Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2014 bring it on!

Since my last blog I did exactly what I said I would do and got the rest I needed together with treatment and a holiday and I feel great and ready to take on 2014.

Hector has been away on holiday and returns to us in a week or so but during that time his stable has not been empty, in fact I feel so lucky as we actually had a waiting list of horses to come in for schooling, which has been really enjoyable, but I must say we have really missed Hector even though I have been going over to Sarah's and riding him and I am looking forward to his return.

Danny had quite a big holiday and is hacking out he is due back in the school next week but before we crack on with any serious work we have Ed Lyle our vet and Grant Laing (my uncle and farrier) coming out to see him together next week, he will be be shod up to xray and also make sure that we have a proper plan to keep him in the best shape for 2014.

Boo is back!
Boo finished her season end of August and had 3 months off as she is so young, I am so excited about her she has come back better than ever and I am going to start taking her out to some shows next week.

Joe had a break from show but has been kept in work and is such an awesome showjumper, his owners live in London and are currently looking for a sharer for Joe as Eliza will be doing a bit of travelling now, in the meantime I will continue to compete him.

Arabella had a small break and then I have continued her winter training, she is going amazingly but she has got quite big and is using her strength against me and we took the decision with Jill to send her back to Ken, he will continue her education and he will event her this season.

So 2014 begins, my training has begun in earnest. My sponsors this year remain the same, we considered trying for more but I have just the right amount and they are all so supportive, anyone new would need to be exactly the right fit. My main sponsor is MDR photo and really Micheal and Lisa are such a crucial part of the Upton team. My main trainers this year will be Tina Cook, Gill Watson and Fiona Bigwood. Tina, Mum and I are meeting for a planning and mentoring session in the next week and I feel so ready........

Thursday, 31 October 2013

2013 Satistics

2013 season's statistics
6 horses, 25 events, 44 classes, average dressage score 31.01, 23 clear sj rounds, 8 xc jumps refused, 28 top 20 placings, 8 top 10 placings, 2 internationals, 1 win!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Know when to stop......

Huge apologies for the eight weeks of silence, truth be told its been a bit of a roller coaster and I have learnt a lot of lessons!

Firle Place International Horse trials 
After Wellington I had four at Firle where Danny had a top 20 placing in the international class and a top 10 placing for Hector in the national classes, it was a great weekend helped by Gary, now a fully fledged member of Team Upton  who drove and groomed, helped warm me up for my show jumping and generally made sure I got everywhere on time whilst Mum organised and fed about 14 people a day out of the lorry! In terms of enjoyment it has to be one of the best of the season, filled with family and friends supporting me and gorgeous weather. The most exciting thing that happened that weekend was when Shaun Lawson gave me 90% ownership in Danny, I cannot thank him enough

Hector flying the 1.10m at Hickstead
Hickstead National Championships was our next outing with Hector, Boo, Danny and Joe, They all did fantastically Danny did a double clear in 1.20m , Hector flew round the 1.10m and Boo showed how special she was and coped with a huge atmosphere at such a young age but special mention must go to Joe as he was in the money in the 1.00m class. We found the first day of showjumping a little overwhelming but luckily with Gary's help we managed to get to grips with the timing and got to most places when we were supposed to!

Worthing Hospital
And then it was the build up to Gatcombe which sadly never happened instead I became ill and that was the start of a long and painful 6 weeks. I was very sick, very dehydrated and in a lot of pain. Later we were to find out that I had got a kidney stone. This was caused by a combination of prolonged hot weather, over exercising, not drinking enough. Unfortunately the repercussions have been great even after I got rid of the kidney stone (the pain is indescribable), because I twisted and writhed around so much I tore a muscle and trapped my femeral nerve. I lost so much weight and I was generally very weak. Of course I didn't take the time off I required..........

South of England U21's
Finally on my feet again and a lot of umming and arrghing from the parents I convinced everyone I was fit enough to do The South of England Open Intermediate U21's, having not competed for a month I was feeling a little nervous. Dressage went well we were in 3rd place going into the showjumping. The showjumping didn't go quite so well and to be honest I was in quite a lot of pain. I could not actually walk very well after the show jumping and there then followed more umming and arghhing. Mum and I went and talked to Tina to get her take on what went wrong in the showjumping and advice as to whether to continue. I wanted to, Mum thought I should withdraw. But after looking at the video, Tina felt there was not much wrong with the show jumping and if I felt strong enough she was happy for me to continue cross country, I am so happy I did, we ended clear and coming 7th!

