Sarah-Jane Brown July Blog

I am always keen to portray the ups and downs that go with eventing and be honest about the things that don’t go as well. However reflecting on the start of the season I have to say it has been very positive with both horses going really well and making progress. Considering over the winter my confidence was at rock bottom and I was close to giving up this has been a welcome change.

What has changed, I still work hard and train them in the same way maybe at last some of it is sinking in. I had a few amazing lessons in the spring with Austin O’Connor the Irish International Event Rider which really helped set us up for the season. I have also worked harder than ever before on my own fitness with my local fitness centre doing crossfire classes, gym work and I even completed a 5k in June. Considering since I smashed my hip a number of years ago I could barely run a step to run the full 5k was quite an achievement.

Fliss I have taken slowly, she needed time to muscle up and develop, although she is 7 now she was weak when I had her and would have suffered both mentally and physically from too much too soon.

 

Fliss is a natural jumper although getting her to and from the fences has taken more time. She has started her British Showjumping career and having registered in April in two months has completed four double clears at British Novice and four at Discovery to qualify for next year’s second rounds. She is about to start jumping 1.10m classes.

Eventing wise we hit a problem early on. We went arena eventing at Pontispool in the winter and she refused point blank to get her feet wet. She wouldn’t follow other horses in and in the end would only follow me on foot. This might have been less of a problem if it wasn’t freezing cold and I was wearing short boots. Luckily with a wet winter there was plenty of puddle training and when we visited Attington to train with Austin I lunged her in his huge water complex and then rode her in it every day of my stay. Touch wood we have now been schooling a couple of times and she has gone straight in the water. This weekend then Fliss will be doing her first BE at Bicton. Not sure what she will make of a BE80 show jumping!

 

Ellie meanwhile has gone from strength to strength this year and shown a huge improvement. At 14.2hh my project pony has now been with me for over 2 years - whoops! This season she has won several British Novice classes, completed at Discovery with double clears and had a very consistent time in her BE events. Sadly like everyone else our early season has been badly affected by the weather with several events cancelled. So by the mid-season point we have only had four runs.

In both her 90 outings she was double clear and placed 2nd at Bicton and 6th at Port Eliot. We moved back to 100 at West Wilts where two pesky time faults SJ put us out the placing but never the less delighted with another double clear. It finally all came together at Treborough.

Treborough is a lovely event with fabulous views and despite the recent dry spell the ground was pretty amazing. A quick walk of the course and I thought it was nice, a step up from West Wilts but not as consistently huge as when we came last year. Interestingly show jumping was causing a lot of problems as the time was very tight and actually in the end statistics showed only 27% went clear jumping and in time which is quite unheard of at this level.

The weather was pretty warm so I didn't overdo the warm up for dressage literally a five minute stroll to the arenas and 10 minutes work and we were in. Ellie produced a nice accurate and obedient test still dropping occasionally on her forehand but much improved from West Wilts.

We didn't know our score when we went to show jump, but we scored 28.5 which was about 6th best in our section. I know Ellie even on generous timed courses can pick up a time fault and I didn't want to hurry her and have poles instead. I tried to jump economical lines and after fence four I did a bit of a jump off turn to save time. It worked and although we rattled the last hard we finished clear jumping and clear time. Lots of pats for the clever pony.

I still, at this point didn't know my scores so managed to log into 'Eventing Scores' to see I was leading the section, I knew if I was clear inside the time, I couldn't be beaten! Now this may sound easier that it was! With the best will in the world we have never the quickest combination cross country (I do like to set up for a fence a little much) and the cross country time at Treborough was proving hard to get. With only 0.2 in hand over 2nd place I couldn't even afford a second over the time. I did work out I had 10 penalties in hand to assure ourselves of a rosette. My competitive instinct kicked in and I tried to ride as I did at West Wilts letting Ellie run and jump.

We went out over the first three in a good forward rhythm with not too much interference from me, the step up to skinny at five needed a little more control before we were away again. Then some simple fences and we came to the corner she popped that nicely and I managed to make a turn inside the 80 fences to save time to the step and brush, she made the distance here short but jumped brilliantly. The water is unusual at Treborough as the quick way involves a jump down a step, she hesitated but went and we were soon away again up the hill over the roll top and then the camera picks us up again before the influential log ditch log combination which caused some fair problems over the day. Well the only problem we had was the distances seeming short again as flew through. We headed to a double of logs on a right angle and had a slight miss on the first element but again took an economical route and flew the 2nd element, over the coal pallet fence and then to a big penultimate fence, I am afraid I did fiddle a little to this and show jumped it then pushing on for the last to come home a second under the time. We had won!!!

We were the only person to finish inside the time XC in our section, also of the three BE100 sections on the Saturday there were only six competitors, out of roughly 100 horses, that finished on their dressage score. 

We had some lovely prizes and Ellie was rewarded with her favourite treats, stud muffins. So delighted it all came together on the day in all phases and allowed us a win which lets face at BE is something to be savoured and appreciated, it is my 3rd career win in over 20 years of trying! 

