Saturday, 31 December 2011


Its been 3 weeks now since I started my part time job, I feel like a could sleep for a year. From the  Christmas Buzz (14 people and 6 dogs), 4 horses to exercise, general socialising and work, I'm going back to school for a rest! Its been tiring but amazing and given me a little taste of what it will be like when I leave school. I am so lucky to be working for Fiona Bigwood and Anders Dahl, I am learning so much and its a priviledge to work in such an amazing set up and I get to hack out their gorgeous horses. (I have a personal favourite - Denato)!

One of my Chrtistmas presents was a British Dressage Membership so I shall be putting into practice what I have learnt at work!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Radio Interview!!!


I had my first radio interview yesterday it was amazing but incredibly nerve racking , I don't think I have ever been so nervous I was shaking.

I wasn't expecting it to come so early but the dates were changed and before I knew it I was being interviewed for the radio with Micheal from MDR my sponsors (that feels weird saying that!)

It was the most surreal thing to think that I was doing this, anyway we will see how embarrassing it is when it is broadcast next Thursday to 44 different countries!!

This is the link that you will be able to find it on and they have a facebook page to 'like' it if your a member of facebook You will also be able to download it from itunes!

General update on horses!

Well it's definitely hit winter it's very cold up at the Upton's Barn.
But hey ho I have 4 beautiful horses they keep me warm!

Estella: just chilling at the moment enjoying a break just hacking, this week I brought her back into work, I thought it was going to be easier than it was - she leaped and bolted across the sand school which was very interesting!

Yara: Although a new arrival I feel like she has been with us for ages, she has really settled in and is doing really well in her work. I took her to Pycombe yesterday and she was cracking. She jumped a course of jumps 1m to 1m 5 which I was chuffed with, I've never jumped her round a course so it was good to see how she would take it and she went round surprisingly well even with all the fillers in. To improve she just needs to keep a slow steady rhythm around the course as it was just a little quick  but that will come with time and flat work training!

Glimpse: 5 years old and 15 hands but an absolute machine, she has been pinging, she jumped 1m10 in the sand school the last week in a course. I took her to Pycombe with Yara and I just did a little course of 80 to 90cm becasue I didn't want to over face her as it is the first time she has done a proper course with all the fillers in but there was no need to worry she popped all of them. She just needs more schooling again just to help her around the turns to be better balanced but all the natural ability there.

Pearl: She is one amazing hunter that's all I can say she just jumps anything and I'm enjoying hunting her!
Oh and I would also like to say to Lila Millard I will try and keep my blog updated for you, and I hear you went hedge hopping out hunting and jumped 9 hedges.... that's AMAZING!!! We might go to the Olympics together one day!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

MDR Photo Supports Harriet Upton for 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yay! I was so pleased when I received the email on Monday from Michael Rogers to say that they were supporting me in 2012. Michael is a keen supporter of equestrian sport and does a wonderful thing, he supports riders like me!!! I would like to thank him and his team very much and I hope I can promote them in everyway possible.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Harriet Upton's Road To The Olympics: I LOVE YARA !

Harriet Upton's Road To The Olympics: I LOVE YARA !: So I had my first lesson on her on Friday and she was fantastic... we did a bit of grid work reaching the height of 1m 10 as a spread, not o...


So I had my first lesson on her on Friday and she was fantastic... we did a bit of grid work reaching the height of 1m 10 as a spread, not only has she never done a grid work session but she has never jumped that height and she did it all with ease! She also jumped a barrel!!!!!

Yesterday I took her for a nice long hack and jumped a few tiger traps and ditches which she was extremely bold over and they were quite smooky.

Today I took her to a PC lesson with Ken. We jumped on a 20 metre circle making sure after each cross pole that we landed on the correct leg, a difficult exercise that she made very easy. Ken then set up an upright which we had to jump off the left rein but then change the leg over the fence onto the right leg and then turn right. We went back round to jump the upright off the right rein and change the leg onto the left leg again. Changing leg to the left lead she did perfect first time but then the 2nd time I did not put enough weight onto the left side so she didn't quite change, so Ken shouted "ask for flying change" and so I did and straight away she just changed,  just brilliant. She is learning so quickly and we are just getting on so well. I love her to pieces.

Next things for Yara
  • lesson at Kens on Friday
  • XC schooling in the next 2/3 weeks 
  • Dressage competition 
  • Show jumping competition 
  • And more training

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Yara has arrived!

Yara is here! She is in her stable and I can't quite believe it. Guess who will be up at 6 tomorrow morning riding!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Introducing Yara!