We'll skip Berkshire College...... oh ok this supposed to be a warts n'all blog. Took Arabella, dressage was not brilliant, clear sj and then two refusals xc. To be fair to her the horse in front of her got eliminated and was circling by the jump and I think it unnerved her a little. We went home with our tails between our legs :(

John - Paramedic and Sports Therapist!
Next up Pulborough, I had kept it quiet from Mum that week that I had not been well and was in pain because I knew that she would make me pull out. We had pulled out Boo as she would have been too much but I had 5 rides, 4 of which were for other people and I did not want to let them down and it was Sarah Millard's horse Hectors first Novice...... This was my facebook status afterwards "Summary of weekend - Soaked through to skin, 10 jacket changes, 5 horses evented, 5 different classes from 80 to Intermediate Novice, 4 different dressage tests, 5 different SJ courses, 4 different xc courses, 1 placing, 2 double clears, 4 clear sj rounds, one stop xc on a first timer. Phew! #eventinglive#needmybed" I owe that weekend though to John in the St Johns Ambulance, if it had not of been for him I would not have been able to ride, he was incredible.

Then off we went to Larkhill with Arabella and Jill Chator, we normally expect rain or snow there depending on whether we are at the beginning or end of the season, this time we got hail! Catherine our groom came along and so did her Mum and Dad. We had a lovely day despite the weather and Arabella did a beautiful double clear to end the season. So we were so pleased.

And that is where I should have left it.............

But no off we went four hours to Somerset with Danny and Hector and that was where I found out my limits, it was one event too far. We pulled out of the xc and came home and ended the season on a fizzle.

And now to rest, recuperate, next week I am booked in to get the treatment I need and then I go on holiday. I will be spending the winter building up my strength with loads of pilates and yoga. Tina Cook has committed to do winter training with me and I am really hoping to get some dressage in with Fiona Bigwood. Got a good feeling about 2014 season.......

Huge thank you's to Sarah Millard, Jill Chaytor, Shaun Lawson, Mum and The Thormans for letting me ride their precious horses, thank you to my sponsors and supporters MDR Photo, Timothy Foxx Clothing, Andrew Reilly, LMEQ and Frances Goodman from Imagine Success. Massive thank you to my trainers Tina Cook, Fiona Bigwood, Ken Spencer, Jon Pitts and Chris Wellings. I could not have got through this season if it had not been for my fabulous groom Catherine Lockyear and Gary Stevens who stepped in as show groom and driver. To Sue Chinn my osetopath who has done such an amazing job of keeping me riding. Ed Lyle our vet. Chris Wellings for keeping the horses backs in good order.  To all the people who have come and watched me and supported me to only name a few Carolyn and George Gorman, Lisa Sparrowhawk, Katie Roberts, Micheal and Lisa Rogers, Jill Chator, Sarah Millard, Grandad.

A massive thank you has to go to my Mum and Dad, they are the most incredible parents and I could not do it without them!!!!!

Monday, 16 September 2013


Saturday BE 100
3am in the morning is not a time for getting up but with all the horses to do before we left at 4.30am we were left with little choice. As it happens the 4am starts of the previous events stood us in good stead and we all woke up at 3am no problem and we  were actually on the road for 4,15am - a first!

It was a day of beautiful moments and moments of pure naughtiness from Hector and Arabella.
Hector's dressage was not as good as it can be which was annoying but that's Hector boy he can be absolutely brilliant in his dressage or a right pickle and will just spook and canter just cos he can, I think it is to stop be getting complacent! So it wasn't a brilliant mark 38.
But this  gorgeous boy always tries to redeem himself in the jumping and he did a fab double clear, couldn't have faulted him, his xc round was spot on, it was causing so many problems but not for Hectorrrr! What a clever man, I wanted to pop him over a few Intermediate xc fences he felt that good!
Arabella was just as cheeky in the dressage, I had her until I asked for a canter and she leaped forwards and slightly took off with me on the circle, I did have to try hold back my laughter, she then proceeded to buck when she could and she wouldn't walk, she kept jogging and then in the trot she kept doing medium trot, so errrrr her score was something else ...cough...48...cough... Oooppppps
She wasn't any different in the SJ, the warm up, well I cleared the whole place, she took to bronking, bolting and spinning, it was hilarious, such a naughty girly! So she went in the ring and wanted to do anything else but concentrate so we had a silly pole.
But once again she definitely redeemed herself in the xc and did an awesome clear, absolutely  fab, it was such a stiff course and I do sometimes forget Arabella is only 5yo but she didn't half rise to the challenge! Fabulous horse!!!!!

Sunday - Intermediate finallllyyyy!
It was Danny and my fist intermediate and I was so nervous!!
Our dressage was an average test, I did not realise how unfit I had become in a test situation, having not done many tests in sitting trot for a while, it was so tiring! But Danny was a good boy, he found it very boring but I was still pleased with our mark... 35.
We then went to walk the cross country course with Pippa Hawksfield who came to watch me and help and Georgie Wood who was also competing in the Intermediate. I was feeling quite confident walking round the course until we came to one combination... It walked slightly odd on the striding and was on a tricky line, so we asked the fence judge how it was riding in which she replied, ' I would tell you but no-one has actually got to this point' Georgie and I had a little laugh turned to our mums who were a lovely shade of white!
Anyway we finished walking the course and I was feeling very excited and up for it.
The show jumping was big, mums heart had already stopped slightly at the xc but then she saw the SJ and dad had to hold her up.
I was feeling nervous about the SJ because Danny is so tricky to ride in the SJ he gets very bold and jumps absolute massive which makes the distances shorter.
He jumped well but he was very tricky for the first 4 fences being the complete opposite and backing off everything, he is such a monkey! But I managed to get our act together and finish the round with a lot more fluency and style. So we ended  up having 8 faults.
Cross Crountry now this was what I was looking forward to, he is a machine cross country, I just have to try keep a lid on his over excitedness cause he has been known to take out strides when I don't want him too and if any of you saw his round in the olympics its not just me he does it to! But he was absolutely spot on, strong but so awesome, I couldn't have asked for a bertter first Intermediate, lots to like and lots to learn from!!?