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July 10, 2018  |   Share:

Meet Suregrow blogger Sarah-Jane Brown

Sarah-Jane Brown will be guiding us through her eventing season, revealing her highs and lows along the way.

Based near Lands End in Cornwall, Sarah-Jane works  full time as a Health and Safety Inspector for Cornwall Council.

Here we learn more about Sarah-Jane’s four horses.

Said Sarah-Jane: “Rising Sun Lady, known at home as Ellie, is an eight-year-old, 14.2hh chestnut mare. Bred 3/4 TB by Malmsey and a 1/4 Connie Ellie.  She was bought two years ago as a project pony with the view to bring on and sell. Ellie has been such a pleasure and so much fun that she is still here!

“Dolmen Du Concorde, known at home as Fliss, is a seven- year-old, 15.2hh Irish Sports Horse by Royal Concorde from a Ricardo Z mare. I bought Fliss last year, she was very green and needed time to develop. She is now progressing rapidly and I am very excited for her future.

“I have now retired my 19-year-old KWPN Sarnita. Sarnie helped me achieve my dreams, we competed at advanced level and was placed in a 2*, together we gained more than 100 BE points. We competed in Ireland, Portugal, Holland and France.

“Two-year-old Kensa, is Sarnie’s daughter, by TB stallion My Eclipse. I am hoping the chestnut filly will make about 16hh.”

Don’t miss Sarah-Jane’s monthly blog on the Suregrow website and social media.  

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July 10, 2018  |   Share:

William Funnell joins Hickstead Record Holders

Britain’s William Funnell joined an illustrious group of four-time winners when claiming the Al Shira’aa Derby today at Hickstead.

Riding the homebred 10-year-old Billy Buckingham, William was one of just two riders to go clear in the first round, meaning he had to jump-off for honours against Holly Smith and Quality Old Joker.

The first to go in the jump-off, William’s horse didn’t look in danger of touching a fence, although a foot in the water meant they finished with four faults in a time of 89.62sec.

It gave Holly a bit of breathing space, but she was caught out first by the black gate and then by the water as well, meaning she retired into second place.

William, 52, is the fifth rider to have four wins in the Hickstead Derby, having previously clocked up a hat-trick of victories in 2006, 2008 and 2009 with Cortaflex Mondriaan. He joins Harvey Smith, John and Michael Whitaker, and Ireland’s Eddie Macken who have all had four wins in this iconic class.

The Dorking-based rider now believes he could add to his Derby tally with Billy Buckingham. “As long as I’m fit and the horse is fit you’d like to think you could go on and win it a fifth time. It’s nice to be in the record books with those guys, and to do it this year on a homebred is special,” he said.

His horse was previously ridden by Lucy Townley, the daughter of Hickstead Director Edward Bunn. William took over the ride in 2017, and the pair finished sixth on their Derby debut last summer having hesitated at the top of the Bank and getting a time fault as well.

“We’ve done a bit of practice to make sure he’d come down the Bank. Last year I wondered if I’d wasted a clear round because they don’t come round here very often, so it’s nice to get another one and win it on a home-bred by [William’s championship horse] Billy Congo.”

 “I’d like to congratulate the Bunns on the work they’ve done in the arena, this is the best grass ring in the world with the best footing,” added William.

The Suregrow team are pleased to support such a fantastic and prestigious venue, helping to ensure the grounds and the stunning setting are looking their very best and enjoyed by all.

Hickstead director Edward Bunn: “The health and quality of the grass in the International Arena, benefits greatly from the addition of Suregrow fertilizer.”

Jonathan Cox of Suregrow said: “We are delighted to be supporting Hickstead once again as an Official Supplier.”

“With thousands of people attending Hickstead every year we are proud to be a part of creating such well-kept, maintained and beautiful surroundings with our outstanding Suregrow product range.”

Hickstead’s next international show is the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the BHS Royal International Horse Show (25-29 July).william funnell - hickstead winner 18.jpg

July 2, 2018  |   Share:

Suregrow Support The All England Jumping Course, Hickstead

Knaresborough-based Suregrow is delighted to announce their sponsorship of The All England Jumping Course, Hickstead for the 2018 season.

Specialising in the care of grassland for horses and ponies, Suregrow has a range of products including fertilisers, mineral and trace elements and grass seeds specifically selected for horse and pony paddocks, as well as the ultimate in arena and ground care management.

The company is supporting Hickstead for the 2018 season which includes the prestigious Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting and the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the BHS Royal International Horse Show to provide the very best care and maintenance for the grounds and surroundings.

Hickstead, the brain child of the late Douglas Bunn was established with the intention ‘to put on the best showjumping possible anywhere in the world’. Douglas has seen a small field in the heart of rural Sussex transformed into one of the world’s leading equestrian venues. He had the creative flair to make horse sports fun for the spectator as well as offering a new challenge to the competitor, whilst maintaining an element of originality.

The family run showground attracts great numbers and has undergone £1 million worth of refurbishment works including the complete renovation of the famous International Arena since its 50th anniversary.

