Well, it has been a busy and exciting month for us! The horses have been out on the qualifying campaign, Anna took Ice Age and Dreamgirl to Your Horse Live, we spent the day with Horse magazine and then flew off to Germany to support our boy in Vechta.
Well, we are just back from Vechta and our heads are still spinning! It was the first time that we have presented a young stallion at the Körung, so we were delighted just to be there after he was selected. Sadly Berringar (photo top) didn’t license, but it seems that the judges liked him, as the feedback we have had has been very positive. They felt that he gave a good performance in the loose jumping, was excellent on the hard ground, on the lunge and loose, but looked a little immature in the walk ring. As a June foal, he was the second youngest colt there, so I can forgive a little immaturity! As the judges liked him and his lines, we have been advised that we could give him a little more time and represent him. There has been a lot of interest in him and what we will do with him, so we are just taking a bit of time to explore our options - I will keep you posted next time if anything changes! There were some fabulous young stallions there, and the auction was very exciting, thanks to the huge prices fetched by the top lots. There were a few surprises though: the audience is a well-educated one, and we were very pleased to hear the shocked gasp from the audience when the judges declared our boy not to be licensed, but there were also a few boos for a stallion that did license but wasn’t appreciated by the crowd. Overall it was a really useful trip and we learnt a massive amount about the whole process. We met up with our good friend Heather Stack from Larkshill Stud, so I’m sure her blog will give you more details on the stallions that caught her eye.
Back at home, Anna and her team at Altogether Equestrian have been on the campaign trail to get the Southern Cross horses qualified for the regional championships. They have all done amazingly well, with some of the youngsters having their first forays into music classes; this was particularly challenging at one venue when the sound system was playing very slowly. One shocked competitor came out of the class declaring that she had to add in 5 circles to stay on time! Dreamgirl made her debut with Anna, taking top honours in the Advanced Medium: this was particularly exciting as Dreamgirl had only ever been out to one competition before! Dreamgirl’s baptism of fire continued with a trip to Your Horse Live, where Anna used her in her demonstrations. Anna sent this fabulous picture (right) from aboard Dreamgirl of the warm up that they shared with the stunt riders from Rockin Horse who were riding two horses at a time and jumping through fire! Super cool Dreamgirl now thinks this is an entirely normal thing to see at a show, so hopefully the regionals shouldn’t be too daunting!
Ice Age was also drafted in for Anna’s demonstration, performing a wonderful Pas de Deux with Roland Tong and Pompidou (photo below). Their routine was a real crowd pleaser with an “unusual” selection of music from Anna! Ice Age loved the showing off for the crowds, and his extensions became even more flamboyant as the crowd showed their appreciation! It was a really exciting (if hectic) weekend and it was a close call for who was the proudest mum, as Anna’s mum and I stood together watching her display with Dreamgirl.
In amongst all the busy trips away, we spent a day at home with Horse magazine. We got a load of the babies out and explained how we start them off as foals, how Paul begins their career under saddle and then on to Anna for their competition career. I am looking forward to seeing the articles in print and hopefully it may be a useful insight for other with young horses. The most important thing for us is to be flexible. Some horses mature more quickly than others and some feel more comfortable learning to canter out hacking, whilst some prefer the security of the school. We don’t have a magic one-size-fits-all approach, and we are lucky to have such a good team around us to help get the best from each horse.
Above: A well-deserved break for Dreamgirl