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24th April

This week has been a bit up and down. I have been really looking forward to our first run of the season at Bicton Horse Trials on Saturday. We were entered in the Novice, a small section of under 20 and with most of the big names at Withington I was hoping a frilly may have been on the cards. However as I said earlier this month I have put Pip on the market for financial and hip related reasons, someone viewed her last week and likes her well enough to come back next week. Although they were happy for me to still run it is too much of a risk and it is no good going to ride at event trying to be careful. So with a heavy heart I withdrew. Big thumbs up to Bicton though who refunded me in 24 hours less an admin fee. Really appreciated.

Meantime I am enjoying Dribble. Yesterday we did our first competition together, a dressage show with Cornwall Trec. She again was a pleasure to travel, stand on the lorry and warm up. In the arena we had some baby horse straightness issues and she also at the moment can over bend and come behind the vertical witch loses marks. However she did 2 very respectable tests scoring just over 60% in each. She even managed to pick up her first frilly with a 6th place. As you can see from the picture (right) below she found the whole outing very stressful!

Hoping in the next week or so to get her out cross country schooling.

21st April

Had my first lesson with Dribble this weekend it was good to get her out and about at last. She travelled well and stood on the lorry quietly before being an angel to ride.

We worked on the flat promoting her bend and basic obedience before we did some very basic jumping. Too early to assess just how talented she will be but love her attitude and willingness to learn.  

16th April

There has been a few pictures of Dribble but took the first bit of video this week. Just a little flat work at home but give you more of an idea. I feel finally ready to start doing a bit with her, she has had flu jab, teeth done and feet tidied up.

Hoping this weekend to give er a pop then have a dressage show planned next week. Still can’t get over how easy and straightforward she is.

14th April

Time to catch up with Pip’s weekend. Her advert is now live on Horsequest which has continued to leave me with v mixed feelings. Anyway we ad a lesson with Rob Stevens on Friday night working through some grids and related distances. Pip worked really well and was jumping on springs gave me an opportunity to concentrate on my position and in particular the habit I have got into of not allowing enough with my hands over a jump. Sadly the clip below doesn’t really show this but you can see how well she was jumping.

So onto Saturday and we went show jumping, the first of the season on grass at one of my favourite venues at Gwelavelan right on the North cliffs overlooking the sea. Ground was perfect and the sun shone.

Jumped Newcomers and Foxhunter. In the Newcomers I made a mistake early on riding a perfect 6 half strides in the first related distance causing her to tip the rail other than that a foot perfect round. The Fox seemed big after not jumping so much but she was on springs and found the height very easy. Sadly as it looks big to me I can still rush her at fences and I did that over the last causing a silly rub.

So a few cobwebs blown away and if she is not sold looking forward to eventing at Bicton in 2 weeks.

13th April - Trials and tribulations of this breeding lark (2)!

I am just getting to the stage I am drawing breath after a manic few days running round after Sarnie and some training and competition thrown in for Pip. Pip I will update on tomorrow meanwhile my last update left you with all systems go on Sarnie’s AI and the semen ordered for Friday. It was supposed be at Bodmin at 10am for me to pick up. I rang just after 8am to check that everything was ok only to be told that it wouldn’t be at Bodmin it was in the Midlands somewhere! I rang the stud in Ireland and they checked with TNT in Ireland, the Irish couriers tracked the package and confirmed it was at Exeter and would be in Bodmin at 11.20. So I go back to the Bodmin branch who say that is not possible. I won’t bore you with the details of ongoing calls but enough to say that by 9am it ad been located in Exeter and if I wanted it on the day I would need to drive the 100 miles each way and fetch it. (Good job I had taken day off)

So a quick stop at the tyre fitters (had a tyre that was a little bald and had been meaning to get done) and then set off for TNT at Exeter. By this time it is 10 o’clock and my vet is meant to be coming at 1pm! Saying that we were in constant touch by text and Joe kindly rearranged timings. Now I like to prep my journeys and have a good idea where I am going. To trust totally to the Sat Nav is not in my nature and indeed as we got into Exeter there was some confusion (tell me the difference between keep right and turn right) however I made it safely to the depot after a slight detour. One valuable polystyrene box was picked up (which was clearly labelled pick up from Bodmin) and a quick turn round and back down the motorway and A30.