Just heard that the lovely Yara is coming to live with us. She is a super talented, 5 year old coloured mare by Cruising and owned by David Foy. As soon as I met Yara it was love at first sight, we had an instant bond. Can't wait to see what we can do together. We pick her up Wednesday so watch this space for photos!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

NSEA (National School Championships)

The last road trip of the year. Off we went on Friday afternoon to Buckinghamshire. Addington was our destination.(Its very posh with very scary security men).

We were on first thing on Saturday morning for the open showjumping. I was the last rider of my team, Stella did a beautiful clear which put us in to the jump off, due to take place in the evening.

Not long to wait before I had to go and do the individual novice dressage, the test was fine but I had not been able to practice it as Stella had needed to recover from Weston and I had only started riding her 5 days before.I came 7th. My score was OK, if I'm honest I used it as a warm up and arena familiarisation for the Individual Elementary, which came next! I was so pleased with my result. I was up against British Dressage Young Riders and a lot of them were older than me and their horses younger and more supple than Stella. We came 3rd! I felt such an achievement.

The showjumping final took place at 7.45pm that evening, we were a little tired! However 3 beautiful clears, secured Farlington as Reserve Champions, what an achievement!

Sunday was a little more chilled with the team dressage. Unfortunately I forgot the test and can you blame me, I had had to learn 3 dressage tests, in a large arena (which we don't have) . I had not even been able to look at this test till Sunday, incase I got confused, Stella still got 70% and the others came 4th and 5th in their arenas, so we secured 4th place as a team. Yay, GO Farlington. I think we were one of the smallest teams, from one of the smallest schools and we all managed to be placed in everything we did! Long trip home, I think we arrived home about midnight!

Weston :(

Ohhhhhhh Weston Weston Weston........
It all has to go wrong once in a while, unfortunately it was at the last event of the season and it was quite a big one, it was always going to happen!
So the story starts..........

We arrive on Tuesday afternoon on a very cold and windy afternoon. Once we had found Estella's stable and settled her in it was then time to put up the little zebra print, one man tent. That was where I was going to be staying in for the next 5 days whilst mum was staying in the lorry (a little unfair I would say), putting the tent up in the wind was interesting it kept trying to fly off, it was amusing and I got some very weird looks. I'm not going to mention anything about the mix up with stables, but it wasn't our fault! We had lovely neighbours, in fact we made friends with the lorry park attendant who said he would evict them if we didn't like them! No need, Sacha Pemble drew up beside us in her lorry 15 minutes later. Mum, Sacha  and Evie, Sacha's groom hit it off immediately. Sacha and Evie came over for a glass of wine or three that night, good night had by all!

Wednesday we had trot up and inspection. Its so nerve racking waiting, even though you know your horse is sound. Anyway all clear and ok to compete. We had nothing else on apart from the riders meeting so I took Stella on a lovely hack around the track that they provided it was beautiful. I also walked the course that day, with Sacha, it took so long to walk and Mum walked it as well, even with her dodgy leg, she still walked all the way around!!! Wednesday night I went off socialising with my friends, arrived back to a dark, quiet lorry. Where was Mum? Over at Sacha's drinking more wine!

Thursday.... ANOTHER DAY OFF!!!!!! I think next time if I have that many days off I will bring another horse so I can ride it and take up some of the time, I had so much free time it was awful I had to try and sit still and chill..... this is not doable for me!!!! But I did get to watch the first of the dressage tests, they all looked amazing.

Friday.... yay finally I had something to do my dressage!!!!!! I had learnt before I had gone to Weston to manipulate Stella's back properly so, I was doing her back once a day leading up to the dressage and even on the day and after, it made her really soft and supple over her back. When I was warming up for the dressage she was feeling so good that she stretched right down and was forward and just so lush, Mum said she looked like a different horse and 10 years younger, it has taken me all season to get this but its better late then never! Grandad also arrived Friday with more wine and fresh supplies for the fridge. All were very welcome.

When I entered my dressage I new it was going to be a good test and it was, she was perfect, soft, listening not once did she hollow her medium trot and the canter was right on the money. I was so pleased and the lovely thing was my score reflected it..... 48.3 which put me right in the mix leaving me in 9th going through to the cross country day. After dressage it was time to walk the course again and I walked to get the minute markers this time and to think about the time to see where I would take cuts.

Saturday....we were warming up and she was flying over the practise fences and she was being quite strong so i knewwww she was up for it! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and off we went! We hit the first fence with perfect striding always promising when that happens, we were up on our minute markers and had just flown through the first few complexes, nothing was going to stop us except the the 9th fence where she just didn't take off and ran into the fence, she fell to her knees, I was completely shocked not only did she stop, which she never does, she fell which is not like her at all.... but I had to deal with the situation in hand and I decided that with the stop I probably didn't have a chance anymore, so I thought to myself, I'm going to stop my watch and just school her back, but after that she just wasn't jumping properly and we entered the water and she just stopped, she wasn't listening to my leg or the whip so I knew I had to retire her! she just wasn't right!

