Saturday, 1 November 2014


I firstly have to say a HUGE Thankyou to Karen Bartlett and Maggie Sargent for sending me to Dubai for a week whilst I was having to sit around with my foot up.... this really was the perfect way to ensure I wasn't going to get on and start riding before I was meant to!!!!!

Whilst I was off games with my foot, Holly Woodhead and Chris King very kindly kept the horses in work for me, Holly even had dressage lessons with Yogi to ensure the boys were on top form!

When I went to see the foot specialist before I was allowed to ride again, he told me that I couldn't damage it any more by riding and that I just had to cope with the pain!!!

I only had 3 days of riding before we went to Boekelo so it was a jam packed few days!!! I had dressage lessons, a jump and then went for a xc school to check I could do it! My foot had been strapped up brilliantly by the team at Oaksey House.. riding was bareable but walking was still agony!

We headed to Boekelo with GRAND MANOEUVRE... He was a star in his test and lay in equal 2nd place with a score of 39.8... Team GB was leading the Nations Cup competition after the dressage which was fantastic!
I was the last member of the team so had a long wait on the Saturday, the course was causing a lot of problems and the time was proving ridiculously tight! I set out and GRAND MANOEUVRE was very very keen! He jumped an awesome clear but unfortunately the twisty track didn't suit him and he was fighting rather alot so I wasted alot of time setting him up for the fences... We added 18 time pens which dropped us out of contention. I was thrilled with how honest he was and am very excited about the future when we get to know each other a bit more!!

Here is his xc round ...

I couldn't have been happier with how he showjumped, the course was big and time was very tight! He jumped fantastically but annoyingly just got a bit free down the last line and had the final fence down! He jumped beautifully and felt so fresh! We ended up 17th and Team GB were a very close 2nd behind Team NZ, only 1.2pens which made having that last fence down even more annoying!!!

Here is his SJ round....

Boekelo is by far the best event.... They put on such a good show and make the week thoroughly enjoyable for riders, owners, grooms and everyone else! I couldn't walk the course because of my foot, so they very kindly got me a buggy to take me round the course and had it at the end of xc to take me back to the stables! THANKYOU Boekelo :)

Saturday, 20 September 2014


After a successful trip to Goring where BRAWO won his BE100 on his dressage score of 25.5,we headed off to Blenheim with GRAND MANOEUVRE for the CCI*** and OUZO for the Brightwells Auction.

Unfortunately the week started in disaster when OUZO slipped over on the Tuesday landing on my foot, I was in a lot of pain but was sure by the end of the week I would be ok to ride GRAND MANOEUVRE!
My foot was so swollen that I had to go tomy amazing sponsors, Ariat, and get new boots a couple of sizes bigger!!!! On Thursday I tried jumping to see what my chanves were of being able to go xc on Saturday and annoyingly it was far too painful so I decided to do the dressage on Friday and then go to hospital to get it checked out!
GRAND MANOEUVRE did a lovely test and I felt like we were becoming more of a partnership, he lay in 7th place with a score of 40.8.
I withdrew and reluctantly went to a foot specialist who confirmed I had broken 4 metatarsals in my foot!
The only good news is that he is optimistic that I will be back in time for Boekelo CCI***.

So the plan now is to rest up, get fixed and be ready to GRAND MANOEUVRE to Boekelo CCI***, followed by Le Lion 7yo World Championships with CONTROE and PAMERO!

Fingers crossed all goes to plan!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 15 September 2014


We headed toCamphire in Ireland with MR BASS, COOLEY AGAIN and COOLEY LORD LUX.... This was my first trip to Camphire and I was very impressed with how lovely the organisers were and how much work they did to the ground to ensure the horses had the best possible going!
MR BASS finished on his dressage score of 45.9 towin the CIC*YH section.
In the same section, COOLEY AGAIN just added 2.4 time pens tohis dressage of 47.9 to end up in 6th.
I was over the moon with COOLEY LORD LUX who finished on his dressage score of 44.1 and end up in 4th place in the CIC**.

Next up was Gatcombe Park for the Novice and Intermediate Championships.... SANNANVALLEY JUSTICE was very lit up in her dressage but made up for it by flying round the xc after 1 fence down in the showjumping.
PAMERO did a super test for 29.6, he annoyingly rubbed the planks to pick up 4 faults but felt incredible round a tough xcto finish 12th.
OBOS COOLEY jumped brilliantly but unfortunately had the last fence down showjumping and picked up a frustrating 20pens on xc... I was still very pleased with him because it was my fault for not making it clear what the question was!

