50 - To a successful 2013

Gilly and Her BrotherWhilst some of you were still sleeping off the effects of seeing in the New Year, Rommel and I had just finished our first training session of 2013. A memorable day for me as it is the first time my brother whom I haven’t seen for 12 years met Rommel.

Ian arrived from Australia on 22nd December and we have had the best time ever, especially the murder mystery evening at the Avon Causeway. Thanks to Grahame check out his website( Ian met up with old friends, made lots of new ones and partied most evenings. We are all so sad he has gone home today, but bet he is glad of a rest!!!

Gilly and LouiseThe New Year has arrived and it’s time to set your goals. My great friend Louise and I will be running more competitions at Higher Merley Farm. These are run on a friendly basis and should be used as stepping stones to gain experience at higher level tests or time to introduce young or inexperienced combinations to competitions. I will be running more clinics which work well to practise tests or time to introduce young horses to working with others. They are also great value for money, especially as there will be a small price increase for tuition from the 1st February.

Mum as fit as DadOrganising a training programme for your horse is the easy part, but do not forget you need to be as fit and healthy as your horse. I often use my mum as an advert for my Herbalife products but can you blame me? I hope I look as good as her at 74 years of age. Good discounts available at present.

Photo of my horse (Rommel)The countdown has started to our Regional Championships at Kingston Maurward on 16th February and my goal is for Rommel to be one of the two who qualify for the National Championships. Well that is one of my goals are you willing to share yours?

Wishing you every success for 2013

1st of January 2013

49 - Round Up of Competitions

Our competitions at Higher Merley Farm are becoming really popular and thank you to everyone who has given us such positive feedback. We intend to run some more in the New Year starting end of March, so keep an eye on the website for the schedules.

We could not run the shows without our trusty helpers and sponsors. So a huge thanks to Tony and Tracy Upshall and Colin and Therese Stone who now seem to have been roped in as well!!!

Thank you to our sponsors Stocks Farm Equestrian Centre, Keith Kelly and Herbalife. Well done to our winners. First in Class 2 were Barbara Clarke and Balloo who won a lovely trophy presented by Lynn Watson. Barbara was delighted to say the least and now so flushed with success has been spurred on to enter another competition.

There was slight dilemma as we had joint winners of Class 3 and only one trophy presented Lynn Kelly. Gail Baker with Mostrim Lady and Laura Mundy with Victor had equal scores – what would we do? Tony Upshall saved the day by offering to pay for another trophy, how lovely was that?

Claire Moore and Bryanmore Tom deserve a special mention as they won both the novice and Elementary classes.

Rommel and I have been to Wellington Dressage and did really well in the medium freestyle music qualifier, but would have done even better without our slight hiccup in the middle of the test! The judge seemed to like our new music by Madness put together by so let’s hope Rommel does not have any more “Madness Moments”

Well done to some of my clients who have been doing so well. Jo Palmer & Nancy qualified for Kingston Maurward own Novice championships and Tracey Tucker with Todd qualified for the Preliminary Regional Championships. Keep up the good work.

I still have one place left on my Pole work Clinic on 24th November and if you did not manage to get on that one I am doing another on Friday 14th December again indoors.

11th of November 2012

48 - Just Returned

It was a bit of a shock returning to England last Sunday morning to a Frost. I had just got used to 29 degrees in sunny Rhodes and was totally unprepared for the sudden onset of winter.

It was all rather a rush before I left and I did not get time to thank everyone for their help at our last competition. So many thanks to our judges Denise Robertson and Lynne Baldwin and to Tracy Upshall for adding up scores and Tony for preparing the field for us.

Horse and RiderCongratulations to our winners Class 2 Marie Tudor and Alfie Moon pictured here receiving their trophy from Lynn Watson, who kindly sponsored the class.

Class 3 sponsored by Keith Kelly was won by Coral Waggott and Whiz, class 4 sponsored by Stocks Farm Equestrian Centre won by Tracey Tucker and Todd and class 5 sponsored by "Herbalife" Won by Clare Moore and Bryanmore Tom.

Lynn Kelly (Horse Transporter) presented Coral Waggott and Whiz with a lovely trophy for gaining the highest percentage of classes 3,4,5.

Our last competition of the year will take place on Sunday 28th October. Classes for all abilities – walk trot test through to Elementary, plus once again Lynn Watson will present a trophy for the highest percentage of classes 1 and 2 and Lynn Kelly will present one for the highest percentage between classes 3 to 5. It’s a great opportunity to have a go in a friendly atmosphere.

I will be running a couple of clinics at Darknoll Indoor arena “Using poles to improve your horse way of going” Saturday November 24th and Friday 14th December.

I still have a space at 2.45pm on my clinic at Higher Merley Farm on 25th October and Elaine Macduff is looking to share a place at 3.30pm if anyone is interested. Its a good opportunity to have a practise before the competition.

Entries for our competition on 28th October close on Sunday 21st so don’t delay!! If you do not have transport give Lynn Kelly a ring

18th of October 2012

47 - Where shall I start???

The last few weeks have been a complete whirl to say the least, no wonder my head has been spinning. Hardly surprising that there has been no time to complete my blog!! So hope you are all sitting comfortably.

