So as I am writing this I am in the air 36,000 ft above ground on my way back from a fabulous two weeks in Australia visiting my sister in Melbourne and attending my good friend James Gaspers wedding down on the Mornington Penninsula, South of Melbourne. The two weeks have flown by but we have had some amazing experiences and Australia is a country that I have really come to love. The weather has been pretty kind to us and we have both managed to catch a bit of the sun without frying too much. I have to say I am not looking forwards to getting off plane in Birmingham and feeling the drop in temperature, let's hope it is at least dry!
To break up the winter with a trip to the sun is a real help but I couldn't do it without my amazing team at home who are all working diligently whilst we are away. Although I am sad to leave my sister and her partner Dave as well as my brother and friends it will be nice to see the horses, dogs and team again and get going with the 2015 season and all of the wonderful horses I am privileged to compete.
We have had a few changes at Team Pickles for the 2015 season and I am very sad to say Red Horse Rug Clean will no longer be sponsoring us. We have some really fun times over the last few years and I wish Tina Faulkner and her lovely crew of horses all the best for the future and would like to thank her for all the support she has shown me over the last four years. My era of riding the black and white wonder pony (aka Whole Lotta Rosie) is over but I am sure she will now give a younger person a huge amount of fun. I look forward to watching out for how all the Hathaway Horses are going after starting their careers here at Team Pickles and hope they all have bright futures.
We have had a busy winter prior to me jetting off to the sun. PLS Bluejay qualified for the BD Regional Dressage Finals which will be held later this year. He has improved beyond recognition on the dressage front and is looking forwards to eventing again this spring. I am in the midst of planning my season to kill some time as we fly back although sleep deprivation and decision making do not seem to go hand in hand I may have to revise this after I have had some sleep.
I have also taken some time to work on my riding with some regular dressage lessons which I have found hugely helpful and I am thoroughly enjoying the experience of having expert eyes on the ground again.
We also have some new supporters for the season with Topspec feeds and JS Equine equestrian products joining us as Sponsors. I have used Topspec for a number of years so I am hugely excited to have them supporting us with their huge range of products and excellent customer service team.
JS Equine are a Cotswold based company who provide all our yard essentials and wormers at very competitive prices; they have a comprehensive website http://jsequine.co.uk/ so well worth a look and I am very pleased to have them on board.
I would like to also thank my current sponsors Equestrian Direct and North Cotswold Construction for their continued support. It is such a huge commitment for these companies to make and I am hugely grateful for all they do for me.
We have a new Twitter account and will soon be joining Instagram thanks to my super team so look out for lots of updates and results of how the horses and team are going aswell as my usual posts on Facebook and Twitter.
So there you go, once I have finished my planning I will update you with where we are heading first but it will be nice to spend a few days getting back on them all and remembering how to ride!
The website is currently being updated with all the new recruits and those who we have lost this season so watch this space!
Once again my ambitious statement that ended my last blog was not achieved so sorry folks for the gap in blogging!
As you can imagine a lot has been happening at Team Pickles but the thing that has given me the most satisfaction this summer is that........wait for it folks….. yep we have not had a member of staff leave for over 3 months now! Whoop whoop, so I am celebrating by giving my super lovely team some extra holiday for working their socks of this summer and for making my life a lot less stressful. Mary Burnfield, Kelly Smith, Hannah Okines, Alex Haynes, Claira Miesegaes and Sara Walker a huge thank you to you all – you are invaluable!
So on to the horses where we have a lot to catch up on. Direct Tullyoran Cruise belonging to Equestrian Direct has amongst other things had a name change - well done to those who spotted it, can tell who the stalkers are! We have had a great few runs finishing 5th at Keysoe over a tough Novice track, 5th at Sapey over another trappy course and then onto Gatcombe where she tried her little heart out in the CIC1* to finish outside the placing’s purely due to losing a shoe and having to take it steady. So holidays for her now before a winter of dressage and Sj training for her! Love this horse.
Mel Pritchard’s beautiful ex racer Winsome Wendy has clocked up three wins so far this season with some stunning dressage scores and is definitely contributing to my current fifth placing in the Foundation Points Table - next year I will be going for the win!
Sue Dawson's super Future Divine Illusion (Dennis) has had a good season and after jumping really beautifully at Solihull to finish 9th and Llanymynech to finish 14th he has gone back to his mummy for some hacking and time out to be a dressage pony before we make plans for next season. Dennis has a great sense of humour so let's hope he is behaving himself for his mummy!
Lucianna Wiser Than Wise (Beau) belonging to Lucy Keeney has also had a superb summer; we decided not to do any eventing as he is a big 4yo but to focus on the BYEH programme. So off to Field House we went and against over 50 four year olds Beau won the class by 10 marks toqualified us for Burghley. I have never been so was hugely excited to be going on such a classy looking horse. However, fate was to play its hand and Beau managed to throw a splint just before the big day meaning holiday time it was for him. Sad times but next year we will be there as a five year old! Thank you to Lucy for allowing me to ride her lovely horse all summer and exciting times ahead.