Hartpury was the next event... CONTROE and COOLEY LORD LUX were in CCI** and GRAND MANOEUVRE the CIC***.
The dressage didn't quite go to plan in CCI** with COOLEY LORD LUX doing a nice test but deciding to stick his tongue out the whole way through which left us with a score of 50.9 but thoroughly redeemed himself with an amazing double clear to finish 10th in his first CCI**. CONTROE disgraced himself in his test but jumped an incredible clear xc and just one unlucky rail... so pleased with how these boys felt jumping in their first CCI**!
GRAND MANOEUVRE was super in his test to score 43.8, he then jumped an immaculate double clear just adding time faults! He gave me a great ride!

The babies then had a trip to Solihull for the 5yo class.... All were very good boys withORATORIO winning on his dressage score of 21.5, OUZO was 10th and BRAWO 12th!

We made the long trip up to Blair Castle with SANNANVALLEY JUSTICE for CCI* and GRANDMANOEUVRE for CIC***.
Blair is a beautiful venue and both xc courses were tough but rode well.
SANNANVALLEY JUSTICE did some nice movements but lost marks with a few errors to score 53.5, she flew round the xc clear inside the time but had an uncharacteristic 2 fences down on the final day.
GRAND MANOEUVRE felt much better in his test but struggled slighlty in the mud!! He still lay in 5th place with a score of 46.5. He jumped another super double clear, adding time faults to finish 14th but filled me with confidence for Blenheim CCI***!

We arrived home from Blair at the early hours of Monday morning and after a few hours sleep, we went to Wellington with PAMERO for the Advanced! I have to say a big Thankyou to Holly Woodhead who kept Pee schooled ready for me!! He did a lovely test to score 30.9 and then jumped an awesome double clear and win!! What an unbelievable 7 year old he is!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Busy few months.....

Since my last blog, we have had a busy few months with lots of events and training days!

A quick update on all the horses....

MR BASS - "Chuck" has been on great form, he won the 5/6yo novice section at Salperton, jumped a lovely double clear at Aston le Walls in the Novice and then went to Camphire in Ireland for his first International event... he was a superstar, finishing on his dressage score to win the CIC*YH section!

COOLEY AGAIN - "Nostrils" has been very consistent, he won his Novice section at Salperton and has been placed 6th in his last 3 runs, including 6th place in CIC*YH section at Camphire!

COOLEY LORD LUX - "Lux" had a few 'green' mistakes at Salperton and Barbury but since then has been brilliant, his last run was in CIC** at Camphire where he finished on his dressage score and picked up 4th place. He now heads for his first CCI** at Hartpury this week!

OBOS COOLEY - "Fin" has been going through a bit of a 'teenage' phase recently!! He seems to be able to get 2 out of 3 phases right but has been making silly little mistakes in 1 of the phases which has been frustrating, but he's only 8 years old and I'm sure he will improve with a bit more experience at the Advanced level!

PAMERO - "Pee" has been a total superstar! He did his first Advanced at Aston le Walls and made it feel like a walk in the park, jumping double clear to finish 3rd! At Gatcombe in the Intermediate Championships he did a lovely dressage but had an annoying fence down before flying round a tough xc to finish 12th.

CONTROE - "Conker" seems to have clicked into gear since his little trip to Tattersalls! He has been double clear at all his events, picking up 2nd in a hotly contested 7/8yo Intermediate section at Salperton and then 4th at Aston le Walls Intermediate, he also heads to Hartpury for the CCI**.

All the babies have been ticking along nicely, they have taken a slight back seat whilst the ground has been so hard!