Firstly we need to go back to June 23rd and our Dressage competition at Higher Merely Farm in Wimborne. We had a lovely day and as usual we had some great helpers. So many thanks to Tony Upshall for preparing the arena and field so beautifully. Thank you to our Judges Janet Lickiss, Helen Rudd and their writers. Thank you to Tracey Tucker and Tracy Upshall our fantastic scorers. They keep trying to teach me but maths is just not my forte.

Well done to Maz Edwards with Little Merry Jerry winners of class 1. Class 2 joint winners Peta Ward with Tomas the Tank and Oliver Turner with Harley and winner of Class 3 Tammy Irving with Pierre.

Horse and Rider taking a bowA lovely trophy was kindly donated by Lynn Watson. This was presented to the combination gaining the highest percentage of the day and was won by Maz Edwards with Little Merry Jerry- pictured here taking a bow.

Make sure you come to our next Dressage Competitions on Sunday 30th September and Sunday 28th October.

It was then hard work teaching flat out and getting ready for two adult camps only five days apart and preparing Rommel for the Masters Championships at Hickstead, which would take place in between the camps.

The rain was hammering down and yes I had a few sleepless nights worrying about the stables flooding before we even started camp and scared the tents would be washed away. Mum and dad had gone away for a few days and nearly got washed down the river in their motor home.

Many thanks to Lynn Watson for helping me muck out 20 stables the day before camp, for driving the lorry containing the fridge and BBQ , as I felt a little dizzy following a strenuous lesson with Rommel. We got thoroughly soaked and goodness knows what they thought of me going to Sainsbury’s to buy the food for camp looking like a drowned rat.

Camp was a great success with everyone achieving so much this year and it was fantastic to have some new campers. It was great fun doing the “balanced rider” activities with Claire Howard Difficult enough before the wine!

Louise did a fabulous job of the musical ride and I hope to send you a link to watch it soon. Thank you to Tamzen and Louise for providing top class tuition; camp would not be the same without them.

It is hard for me to know what to say about my mum and dad. I am so lucky to have their support in everything I do and I can only say THANK YOU to both and what an amazing job they did looking after us all at camp for yet another year.

With the first camp over it was all systems go to get ready for Hickstead Dressage Masters Championships. Liesa at Stocks Farm kindly allowed me the evening off so that I could get to Hickstead in time ride Rommel and let him see the sights.

Louise and her daughter Maddie came with me in the lorry and Sue Mason followed behind in her lorry.

We had a great run up and Maddie spent some time in Sue’s lorry to keep her company on the 3 hour trip.

We had been warned that it was a little muddy, but that was an understatement. There was no grass to be seen just thick mud and chaos. Tractors were pulling Lorries in and getting stuck so bigger tractors were towing tractors. Poor Rommel has a big fear of yes you guessed it TRACTORS.

We got parked next to a trailer and could not get the side ramp down, so a huge tractor had to come right next to the lorry to pull the trailer out the way and I then had to walk him through all the mud, past lorries, tractors and buggies to get to the stable- probably the most anxious moment of two days.

By the time we settled the horses down it was 7.40pm and I was far too tired to ride so instead we went and had a nice gin and tonic with mum and dad who had travelled up in their motor home. We had a lovely evening and both Sue and I felt totally chilled or was it slightly merry?

Maddie had asked my mum and dad if she could stay with them in the motor home, guess she preferred the homely comforts and didn’t fancy the long walk back to the lorry park. Sadly for her they said no.

I got up very early to ride Rommel before too many people started their warm up. He was slightly up tight as was another horse whose rider had just mounted. We looked at each other slightly anxious as if one horse went the other would be sure to follow suit.

When Rommel came out for the second time he was much more relaxed and so was I. He warmed up really well and it was so good having Louise there with last minute training tips. THANK YOU LOUISE.

We went in and gave it our best. I was thrilled with the canter work especially our simple changes which have been so difficult for us and he did some lovely trot work. Just a pity the walk let us down as it was rather tense- so costly from all three judges and we finished 12 on 66.54% out of 33. Well done to Sue who finished 9th on 67%.

We had a fantastic time and many thanks again to Louise, mum and dad and everyone who came and supportered me. Look out next year it will be medium or even advanced medium?

8th of August 2012

46 - Rommel Qualifies for Hickstead

It wasn’t the best test we have ever done, but who cares it was enough to qualify for the Dressage Masters Championships at Hickstead on 18th July 2012 and I am over the moon.

We have kept our competitions to a minimum this year in an effort to save points and stay at Elementary level in an attempt to qualify for Hickstead.

We have been working at medium level and mainly competing at the freestyle music competitions as you do not accumulate any points, and sometimes only doing one test at a competition, again to save points.

I would like to thank everyone who has been part of the team helping us achieve our goals. Trainer: Melanie Norris, Farrier: Marcus Thorne, Vet: Chris Pearce, Horse Whisper: Gaynor Davenport, Mentor/ trainer/Friend: Louise (kick me up the backside) Downing.

How lucky am I to have an amazing horse and an equally amazing team. THANK YOU ALL

2nd of July 2012

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