Unfortunately, our trip to Kings Forest a few weeks ago did not go as planned but that is sport for you. If it was easy, we probably wouldn't do it!
We travelled up to Suffolk on the Saturday morning, arrived in good time and settled Layla in her stable with her favourite cuisine of No.6 All-Round Endurance Mix, No.19 Performance Balancer and Keep Calm. We then went to set up the hold area with everything we would need on race day and pick up our paperwork. Layla then enjoyed a massage and a leg stretch before getting ready for vetting. She flew through the vetting and we were ready to start at 6.15am the next day.
Everything was going smoothly, maybe too smoothly! Layla was foot perfect at the start of the race and sailed around the first three loops. The vets were very happy with her and she was eating and drinking, as I would expect for Layla...lots!
The downhill turn came at vet gate 3 when the vets thought Layla wasn't herself, so asked for a re check 15mins before we were to leave on loop 4. This is where endurance is so good, as when it comes to our horses, their welfare is at the fore front of everything. When we took Layla back they were still not happy with her, and thought she was unlevel whist trotting. This set alarm bells off in my head as for this ride we had pads fitted underneath her shoes' to protect the soles of her feet. We did this because for the World Championships in Italy the going is stony and pads would be preferable. However, when we had Layla padded her before she wasn’t happy and was described as trotting unlevel, so we thought we needed to try the pads again.
I was pleased that the vets saw she wasn't right and allowed her to be thoroughly checked over by the treatment vet. He confirmed our suspicions regarding the pads, and gave her a full bill of health apart from this "funny" trot!
The next day I was very lucky that my farrier can out took the pads off and re set her shoes; cue Layla back to her normal self. So although we had an unfortunate result on the day, at least it was nothing serious and Layla is back in work, getting ready for our next adventure...without pads!
On a more positive note we are now preparing with the two young horses for their 40km qualifier at Royal Windsor. I am very excited that they were accepted into the class at such a prestigious event, and I hope it will be a positive experience for them to understand what it is like at such a big competition.
Spring has sprung! The paddock grass is looking far too lush and the nerves are building in the pit of my stomach knowing there’s only 21 days until Badminton. Arrr………
My name is India Griffiths and I ride a purebred 9-year-old Connemara pony called Clintonstown Windy, or ‘Darcy’ to his friends.
After a lot of hard work and even more luck, an invite to 2017’s Badminton Grass Roots arrived at our door for BE90. This was amazing in its self but was topped when Baileys agreed to support my dream of being able to share the same Badminton Turf as the top professional rides. I can’t believe it!
Let me Introduce Darcy. From a random advert, we found Darcy in Cirencester. He was heading to Dubai but luckily, we got a call to try him and the rest, as they say, is history.
I was only 11-years-old at the time and could hardly put him on the bit but he didn’t give up on me. With the help of Joe Lees BYRDS (dressage), Jessica Pidcock (eventing) and Joe Macdonald (jumping) he blossomed until I could almost feel like he knows my next move before I do.
The story so far has been full of ups and downs. No surprises there - we all know this sport takes no prisoners. There are times you feel on top of the world and other days, when the cricket scores appear and you wonder what went wrong. But even though I’m only 14-years-old, what I am learning is to break everything down into small chunks and challenges… they seem easier to deal with that way, somehow.
The biggest concern on my mind right now (with only 3 weeks to go) is keeping my Darcy sound and getting the right amount of energy out of his feed so he’s got just the right amount of spark without being too fruity. No.19 Performance Balancer seems to be doing the trick… thanks Baileys.
Darcy went to Larkhill BE100 this weekend, more SJ training this weekend, then heading to Rectory Farm next week for some combined training before Hambleden International as the final run before Badder’s. OMG, still can’t believe it!!
India and darcy finished in 14th place at Hambledon International this weekend. We look forward to catching up with them at Badminton next week!
Following multiple qualifications, Lara Dyson was second in the Albion Medium Gold on a score of 71.72%, third in the Spillers Medium Freestyle Gold, fourth in the Equi-Trek Elementary Gold Winter Championship on 69.43% and second in the PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Gold with a score of 74.68% all whilst partnering Jazzed Up, who is part owned by Lara and Laura Milner. Meanwhile, Andrew Gould finished in 11th place in the Albion Medium Gold Championship riding the promising youngster, Feme Fatale, with a score of 66.77% and finished seventh in the PSG Saddles Elementary Freestyle riding Feiner Stern II, owned by Jane Howard, on a score of 72.69%.
Elder Klatzko finished in sixth riding Rohan (aka Roo) in the Prix St George (PSG) Pet Plan Championships and also had placings in the Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle and the Equi-Trek Elementary Silver Winter Championships riding Romanno Quest. Meanwhile, Joanna Thurman-Baker finished in second place with a score of 73% on Apollo in the Magic PSG Freestyle Championship and in the Charles Owen Advanced Medium Gold Jessica Dunn was fourth on Jennifer Whittaker’s Alicante Valley with a score of 70.88% as well as finishing in ninth in the Albion Medium Gold on her own Fyona on a score of 67.58%.
In the Baileys sponsored Novice Silver Freestyle Winter Championships, Christian Landolt and Liss La Belle took first place with a score of 80.37%, the young mare behaving impeccably through the class and prizegiving. Alicia Laughton finishing in second place riding Armada Donna Belle and Jade Vale taking third place riding Prinzessin K. On Thursday, 13-year-old Lily Payne won the Novice Gold Freestyle Winter Championships on Beckhouse Cancara with a score of 73.7%, with Danni Morgan finishing in second on 73.43% riding Headmore Davina and Jo Barry finishing on 73.04% on Sugar Plum Fairy. The competition was close with a number of riders scoring in the high 60s.
Congratulations to everyone who took part and we’re already looking forward to the summer championships!