Dropped the cargo at the yard and then had to rush home as my back has been playing up again and I had an osteopath appointment.  Now I don’t usually enjoy the treatment but on this occasion a lie down was just what I needed before rushing back to the yard in time to meet Joe.

Packaging is simple (see right) a well insulated box with some ice blocks and the semen arrived well chilled. When viewed under the microscope Joe could not have been more pleased and declared ‘very good and very active’. I had a look down the microscope and just looked like a lot of active small tadpoles to me!

So after the drama of getting the semen the inseminating went smoothly. Joe was pretty confident that she was pretty much right timing wise although it would have been nicer for Sarnie’s follicle to have been bigger (breeding people may understand this).

A hectic day never eased with a lesson wit Rob Stevens and Pip that evening. Therefore whilst I was very appreciative that Joe was going to check her next day (they can have a reaction to the semen going in) as it was his weekend off the timing of 7am did not allow me to catch up on my beauty sleep.

So please can everyone keep fingers very firmly crossed for Sarnie. She will be scanned again in 14 days and if there is no embryo we go through the whole process again. Not sure if I can take it mentally or financially!!

10th April - Trials and tribulations of this breeding lark!

Things are never as simple as you expect. To AI a horse you scan it see when it is ready and then inseminate, as usual Sarnie hasn’t read the rule book. She was due in season the end of this week so was scanned last Friday to make sure everything was ok, then injected to ensure she came fully into season, following the jab she was expected to be in season ready to inseminate Tuesday or Wednesday. It is important to avoid weekends as clearly we need semen as fresh as possible and you can’t send or receive on a Sunday.

So she was scanned again on Monday. Sadly she hadn’t progressed as far as we hoped, if you remember last weekend was cold and wet and this often can play a part in slowing things down. So she was scanned again on Wednesday, by this point she was progressing but still not as far as we needed. So another scan this morning!! At this point I will say that thankfully in common with other vets Rosevean vets do a set fee for all the scans and insemination per cycle although not sure that Sarnie will be eligible to do this too many times if she carries on like this. On the up side she is no longer trying to kick Joe as he does the scan!

So the semen is ordered and was ‘produced’ by Ricardo Z today and dispatched this afternoon. I then have to travel to collect it at the couriers in  Bodmin tomorrow morning and hot foot it back to the yard to meet Joe to do the deed. The semen can last up to 4 days outside the body so hopefully the 24hrs shouldn’t be a problem. One of the advantages of Ricardo Z is his ability to get mares in foal. Saying that to date Sarnie has not been helping things along so everyone needs to keep fingers and toes crossed. I can’t afford too many attempts!

She then has to be checked Saturday morning to see she has had no adverse reaction. We will know if it has worked when she is scanned in 14 days. If not we start the whole rigmarole again!

6th April

I thought it was about time the new member of the team got a mention! Dribble is proving to be the biggest sweetheart out a real soppy person that like nothing better than lots of cuddles. We have been mainly hacking as I find it quite a shock to the system with the sales, the journey over and a new home. On the roads se has been great good in all traffic, forwards going yet sensible both alone and in company.

Se is presently going through all the new horse jobs. I.e. worming, tidying up her feet, hopefully she gets her flu and tet jab this week and next week the dentist! After that I will start some serious schooling and hopefully get her out and about to some clinics and shows.

Picture right was taken this morning after a hack out with friends. As you can see life if quite hard going! Through the wonders of Facebook have been speaking with her previous own, I now know she is 1/2 Irish Draft 1/4 TB and 1/4 Connemara - a really nice mix.

5th April - Decisions,decisions!

After much indecision we have finally made a decision about Sarnie. Next week we start attempting to get her in foal to Ricardo Z. She has been scanned yesterday and next week some chilled Semen will be shipped over from Ireland and she will be inseminated. Fingers crossed she is fairly easy to get in foal as the process itself as well as the shipping is surprising pricey!

So why Ricardo? Well we started off looking at TB stallions but in the end decided to look for something that had proven offspring. Ricardo is the leading living sire of eventers. He will compliment Sarnie with a bit of substance and when we visited him he seemed a nice person. I have to accept that this breeding game is very much down to luck and the best thought out match may produce something quite ordinary! The main thing is she has a trouble free pregnancy and birth. I can assure you if she has one eyed and 3 legged foal Sarnie will be convinced it is the best thing ever!

I will let you know progress on the pregnancy front and the I am sure I will be clucking around like a mother hen!