Thank you to Carolyn, George, Pippa, Lisa and Paul who came to help and supported me!!

Monday, 19 August 2013

The return of Carraig Dubh......

The day had finally dawned and Danny was ready to return to competition. He had been thoroughly checked by the vet, we had been to Tina Cooks and been put through our paces to test his leg, he had been galloped, built up his lateral work and jumped on hard ground but we had not done any cross country. He didn't need to, he knows his job and we didn't want to run him necessarily. For those of you who don't know, Danny was injured and shattered his splint bone at Tweseldown, after his best ever dressage of 26.5 and just a pole in the sj we were one of the leaders going into the cross country which is where our world fell apart. So you can probably guess we were all slightly on edge for his first event since May. After a busy weekend of eventing at Aston Le Walls and a lot of driving Mum was very pleased to hand over the steering wheel to Gary Stevens who came along to drive and help for the day.

My day started by sleeping through the alarm which was set for 4am and then I got a fright when Mum woke me up at 4.30am. We still managed to do the other horses and leave on time by 5.30. The journey involved only one slight detour with road closures and then a lot of laughing between Gary and Mum at my expense over Lollypop Ladies. I live in the country OK! I have never seen one in real life! Apparently they do exist and not just in films, though Gary and Mum wanted to know which film exactly I had seen one in!!!

We arrived in Wiltshire in plenty of time and as it turns out Gary is the fastest studder upper there is! So I had loads of time to warm up. Danny felt good. I expected some bucking and bronking and general excitement of being out again but he acted like the true professional. I haven't actually had any flat work lessons on him since end of April so I was jolly pleased when the dressage judge marked us at at a fabulous 27, the second best dressage mark he has ever got.

Having plenty of time(3 hours) between dressage and showjumping we had breakfast and then walked the cross country course. Although it was quite hard it had a lot of ground cover and we were happy to run him. The course was up to height with a few combinations but nothing that concerned me.

Just before we were due to go to showjumping we bumped into Christopher Berry who had recently moved from our village to Wiltshire, it was so good to see him and yes Christopher I do still want your horse!

Showjumping was a little bit of a bun fight in the warm up, it was good to have Gary there as his discipline is showjumping and he will jolly well tell me if he thinks I am riding badly! He is also great to have in the warm up. I actually think we hit every stride but my god was Danny strong, I did struggle with brakes! But he jumped everything with loads to spare and we jumped a clear.

We went straight down to cross country. I was expecting Danny to be strong at the start but he was a bit hesitant. I think he lost a bit of confidence after Tweseldown but after fence 5 and he knew it wasn't going to hurt and he got into his stride. I never rode him for the time so we got oodles of time penalties. It was always going to be quiet run. He didn't puff a bit and his legs were stone cold and sound. So so pleased. We finished on a double clear.

Sooooo.......... bring on Wellington. Our first Intermediate together. Ok so he is a pro, but this is my first ever Intermediate and I cannot wait!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Aston Le Walls big thumbs up from Team Upton

4am alarm call was a bit of a tough one after the week I had had and I didn't finish with the horses till 8pm the night before, having started at 6.30am. Catherine arrived at 4.45am and we had all three of the horses loaded by 5,15am. Mum and I went in the lorry, Dad and Catherine followed with the trailer. Exactly 2 hours and 40 mins later we were at Aston Le Walls, we couldn't have asked for a better drive.

We love Aston the ground is always fantastic, the jumps are different and well dressed and the event is always run so efficiently, I even like the fact they put the dressage tests in the programme and on top of all of that the start fee for the 90 and 100 classes was only £10.

Lisa, Judd, Mum, Dad and Milly
Michael from http://www.mdr-photo.co.uk/ and Lisa and Judd the puppy came to support us and take photos, poor Michael, everything ran early and he was constantly running to get to the dressage, sj or xc with very little time!


Well she was a little exuberant and I did struggle to keep that contained in her dressage so the beautiful 24 of last week ended up a 34 but still very good for a 5 year old in her second 100. She then went on to do a beautiful double clear. Her showjumping was awesome, she wasn't about to touch a thing. She was a bit green cross country but it was big and had some technical elements with lots to see so who can blame her, she still jumped everything even though it may have taken a bit of riding! Absolutely thrilled.