Fate played its hand again and whilst watching the BYEH FINAL with Kate Willis we saw a horse that we couldn't forget in the top ten line up and I am very excited to say that this horse, Cendora, is now safely part of Team Pickles and is owned by Kate Willis and Mel Pritchard and will be making her debut next season with me as a five year old.
The lovely Coco Chanel belonging to Hannah and Michael Henderson has matured well this summer and is out doing dressage and is turning into a bit of a pro. She has such lovely paces and a fabulous temperament so next season will be a fun one for her. Hannah and Mikey have a lovely horse who hopefully will bring some really good times next year.
Tim and Vanessa Willes beautiful TJ Blousey Brown (Bugsie) has had a flying summer with a win at Sapey, 4th at Shelford and 10th at Goring Heath in the BE100. She is such a classy scopey mare who with time is going to be a star. I am looking forward to a winter of flat work and jump training before going Novice next season.
We have another new addition in the form of Patsy who is out of the same mare as Direct Tullyoran Cruise so you can imagine this is really exciting; she is now broken in with thanks to Mary B and will start jumping in the next few weeks. She stands a little smaller than Tully but knowing all of her ridden history will be such an advantage and I really can't wait to jump her - let's hope she is half as good as her sister has turned out to be!
The Hathaway Horse brigade are also having an excellent summer with the star of the show being Tina Faulkners Whole Lotta Rosie who has now been 2nd four times this summer - are we going to finish with a win? We have two more events to try and make it happen so fingers crossed the upgrade will happen before we finish! All that being said, I don't think anyone could ask for more from this super special little pony.
The Beautiful Hathaway Quality (Roxy) finished her season at Homme House 4yo BE90 with 5th place in a strong class and 5th place but not good enough to qualify at the Carlton BYEH class. Her jumping has come on leaps and bounds as she strengthens up and given how blood she is I have a very good feeling about her future.
Hathaway Strider (Jimmy), the diminutive grey of our crew, has also had some great results this summer, finishing 6th in a BYEH qualifier at Carlton, followed by a 5th in a 5yo BE100 at Solihull and a win at Sapey. He is having his holidays now as we have a busy winter ahead doing some BD and BS in prep for a busy 2015.
Hathaway Wowfactor (Ruby) is on great form competing in her first BE event at BCA this week. A 27.5 dressage was good enough for third after this phase and a costly rail and some time penalties XC put us out the prizes but my goodness this horse has a future and I feel very lucky to ride her.
Hathaway No.1 (Fizz) has shown she has a real flare for dressage so is going to turn her attention to some BD very shortly and hopefully will bring home the ribbons in this sphere. We are all registered and ready to go. The patent bridles have arrived so hopefully we will fit in nicely!
I also have a new ride in the form of PLS Bluejay who is a super cute blue and white pony who is owned by Trisha Thornton. The aim for this man is to make him into Rosie pony mark 2 - I have some work to do then, no pressure!! However, he has started off well with a 5th place in the Unaffiliated at Aston Le Walls followed by 7th today at BCA with a lovely double clear in his first BE event.
So you can probably see why blog writing has taken a back seat? I can't complain though, I have to say I have some fantastic horses to ride, super owners to ride for and a great team to support me - what more could a girl want and to top it all off my students seem to be doing really rather well!
Mary B and Ballinfull Boy have bagged some top 10 placings and are looking really established at BE90 so will upgrade next season. Airtime seems to be hard to beat at BE100 with Aimelia Herbert and is loving his new life. I do miss him but seeing him so happy at this level is such a pleasure to be part of. Bruce and Claira Miesegaes are also flying with some serious placings at BE100 before Claira jets off to the Southern Hemisphere for the winter (lucky lady).
Hannah Okines and her lovely little horse we found in Ireland last year are getting Very established and had a 5th placing at Moreton Morrell unaffiliated last weekend. BE next year Hanny O is calling.....
Chloe Herbert and Arkwright NJ are back on the scene and again are dominating the BE100, my go tomorrow with the lovely Alfie at BCA, I did warn her that she might not get him back!!
Sister Suzie & Sarah Mann have been sharing Kate Low’s lovely Hazy Daiz this Summer and both have done really well with some top ten results.
Amy Newcombe and her talented little horse Condor Goariva have enjoyed their first season of BE posting some lovely jumping rounds. Amy won’t argue when I say her horse is not particularly keen on dressage but with patient and persistence on Amy’s part the marks are improving at each event.
Have I covered them all? Ah no! I am also having so much fun riding Kate Matterson's lovely young horses and am looking forwards to competing next year with her. All in all fun times are ahead but I really couldn't do it without my super team and sponsors and of course my super husband Mr P who as always puts up with me!
Until next time - god knows when!
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…..