I have a very exciting new ride, GRAND MANOEUVRE who is owned by Diana Chappell, has joined the team. I had my first run on him at Aston le Walls in the OI, he did a super test, had the first fence down sj and had a lovely quiet run round the xc. This was his first run since Badminton where Nick Gauntlett jumped a brilliant clear xc on him. I'm feeling very lucky to have such an exciting horse to ride and the aim will be Blenheim CCI*** at the end of the season!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014


Last week we set sail for one of my favourite events, Tattersalls, in Ireland. COOLEY LORD LUX was competing in the CCI* which was his first three day event. PAMERO, CONTROE and OBOS COOLEY were all doing the CCI**.
The 4 boys all travelled over there really well and the weather looked set to be good. Unfortunately we had to withdraw CONTROE before the trotup becuase he just wasn't quite right and with him only being 7 years old we decided to save him for another day, I was so gutted for his lovely owners Karen Bartlett and Margie Gibb. They flew over anyway and were a huge help and great suppport team to my other horses!
COOLEY LORD LUX tried really hard throughout his dressage test and scored 44.8 which left him in 10th place after dressage, he flew round the xc inside the time which moved him up to 9th. I was really pleased with how he showjumped but he had a really unlucky fence down, I didn't hear him even touch it so it was a real shame! He finished up in 12th place which was great for his first CCI*.
OBOS COOLEY was producing a really lovely test but made a couple of mistakes with a lack of concentration at times which left him in 14th place overnight with a score of 47.4. The CCI** cross country was pretty decent and the first water was the same as what the CCI*** horses jumped last year! He gave me a great ride and helped me out when I didn't give him the best ride through the first water... he was clear inside the time which moved him up to 10th place. He jumped one of his best showjumping rounds which meant he ended up in 10th place... he felt very grown up and he now steps up to CIC*** at Barbury!
PAMERO was a superstar, he came here with very little ecperience having only done 3 Intermediates and 2 CIC** but he found the whole event ridiculously easy! I was over the moon with his dressage but a little disappointed with his mark of 41.3 as I felt he deserved better marks.. this left him in 8th overnight. I was nervous setting out on xc becasue I think an awful lot of this horse and was hoping it wasn't too big an ask for his lack of experience, but he made it feel like a pre-novice!! He nearly had me in tears coming through the finish line after jumping clear inside the time and showing me just how exciting he is for the future! He lay in 6th place overnight. I was really cross with myself becasue he had a rail down the next day which was my fault because I just turned a bit tight and didn't get him straight off the turn, so he came down on the back rail of an oxer... this dropped him into 7th place. I was thrilled with his whole performance though and really hope he gets selected for Le Lion 7yo World Championships at the end of the year now!

I'm so lucky to have some really lovely young horses who all performed brilliantly... Roll on the rest of the season!

PAMERO - 7th CCI**


Sunday, 18 May 2014

Retiring my horse of a lifetime.....

Last month I made the hardest decision of my career so far when I retired my superstar horse RAYEF.... Having had him for 9 years and gone from BE100 to Badminton, I know him inside out! He just wasn't loving eventing any more and I owe it to him to give him what he wants! He is fit and well in himself and I couldn't bare the thought of anything happening to him if I carried on trying to make him event when he didn't really want to any more!

RAYEF has been the horse of a lifetime for me, back in 2005 when I had to sell my legendary pony NOBLE SPRINGBOK, I remember Yogi Breisner telling me that if I sold SPRING, I could set my career up for life by buying 4 or 5 young horses, one of which would take me to Badminton.... he wasn't wrong!! RAYEF was bought a few weeks after selling SPRING and in the middle of 2006 I was approached by Jason Houghton who wanted to buy him off me... I refused to sell him at first because I was convinced he was a 4* horse but when Jason explained that he would buy him but I would keep the ride, I wrote a contract and agreed to sell.

2006 was his first year eventing and he racked up 6 wins and was only out of the top 10 once!

2007 was when RAYEF stepped up to the plate becuase my Junior European Champion from 2006, FERNHILL SOX, had picked up an injury. RAYEF did me proud and after only one year of eventing he went to the Junior European Chamionships and won me Team and Individual Gold! He finsihed the year by winning Gatcombe CIC** and picking up 9th place in his first CIC***.

2008 RAYEF won an OIu21 and an Au25 before sadly picking up an injury at Bramham CCI***.

2009 he picked up 13th place at Saumur CCI*** and then headed to Young Rider European Championships where I had a massive point to prove... In 2008 there had been a mix up with qualifications for FERNHILL SOX and I got a phone call whilst at YR final training telling me I couldn't go to the Europeans. In true RAYEF style he proved that point for me and won another Team and Individual Gold Medal!!!!

2010 was a write off because he had picked up another injury at the European Championships, but the plan was set in place to miss the whole year with the aim of producing him for his CCI**** debut at Badminton in 2011.

