was good in the show jumping but thinks the arena at Solihull is very spooky with being able to see Xc below! We had one down due to a bit of a spook to last fence and lost balance on corner.
She was a bit tentative over fence one and two Xc but we haven't been had the chance to jump on grass or go schooling so I just let her take it all in and after that she was awesome, we didn't hurry but she jumped everything out of a stride and we added just 1.2 time faults to finish 10th, so hopefully the season will get going now!
We have taken the hard decision to sell Lulu, she is such a 🌟 we are looking for a 5* home.
Irish Sports Horse, Dark Brown Mare, 8 years, 16.1hh
We have owned Lulu for just over two years, when she came to us she was only just broken having had two foals with the Atlantic stud in Ireland that bred her. Lulu has been a pleasure to produce over the past couple of years going from strength to strength and always taking on what you have taught her, she has a great trainable temperament with the ability to match. She is a lovely horse to have around the yard, she loves fuss and attention and has a lovely nature. She is now ready for someone to take on and have great fun with.
Lulu is a very well bred mare by Future Trend, with both Master Imp & King of Diamonds on the Dams side, she has a fantastic temperament and masses of ability.
Works very well on flat, scoring over 70% in last few test scores at prelim & novice. Super scopey jump, consistently placed Discovery with all her double clears for 2018, placed newcomers with 2 double clears, she has plenty of ability to carry on up the levels.
Done two events going really well at both, very straight Xc and answered every question asked of her. We have been training through the winter with Caroline Moore working on the accuracy for the cross country. Hopefully it has now stopped raining for a bit and we will get out eventing soon!! Would be a great contender for Badminton Grassroots classes or has the scope and the attitude to be a really competitive JRN horse.
A pleasure to deal with around the yard, brilliant to hack alone and in company.
Genuine reason for sale.
Open to any trainer/vet, she has good recent X Rays
Rachael Fairbrother 07810696959