Sarnie is not the only one that has been giving me a headache with decisions. Pip is 12 now and although low mileage as she wasn’t broken until 7 she is at the age she could be at the peak of her value. Although hugely improved there must be a question mark whether I can capably do Intermediate this year? Much as I love her and she is easy financially things are on a Shoestring budget and if anything happened to her I could not afford to replace her. With a heavy heart I have decided to advertise her for sale, whilst I know it is the sensible thing to do I am not in the position I must sell and if no one wants to pay what she is worth to me then I will continue eventing her and enjoying her. If she does sell I have a car that has 200,000 miles and desperately needs replacing and hopefully I could find another nice quality young horse to bring up the ranks as I continue to recover. If money was no object there would be no sale.  

In the perfect (dream) world if anyone wants a share in an event horse for a dedicated and determined albeit mildly crocked amateur to ride do get in touch!

I think I am already planning for her not to be sold as I have just registered her BE and entered Bicton Novice at the end of the month.

1st April

Really pleased to say we had a good day at Bicton on Sunday. The weather was warm and spring like and it was super to meet up with no1 photographer and groom (Nick and Jane Perry).

Really wanted to do the 1.15 but having not competed for 4 months and no jumped much in between we entered the 1.10 section of the 1.05 / 1.10 handicap. We jumped a rusty round but a double clear one to end up with another welcome frilly 6th.

A quick change and onto cross country I was a bit tentative at first waiting to see if the body would hold up but no such worry from Pip, she was keen and really enjoying things. We started off quite small but ended up having great fun and jumping some decent fences.

So a good time was had by all including the dogs that had a nice walk around the cross country. Although Smartie was keen to give some advice!

29 March

We finally managed to get out competing again today doing a Novice dressage test at Colraine. It was nice to be out doing something even if it was dressage! We are bot a bit rusty as during my recovery I have not done much schooling and I certainly need to get riding fitter.

The test itself scored 67% to win the Open section but there was plenty of room for improvement. As my lower leg is a bit looser than it was I didn’t wear spurs and although she was fine outside in the arena she was not in front of my leg enough inside the arena. I still feel a bit all over the shop but then I am the perfectionist maybe this time I just need to be glad I am back doing.

Tomorrow we head for Bicton and some SJ and xc practice.

26th March

Dribble has settled in really well and to date is being a model horse. We have been hacking out and she has been bombproof on the roads yet bright and forward thinking. Today she had new shoes which has improved her feet no end, lets just say the Irish shoeing was interesting! She is booked in to have flu and tet jab and her teeth done after which time hopefully we can do a bit more work with her. However so far I have rather taken to her and she is just such a nice person. Also a major bonus she is not too dirty as my biggest dislike is her colour and the likely extra cleaning needed!

Hoping this weekend we can finally get out competing with Pip, have the option of dressage, Sjing and maybe even XC schooling which is very exciting. Having a secret worry that my jacket may be a bit tight as with all this time not being able to do so much I am carrying a few extra pounds!


22nd March

So where do I start? I guess probably easiest to go in chronological order! We left home on Tuesday at 1 am feeling ever so guilty about abandoning the dogs! (Little did we realise how well looked after, spoilt and loved they would be to the extent that I am not sure they missed us much - thanks Jane) Travel was hassle free other than poor Mum deciding that she didn’t really like flying and we arrived in Goresbridge shortly after 10am. Dropped the luggage to the B&B and were met with some very welcome drinks and freshly baked scones. Highly recommend the Alamo B&B for anyone visiting the area.

When we had originally booked flights we had not realised the Tuesday would just be ponies and Connemaras which gave us some time to kill. With some Sarnie match making in mind we headed an hour away to Kedrah Stud where a number of top stallions are including Lux Z, Riccardo Z and Yates. Pictured is Ricardo Z who is currently the top rated stallion to breed eventers. He is definitely a serious consideration and we loved him in the flesh.  We also loved the now retired Lux Z who was a real softie.

It turns out we need to make a quickish decision as Sarnie was scanned yesterday and all is looking well. She was in season so we are planning the first AI in about 3 weeks. However madam needs to lose some of her feral tendencies as trying to kick the vet when being scanned is not the most appropriate behaviour!!

So back to the sales we had a full day on Wednesday with some nice horses going through the ring but as usual my tastes exceeded my budget! I loved a bay gelding which was sold for well over 8k and otherwise there was nothing on that day that went through I wanted to bid on. I fell in love with a grey but sadly it had a cataract so wasn’t worth a risk. My mentor for the trip Gwendra successfully bid on a lovely grey 5 year old that I missed jumping and going through the ring (you need eyes in the back of your head!)