Handsome Hector was truly awesome and absolutely on his game today. He pulled off the dressage test of his life a fantastic 28, he was so much mor relaxed and let me put my leg on without shooting off and then did a stonking double clear, he was very confident across the country. I was so proud of him, he has really put me through my paces at times but the feeling of achievement today was all worth it. I really do think he has turned a corner. He ended up third and we had Piggy French, Francis Whittington and Jock Paget in our section.

Boo's dressage was a 33.5 much better than last week and a bit more contained, she broke her rhythm a bit but didn't buck or bronk. Her showjumping is becoming much more controlled and she is starting to listen to me which considering she is 17.1 and I am 5ft 4, I really need her doing everything on my terms! She did have a pole but it was more the fact that she spooked at the people watching. Cross country was such a big ask, she has never done anything like this before and there was a huge gap between the 80 at Chilham last week and the 90 at Aston, it was full up with drops, a sunken road and a corner. It was the corner we had the run out at, I think I could have pushed her over it but I didn't want to risk destroying her confidence and ultimately her trust in me. She completed which, when we walked it we had serious doubts about so, so pleased with her.

To see all the album from Aston Le Walls please visit my website http://www.harrietupton.com/aston-le-walls---10th-august-2013.html

Thank you Michael Rogers for wonderful pictures and all your support.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Head down and working one's a*** off!

I am so sorry I have not written as much as I usually do currently all 6 horses are in work ( we have had 7 for last 2 weeks),  5 in competition (mixture of SJ, dressage and eventing) I am working towards my Pony Club B+ test, I am currently doing my UKCC level 1 coaching and I am learning / revising for my driving tests. As well as having a regular 6 clients to teach and another 5 horses to school. Social life / days off not really an option.

However after my session with Frances Goodman last week from Imagine Success I have had a little help with time management so fingers crossed I have now got my life under control!

So where are we at, well as you know we have have a bit of a disastrous start to the season with injuries and illness but all horses are better and in work, they are all competing apart from Danny and he restarts his season next week at West Wilts in the Open Novice and if that goes ok will be heading to Wellington to do the Open Intermediate U21.

Chilham Castle last weekend was a weekend of firsts: First 100 + for Hector and first placing of the season for him. First ever event for Boo. First 100 for Arabella and first place!


Well after her awful illness, secondary infection of Peritonitis and prolonged stay in Arundel Equine Hospital this is an incredible story. It took her a while to get back to herself again but once on the road to recovery she came on in leaps and bounds (literally). She and I have been working quietly at home on her flat work, we had help with a lesson from Fiona Bigwood which helped me focus our training and to be honest I have had some incredible work from her but I didnt' expect it to come out at an event just yet! Chilham Castle was her first ever 100 class. Well she was certainly full of herself. 5 years old, 16'3 and and in season, to say she was a handful was a understatement! But when it mattered she got her brain in gear and pulled out an incredible 24 dressage (and there is still so much more to come there), clear SJ and clear XC with 2.4 time penalties. I never pushed her round for the time as she is young, just kept her in a rhythm. Incredibly she won her class. Such a great feeling when everything comes together and so so pleased for her owner Jill Chator.


Although Boo is the same age as Arabella she was started a year later in November, she is the dressage horse given to me by Fiona Bigwood that I am turning into an Eventer. Well we have been out and about doing some show jumping and gaining experience, she has been cross country hated ditches and drops in the beginning but we got there and she seems to have conquered that fear. So we took the plunge and put Boo into Chilham Castle for her first ever event. Erm dressage well lets put it this way, even to get to the arena was a challenge, she was so full of herself she found the tannoy very distracting, Arabella in season very distracting. The fact that I managed to stay on this very opinionated 17'1 warmblood, on the way to the warm up was a bit of a miracle. Anyway we managed to stay in the arena for the test, no we didn't do our best work and we came away with a dressage score of 41. (I have kept that one quiet from Fiona). Then all of a sudden she settled, was as quiet as a lamb as if she had been an event horse all her life and went and did a double clear in the sj and xc. In the end she was the better behaved of the two of them! I was absolutely thrilled she came 13th.


So we decided to take Hector up half a level to the 100 + to see how he would cope with the dressage and SJ, as it turned out he coped brilliantly. The novice dressage has a lot more movements and much more lateral work which he is used to doing at home and he seemed to be much more focused, the 1.10 metre showjumping was much better as he likes the challenge of the bigger jumps and although he had one down (the smallest on the course) he jumped beautifully. He then went on to do a beautiful clear XC, he took me to every jump and then finished by getting his first placing of the season. I was so so pleased with him. I think he he is nearly ready to do his first Novice.....


Jo is our schooling livery, he came to us a bit of an arrogant  14 year old chestnut, who refused to go in an outline and was crashing through jumps, his owners were unhappy about how he had been looked after and schooled in his previous place and he has turned into a the most gorgeous little horse that tries his heart out for you.  He now does a cracking dressage test and has been clear  SJ every time he has been out. He has been placed in some unaffiliated dressage and showjumping and is just about to do some eventing with Eliza his owner. I have been competing him SJ on a ticket and will be competing him in a few more competitions.