I took her back to her stable to see she had two fat legs at the back, one was really swollen and even though I didn't hear her knock herself we think she must have done, it would explain why she could not take off. Then where she fell she had a big knee and it was cut... poor Stella Bella. she wasn't lame so that was good she just had hot swollen legs, it could have been a lot worse

We took good care of her, icing her legs constantly and walking her. We didn't go back immediately because we didn't want to stand her in the lorry for hours. So we stayed the following day and watched the showjumping and the juniors. Well done to all my friends who were in the placings, they all did incredibly well.

Can I just say thank you to my Grandad, Weston was his treat, he paid my competition entry as a well done for France. Sorry it didn't go to plan, but I learn't a lot. x

Monday, 3 October 2011

Tina Cook lesson!

My first lesson in a really long time and it made me realise that I need to get out running!!!!!

What I tried doing this time was riding Estella in a double bridle and Tina's suggestion was just to train her in it and to go back to the snaffle during tests, this in fact works really well!

The lesson went really well too, we worked on just going forwards and coming off my leg. We were doing a sort of shoulder-in on a 10 metre circle, not letting her fall in or lose the outside shoulder, which with her it quite hard because she is a "stiff old bird" as Tina says. We also worked on the straightnesss of the canter so we went down the centre line and I had to make sure she didnt swing her quarters left or right, we did a lot of counter counter to help with this, we worked on me as well, making sure I kept my sholders back and my lower leg just behind the girth, not too far behind and making sure its on the girth when doing laterall work.

We are off to Weston tomorrow till Sunday to do the CCI 1* which i am very much looking forward to! whooooo!!!!!!!

Friday, 30 September 2011

South Of England

Estella at South of England doing the  CIC1*

A little daunting as when I looked at my section of 90 competitors it included Pippa Funnell, Lucinda Fredricks, Ken Spencer, Clayton Fredricks, Gemma Tattesall, Sacha Pemble...................

It was a bit quiet on the Friday afternoon when we turned up to do the trot up and our dressage, it was hard to believe that the showground would be packed out over the weekend. But it was quite relaxed and we had loads of time to walk the xc too.

The dressage was fantastic we got a 45 which I was over the moon about and at the end of the dressage I was in quite a good place I think about 15th.

We went back on the Saturday to walk the xc course again and walk the show jumping.

On Sunday we had a very early start and arrived at the showground for 7.15am I walked the sj course again Then our friend Lisa turned up to watch, though we soon put her to work!

At the SJ Estella jumped well but was a tad careless at one of the jumps and had it down, she was very spooky that day and was backing of everything so she took a bit of riding.

I went straight to the xc to walk part of of it again as there had been a course change and arranged to meet Lisa, Jill and Mum at the warm up with Estella. I didn't have too long to warm up and then we were on. It was a very long course and hilly but we went clear inside the time which I was chuffed with!

With this it left me in 12th place which was very respectable, very much so considering the company of all the professional riders I was in.

Of course it wouldnt be right just leaving it at this without telling you the other things that happened e.g my Mother embarrassing me several times 1.Walking into a chair when it was silent which caused everyone to look round. 2. She fell in to a dip and nearly fell over a ledge! 3. Talking on the phone about a certain professional dressage rider (nice things) but hadn't realised they where walking right in front of us! This caused me to completely disown her! Butttt then I remember its character building!

I am not sure whether I relayed the incident about Mum and the bicycle in France at Haras, but I am slightly worried as apparently we are taking the bikes to Weston next week, god I hope she stays on this time!

Next up date my Tina Cook lessons.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Busy few weeks!

Its sooo upseting to think its nearly the end of the season, but however its been a funpacked season! This is an update of what I have been doing these few weeks.

A couple of weeks ago I competed for the school at the NSEA qualifers, I did the Novice dressage (on stella) and I WON which I was very pleased with and Farlington also won as a Team, then I did the Elementary on her and came 2nd. I also did the Novice test on Pearl, her first ever novice test and first dressage test in a while and she did suprisingly well she got 60%! I also came 3rd on stella in the open jumping with style which was judged on style, speed and faults! So we are off to Addington for the championships in October if we are able to get up there and it doesn't snow to much!

Next... South Of England 1* I will update you on that tomorrow! 

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Update and Goring Heath

Sorry I have not updated for a while, I'm back at school now grrrr but its my last year whooooo!!! I have decided I am not going to College, I have thought about it over and over. Since I can remember I have always told Mum and Dad that I was not going to College and  that I just wanted to ride and that certainly hasn't changed so I have decided to absolutely commit to my riding.

