Firstly I am very proud to say that I have a fabulous new sponsor in the form of Equestrian Direct. If you have any surface needs then you please look no further.
The last couple of months have not been our most rewarding on the results boards, however sometimes the results don’t reflect what is actually going on and it was really nice this week to see all the horses coming together and maturing with the added bonus of it all being on the same day at the same event which was our lovely local event Upton House. With fab going, super organisation and for once upper level prize money it really was a lovely couple of days and very rewarding for my super owners to see their lovely horses going so well.
There have been a few changes at Team Pickles with a hard decision to retire Airtime (Albert) from my string. He is going to go and have some fun back at his home with Amelia Herbert and hopefully own the BE100 Open classes!
Ciderpress (Apple) very sadly is also taking time out to try and have a baby, hopefully she is in foal as you read, we will find out in the next few days – exciting.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank both the Herbert's and Kate and Matt Low for their support over the last few years. We have had a lot of fun with these two fabulous horses and their involvement with Team Pickles has been very much appreciated. This sport is a tough one and for me is only made possible by lovely people allowing me to ride their horses in competition; both the Herbert's and the Lows have been hugely, hugely supportive and for that I can only thank them.
So back to the young guns where Tullyoran Field of Dreams is heading the Novice string with some good runs under her belt. She has been in contention for a prize the last 3 times out but I have taken her slowly XC to give her experience at this level before we become competitive. However, at Upton on Wednesday the time felt right to move her on a bit quicker and she finished in 9th position with a couple of time penalties to add. I was thrilled with how she felt and she was so scopey and brave XC I couldn’t help having a huge smile on my face all the way round the XC. She is just beginning to come into her own and strengthen up enough to be competitive and boy is she an exciting prospect.
Winsome Wendy has had a great season so far with a couple of wins on some fab dressage scores. She was super at Upton for 6th place in the BE100 and sadly a rail cost her a much higher placing.
The Hathaway string are going from strength to strength with Hathaway Strider growing in my opinions every time I ride him. He is a small horse with a huge stride and boy can he jump. He is loose, elastic and really careful and reminds me so much of my first super horse Nictim it is untrue. He had a great result finishing 4th at Upton last week and is off to Homme House for his first 5YO class in a few weeks. Hathaway Quality lives up to her name and although a little weak this year I feel is a horse for the future. She has bags of stride and a huge jump and did really well at Barbury BYEH earlier this month finishing just outside the top ten at her first attempt. Hathaway No.1 was just behind her at Barbury doing a lovely test and SJ round and has so much movement she is a pleasure to ride and has the most super temperament to go with it.
Future Divine Illusion has now completed his 2nd BE event with a 4th place at Upton House last week in the BE90. He has such a pop in him and although he keeps me on my toes most of the time he is a great competitor when in the ring and a horse that gives me a lot of excitement for times ahead as he has so much athletic ability.
Lucianna Wiser Than Wise has now completed two BYEH qualifiers with a great result at the awesome Bolesworth Castle, finishing 3rd in a fairly strong class with a serious amount of atmosphere. He is off to Field House this coming Thursday for his final try before having a holiday. He is a big horse who is going to take time to mature but has a great temperament and all the talent to be a super eventer.
So you can see I have my hands full with all these lovely young horses but I feel so lucky to have them to compete and am hugely grateful to their owners for choosing me to ride them.
Our Baby Bob is on great form and although only small (around 15hh) is going to be a really smart 'proper' pony. He has bags of character one could say but Mary has done a super job of organising him and putting him on the straight and narrow so hopefully he will turn into a little super star like his mummy!
We are really busy with horses in for schooling and starting and the team are flying along. Kelly and Sarah have joined us and are both getting to grips with the job. Alex has been with us a year now and has nearly finished his apprentiship which is a great qualification for him. He has matured into a vital part of Team Pickles and is proof that sticking something out reaps the rewards as both his riding and understanding of horses has improved beyond recognition.
Sara Walker who used to work with me many years ago has rejoined the team part time and is like a breath of fresh air to me. Her standards are exactly where I want them to be and she is a superb role model for anyone to follow. I am trying to persuade her to come full time but sadly I think I am not going to win this one!!
So this week brings us to Field House with the BYEH ponies and Aston with Tullyoran on Friday.