Jake is 22 and my Mum's horse, he is our horse of a life time and has come out of retirement. Mum has donned her dressage gear and taken him out to a couple of dressage competitions and in a couple of weeks he will be schooling Marcus Gorman (point to point jockey) round his first event in 30 years. The dressage lessons have been hilarious! No one tell Marcus but he is really quite good, Mum is worried he is going to get a better dressage score than her!

Mum and I before heading out to compete in different competitions on the same day

Monday, 10 June 2013

Me 'n' Tina having fun at Mattingly!

Well the weather was perfect, it was always going to be an afternoon of banter as Tina Cook and I were in the same section. Trainer and pupil against each other. (Ok this was only the 2nd ever event for Tina's horse but you know you take what you can get)!!

Hector after having a bit of a shocker at Borde Hill, decided that BE100 was much more to his liking. Tina turned up and parked just behind us and we were all kicking ourselves that we hadn't shared the journey and gone together, neither of us thought to check our times! Tina decided to put Mum "in charge of her", Mum told her she had to stay on as it was too hot to go scooping people up off the floor!

Hector was up first for dressage, instead of being tense and very excitable, he was Mr Chilled and very laid back! It was a much better test, although he was a bit behind my leg but I feel we are getting there bit by bit. Then it was Tina's turn. She said when she came out that she "stayed in the arena and the dressage judge laughed!" I think she was exaggerating as her score was only just behind ours!

After a bit of a chin wag and we did spend most of the afternoon talking, we decided to head together to the show jumping. Catherine did the warm up jumps for us and somehow Tina got in before me! Her horse did a fantastic round, just rolled one pole, but one of the funniest moments of the day was afterwards seeing Mum's face when Tina asked her opinion of her round! Mum as you can imagine rose to the challenge and gave Tina the benefit of her vast experience!

Then at long last it was my turn (I know my place). Hector was really good, he jumped really well and rolled the same pole as Tina's horse - I don't think they put it back properly!

Quick change and on to the cross country which we timed just right as there was only one in front. We decided Tina was going to go first, what we really wanted to do was for me to catch her up and for us both to go over the last together, we wouldn't have been allowed to do that of course but it would have made a great picture. Anyways we both went clear and Mum did not need to scoop either of us up off the floor!

What a great day, we had such a lot of fun. Thank you Catherine Lockyear for all your help. I was very proud of Hector, his first BE 100 and he really did step up to the plate. He has a lot more speed in him but we are just concentrating on clear xc rounds first and best of all Tina was so pleased with Hector's progress.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Just when you think you have it all sorted.........

Well it has been an eventful couple of weeks and to be honest a bit of a roller coaster..........

Arabella the week before she got ill
Arabella was looking fighting fit and on top form until last Monday. Then she seemed a bit flat when I rode her and sweated up quite a bit, on taking her temperature it was slightly raised, by Tuesday she wasn't eating and her temperature was spiking, her respiratory rate was up and she appeared to be colicking, so the vet came out immediately. He put her on a drug to reduce her temperature and took some bloods. It showed she had a systemic infection but no idea where it was coming from. The vet came back and gave her IV antibiotics that night and we continued then IM for the next couple of days but she need to stay on the Fentamine to keep her temperature down. By Thursday she wasn't any better, her temp spiked again and they took her in to hospital with suspected Peritonitis. The first peritoneal tap was inconclusive and scan was clear, the 2nd one showed slightly raised levels, so they added in another antibiotic and treated her for that. Her second blood count showed no response and the inflammatory markers were still high. Vets were baffled. (In the meantime we were taking the temperatures and checking respiratory rates of the other horses to check they are all still well, they were). A week later since it started and she is still in hospital, but they might have got to the bottom of it. Last night a lump came up on her flank, they scanned the area and found a small pocket of fluid consistent with an abscess, really deep down. So fingers crossed.

Hector warming up beautifully!
Hector has been jumping out of his socks and his flat work at home has been fantastic. On Saturday I took him to Twesledown, he got so many compliments. He warmed up beautifully for the dressage but unfortunately decided to throw in the towel for the actual test. I think he heard the xc and thought he should be doing that as he actually tried to bolt off during his test. Hey ho not too worried about that becuase he can do a fantastic test, he will settle as he does more events. Then it was time for the showjumping. This has always been a challenge for Hector but he jumped such a beautiful clear round, he really has the hang of it now.He was a bit green xc, but nether the less did everything asked of him and we got another clear. Can't wait to take him to Borde Hill on Sunday.

Boo in her second ever test.
On Sunday we took Boo to her first ever one day event in Pachesham. It was her second ever dressage test. She literally turned heads and loved the attention! She is becoming more and more chilled and relaxing a lot more in her test, although she can still be sharp, I need to keep my wits about me. She was so well behaved in the lorry. She did a great round of show jumping, it was a very very spooky course and we had one refusal but she went over it second time. We pulled out of the cross country after walking it as the ground was shocking.