I was at Goring Heath last week. We got a 33 dressage, it was ok just a little behind the leg but my canter work was GREAT!!!!! In the Show jumping I came round the corner to first fence and it absolutely bucketed it down, to a point I could hardly see! But even with this inconvenience we did a perfect round every jump we hit perfect stride and I think it was because I treated every fence the same, rode away from each fence and kept that rhythm. I think we lacked that in other rounds previously!

My XC round was ok however, when I went to start my watch it would not work and so I had no idea what speed I was going. I thought we were quite quick but I forgot from last year that the time is tight as it is quite hilly and what I think happened was that I took a few to many pulls just before the fence which slowed her down! Oh well I have learnt from this experience!!!!

BUTTT I still came 3rd which I was very pleased with!!!!!

Also not sure you can see the number of hits on my blog but I have over 5,500 hits on my blog. That's amazing, Thank you for reading it. x

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Show Jumping and Cross Country at Haras Du Pin

Friday morning came and I was on early again for the showjumping.

The amount of times I walked the showjumping was absurd especially one particular line where I just could not get the right striding between the fences, it was there,  I got it once but I couldn't find the stride again. So I walked it over and over and over and over.... until I remembered where it was exactly or until I made a track in the grass from walking it over and over again!!!

Anyway the preparation seem to really pay off as we did an awesome clear round and inside the time, when everyone that morning seem to be struggling to get a clear inside the time!!! Grant clocked something that I hadn't thought of  and said that when I was going over fence 5, I should have a cheeky look at the clock ringside and if it said 32-33 or less then I was on the right time but if it said anything over I needed to kick on so I had a look and I was at 28-29 so it was perfect!!! Best showjumping round I think we have done together!!

Then came the long wait for Cross Country, I wasn't on until 3.35pm, so I had time to have a cooked breakfast and go support the rest of the Brits for the showjumping and watch how the xc was riding.
Again I walked my lines over and over and I think I must have walked my course 5 times!!! For the first time I did minute markers so I knew where I was timing wise throughout the course and they worked a treat! It was the first time that I have come inside the time, I have never ridden so fast and so technically. I thought about it so much where I could take things on a open stride, which ones I could take on a sharp angle to cut out some of the ground and then when we were at the combinations I had some time to ask her to come back to me. For the first time we where inside the time!

Estella was amazing that week she tried her heart out for me and really gave me everything she had! It was amazing to have that feeling!!!

What a week!! But none of this would have happened if it wasn't for my "support" team they were fab. Some people are lucky enough to have grooms but even though my "support team" is just family I wouldn't have it any other way they are   F A B U L O U S!!!!!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Dressage at Haras du Pin!!!

You may think dressage is all the same whereever you go well you would be very wrong!!! The principle is the same but for a start they talk in French when they introduce you on the speaker and then translate it into English. It was weird when they said...... This is Harriet Upton riding for Great Britian On Estella in French and English, something I didn't think I would hear for a long long time!!!
They also played music whilst the tests were going on and of course the dressage sheets are in French.Mum and Grandad were able to tranlsate for me.

Anyway after a very succesful warming in with Caroline Morre all top hatted and tailed up, it was my turn to go, I wasn't nervous I was in the zone, I new my test inside out and back to front - I WAS READY!

I did the dressage test of my life, never have I ridden like it. I was light, I wasn't gripping and as Ken would say my legs where just like spaghetti hanging round Estella which made the whole frame so light and she swung from behind which she hasn't done for a while.

When I came down that centre line at the end of that test it was the most amazing feeling, it was a feeling of relief but the adrenalinewas running through me just wanting to do it again and again and not stop!

I was very pleased with the mark it was a 53. 4. They where marking in the 60's and 70's so I was pretty average. To people who where watching it, they thought it was lot better then that, but I think the French judges look for something different. They like long rangy over bent horses which they seem to make quite well, and because it was a 1* they mark a lot harsher. From what I can gather if you get in the 40's then that is the equivalent of the late 20s ish in normal novice and 50s is the equivalent to early 30s. I do not know whether that makes any sense what so ever, but anyway I was over the moon with it having been the first time I have been in that arena that size and with that atmosphere, in a different country with music but Estella performed her little socks off for me listening to me and not getting distracted!!!

I cant even explain how amazing it was it gave me the most amazing buzz it made me feel proffessional. When I arrived I felt out of my depth and wondered why i was there but as soon as I entered the dressage arena I felt different I WAS BORN TO DO THIS!!!!!!

