Hiya, Chuffy here!
The season is well underway, we've had lots going on as it is my first season being back home in Surrey after having been away at Rodney Powell's yard in Wiltshire. It's also my first year as a Senior rider which is quite a scary reality.
I started off the season with my top rides being Willem III, Winnetou M, Second Supreme and Dirk II. Very sadly Winnetou M has picked up a small, very minor injury after a few runs. So this means he will be missing the middle of the season but we are confident he'll be back galloping round soon! Willem has had a strong start to the season finishing a very close 3rd at Ballendenisk CIC2*, I'm thinking he really likes Ireland as he came 2nd in the CCI2* last year over there too!! Second Supreme is a new ride for me this year and we have got off to flying start with a number of good results, the best being 5th at Chatsworth in our first Advance together!! With a double clear at Houghton CCI2* we have achieved our qualification to step up to CIC3* level and I intend to do this at a favourite event of mine, Barbury Castle! Dirk is the youngest of the top lot at the ripe age of 9, he's done a couple of very strong double clears at Intermediate level whilst taking him slowly to preserve him. He's now off to Tattersall's for the CCI2* with Willem, and then will be aiming for Hartpury CIC3* if our qualifying runs go to plan! I'm so excited about this boy as he's the most incredible jumper I've ever had so am really excited to see this smart horse step up!
I've also got two half siblings who are both homebred. ChitChat is now feeling confident at novice with 4 double clears under her belt. Her brother Clarke, is a bit behind as I didn't get him until the end of last year, but he is catching up quickly going double clear in his first novice at Tweseldown! I'm hoping to aim them at Hartpury CCI1* together!
I'm also very lucky to have some really exciting 4 and 5 year olds which are also home breeds. They are broken in and I'm really looking forward to beginning their training and competition lives this year.
Delighted to say that I also have another first for this year which is being on the World Class Podium Potential Program. It's been a dream of mine to be selected onto this prestigious program so I was over the moon when I achieved the right criteria with Willem last year that got me through to the viewing and interviewing stages and then finally to being selected onto the program! It is such an honour to be surrounded by some fantastic riders including my fellow ambassador Sam Ecroyd (don't tell him I said that), and to have access to advice and help the top GB practitioners.
I'm honoured to have joined Whale of a Time as a brand ambassador, and am looking forward to wearing their clothes out and about.
Catch up soon,
My past few months have consisted of balancing training at home in Weymouth, sitting first year exams at uni in Exeter and travelling to the windsurfing Slalom World Championships in Hyeres, France.
April began with the road trip to the South of France to compete for the world title in the IFCA Slalom Youth and Masters World Championships. The event was pretty full on, early starts and late finishes! Thankfully the wind delivered everyday (despite forecasts for extremely light wind leading to me making some poor kit decisions) allowing us to finish 21 races (7 eliminations). As the event came to a close I finished in 7th position in the U20 Youth Girls fleet.
Despite a couple mistakes on the last day I'm happy with my results as I feel it reflects my winter training coinciding with my university work.
I recently arrived back in Weymouth for the beginning of my summer training. Alongside this I haven started my new job at my local windsurfing club 'OTC' situated at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. One month in and it couldn't get better, working here has not only allowed me to stick to my windsurfing schedule but assisted me due to being able to clock off work, grab my kit and jump in the water!
I have recently been introduced to my latest addiction of hydrofoil windsurfing, after getting my hands on one I've been on it at every chance possible and can't wait to be put to the test at the first ever uk foil event in June!
Hey! Let me introduce myself, I'm Sophie, from Sophie in the Sticks where I blog about my passion for the countryside, fashion and photography. How would I describe my personal style? A mix of everything but I'm a country girl at heart for sure. I'm seen in everything from heritage knits and tweeds, vintage seventies chic to frivolous floral dresses and leather shorts. It's fair to say I'm happy to give any style a whirl to put my own stamp on it.
Sweater weather. That's how I'd describe it at the moment; spates of sunny intervals while the breeze picks up. Operation keep cosy is in effect. While I'm a jumper girl at heart, the merit of a snuggly sweater has not escaped my attention. It's a rare sight to catch me in a cardigan.
It's always a pleasure to make a new discovery when it comes to independent brands and I'm glad to have been introduced to fabulous clothing label Whale of a Time from right here in Norfolk.