Bit of medium trot!
On Monday it was Danny's turn, we were moving up a notch and it was time to do our first ever intermediate dressage and jumping test as a combination. Shaun Lawson, Grandad and our  friend (and my boss) Carolyn Gorman came to watch. Sometimes everything just comes together at the right time and he did the most incredible dressage, in fact it is the best score he has ever got in his life. 26.8, such a clever boy. On to the showjumping, he had a blinding round, it was a full up intermediate course and tight in places, he flew it, we just knocked a plank but I was so pleased. In the pictures he makes the jumps look so small. Confidence riding high and one of the leaders after showjumping we went into the cross country. At the 5th jump disaster struck. It wasn't a difficult combination, 4 strides which we met but he somehow missed the jump and clonked it full force. I felt immediately there was something wrong and pulled him up. When we got back to the lorry, we iced it, pumped him full of arnica and put arnica gel on. When we arrived back home he was hosed again, we used laser therapy and gave him some bute. I hosed him again late evening and repeated late afternoons process in the morning. I have everything crossed it is just badly bruised but as I write this we have just seen the vet, he has been booked in for xrays tomorrow.

Jake and me at Badminton Grassroots
Then to top it all Mum had a call from the people that have her Jake (aged 23) on loan to say he hasn't been right, the vet has seen him and they think he has some internal tumours so Mum wants him home so she can care for him, he is our horse of a life time, he gave me the best start in British Eventing, took me to Badminton Grassroots and the least we can do is give him the very best of care in his twilight years.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Symms International Horse Trials - Will we, wont we........

The build up to Hambledon was a little stressful. The reason this run was so important is that Danny and I are due to go to Jardy (Paris) 10 days later and this would be our only run at 1* level as a combination before we go. The Sunday before we had a fantastic afternoon practicing our jumping at Coombelands, he was sound as a pound, Monday morning he went out in the field, still sound, Monday afternoon he was literally hopping lame. Where were my vet and farrier? On holiday! Frantic phone call to Zack Treliving who came in at 8am the following morning, meanwhile we poulticed and prayed! Zack came and removed the shoe to see if it was an abscess, he didn't think so, so we put the shoe back on. Because we couldn't use bute or any medication prior to Hambledon we called Stuart at Arundel Equine Hospital to get his advice. He suggested ice tubbing and then using like ice clay to pack the foot with and to keep him in. We did this 3 times a day every day. It was going to be touch and go as to whether he would make it. Everyday he looked a little better but I wasn't allowed to ride him. Thursday night he was sound. Pip arrived with Red as were taking them with us too and we left for Hambledon at 5am the next morning.
We arrived with not a lot of time due to traffic problems it took us 3 and bit hours to do a 1.5 hour journey. But I quickly got ready, thanks to Pip who did Danny for me, I put on my top hat and tails and we went to warm up. (Click on this link for the video of the dressage http://youtu.be/BgwurF94hZE). Well considering this was the first time Danny had been ridden since Sunday he was amazing, yes there were a few disobediances but I can forgive those and he was completely sound. We got a 56.1 which put us mid table.
Then it was Pip's turn, she did her dressage (slight memory lapse in the middle) and then we all went off to walk the course. I walked the 1* with Michael Rogers from MDR Photo and Mum and Pip walked the 100 course.
Pip then went and did a beautiful double clear. We had such a great day, went off to find our stables and then after we settled the horses went to the pub for dinner with Mum, Michael and Tom. A perfect end to a perfect day.
Pip and I stayed in the lorry whilst Mum stayed in luxury with Michael and Lisa, our evening was fairly incident free except for when for some reason Pip thought Red was cast and went rushing out at 4.30 in the morning to check on him. We were so organised that the horses were done and ready to go back to the showground, lorry tidied etc by the time Mum, Michael and Lisa arrived at 7.45am.
Photo: This is the way to do a competition!
My brother Ross and his friend Gary turned up to watch as Oxford is only 40 mins away. We also had some other friends turn up from London Lydia and Eliza, it turned into a proper social occasion!
I was so excited to do the jumping, we had a great round although we rolled 2 poles, something we need to work on.
And then on to the xc, it was an exhilarating feeling. The course was challenging, it caused a lot of trouble but we went clear and to be honest I looked at the intermediate and felt ready to take that step. (Just need to persuade Mum now).

We stayed a little bit longer, I let Mum walk the course after I had jumped it and we finally returned home late afternoon. It was such a lovely weekend.

Photo: We wanted to jump this!!!
This intermediate jump is bigger than Pip!
After Pip and I had unloaded the horses and the lorry we went off to Coombelands to walk the course we were jumping the following day!

Thank you to http://www.mdr-photo.co.uk for taking such amazing photos, the full gallery can be viewed on my website http://www.harrietupton.com/hambleden-international---20th-april-2013.html

Thursday, 11 April 2013

South of England and Larkhill in one weekend!

So you may or may not know that Mum, who has definitely become more of a liability these days, has broken her arm. She got in the way of one of the horses hooves and as a result was told she would be 6 weeks out of action. Hence Ross back for the weekend to help out and Dad stepping up to show groom. He has now learnt to put on a bridle and has announced that Mum is now redundant. Thankfully Michael and Lisa Rogers were in attendance at Larkhill as was Sarah Millard, so we had plenty of helpers.