Almost every great show jumper, horse and rider, has competed at the leading venue since first opening their doors in 1960. Located in the heart of Sussex, the All England Jumping Course is one of the UK’s premier sporting venues.

The Suregrow team is looking forward to supporting such a fantastic and prestigious venue, helping to ensure the grounds and the stunning setting are looking their very best and enjoyed by all.

Hickstead director Edward Bunn: “The health and quality of the grass in the International Arena, benefits greatly from the addition of Suregrow fertilizer.”

Jonathan Cox of Suregrow said: “We are delighted to be supporting Hickstead once again as an Official Supplier.”

“With thousands of people attending Hickstead every year we are proud to be a part of creating such well-kept, maintained and beautiful surroundings with our outstanding Suregrow product range.”

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July 2, 2018  |   Share:

Suregrow Sponsor The Big Screen at The Great Yorkshire Show 2018

Suregrow are proud to announce their sponsorship of The Big Screen at The Great Yorkshire Show 2018.

This year will see the iconic 160th Great Yorkshire Show take place over three days from Tuesday 10 to Thursday 12 July.

Each year more than 130,000 visitors flock to the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate to compete, socialise and celebrate. The show celebrates the very best of food, farming and rural life.

While the show has agriculture at its heart, there’s entertainment, shopping, live music, cookery demonstrations and a professional catwalk fashion show - there really is something for everyone! 

Specialising in the care of grassland for horses and ponies, Suregrow has a range of products including fertilisers, mineral and trace elements and grass seeds specifically selected for horse and pony paddocks, as well as the ultimate in arena and ground care management.

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June 29, 2018  |   Share:

Suregrow sponsor the Working Hunter ring at North of England Summer Shows

Suregrow are delighted to sponsor the Working Hunter ring at North of England Summer Shows. 

Said Jonathan Cox of Suregrow: “We are pleased to support these great summer shows. We wish everyone the best of luck." 

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June 29, 2018  |   Share:

Showjumping Trio Join Team Suregrow

Leading show jumpers Billy Twomey, John and Robert Whitaker have joined team Suregrow – specialists in fertilisers, mineral and trace elements and grass seeds.

As top international producers as well as competitors, Billy, John and Robert, understand the importance of paddock maintenance and the benefits it has on their top horses as well as their youngstock.

Ireland’s number one ranked rider, Billy was part of the London 2012 Olympics and has since won major competitions all around the world.

Based in Yorkshire, the legendary John Whitaker MBE and son Robert are show jumping royalty.  Admired worldwide John has secured 24 medals at Olympic, World and European championships.

Robert is following in his father’s footsteps, with six European team golds medals and an individual bronze at European pony, junior and young rider championships. He has also represented his country on senior Nations Cup teams on more than 25 occasions.

Said Jonathan Cox of Suregrow: “We are very pleased to have Billy, John and Robert on the team.  They are all extremely successful, hardworking and passionate about their sport and when the opportunity arose to provide advice on paddock maintenance we were delighted to help.

“Suregrow is the tried and trusted name in grassland management and we wanted to support three top names in the show jumping world and follow their progress and success.”

Specialising in the care of grassland for horses and ponies, Suregrow has a range of products including fertilisers, mineral and trace elements and grass seeds specifically selected for horse and pony paddocks, as well as the ultimate in arena and ground care management.

Suregrow products include Suregrow Fertiliser, CSM, Paddock Grass Seed Mix, Fast Grass, Meadow and Laminitics Grass Mix.John Whitaker, Robert Whitaker and Billy Twomey.jpg

June 18, 2018  |   Share:

Carl Hester and Richard Davison Dazzle at Bolesworth

Suregrow sponsored riders Carl Hester and Richard Davison are on winning form after taking first and second place in the grand prix freestyle to music at the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show.

Carl Hester concluded a memorable dressage programme at the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show by being crowned grand prix freestyle to music champion.

Carl, winner of 10 major championship medals and a British dressage statesman during his illustrious career, thrilled a capacity crowd that basked in the Thursday afternoon sunshine with 10-year-old gelding Hawtins Delicato.

Their performance in the Equitop Myoplast-sponsored class showcased the rich potential of Carl's exciting ride, offering further evidence why they are likely to be Great Britain team members at the World Equestrian Games in America later this year.

A score of 76.225 per cent proved enough to edge out Richard Davison and Bubblingh - they recorded an impressive 75.875 per cent.

"He gave me a great feeling," Carl said. "I am beginning to understand him, and it is getting to know him.

"The feeling on him is incredible. He has come here and gone up a level again.

"I did the best extended trots I've done with him today, and it is such a luxury having a horse that looks like him. He is so comfortable and nice in the hand.

"I am very happy with how it is all going. He just needs to tick along."

Specialising in the care of grassland for horses and ponies, Suregrow has a range of products including fertilisers, mineral and trace elements and grass seeds specifically selected for horse and pony paddocks, as well as the ultimate in arena and ground care management.

Suregrow products include Suregrow Fertiliser, CSM, Paddock Grass Seed Mix, Fast Grass, Meadow and Laminitics Grass Mix.

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June 15, 2018  |   Share:

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