2011 was what you call a 'Dream Year'.... RAYEF went to Badminton after one OI and one CIC*** run. Yogi had worked so hard with our dressage over the last year with Badminton in mind... I was 5th into the arena at my first Badminton and my boy did me proud, he produced the test of his life and scored 36.5.... this left us in the lead after day 1 and 3rd after both days of dressage! I couldn't believe it!!! He then popped round the xc and made my first Badminton feel like a walk in the park! We had a really annoying rail in the showjumping but it was still good enough for 8th place.... Top 10 on my Badminton debut, the dream had come true! The highlight was getting to sit in the press conference after the xc day between the 2 legends of the sport, Andrew Nicholson and Mark Todd... It was highly entertaining when Mark pointed out that he won his first Badminton before I was even born!!!!
The dream didn't stop there because after finishing 3rd at Barbury CIC***, I got the phone call every rider dreams of "You have been selected to represent Team GB at the Senior European Championships."..... Although it wasn't the Senior debut I had planned for, it still meant that RAYEF had represented Team GB at Junior, Young Rider and Senior European Championships, winning 4 Gold Medals along the way!

2012 was mixed but he took me to another amazing venue at Aachen for CICO***, he led the dressage by 4 marks, beating the likes of La Biosthetique Sam and Opgun Louvo who went on to win Olympic individual Gold and Bronze a couple of months later! Unfortunately we had to take an unplanned long route on xc when my reins slipped which meant we picked up a few time pens and ended up 3rd. This was good enough for RAYEF to be selected as a first reserve for the London Olympic Games!

2013 he came out with a win in the OI at Lincoln but then failed to sparkle for the rest of the year.

What an absolute LEGEND this horse has been for me.... I owe it all to RAYEF..... I'm just so lucky to still be able to ride him and enjoy him!


April and May update....

After Belton we headed to Weston Park for 2 days, it was full of mixed results but I felt the results didn't tell the right picture becasue I think a few of the horses learnt an awful lot and made big progress!
SANNANVALLEY JUSTICE stole the show with a win in the novice. I had a great ride on PAMERO but had a rail in the showjumping which was rider error! He finished 6th.

Next stop was Hambleden, the main man here was COOLEY LORD LUX who jumped a super double clear to win the Intermediate, he had come on so much since Weston and gave me a great ride xc!
MR BASS also jumped a lovely double clear to finish 2nd in his novice section.
On the Friday we had 3 babies making their eventing debuts.... it's fair to say they were all totally shocked by what was going on but they all completed and will hopefully start to understand the job next time!!
SANNANVALLEY JUSTICE was going really well in her first CIC* but had a really annoying 20 pens at the quarry!

I was really excited about going to Rockingham Castle for the next event because I'd heard good reports about it... it didn't disappoint!!
What a super event with lovely organisers... new favourite event!!!!
OUZO and ORATORIO were having their second event and they had improved enormously, both jumping double clears and ORATORIO finishing in 3rd place.
Unfortunately Withington had been cancelled the weekend before which meant PAMERO had missed an Intermediate run before the CIC** here, but that didn't seem to bother him! He gave me an amazing ride xc and showjumped a lovely clear to finish 3rd and gain his qualification for Tattersalls CCI**.
Also in the CIC** was CONTROE, he performed a good test to score 49.1, had an unlucky rail and then flew round the xc, so he also heads to Tattersalls for CCI**... Botht these horses are only 7yo's so the future is looking bright!
OBOS COOLEY had a last minute entry into the AI after Withington's cancellation but he was having a "teenage" moment in the showjumping and had 2 down but flew round xc!

Aston le Walls was a mammouth few days, we had 11 horses over 3 days there... with 8 of them finishing in the top 10!
PAMERO was a superstar and won the Intermediate, OBOS COOLEY was 3rd in OI, SANNANVALLEY JUSTICE was 2nd in Novice, COOLEY LORD LUX was 6th in Intermediate, COOLEY AGAIN was 8th in Novice, ORATORIO was 4th in BE100, OUZO and BRAWO both finsihed 2nd in BE100.
This was the final run before Tattersalls where COOLEY LORD LUX is competing in CCI* whilst CONTROE, OBOS COOLEY and PAMERO are doing the CCI**... fingers crossed for a good week!