Danny at the South of England!

This was a family affair, Mum, Dad and Ross came along.

We stepped up to our first Novice run together and it was great to back at that level. We had to run HC as it was an ordinary novice and not an open novice, which would have clashed with Larkhill the following day.

He did a much better dressage test this weekend, I think it was because it was more interesting for him and I also did it in sitting trot (practice for my internationals) which he seemed to go a lot better in. Anyways we got a 34.5.

Then before we went to the show jumping we walked the cross country, where we caught up with Gemma Tattersall, who is also sponsored by Timothy Foxx Clothing, Gemma, her Mum and I were all wearing our TF headbands and both of us had been wearing our hoodies that day as well!

The show jumping, welllll it was a little interesting, and not the most stylish we have ever done. I think I over bitted him so he wasn't going into the contact, we had a few miss communications resulting in a flier! Next time I will put the snaffle back in but with all the fliers he did we only had one pole down.

I was a bit keen for Cross Country and got there miles too early but when they changed  the course and we could get going he was machine absolute machine. 3, 2, 1 GO and we were off quicker then the speed of light, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it felt like that to me. We did end up with time penalties but that was because I wanted to gain some control. He was awesome and we got some great compliments from the commentator about our lines.

If he wasn't running HC (Hors Concours) he would have come 7th. Good boy.

We had a really sociable day meeting up with lots of friends and it was fantastic to see so many people I knew in the placings.

After getting back at 6.30pm we then had to sort horses, bath and plait for next day. We finally finished in the yard at 9.30pm, had supper and then had a very early start the next morning. Lovely!

Larkhill is the coldest, windiest place on earth - just saying!

Hector was up first, his dressage was a generous score of 32, it reflected his paces and some of his test was very good, but he still needs to settle and relax more, we had a few to many hollow moments for my liking. At home he is incredible, when he has been out more he will settle.

The showjumping I felt was the greatest achievement  its an element he has always struggled with. But the Jon Pitts Combined Analysis Training was such a turning point. I throw the rule book out with Hector I'm afraid but it works for him, you have to really understand him to realise why this technique works. If you see me jump him and think I am getting him in too deep, its all in the plan! Anyways he did a lovely clear and I was so proud of him.

He did a super cross country round but just didn't lock on to fence 7, I couldn't understand it as he is usually so strong xc but after watching a video I can see another horse coming up the hill directly in front of him and he is looking at the horse. Oh well the rest of the round was super, all in the time. We were in 2nd place going into xc so there is real hope there,

Arabella's dressage came directly after Hectors, oh she showed what she could do in the warm up, she has such a wow factor and she was bringing out her medium trot for all to see. The actual test was not too bad but she did feel like an unexploded bomb underneath me. I was slightly disappointed with the 36.5 score and felt they could have been a little more generous with my baby!

Thankfully Alexis Ross pointed out there was just about to be a change of sections as there was a slight miscommunication with the times (we had taken a withdrawals times), it resulted in me being late for the show jumping and poor Arabella not getting a warm up, but she went in there unfazed, we had 2 poles but I cannot blame her for that.

We hot footed it over to XC and were there in plenty of time, she did a stunning round within the time. Not bad for a 5 year old and her first event of the season.

It was great to catchup with Gail Stephens, Abbie Lloyd and Alexis Ross.
Massive thank you to MDR photo for taking the photographs and videos at Larkhill and for acting as showgroom too. http://www.mdr-photo.co.uk/supported-riders

We arrived back home Sunday evening absolutely shattered but pleased with all the horses. On paper they were all average but we achieved some real milestones.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Boo's Sire

I found this on the internet, it is all about Boo's sire Dramatic. Boo is rising 5 and proving to be very exciting and I love educating her. She has been broken for about 5 months now. She has a brain and tries her heart out and is the cuddliest pony on the yard!!

DRAMATICFoaled in 2002 - Hanovarian - Black - 1.71 m


Don FrédéricoDonnerhallpar Donnerwetter
CleopatraPar Consul
St Pr. St. WeltinaWeltmeyerpar World Cup I
St. Pr. St. Geraniepar Grenadier

Dramatic’s sire, Don Frederico, is one of the most popular Hanovarian breeding, today. He was the winner of his performance test, with the fantastic score of 151.05 points.
Don Frederico competed on the level of St. Georges, and won the qualifiers for the Nurnberger Burgpokal final in 2006.
Dramatic comes from exceptional maternal stock: in 2002, in the “Bundesstutenschau” in Warendorf, his dam was labeled “Elite.”
This bloodline has yielded numerous dressage and show jumping stallions who compete at the highest level.


