What Mary has to say! – Jan 2019

Dear all,

I hope 2019 is treating you well so far…here is an update. I’m off skiing for a few days next week, then before we know it the season will start, can’t wait!

At the end of the season I went out to the Monart Horse Sales in Ireland. Emily and Sam were going with some owners, and I was interested to go to this sale which I had heard so much about. It was a lovely excuse to spend some time with Emily, and having just sold Joey I had a bit of money to go shopping! I had studied all the horses online footage before the sale and had earmarked a handful. On arrival, looking at the horses in the flesh and watching them loose jump again, there were 3 that I especially liked. The actual auction was held in the beautiful Monart Spa Hotel that evening…and I ended up buying Seamus! He is an athletic 3 yr old (now 4!) with plenty of TB blood, and a sweet temperament, so fingers crossed for his future. He was unbroken, so when he arrived in Devon I spent a few weeks backing and riding him…I’m very happy with my purchase! He will run alongside Cyrus who is the same age.

I love producing the young horses and find it so satisfying how quickly they improve as long as they understand what is being asked of them! Tilly is becoming more balanced. I have been teaching her to maintain correct length bend through corners. Serpentines at trot are helpful to teach her to change her bend, and encourage her to become more supple. She is happy and keen working, so I have to remind her to contain her forward impulsion by asking for half halts when she increases her speed. I am starting to work on smooth obedient transitions from walk to trot, trot to walk, trying to be clear with my aids .. rewarding her with my voice and/or a pat when she works correctly, and repeating the question when she makes a mistake, making it completely clear what is right and what is wrong. I school her 2 or 3 times a week, and only for about 20 mins maximum. Because she is keen by nature I usually take her for a hack before I school her to help her to be in more of a settled frame of mind before I start asking her questions.

Her jumping technic is improving. She has started to work up a line of fences, and trotting and cantering around a small course of fences. I will start to introduce her to different show jumping courses by taking her in the lorry to Bicton and other venues, initially with a companion and then on her own.

During January I get all the horses flu/tetanus boosters up to date. I worm them with Equest, and get our horse dentist Keith Evans, to rasp their teeth. It is also time to clip the working horses…Clippersharp support me with various trimming products, which is fantastic. Mitsubishi Motors have changed my Shogun for a fabulous Shogun Sport…very roomy boot for taking the outside horses their daily Baileys feed and Marksway Haylage, but drives extremely smoothly and has plenty of power up our Devon hills…thank you Mitsubishi.

King Robert (Bobby) who is 9 yrs old now, is looking much more mature this year. He has been quite a slow developer and I feel is only just reaching full maturity. I am looking forward to his competition season when hopefully he will be getting established at advanced level and aiming for his first CCI-L4* (the new CCI3*).

The FEI has bought in a change of name for the International events. All events have moved up a star and CIC’s are now classed as ‘S’, and CCI’s are classed as ‘L’. Changes are always hard to get used to, but hopefully everyone will understand the new class system soon!

This is my provisional spring programme:

3rd March ………………Moreton

7th March…………….Tweseldown

16th/17th March……..Pontispool

29th – 31st March……Belton CCI-S4*

2nd April…………………Portman

13th – 14th April………Burnham Market CCI-S4*

19th/20th April…………Bicton

27th April……………..Withington

10th – 12th May………Chatsworth


29th – 2nd June ……..TATTERSALLS CCI-L4*


6th – 9th June…………BRAMHAM CCI-L4*


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