Harriet Upton's Road To The Olympics: Haras Du Pin 2011

Harriet Upton's Road To The Olympics: Haras Du Pin 2011: Haras Du Pin 2011 , a set on Flickr.

Sunday, 21 August 2011


One word to describe it Haras Du Pin France....... INCREDIBLE!!!!!

Monday - The journey.......
It took us 11 hours to get there 2 hrs this side 1hr and a half on the boat and 7 hrs from Calais to Haras Du Pin it was a long trip but it was well worth it! But partly why it took so long was because mother decided to take the scenic route towards Paris which added an hr or two onto our journey. On this journey Mum got incredible jumpy and nervous pointing out cars that where coming up beside us that she thought where too close or were going to cut us up which me and my uncle found hysterical because they where just driving past not to close at all!!!!

My Uncle and amaaaaaazing Godfather GRANT came with us because sadly my Nan fell very ill before we went to France and my Dad needed to be there for her. The moment we arrived there at Haras Du Pin my Nan passed away which hit us very hard. We hated not being able to be there for my Dad and being so far away from him, I liked to think that she lived to see us arrive safely to the event and was my guardian angel throughout!
When we arrived we where met by the stable manager the first person we spoke to in France but luckily I didn't need to brush off my French from school because she spoke a little English!!

Haras Du Pin is absolutely amazing, very posh and massive.

We thought she had put us in a fab spot with loads of room not to cramped............ until we got out and we heard the generator!!!! We where right next to it!!! We couldn't have been any closer if we had tried it was pretty much in Grants tent which he was very happy about..........NOT!

Stella had a nice stable which was airy and at the end of the row so she was happy, when we got her out of the lorry we were very worried about how stiff she was going to be but there was no need to be, she came off like a spring chicken dancing, we were worrying unnecessarily.

That evening I cooked us a meal it consisted of steak on the BBQ which I never do, actually I am never trusted to cook meat as cooking is not one of my best skills and it was proved when I thought the steak was done and it was pretty much raw all the way through so that ended going back on the BBQ and Grant finishing it off, I think I should to stick to riding!!!!

Tuesday - Build up to trot up

It was a quietish day, we had a junior meeting, where we met each other and got our British Flags. We had a great group of juniors who I got to know really well, we were all very supportive of each other and so friendly.

Mum had a great day she continued the theme of embarrassing me where ever she goes! She took her contact lenses out and then asked Grant which where the ladies were, well you can imagine Grant thought it would be very funny to tell her where the men's were, she found out when she walked into a urinal! Then we decided to investigate the event on the bikes, Mum fell off her bike, properly fell off. I heard her shout my name, I cycled back round the corner to see mum on the floor with the bike on top of her. She managed to fall of in front of quite a few people.Anyway she was fine, didn't hurt herself, just her pride and my street cred!

In the afternoon we got Stella ready for the trot up, she was bathed and plaited and looked fantastic. We were all very nervous. I have never done a trot up before. But we had no need to be she passed it with flying colours.

Competition blog to follow tomorrow.

Haras Du Pin 2011

IMG_0986Trot updressageSJHarrietJuniors course walk
IMG_0955IMG_0956Course being builtArena before the sj course was builtdressage arenasIMG_0927
IMG_1498The case of the missing kit katIMG_1502IMG_1507IMG_1508IMG_1510

Haras Du Pin 2011, a set on Flickr.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

So I am actually going to France!

So it has just occured to me that I am going to compete abroad. There has been no letter, no phone call to say that they have made a mistake that actually I'm not on the squad, nope not at all so we are venturing to France tomorrow at 9am.

The journey should take us 2 hours from here to Dover then we board the boat at midday, hopefully the crossing to will take 1hr Calais, then from Calais to Haras Du Pin should take us about 4hrs. So realistically we should arrive at our destination at about 5pm with the stops taken into account.

My Nanny has paid a visit today which is always a good thing because she is always bearing gifts and the best kind of gifts FOOD GIFTS!!!! She has brought lemon drizzle cake, sausage rolls and cheese straws. So we are all stocked up for the week!!

We have the music sorted, the living is sorted and it is very homely might I add!!

I think we might be ready!!!!!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Training sessions for France on Estella

Tina Cook lesson, Monday.
Recently Stella has been returning to her old habit of going really slowly and making me work extra hard. So this is what we solved: Tina had me doing medium trot and medium canter, just making her go really forwards and responding to my leg but not letting it all go out the front and holding it together which gave me such a good outcome. We worked on getting some spark into her, Tina said we both looked really pretty but a bit flat.We also did some awesome jumping, Tina told me to push myself slightly out of my confort zone and push her on a little more which made the jump so much better and it meant Estella would then have enough power just to take the longer strides to the jump, this will help massively with France because apparently the French have longer distances  and we will need to jump on a more open stride,so this will help us to make up the distances in the combinations.