When Dramatic first appeared, it was not clear that he would become a champion…
But after his selection at Verden at the age of 3, his owner let him mature and he started to compete in earnest receiving scores of 9 at his selection at Verden.
At the “Bundershcampionnat” for 3 year-olds, the judges were convinced and awarded him with 4th place in the final.
Dramatic finished the season as the grand winner of the 30-day test at Adelheitsdorf. He got five 9’s and three 10’s.
In 2007, at the age of 5, he was approved in the KWPN studbook.
In 2008, he won the World Championship for 6 year-olds in Verden.


His first offspring were foaled in 2008, and they are showing promise. They are distinguished by their strength, flexibility, grace, and style. 


A magnificent conformation and a temperament beyond reproach, this star stallion of the Hanoverian studbook has proven his genetic value for dressage both by his offspring and his performances.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

CAT Combined Analysis Training

Never a dull moment. Get back from Aston Le Walls really late, go straight to bed and then up and off the next day to the wonderful place that is LMEQ (Littleton manor) for Jon Pitts combined actual training.

What's combined analysis training you may ask well....

It's video analysis and experts advice from Lucy Thompson and Jon Pitts . Show jumping is first, you do a round of 10 fences as if in a competition, whilst being videoed and watched by Lucy Thomson, then you have a chat with Lucy about what you may have to improve on and you try it again. The cross country you do the same thing, there is a cross country course set out. You go around the course again whilst being filmed and timed and Jon watches you then has a chat with you and he helps and advises ways you may be able to improve. This now explains the title Combined Analysis Training.

I took Hector along to this ( I was meant to take Arabella too but she lost a shoe). He was a really good boy, it was a great thing to do especially with Tweseldown this weekend. With his showjumping he is super tricky because he tends to put his head up and run through the bridle, when he does this I usually just soften with my hands, but Lucy told be by doing this he was the being lazy in front and knocking fences, he also does a very bouncy canter but isn't travelling anywhere or going into my hand this is when he can run through the bridle. Lucy gave me some fab tips to try and correct this, she said to really ride the canter from behind to make him come up in front and to me in my hand, then, when turning to a fence if he runs to it I should shut my fists.....MAGIC... He picked up in front then after doing that a couple times he stopped running and started jumping big and round, it was honestly like waving a magic wand!

Then cross country time! Hector was great xc even though I didn't ride my first round to my usual standard, he is a xc machine.
I had a chat with Jon after my first round and we both came to the conclusion that it wasn't to my usual standard, but you can't always be on your A game,(feeling a little tired from the day before). I learnt from it and remembered how to ride and did a much better 2nd round remembering how much to set up before different fences. Something that has really stuck in my mind about what Jon said is
' I am now starting to make you think and ride like a 4* rider, you need a process how you ride cross country and need to practice and practice at this level'
This really hit home, since he said that I've been looking on YouTube at all the top riders to try and see what they do, how they set their horses up and the process which they use! I am also going to start asking them when I see them too!

I found this CAT very interesting it definitely gave me a lot to think about, I would fully recommend anyone to do it.

Big thank you to Littleton Manor for hosting this and to Lottie Clay and David Smith for organising. The ground on the XC was fantastic and it ran like clockwork. It was great to meet and talk to Fiona from Local Rider too.

West Sussex County Times Feature

Had a lovely feature in the West Sussex County Times today. Danny takes a good photo......

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Whoooo whoop whoop whoop yeahhh get in there...


Photo kindly taken by MDR_Photo

The morning of Aston Le Walls, I was like a little giddy kid at Christmas, I got up an hour before I needed to and just started cleaning Danny to make sure he look gorgeous!

It was one of those days that couldn't have been better, everything just went so smoothly!

My brother even came to watch with his friends (Mum joked that I had my very own medical team on standby but they would only have been useful if I had had a heart attack, since they all specialise in Cardiac) and this was their first introduction to eventing!

The sun was out and it even seemed like summer. Mum and I pinched ourselves as we walked the course. 1st day back eventing, sun was out and I get to ride a horse like Danny.

Danny and I did an average dressage test of a 31.5, he was a little tense to start with but I think we both settled into it a little more by the end of the test, I was surprised at how well he went since he had been a monkey when I was practicing the test at home, but he was a good boy.

Show jumping was great, (I think Danny found it a bit of an insult), I was a little worried he would get a bit strong but he didn't, although he did jump massive and I think he did that on purpose to make a point that he can jump a lot higher, but still we did a beautiful clear together.

Cross country, well it's safe to say I kept the hand break on for the first few fences because on our way back from the dressage he saw the xc and took a hold and started cantering and jumping. Tina and Sam had warned me he can be a bit unruly xc, so I anticipated the worst butttt I was pleasantly suprised he was a real gentleman and by the fifth fence I eased off the hand break and he stayed in a lovely sedate canter which is what I wanted!!

I ended on a 36.70 hitching up quite a few time penalties but that doesn't matter because its all about gaining the feel for him!

It was a great day Michael and Lisa Rogers came along to support me too and Micheal (MDR) took some wonderful photos as per usual, and Lisa did some great filming of me!

Can't wait for Danny and my next appearance which is at Tweseldowm in another BE100!!!

More pictures: http://www.harrietupton.com/aston-le-walls---2nd-march-2013.html