What makes them brilliant is the ethos and direction that they have striven to employ. It really is inspiring to know that organic cotton is a priority and British design is being championed in a world of 'fast fashion'.
If there is one thing I love it's a challenge on styling up a new piece.
I'm wearing the Minke sweatshirt which also comes in two other colour waves. It's a fun, retro style piece which is incredibly comfy to wear and is such great quality. The design lends itself to being worn with the majority of colours in my wardrobe but this time my navy skinnies insisted they were the perfect match to my sleeve stripes (they were right of course). Just in shot are my grey biker boots too.
What is easier to wear than a sweater? It's going to be perfect on those summer evenings just as the sun dips below the horizon and the cool night air flows in. A festival must-have for this year.
From this one piece you can gauge a fair amount about Whale of a Time clothing; simple, quality designs which can be worn everywhere. The new SS17 collection adds to an already solid range of t-shirts, sweaters, hoodies and bottoms as well as accessories; a well thought out theme runs through of colours, piping and striping and always with the cute little whale tail logo. It is immediately obvious that each piece belongs to the range.
I'm really impressed.
How would you wear a sweater? I have denim shorts in mind.
We are now well into the 2017 season, with Kentucky and Badminton Horse Trials passed.
My horses are getting onto their strides and we have had some early successes. I am now working up to the spring three day events.
The Quiet Man and Christoff will do their first two star events at Floors Castle, a beautiful venue in the Scottish borders with a challenging course built by Ian Stark. The Quiet Man, we have had since he was three and is known as 'Mr. Perfect' as he always tries his best. He is the sort of horse you can tie up outside the lorry and forget he is there. He is never rude or demanding. Christoff, we bought as a three week old foal. When we went back to collect him after his weaning he had grown by then into a giant. He is 17.2hh now, but that’s OK as I am 6 foot 3 myself.
Tullaher Sunrise will go to Chatsworth to do the Event Riders Masters which is an exciting new competition started last year with a series in the UK and Europe. At three star level it is by invitation only and based on world rankings and has exceptional prize money; Thus it is attracting the top riders and horses. The cross country is run in reverse order to make it more interesting and exciting for the spectators. Tullher Sunrise’s dressage is not yet competitive enough to win but I am hoping for a clear round cross country, it is only his 2nd attempt at a three star. The younger horses have been out and winning so that is a great foundation for the future.
I am lucky enough to have a lovely yard near Chester with some great facilities and all this helps when training horses. Until now I have mainly produced my own horses, all of which have been bought either unbroken or with little experience. This means that all their bad habits come from me! Currently we are putting some more boxes in to make 19 in total. This gives me some spare capacity to have a few competition livery horses.
We have a happy friendly yard, necessary I believe to maintain happy horses. Nicki is yard manager, Roja our resident physio also rides, Harry is a friend who was on the Junior European Eventing Squad in 2015 and has spent the last two years in Germany but is now with us helping produce and compete the young horses and keeping the others in work if I am away at a competition. Tasha is our competition groom and about to come out of her apprenticeship, Sian helps with different yard jobs including the huge piles of washing and Maddie has just joined us as a new apprentice. Everyone works hard and we play hard. I have recently started a Badminton evening for the staff team – its good to have fun together without the pressures of having to achieve – but its funny how competitive spirit affects people: there were quite a few claws that came out and very little quarter was given!
We have a French student coming over from Saumur for the Summer, bringing her horse. I hope her English is good because despite spending about 9 years learning French, it still has the ability to go in my head through one ear and out of the other. Bon, Bonjour and Merci and Cheval are the only words that pop into my head as I think about it!
I am privileged to be on the World Class podium potential squad and receive lottery support through that program as well as lots of advice and back up. I have dressage lessons with Charlotte Dujardin when she can fit me in – I had four lessons the other day trying out the next level movements. At the end I was exhausted mentally and physically. I cant recall the number of times she said “That’s rubbish Sam, do it again”. It was certainly more times than the occasional “That’s good Sam, he can do it”. To Charlotte nothing is good enough and as she pushes you, you ask more of the horses and they respond. It is so easy at home to think the movement you just performed was an 8 and feel pleased – Charlotte keeps on pushing for the 9s & 10s!!
Till next time!