During this lesson Mum managed to fall backwards off of a jumping block, squash Tina's puppy with a show jump and lose the puppy she was supposed to be looking after! Not embarrassing at all!

Ken Spencer lesson this evening to practice THE TEST!!
It went exceptionally well, I have learnt how to do sitting trot with my light seat which means I do not block Stella and she is a lot more supple and forward. I just have to remember my corners and in canter to stay STRAIGHT and not to let her hollow on the right canter! AND REMEMBER THE TEST!!!!!!! Apart from that it should be good!! Good old Uncle Ken he always gives me the confidence before an event!

Mum had a lesson with Ken too - how to quarter mark, so we should look very posh going into the ring, if Mum practices enough!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Countdown to Haras Du Pin - I am so excited!


266 horses, 14 countries, and some champions..!
The Haras du Pin national stud-farm, in Normandy, France, welcomes from 17 to 21 August the ultimate FEI Eventing World Cup leg. The show establishes a new record with 266 horses participating, and some of the best riders in the world. The two co-leaders of the provisional FEI Eventing World Cup rankings, Clarke Johnstone (NZL) and Chris Burton (AUS) will start with respectively 1 and 2 horses. The winner of the « Grand Complet » 2010, Emily Balwin (GBR), is back with her brave Drivetime, maybe for a second victory in a row. The living legend Mark Todd (NZL) comes back to Le Pin and will try to qualify another of his horses for the OG 2012, after an incredible victory at Badminton Horse Trials. The Australian duo Clayton and his wife Lucinda Fredericks stick to the « Grand Complet » for another year. They will cope with 16 French riders in the World Cup class.
In summary:
  • 3 international eventing classes: a CIC 1 star, a CIC 2 stars, and a CIC 3 stars, last leg of the 2011 FEI Eventing World Cup.
  • 47 horses in the CIC3*-W, 98 in the CIC2*, and 121 in the CIC1*, for a total of 266 horses.
  • 14 nations participating: Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, France, Great-Britain, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, USA.

Le Grand Complet~ Since 1995 ~

   Le Grand Complet started in 1995 on the lands of the Le Goupil family farm in Martinvast (Manche, Normandy). Being the founders of the event, they gathered a massive group of volunteers from the riding centre settled on the farm and the adventure was on! Pierre Le Goupil, a former professionnal rider who competed Burghley and Badminton, managed to lead a strongly motivated and inspired team to turn a regional event into an international one up to 3 * level. In 2002, it became the 1st FEI World Cup qualifier to support the concept.
   In 2010, due to the farm and riding centre developing policy, the event was relocated on the lands of the outstanding and impressive Haras du Pin (Orne, Normandy). The place once hosted the Eventing European Championship a few decades ago. The facilities offered on site were praised and the 1st edition considered as a success.
  Le Grand Complet is renowned for its conviviality, with live bands music in the evenings and a warm atmosphere. It is the only event in France to welcome so many foreigners. Right from the beginning, nationalities such as Belgian and British, have largely contributed to the growing success and they quickly spread words on the quality of the event. They still match the high reputation of the competition, entering large squads every year.. Some faithful riders have never missed an edition.  
   Le Haras du Pin will host the 2014 WEG XCountry test and the organising team USTICA is ready this year to improve the access for crowds of visitors and welcome riders and horses at its best as it has always been its priority.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Hickstead Schools SJ

With the rain pouring down, off we went at 9am picking Beanie up on the way. Just before we left we had a phone call to say 14 teams had dropped out, so we hot footed it over there but when we got there it was a it was only 4 teams that had dropped out!

We turned up to do the course walk for 10.30, to see some poor person being stretchered off, which didn't bode well and still the rain poured.

We waited and we waited and waited! And it rained and rained and rained. Finally at 3 we went to warm up and do a clear round, but there was still a wait so our team went for a hack instead. Then it was the turn of our team, our first team member went, was eliminated and so all the team was eliminated and we never got to jump at all! I didn't mind actually, we have all been there before and I was worried about the ground and putting Beanie at Risk.

So I went back into the sand warm up arena and jumped her 1.30 metres - very happy with that. Even if I didn't jump in a class and we did get terribly wet.

Then we went home and that was our day!

Open Area Eventing on Estella

Back out again on Tuesday for area eventing (open class)!!

Oh dear, I had a shocking dressage! Estella was really flat, she gave me nothing which was such a shame because it was a 34.6, if she had done her normal standard then it would have been amazing score! But then again if she always did the same good dressage, it would be boring and they not machines after all!

