Didn’t we have a lovely time the day we went to Keysoe

Today Real and I went out competing with Jack and Faffa to Keysoe in Bedfordshire. We went out a handful of times in 2015 and had mixed fortunes. Real has had a sheltered upbringing and doesn’t really do different and at times he has been more like a dragon or Bambi than a horse. It’s all a bit overwhelming, but each time has been a little bit better. This time he warmed up beautifully once he had got over the fact there was a door in the indoor arena which might’ve had a tiger or worse behind it. We even managed to be reasonably relaxed in the outdoor warm up area once we’d been past the advertising boards and the judge’s hut a few (many!) times. There was a moment just before we started our test when I thought we might revert to Bambi mode, but we Just about held it together – so well that I hardly managed to wait until the end to give him the hugest pat ever. He did his best test to date and came 2nd in his category. Blue so suits him! And I bet none of the other horses have a day job in a riding school. Thank you Tina for letting me borrow him. We need a Contessa saddle cloth so we can do marketing 😊

There’s no such thing as too much tinsel.

Had a great afternoon at the Contessa Christmas show. Although there were lots of classes I was only entered for one – Pairs with Michelle on Tarik and me on the lovely Toby. Toby was very excited at the prospect and, urged on by the length of blue tinsel that kept stubbornly following him, executed some lovely piaffe steps and then an amazingly forward travers all down the long side as Michelle struggled to match our speed on the opposite side of the school. I for one was relieved to get to the end of our little show still in the tinsel-bedecked saddle. Somehow we managed to come second and pick up yet more blue decoration in the form of a rosette. Nice one Toby! Next up were the Wednesday evening kids’ club doing their demo. This time it was six riders and horses sporting just about every length of red tinsel in the county. Although Suzie and Ted both looked vaguely terrified when they came into the arena – there was quite an audience – Steph and Viviana did an amazing job of keeping them calm. Olivia had an impeccably behaved Toby (maybe he’s just not that keen on me) and Mia on Milly sported a smile wide enough to brighten the dullest afternoon. Zac on Riache and Libby on Axel did a great job as lead files and the overall performance was truly amazing. So proud of them all. High Five guys!

The Boys R back

the newest young rider-2

At Contessa our men and boy clients are much appreciated as;equestrian is not just for women, however this is how many people see it. Over the years Contessa’s women clients have had domination, thus MY mission ( as a boy) is to make more men take up riding. At present myself , Zac and Joao are the ‘main men’ at contessa , also Jeff ( although we do have a few others). Horse riding isn’t just for women; infact if you look at the top riders you will find that men are the majority, so why is there so few men at the lower levels- this is something we have to change. Throughout the year to come I will be encouraging more men to take up riding ; #dressage4men.I want to spread the message to change this problem.

Extreme Dressage

Today we did Extreme Dressage! It was a touch blowy at Houghton Hall – more like the Tundra than Cambridgeshire . Faffa and Real loaded like the lovely boys they are and off we set. Jack and Faffa did their first Elementary test and came home with two rosettes they should be very proud of. Not such a successful day for Real. He first made a bid for freedom in the car park and had to be apprehended by Jack in his socks … thank you Jack. If not for you Real might still be somewhere in the Cambridgeshire fens. Then he had to find a friend to follow to the first warm up arena – which he then refused to leave. I was starting to work out how much money I had on me and if I could afford a week’s livery. Faffa (who is just 5) had to escort Real (who is just 17) out of the outdoor arena and again into the indoor school where he did lots of lovely supple, over the back work ….. until the actual test. Once more he had to be escorted into the arena by his little friend where he was very spooky – as noted by the judge. Maybe he was just protesting at the products being advertised around the walls. To be fair, the first thing he did when we left the arena – having managed to walk all the way down to the judge at C even though he couldn’t get that close during the actual test – was to have a HUGE wee. No wonder he couldn’t focus. I also think he just doesn’t like being in an arena on his own. Jack and I will have to find somewhere to do Dressage Pairs! Although we didn’t come back with any ribbons I was really pleased with him though. It’s all miles on the clock and there is always next time ……. To top off the day Real managed to trash one of his travel boots on the way home. He must’ve felt in quite a destructive mood today. 1 x bungee tie up. 1 x travel boot. 1 x dream of being asked to do a celebrity demo at Olympia …… Never mind. Huge thanks to Louisa again today. Not only a super groom but also an ace driver.

John Bowen 8.11.15

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 21.36.36On Sunday 8th November Contessa hosted another popular ‘ John Bowen Clinic’ everyone rode very well, and were pleased with their lessons and achievements.

My ride of Faffa was great and John said we had improved massively. We worked on straightness and working around other horses – which is needed a lot in dressage especially at competitions.

All the horses and riders learnt something from their different lessons.


A bouncy weekend

It’s always nice to be able to report bouncing achieved on purpose rather than the alternative. Had a super lesson on Real with Joao on Saturday working on our piaffe, ending with a few “proper” steps that we were really pleased with. Then, managed to show a bit of it off to John Bowen on Sunday. See – it’s never too late to teach an “old” horse (or rider) new tricks! 😊

New member of Kids’ Club

Real and I got to ride with Kids’ Club this Wednesday evening and boy are they good.  I’ve watched their progress over the last year and they have all improved loads.  Well done Stephanie and Libby and Viviana and Zac.  And Joao for teaching them.  I hope you think we’re good enough to join your group from time to time.