(This blog was originally written and posted on the 29th October 2013 but has
As announced on my Facebook and Twitter pages, it is with the deepest regret and most profound sadness that I write this blog post informing my followers and clients that my beloved 'old boys' and popular schoolmasters Tyke and Teddy were put down together last week at Rycroft School of Equitation in Hampshire. Both have experienced long-term health problems that were not improving so the decision was made with their best interests in mind whilst they are still happy and relatively well.
As some may know, we lost our yard a few months ago which put an end to Team Derbz as we knew it. No longer able to provide livery services (schooling/backing/competition etc) or schoolmaster lessons, it also threw me into the terrible position of having to find homes for my horses and quickly. Whilst I was fortunate enough to be able to find somewhere that would allow me to keep both Troy and Jimmy, I could not also take Tyke and Teddy. Luckily my wonderful friends Laura and Mel stepped up to look after them whilst I tried to find them long-term homes, ensuring that they stayed together and at home. Thanks to Laura and Mel, Tyke and Teddy spent a glorious summer at grass in the sunshine - fat, happy and well. Loved and in good company.
Separately and together, these horses changed my life and taught me so much as well as providing me with companionship and endless joy. They are responsible for rebuilding and strengthening not only my confidence and skill, but the confidence and skills of the countless students and friends who rode and handled them in their time here.
Without a doubt my two most popular horses with children and adults of all ages and abilities - a testament to their talent, attitude to their jobs and wonderfully kind, gentle natures.
Having never been much of a fan of chestnuts, quite how I ended up with 3 and all with names starting with T I'm not quite sure! But 'The T-Nuts' quickly became the most important things in my life and an integral part of my team in a business where horses come and go quickly. Now with just Troy remaining - 'Mid T' - I can't help feeling like there will always be something missing.
These irreplaceable horses gave me everything and owe me absolutely nothing. I am forever changed and forever a better horse-person having had the privilege to have had them in my life. They will be forever missed.
We arrived at Aintree just after 12pm and didn't get in the box to leave until 7.30pm! It was a long one considering we only had 3 horses! This show was a qualifier for the unaffiliated championships in February.
Archie - following an unusually lacklustre warm-up, he jumped double clear in the 75cm finishing 9th overall and qualifying for the championship. Very pleased with him, going to start introducing jump-off techniques now that he's a bit more confident.
Tyke - had a bit of a nasty experience in the warm-up arena which knocked his confidence and possibly hurt him a bit. He was really rattled when we went in to the 85cm and ended up getting eliminated in the second phase of the course which is very unlike him. I had him entered in the 95cm to see how he would do at that height. He handled the height quite comfortably so think it's a good class for him future, but he still didn't feel right and had one stop. He jumped the next few fences very nicely though so I decided to retire him and end on a good note rather than have a bad experience later in the course. I'd like him to keep on enjoying his jumping and never take it too seriously. He qualified for the Championship on a wild card regardless so he'll still get a chance to have a go with the others.
Troy did really well. After a very shaky first fence and a few near-misses he jumped his first double clear at this height and finished 4th, also qualifying for the championship and earning me a wild card to use for Tyke in the 85cm.
New boy Archie went out in the big-guys field for the first time this week. Here's a bucket load of pictures of how it went! Featuring:
Archie - Navy full-neck rug with red lining.
Troy - Big chestnut in red rug
Tyke - Little chestnut in purple rug
Oscar - Grey in blue rug
Monty - Small pony
Lady - no rug
And some bonus pictures of Misty and Topper having some fun too!
First off there's Heath. He's still improving every week but his progress has evened out a bit and he does have his bad days so sometimes it's easy to feel frustrated and like you're not getting anywhere. On these days you just need to take a step back and take a look at how well he is actually doing. Saturday was one of those days. The weather wasn't on our side from the start with it being a bit gusty and showery but we added to that challenge by taking him somewhere he's not been before under saddle on his own, which is a big deal for Heath.
Following an altercation where Elaine was attacked by a tree branch and gave Heath a bit of a fright, Elaine rode Heath much of the way up before walking him back in hand as he was finding the whole thing a bit stressful but still taking it really well. We didn't want to leave him there as he hadn't really done enough, but he'd done well so we didn't want to put him in the chambon and make him work for however long. So we did something we've not done before - jumping! He seemed to really enjoy himself and had a bit of a play with it. As you can see, he's not too shabby at it either!
Managed to get two lessons in today at the farm before the heavens opened! Lynsey who part-loans Tyke and Gina who part-loans Spike both did really well, making a lot of progress and jumping bigger than they've done before.
Oscar, Tyke and Troy all got turned out together in the field with the main herd today. Here are a few pictures from earlier.
We have moved to our new base in Little Bollington. Here's some pictures from the horses on their first day. We have 30yo Appaloosa pony Oscar, 4yo skinny chestnut Troy, and smaller chestnut 15yo Tyke. Tomorrow they get turned out in the herd for the first time so fingers crossed that goes smoothly. Will have my camera on hand!