Well July has been a very hot, very sweaty and extremely busy month; hard to believe I know usually we just sit round drinking Pina Coladas in the sun; I joke of course I’m still sporting a ghostly complexion (apart from my arms). So take a seat there is lots to catch up on.

I have another team member to introduce to you this month, because if anyone ever tells you there is such thing as too many horses they are a liar and you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life!! Bratton Lillibet (Lillie) is back from being broken in and we can finally get cracking with her. She is proving to be a bold little mare, so she is entered for her first event at Bold Heath next month. Nothing like in at the deep end. We have taken her to her first show jumping competition and she has certainly got some scope and gets braver with every fence. Lets just hope the rider can do her justice at the event.

You can all thank me for the liquid gold that finally arrived over the last few days. I have been doing daily rain dances; much to the bemusement of Goldie who quickly gets as far away from me as possible doing his best “she’s not with me” face. Now let there be grass!

We have of course been training as hard as ever. The month started with a cross country technique clinic with Richard Carruthers; Goldie was on fire (almost literally in the baking sun). It was the prefect clinic to get to grips with some usual lines to fences and keep Goldie on his toes. I may have legs to rival a daddy long legs, but they often become purely decorative items which is no help when it comes to trying to turn a sassy pants Goldie who quite rightly doesn’t enjoy being socked in the teeth to make him turn to a jump. If I had a penny for every time Ally told me I don’t have my legs on I could probably buy Goldie off her.…… (no one tell her she is right). Training was invaluable as ever and my legs were awake again.

Now with the relentless sun we have been having its continuing to wreak havoc with eventing, if its not too wet its too dry we really can’t win; having said that all the events we have been to have worked so incredibly hard to make the ground rideable and Stafford was no exception. The aggravator machine had been working hard and the team at Stafford had even gone as far to sand take offs and landings, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank them again for all the hard work they could not have done more, and the ground could not have been better under the circumstances. Stafford was a full team outing, Zena and Diddi were tackling their first event together, Ally and Gina were out for a confident run to match their success at Skipton (they scooped up 2nd place) and Goldie and I were ready to find out if last month’s homework goals had been achieved. Ally and Zena ran the BE80 in the morning and both did brilliantly; Ally and Gina were so bold and confident even one of Gina’s shoes couldn’t keep up with them! Zena and Diddi were fab for their first outing and are proving to be a great team. The afternoon rolled round and the lovely midday heat came with it. Now we have Big Val and we are a few events into the season we are almost what could be described as organised, almost. This means we had hoof oil and quarter marks on and everything! If all else failed in stressage we looked damn good. You may remember last month’s homework for stressage was prepare better for transitions, not to brag but we SMASHED IT. We scored 29.5 and were the only sub 30 dressage score so you could say we are kind of a big deal now ?. A quick power nap for the Golden Child while I checked out the cross-country course and then we were off to show jumping. Now as a human being I am not built for weather (too hot or too cold and I’m basically useless) so baking in the heat wearing multiple layers and trying to jump isn’t really a good look for me. Luckily Goldie is significantly more capable than I am, so after him digging me out of the first 3 jumps I organised myself, up until the last fence obviously where I did my usual drop the reins and hope for the best, Golden turtle mode engaged and we were clear. More homework required for Abi, Golden star required for Golden pony. Cross country was now upon us, and did I mention it was hot? Today was the day I WOULD (try) to master the stopwatch!! New technique was to set the time on my watch 30 seconds over optimum so maybe I would remember to set it off, and it was nothing short of a miracle that I did, and we were off whizzing our way round the course. There was a step into water in the 90 which is quite a question and one of the only fences I was suspicious about, Goldie had a quick check for crocodiles and then did a 10/10 dive into the water. Apart from a minor dispute about which way we were going at the top of the hill, resulting in some amused fence judges as I asked Goldie “why don’t you just listen to me I know the way, and you don’t!”, we had a great round and came home clear and with my new-found stopwatch skills we were in the time! Double clear in the time meant we were winner winners, and it was chicken dinners all round. It has been a few years since I have completed at Stafford and if their hard work isn’t enough to make you want to go then the prizes certainly should be. We won an incredible haul and all the prizes for the different places were amazing. We actually won too many things to list!

Now bear with me because the event reports aren’t over yet. Last weekend we went on another full team outing to Frickley. We set off to Frickley in plenty of time on the Friday, but the A1 had other plans for us and we ended up running late for dressage; given the heat this was a blessing in disguise as we wouldn’t have wanted long to warm up anyway. It was not our most sparkling test as the heat was getting the better of us, but it also was not terrible we just lacked a little/any impulsion in our walk, but we were both just praying for the final halt by that point. Ally and Gina started their test in the arena next to us when we where half way though ours and other than a quick “hey I think I know her” glance from Goldie he kept his focus on me which was a pleasant surprise; he has really come into his own this season and dare I say I think he is enjoying being an event horse. And so, onto s**t jumping……oops I mean show jumping. I have to say I was not displeased with our show jumping this week, now I’m not saying I didn’t bury him into some fences because of course I did, but I did ride better lines and we did travel so a step in the right direction compared to the sack of potatoes that rode him at Stafford. The cross country at Frickley is brilliant, it has some good questions and some beefy fences and I love it! (I officially have mastered starting my stop watch off). Out of the start box we went and Golden Child was flying, he flew off the drop, over the Trakehner and through the woods and there was no stopping us. In true sassy style Goldie leaped 10ft higher than required over a steam on the way to the water, and then we nearly ploughed down some course walkers who weren’t up for moving out of the way in the water (side note: everyone has to walk the course but please do move out of the way when someone is coming on a horse). We were home with another double clear for the record, I don’t want to talk about the time stopwatches are confusing. At least we aren’t too slow I suppose. Anyway, luckily our naughty penalties did not affect our result and we came 2nd!

So now the big decision, do we brave BE100?


Abi Clare

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Goldie skipping round Stafford Show jumping.

Lillie showing her scope.

Supermodel foals showing off (could not leave out the babies)


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