The Show jumping really flowed however she was a little lazy with her hind leg and did take one rail, but the SJ was caused chaos so I was happy.

She flew round XC and I have really started now to come on a more open stride to single fences and stop taking a pull when I dont need to, to save time, which should help me a lot more and stop her from chipping in little strides!!

I ended up coming 4th, so not too bad.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Smiths Lawn with Beanie

So back from Area dressage it was time to get ready for Smiths Lawn the next day!

I took Beanie (Tinkers Whiz Kid) into our first BE one day event as a combination - Pre Novice.
Beanie is owned by Gail Stephens. She is a 16.2 chesnut mare 16 yrs old, a sometimes tricky but she is lovely!

In her dressage she got a 34.5 which wasn't terrible, she has to be kept constantly busy so in a simple dressage test she tends to get quite hot and lose concentration, my feeling is that she will be lot better at a  Novice test that has some more complicated movements and she could most definitly do the height!

Show Jumping: It was the best show jumping I think I have ever ridden in my life but unfortunately she had a rail with her hind leg which was a shame. She spooked at the filler under the rail . She will never stop but when she is unsure she puts her head through her front legs looks at the filler and forgets about her hind legs.

XC: She was jumping super - flying everything we were taking out strides and collecting when we needed to, it was just so together but then we came to the first water! It looked like we were going into a massive lake and they had railings to show the direction, it was a small gap to get into the water and the poor mare freaked and completely froze which is unlike her, she has never done that with me before, I even jumped her over the rolltop into the water at Coombelands and she didnt think twice about it and just listened to me! So she froze at the Smiths Lawn lake and she didn't techniquely step back but the fence judge was very quick to give us a stop which was a real shame because she then went and jumped beautifully after that.

If we hadn't had the stop on the XC course we would have come 2nd but even with the stop we came 12th.

There is so much to work with and she is such an enjoyable to ride that  I would love to carry on eventing her and get her up to Novice! So we will see. I am hoping Gail will get a taste for being an owner!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The busiest week I think I have ever had!

The is so much to update on so I am going to do it gradually over a few days. 

So this busy week started with area dressage in Sevenoaks. But the day started with a very broken satnav so we had to go back to old fashioned google maps and me having to read out the instruction to mother who was in the drivers seat, however this was a bad idea because I missed out a key bit of instruction which made us go terribly wrong and putting another 1hr onto our journey 'NIGHTMARE'  this resulted us getting there way later then planned and only having 5 minutes to warm up. The test, it wasn't to terrible I got 69.82% and came 5th it could have gone better had I warmed up for longer and got her in front of my leg more but for a 5 min warm up it wasn't to shabby.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

The lead up to CIC 1* Harras Du Pin - FRANCE!!!

For those of you who don't know I will be venturing off to France to compete in a CIC 1* in 3 weeks. Just recently I received a letter inviting me along to France to compete in a squad of Juniors. I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I read the letter but it is actually true, I keep thinking that they are going to ring  and say "sorry that wasn't meant for you" but it has been 3 weeks and everything has been booked and no-one has rung to say otherwise so I guess that means I am off to FRANCE with Estella YAY!!

FEI Passport is done, FEI numbers for Estella and I are done, application form done, acceptance letter received, ferry booked, vaccinations now done and little break for Estella we are ready to step our training.

I will be doing regular updates about Estella and I on our training plan to get us to France.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Brightling Horse Trials, where to start!

My first 1* turned out to be just another novice!

Top hat and tails on and off ! I go to my dressage with a pristine horse who soon turns into a muddy one! I trekked through the carpark which was a  mud bath, lorries being pulled in and out, it was just as bad as longleat!

So anyway I headed up to the dressage, 3 seconds into my warm up an official ventures over to me stops me and says "Unfortunately". As soon as I heard that I thought no no no I dont want to hear it...

Apparently we misread the rules, flu jabs need to be done every 6 months done for FEI, home and abroad. Estella's vaccinations are booked for next week, a week too late!

Anyway they were very kind and said I could go into the novice. Top hat ad tails off and Tweed and Beaguler now on, I had 15 minutes to learn the new dressage test and I went and pulled off the best dressge test I have ever done, in sitting trot as well! It was a 26.5! Finally a great dressage test!

Pre-show jumping whilst warming up, I wondered what on earth Mum was doing, it turns out she lost her footing and fell over in the deep, slushy mud. Leg still intact and holding together, she stood watching my jumping propped up on the stewards car.

Show jumping, I went into the ring and the wind blew some of the jumps over at the same time, I thought it did not bode well, but we did a good clear she just chickened out on me at the double which meant she chipped in and scrambled over it, the rest of the course I had to ride very hard, so next time I will make sure I give her a reminder that she should be doing her job as well as me!