The next day there were some lovely horses but somehow none had it all, there was either a confirmation issues, a lack of jump or a veterinary problem. I did love a grey with bundles of scope but that went for nearly 6k. So sadly again I was disappointed to leave with nothing.

I have added a album on Facebook with some pictures of the general sales complex if anyone wants a nose. See here

I am very lucky to have good friends and Gwendra is one of the best. The little 5 year old she bought she was convinced would be a nice horse for me to work with and bring on with the view to have some short, medium or long term fun as we fancy. I have been to ride her today and we have agreed that I will take her on and add her to my team. Gwendra is going to enjoy watching her progress and be part of the team.

Therefore with great pleasure I introduce Dribble (posh name Cirrus).

Dribble (named by the previous owners children as she dribbled on them) is 5 years old mare, she has drag hunted with her older owner and some some XC schooling and jumped at a few training shows in Ireland. I hope once she settles I can get her out and about quite quickly and have some fun together.

16th March

Hopefully at last things are looking up! My hip is by no means pain free but I am able to cope and finally my back is easing enough to allow me to canter comfortably with my backside in the saddle. So I finally feel able to start planning forward and thinking about some competitions again!

The improvement could not have come a moment too early as on Tuesday morning (at 1am) we commence another Irish trip to take in the Goresbridge sales and hopefully find a new member of the team. So there will be no updates here until Friday or more likely Saturday, however do keep an eye on Facebook for any early exciting news! Hopefully this time will come home with something although I do have a Rolls Royce taste with a Metro budget! Anyway off to check the lottery tickets or if anyone wants a share in an event horse with a semi crocked amateur get in touch quick - it is all good fun!

11th March

The news was pretty good yesterday. The consultant despite saying I could ride after 2 weeks never at that time went onto say it would be 6 months before I was back to normal!

Just because I had keyhole surgery and two minor wounds this is classed as a major op. He went onto to show me pictures taken of my ball and socket joint showing where the bone had healed in a ridge and the work he had had to do to remove the boney enlargement.

He reiterated I can do nothing to damage the hip (except falling on it from height) so I can do whatever I feel able to. I still need to sort the issues that this has set up in my back but I hope with a few painkillers I can get back out and do things.

I now see the specialist in 6 months so at that point we can truly judge if I am still having problems.

9th March

The weather is finally showing signs of Spring, Sarnie has been stripped of her rug and can match the mud on her face to the rest of her body!

Decisions will be made soon regarding who is going to have the pleasure of being her husband. Lets hope she is not too difficult to get in foal!

For me it is D day tomorrow I see the hip consultant to decide how we proceed with my hip. Really not sure what he is going to say, I think the main thing for me is that I can have some answers and timescale's, however this may not be possible I guess.

Typically in the last couple of days the hip has been quite a bit better. I had a double session of physio and osteopath on Thursday and both also stuck some acupuncture needles in. Whether they made a difference, whether the warmer weather is helping or something else things are a bit better. I am almost back to where I was as last season finished not great but certainly a lot better than of late.

Will update as soon as possible with how we will be proceeding. Fingers, toes, hooves etc crossed please for a positive result whatever that may be.

4th March

The eventing season got underway this weekend with me still no clearer on when this season I will be joining the fun. I see the consultant next Monday so guess I will learn more then. The course pictures are back up and running again with pictures from 3 of the courses at Isleham now live on site.

The weekend wasn’t totally wasted as we popped up to Vauterhill Stud to look at some TB stallions that are standing there. We had been aiming to go for a few weekends now but each time the forecast had been bad. This time early in the week the forecast for Sunday was good so the visit was arranged. Guess what? Not difficult it tipped it down the whole time we were there. We may have put it of until another week but as we were combining it with a visit to a relative we soldered on.  

Vauterhill stud stands 6 TB stallions, most of which had the qualities we are looking for i.e. tough and sound with a good stride that will compliment Sarnie well.

We definitely have food for though and a couple very high on the shortlist. We are off to Aldon in a few weeks to see Sula Blue who is an advanced eventing TB stallion. Too be honest the choice is so vast I don’t think there is a right and wrong answer and at the end of the day whatever I do the outcome if going to mainly come down to luck!

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