Hope you are all keeping warm and dry during the winter
So, 2018 has been a slightly different year for me on Sadie as I decided to go back to University (12 years after the first time) and complete a PGCE to become a Primary School Teacher. This journey has taught me so much about myself and made me truly appreciate all my amazing family, friends and my poor husband who have all supported me along the way. After a year of blood, sweat and tears I am happy to say I have just completed my first term as a year 5 teacher. It has been mad and I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with my orange lady over the Christmas holidays. (Clippers at the ready). As mentioned in some of our Instagram blogs we are also in the process of building a new lorry (well I say we, but I actually mean Mr Bennett is building and I have more of a supervisor role). Therefore, we have had a quiet month sorting out the yard and doing all those jobs that we never normally have time to do, including adding an all-weather surface to our arena. Exciting times! This also means our lovely ‘Doris’ is for sale and we will be asking you all to help us out in naming our new Daf lorry when she is finished so please watch this space.
Our season has been different but fun all the same. I have had chance to really focus on my dressage, with quality, regular training to establish more consistent marks between the whiteboards. Let’s hope we can show this off in 2019 when we get to go ‘proper’ eventing again. Some days show jumping which as always has been a mixture of highs and lows and then lots more dressage again. Here are some of our main highs and lows, proving that you can still get out and do some competitions even whilst completing a uni course, working four days a week and being a farmer’s wife.
April saw Sadie and I dance our way to second place at the British Riding Club winter championships. We had a very long journey (accompanied by my faithful sidekicks) but she danced her socks off to be beaten by a very posh dressage horse after holding the lead all day. I was so pleased with her and to us it felt like a win because she did such a lovely test and couldn’t have tried harder for me.
Lincoln Nationals was an amazing experience. Sarah, the sausage dogs and I travelled to Lincoln showground for a 5 minute test! It was crazy but we did it and with an amazing support team the Malvern Riding Club had lots of laughs, many drinks and accumulated a string of rosettes. We were 3rd as a team and Sadie and I were 3rd individually. Receiving our third sash of the season. It was truly a memorable weekend, especially when I had taken plaits out and we popped Sadie in her stable. We ambled off to support the others and enjoy the sunshine, only to hear on the loud speaker that we had been placed and needed to be in mounted prize giving in ten minutes! Needless to say I had to ask the photographers to be strategic and take photos of our nearside so none could see we were sporting a Tina Turner hairstyle!
Swalcliffe was highly exciting (well for Sadie anyway). She did a fab dressage test, clear show jumping (our nemesis) and was like something possessed cross country. Having done so much dressage she was somewhat exuberant round the course. I managed to hold her together until fence 14 where she jumped so big I felt like I was flying, narrowly missing out on using my air jacket, but missing out the next fence as she sailed on past it. A quick spin round and represent and she said ‘ok mum I didn’t see it the first time’ and popped it like a dream. This confirmed to me that we both LOVE eventing and even though that had happened I came back with the biggest smile on my face.
Hartpury dressage winters were freezing but saw a 71% in the Novice and a win so guess where we are going again in April? That long journey again for our 5 minutes of fun and games.
Next year we are looking forward to a season BE again and hoping to get out as soon as possible. Our aims are to keep our dressage consistent and to establish ourselves at Novice level again. As always I need to have more self-belief in the Show Jumping phase as I often fiddle and mess too much in the ring. Once I can crack this I would love to ride Sadie in my top hat and tails. They have been somewhat redundant over the past few years with my old mare taking a back step to have a slightly easier life but Sadie and I may just get to use them together. I’m also keen to have another go at dressage to Music as Sadie loved dancing to Taylor Swift last time (not sure the neighbours shared our love when it was playing every evening after work for about two weeks).
Please come over and say hi if you see use at events. We always have the kettle boiled, plenty of cake and two sausage dogs who simply love cuddles. Best of luck this winter and next season and remember to check out www.hardyetc.co.uk for all your equestrian needs.
Laura, Sadie, Roxy and Frankie x