I got ready for the xc and I was so looking forward to it, my time was 1.06, I got down there at 1 and no one was there, the jump judges had gone, flags across jump and the steward was having her lunch. Control had not told the stewards that I was running in the Novice. The steward did apologise and they refunded our money which was good of them. So back to the lorry it was, I was not able to complete, so I untacked and we went home!!

I was very pleased with my dressage and show jumping it was a very confidence giving day!!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Double clear at Rackham for Pearl

I went to Rackham Riding club event on Sunday again on the Pearly whirly to consolidate what we had done a couple of weeks ago but the most exciting news is we have our lorry back so we went in style to Rackham!  When I say style, it is the old blue box, on a white chassis and silver luton and skirts! We were definately different!

Dressage, well there where glimpses of stunning work but typical Pearl she threw in a few bucks only two this time so she is getting better, but I think I have come to a conclusion of what it is, I think what happens is when something goes slightly wrong or I feel Pearl is going to do something instead of ignoring her and relaxing and pushing her on - I tense my legs and then use my heels not my calves which means I block her and then she bucks to almost say "Hey stop blocking me I cant move". Mum is sceptical but I know Pearl she is not being naughty she is just telling me what I am doing wrong, but anyway she got 36.8 due to her bucking .

Show jumping she did a beautiful clear a little fast but at the moment I dont mind that and she didnt freak when she got a little close she just used her back and sprung up which is perfect! The steward commented to Mum that I had a very talented horse! Well haven't I always known that?

 XC again faultless she is just taking me now and is very bold.

So this resulted in a lovely joint 4th but I was put down to 5th placing due to how they scored,  I was very pleased!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Eridge Under 18 Novice

I rode my dressage test within an inch of my life all in sitting trot and even in the medium trot!

I came out of the test feeling extremely pleased, it flowed, I was accurate for once and Estella and I were really connected and as one! But the judge didn't like what she was seeing and didn't give me an overly good mark - 35.5. Small gripe coming up - as a junior and this was the under 18 class, I am constantly learning, if a judge is going to put 6's on my sheet they should explain why! I need to know. Only comment on my sheet was "nice mare, needs to work over her back more". I now have no idea what to work on. (gripe over)

Taking comments from other people that watched it, they felt it was harshly marked, hey ho. You win some and you lose some. I have decided not to change what I am doing - since I don't know what I should be changing and to see if I can get more constructive comments next time.

We did the best Show Jumping we have ever done, ok before we may have gone clear but it certainly wasn't pretty! This time I did it in a snaffle, I have been training in it and it really does seem better than the Pelham. Only one minor hiccup, Estella took a hold on one of the fences and ran herself into trouble, just tapped it and it came down, but the rest of it was really good and flowed well.

We did a superb cross country with time penalties but everyone had them. There's fit and then there is Eridge, have you seen the size of those hills?! Stella was extremely fit and she did her best and so did I!

Final position 9th! Would have liked to have been a little higher up the order but we will take a placing.

Next event will be my first CIC 1* at Brightling - watch this space to find out where my second one will be, can't tell you yet, do not want to jinx it - now that is exciting!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

My Pearly!!!

Intro at Rackham today on Pearl!

It was lovely to have Jill back from Canada, she very kindly took us again, as the lorry still is not ready!

Well as usual it started off interesting: Our dressage, normally Pearl's best phase turned out as a 40! I have a whole bunch of 4's on my sheet, because she bronked and bucked her way through the test, and all I could do was laugh, unfortunately we were right next to the cross country which explains some the exuberance, but it was the best I felt her move (when she stopped messing around).

The show jumping - well this past week I have tried to work out why she gets so stressed and why she rushes, so all week I have thought over and over it, it took one morning before school whilst eating my breakfast reading "Horse and Hound" and I spied an article about when Lucinda Green rode Nicola Wilson's Opposition Buzz. She explained that he has his own technique and that's just how he is. Not until later on that evening I was thinking about that article and Pearl, that's when it hit me like a big red bus! Pearl has her own technique, ride her how she wants to be ridden. Getting hit my a big red bus was the best thing that has happened, it was the best round she has ever done today. I have never felt her use her back like she did today, it felt like we did it in slow motion. She did have the planks down but that was just because we were slightly far off it but she didn't freak, she just straight away waited for my instruction, she was perfect and to top it off she did the most confident and bold cross country I have ever felt from her, doing a beautiful clear round inside the time!!!

I am chuffed with the little mare for once I actually felt what she will be like, its all so exciting! Know doubt she will be going back a few steps in the near future but you have to take the good with the bad!!