The summer weather is making everything so much easier and it is so nice to have long evenings and light mornings which makes getting up for early starts all the more appealing!
Until next time…..
The sun is still shining and one can safely say we have had a summer this year and what a difference it has made to everyone here at Team Pickles – let’s hope this spell continues and we can finish the season with good going and some fun days out.
The horses are all on great form with Apple(Ciderpress) making a good comeback. She did her first event at Carlton and was 3rd in the 100Open and then went to Aston Novice where she was 6th. She felt like an old pro and popped round the XC no problem so we are aiming for Gatcombe CIC1* as our next big thing!
Albert (Airtime) has made a good recovery from our not so good time at Aston le Walls Advanced. I can only think that he was suffering with bruised feet after losing both his shoes at Barbury. We had a good run at Somerford, where he did the best XC of my time with him. He was totally on the ball and made it feel like a piece of cake. There were some difficult lines and good old Albert never thought twice about taking it on. I didn’t want the round to finish as we were having so much fun. What was really nice is we got some good compliments from the Ground Jury and Course designer about our round. He lowered three rails Show Jumping which on the day was really disappointing however, he was really confident and was jumping well so I think with a bit of practice SJ at this level again we will be back to form! We still managed to come 29th out of a field of 100+, so not a shameful result by any means.
Obviously the weekend was not without tragedy and it was just so sad to hear the news of the fatality of Tom Gadsby. I did not know Tom at all but can only express my sorrow for such a horrible thing to happen to someone so young and dedicated to the sport. It really does bring home the risks we take when we go eventing and my thoughts are with his family and connections at this sad time.
I feel desperately sad also for the event organisers and owners, everyone working at the event and all those involved at Somerford Park. It is an amazing event with superb going, great courses, and fences that have been designed to be inviting and horse friendly. For such a terrible thing to happen will have an effect on all those at Somerford Park for a very long time.
The horses have all been having a bit of pampering with the amazing Equissage Pad that our fab sponsors Red Horse Rug Clean, Central Clipper Care and Central Embroidery has sent our way. Having a massage before riding has really made a difference to them and will now be a big part of our daily routine.
The BE100/BE90 crew are all going well and Percy (Knights Escapade) is on great form, finishing 4th in his last two events. Ron (Gooseberry Hill Castle) has had some good top ten results and will be for sale at the end of this month if anyone is looking for a nice horse to event/hunt and have fun on. He is a very kind horse and loves his competing so watch this space as an advert will be coming soon!
Hugo (Rebels Hero) is a very exciting horse for me and we are going to finish the season gaining strength and confidence so that next season we can really start to step up to the next level. He feels like he needs this winter to mature and will be a serious horse for the future.
And not forgetting Rosie Pony (Whole Lotta Rosie), she had a really unlucky first fence down at Homme House to push her out of the top 10, however, our Autumn campaign is busy so I am sure she will be back on the podium again!
Tully (Tullyoran Field of Dreams) is also maturing very quickly; she is a very exciting horse for me with a super jump and plenty of scope. She has probably missed out on the 5YO champs this year but she is one for the future and a horse I am seriously excited about.
The pupils are also going really well and are going from strength to strength at each competition we go to. Tiff is our dressage queen at the moment although Mary and Brooke (Take Your Pick) scored an impressive 22 at their last BE100 which I don’t think I have been able to beat this season – I better try a little harder!
Alex and Reggie are off to the PC champs this weekend and we wish them all the best of luck and Jodie P has just come back off her holidays so she and Bryn are raring to go this weekend at Milton Keynes.
A super well done as well to the WHPC for coming 10th at the PC Eventing Champs up at Cholmondley Castle. It sounds like you did a sterling job as the XC caused a lot of problems.
Sadly I didn’t attend as I stupidly managed to do my self another injury on the Dream Machine. This time me and the partition had a collision which resulted in me seeing a lot of stars and having a chaperone home from my good friend Bill Levett – thank goodness for good friends when you are having a crisis.
So all busy as ever at Team Pickles HQ but once again thank you to my fab team and sponsors who make it all possible and are all behind me – I really couldn’t do it without you all.
So with eight weeks of eventing left we are going to be busy but with some good events coming along it should be a really fun time ahead.
Until next time,