Monday, 14 July 2014 00:00

Back on Form

Back on Form Tony French

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…..


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