Jeep All Stars at Bury Farm & Meet Bert

Bury Farm always runs good shows with good prize money, so with this in mind I set off with Luendi, Espirito Santo and Doonaveeragh Emma, also accompanied by Bert (more of him later) and Aoife O'Connor, Jade Hooke and Catriona Redmond from Breen Equestrian and nine Breen horses. As the week unfolded it became clear that if I had forgotten about the prize money I might have had a better chance of actually taking some home!

Luendi - 1.10 Bury Farm

Luendi - 1.10 Bury Farm

I had made the effort to take the horses to Bury Farm the previous week so that the five year olds could jump a smaller class and have a look round, so I was a bit unnerved to find the Newcomers on the first morning to be very strong and only have one set of fillers that we had seen before! For Luendi it would be only her 3rd Newcomers and her first time starting at that height. However, we had a great schooling session on the Tuesday with Shane, and she jumped really well for one baby mistake when I got her a bit deep in the jump-off. I made the same mistake on Espirito Santo with the same result, so stood Emma off the same fence in the 1.20 so that she had it down as well!

Doonaveeragh Emma - 1.30 Blue Chip B&C Qualifier

Doonaveeragh Emma - 1.30 Blue Chip B&C Qualifier

On Friday Luendi jumped really well in the Newcomers until I decided I was at Cheltenham and went for a Desert Orchid type shot in the jump-off, luckily Luendi ignored me, but we did just tip a pole. Espirito Santo also jumped a good round.  Emma jumped a superb clear in the first round of the Blue Chip B&C Qualifier which with 50 entries was a pretty strong class. Sadly we had one down in jump-off to finish 11th and one place out of the money. In this case I think Emma was a bit surprised to see such a big upright, but it did rather set the scene for the following two days when she jumped fabulous first round clears to be let down by me in the jump-offs. The answer is, as Malcolm Pyrah has told me many times, to concentrate on jumping a clear round, rather than racing about the place. I am rather a slow learner!

Espirito Santo - Newcomers

Espirito Santo - Newcomers

Espirito Santo has jumped really well at his last few shows, but felt very flat this week, so I didn't jump him again and let him start his well deserved holiday early. He seems to be growing again and in typical boy style this makes him rather skinny and tired. Luendi finished the week with a lovely double clear, and Emma jumped fabulously all week. Espirito Santo  is now in the field, Emma will jump at Addington this week and then at the Keysoe CSI** before having about four weeks off. She doesn't get quite such a long holiday as the babies, partly because she struggles with her figure and partly because she gets so wild that it takes months to tame her again. Luendi helped herself to five months holiday in the summer, so she will spend the winter catching up. She feels better and stronger every time she jumps so I am really excited about the future with her.

Bert on his first day's hunting with the Old Surrey Burstow & West Kent

Bert on his first day's hunting with the Old Surrey Burstow & West Kent

Sadly when I came back from Auvers, Finn became more and more difficult to get on.  He had always been slightly nervous to get on, especially if he had time off, and nine days off was obviously too big a break. I managed to get over the problem and was getting on him with a little bit of help every day, but at Arena UK the problem escalated so that even Shane had difficulty getting on him, and the joint decision was made that it was too difficult for me to be managing the problem by myself at home. This was a really difficult decision as he is jumping so well and is such a pleasure to ride, but my safety is really the most important thing.

Finn is now resident at Hickstead and the plan is to send him back to Ireland to hunt, and hopefully become more relaxed about life, and Shane has given me Bert to produce and sell.  Five year old Bert was bred by Julian and Claire Mills to be a high goal polo pony, he is 7/8ths thoroughbred, 1/16th Australian Stock Horse and 1/16th Quarter Horse. At about 15.1 hh he is a really great little horse, and is learning about life so quickly. He is a fantastic jumper, has lovely paces and is about to have his third day's' hunting. He has jumped everything he has met boldly and cleanly and is terribly clever at scrambling up and down banks, over streams, etc. I am really looking forward to continuing his education until he finds a perfect little rider to take him on.

Arena UK

On September 23, 2012 by Sarah Lewis

Biscuit Arena UK

Biscuit Arena UK


Between them the horses jumped every day apart from Wednesday, when Judy and Malcolm gave me a hand with them at home. Even on Wednesday there was lots to do, having ridden the three horses, we had several Old Lodge horses to watch, and I then had a sit on a lovely event horse who is currently at the Pyrah’s. Malcolm was slightly surprised when I jumped him straight into his water jump, like a proper eventer!
Packing up for 5 days at Arena UK with Ferro, Biscuit & Emma brought back memories of packing for three day events. Luckily Malcolm Pyrah had kindly offered to have us all to stay so I was saved from taking haylage and shavings. Having borrowed a friend for Homer from Karen Rees, I set off at 5.45 on Monday morning. The impeccable Lewis sense of timing ensured that I arrived just after 10.00 so that I couldn’t walk either of my courses, but luckily it is relatively easy to learn courses in all weather arenas when you can see the whole way round. I put my numbers down, got a cup of coffee, established when the Old Lodge horses were jumping and got the horses ready. Emma and Biscuit jumped in the Newcomers, and Ferro in the Amateur 1.20. After the wide open spaces of Hickstead the arenas seemed small, and incredibly full of jumps, with lots of other distractions as all the arenas are close together, with lots of people, push-chairs and horses everywhere.

By the end of the week Biscuit and Emma had grown up so much. Biscuit can now get past any flag, pushchair or umbrella with no fuss at all, and by the time Emma jumped her last class she not only jumped a fantastic double clear to qualify for the 5 year old Grand Prix but also behaved perfectly at the practice jump. Progress had been achieved at a small price as I shot off her so quickly on Tuesday, and hit the side of the school so hard that I got a splinter in my bottom.

The standard of jumping was very high, with well over 100 horses in every qualifier. Biscuit only just missed out on qualifying for the Newcomers final, Emma qualified for the 5 year olds, and it seemed a bit mad to gallop Ferro about to qualify for the 1.20 right at the end of the season.Having grown up not a million miles from Grantham, I was ready for the North East wind at Arena UK – there really aren’t many hills between there and Siberia. By the end of the week I was wearing thick gloves and two coats – not quite at the woolly hat stage like some people – but well wrapped up. By Thursday and Friday it was raining as well as windy. I managed to jump Biscuit in my jacket, but by the time I got on Emma the water was running down my back and the season ended with yet another round of showjumping wearing a raincoat!

I am now home, the girls are ready to be roughed off, and I am slowly cleaning all the show rugs, numnahs and travel stuff to put away ready for next season. The rain has arrived and so now I’m looking forward to taking Homer autumn hunting, watching the girls getting fat and hairy and looking back over the competitive season.

My main goal at the beginning of the year was to try and become competent at 1.30 – and I haven’t really managed that. I’m not giving up, but I know there is lots more to do. On the plus side I have managed to be placed at a higher level than before, and there have been a few 1st rosettes. Biscuit has gone from zero to nearly a hero in just under a year, and Emma continues on her course to be a very competitive prospect. She is now known as the Grannies’ pet as both Zandra, my stepmother, and Janie, my mother-in-law, love her.