Suregrow News

Sarah-Jane Brown 2018 Review

The event season is over and it has certainly been a funny one. With the wet start and events cancelled left, right and centre, followed by a period of dry and hard it has meant we have had limited runs. Saying that as I spend periods in the dark side both doing dressage and show jumping we have certainly kept busy.

Ellie (my 14.1 project pony) has run 7 times this season, sadly missing her last run to finish at Bicton with a very slight virus. Whilst we may not have had quantity we have certainly had quality with six out of seven placings, no cross country penalties, only a single pole show jumping and two wins at BE100. Real feel we are ready to tackle a novice sometime next year.

Our last run at Dauntsey which is always demanding was nearly as satisfying as her two wins. Haven't competed at Dauntsey for a few years now and it has always been renowned as a top end course that asks plenty of questions at all levels. Really good to be able to take Ellie who is now well established at this level and see how she coped. We were also in a very hot section with the top riders including this year’s Badminton winner, a WEG team gold medalist and a host of other WEG team members. I actually love testing ourselves with the best, the commentator XC said how unfortunate I was to be in such a hot class but actually to do well in this company is a huge achievement.

Dressage was probably my least favourite test, with an extra halt and 15 meters circles. I seemed to have a crisis about these circles and usually end up with them the wrong shape or size. Luckily this time we nailed them and did a very sweet test. The main areas to work on are our downward transitions particularly from canter to trot, this was a bit abrupt and fell on her forehand. However, I was chuffed with a score of 30.5 with the best in our section being on 27. Always nice when I judge comments 'Lots to like about her'. (Not sure if that meant the rider had less to like or I am just being over sensitive?) 

Show jumping was a bright course which was jumping quite well. It is not unusual at Dauntsey for a local eventing celebrity to steward this year it was none other than Mark Todd manning the gate. The warm-up was pretty hard (everything else was fine) so kept my time here to a minimum and just jumped four jumps before going in. I can't believe how much this phase has improved this year and she went in and jumped a super round, we did have a lucky tap at fence 7 but the pole stayed up and we completed a clear round. 

So onto Cross country and I was slightly worried it was certainly the toughest course Ellie has jumped to date with a variety of boldness and technical questions. It started nicely with three flowing forward questions before fence four a brush with a decent ditch in front in the dark under the trees jumping out in the light. Ellie paused going into the darker bit but once she understood what she was jumping powered out over the brush. A simple fence followed before a usual looking combination with a pole over a single upright log holding it on the turn to another identical fence. I wasn't sure how well she would read it and got her back to a more showjumping canter but she understood the question easily turned for the second part locked on and was away. A good hedge followed then a style before a small step up on the angle to a skinny house which she locked on and understood easily. We then turned over the ditch rails and down to the quarry with a rail in before coming up and out over a meaty corner. We had a bit of a duff stride to the corner and had to get quite a short one in meaning it was easy for her to run out, she had no intention of this and popped up and out easily. A few easy fences followed before the first water, for these we cross the river but a log was situated on the top of a bank down under the trees, she kept quite low but there was no hesitation, through the water and up and out over a big brush fence. The brush fence was big enough as we were coming up the hill it was made even bigger by the fact that I stood her off a stride meaning she had to grow pony wings, this she did with ease and made nothing of it! A couple more fences before the last water and unfortunately I made a costly mistake and took the track to the novice water meaning I had to circle turn back to the correct track jump the boat down to the water, through and up over the skinny rail (see video). Sadly this mistake cost us 2 time faults which was frustrating but actually eventually only cost us a single place.

I was delighted in such a competitive section to finish 5th on the same score as Jonelle Price. 

Fliss only ended up running twice on the event circuit with two double clears at 80 and 90 but she struggled with her frame running with her head on the ground which is a tad disconcerting. Experiments with tack including bitting and nosebands has eventually found a solution, the drop noseband with a chain at the back has stopped her crossing her jaw and plunging her head down with a nice rubber bit so if she crosses her jaw she is only fighting herself.

She did her first affiliated dressage last month and showed her versatility by being in the places in a strong class. She will have a winter ticking over both on the flat and jumping. Ellie has had a few weeks off and is now back in work and like Fliss will have a fun winter with a mix of training, competition and hacking.

For me I dread winter, luckily with the help of Suregrow grass should see me through but I find it hard with working and no school forcing me out on the roads which are increasingly dangerous. I am trying to ensure we have plenty of things to look forward to over the winter to keep motivated!

I have already booked another training session with Caroline Moore, am representing the riding club in dressage and arena eventing, have outings in dressage and show jumping planned so hopefully we will be ready to get a good start eventing in the spring.

It is sometimes the simple things that give the pleasure. The fact that Kensa (2 year old daughter of my advanced mare Sarnita) was good to come in and have her feet trimmed with her field mate Tommy was very satisfying. As far as the babies are concerned they have been pretty much left to their own devices to grow up with plenty of good grazing and shelter but minimal other attention and handling. They do lead well now but otherwise will be left another 18 months to grow and mature naturally.

To keep up to date check out my website


November 6, 2018  |   Share:

Success for Caroline Powell

Suregrow sponsored rider Caroline Powell was on winning form at Eventing Waregem. CHANCE ENCOUNTER won the CIC** with a super double clear, SERGEANT CRISP came 6th in the same class, and the super cute MISTER HIGGINS came 2nd in the CIC* finishing on his 30.7 dressage score!


September 28, 2018  |   Share:

Suregrow Support Allerton Park Horse Trials

Suregrow had a fantastic time sponsoring the Intermediate and Open Intermediate classes at Allerton Park Horse Trials. Congratulations to Paul Burgess, Isabel White and James Sommerville on winning the sections.


September 18, 2018  |   Share:

Team GBR take Bronze in the Dressage Grand Prix.

Team GBR took the Bronze medal in the Dressage Grand Prix at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, USA.

HR_WEG18_TRYON_DR_GBR_HESTER-27582 - low.jpgThe team, made up of Charlotte Dujardin, Emile Faurie, Carl Hester and Spencer Wilton, helped the team to achieve qualification for Tokyo 2020 Olympics following two days of competition. 

Suregrow sponsored rider Carl Hester, based in Gloucestershire, took to the U.S. Trust Arena with Lady Anne Evans, Ann Cory and his own Hawtins Delicato. Producing some stunning work with the ten year-old gelding, the pair were rewarded with a score of 77.283%, a personal best in the Grand Prix with Del [Hawtins Delicato].

Said Carl: “I knew I’d have to have the ride of my life today and I did.  I had 77% in my mind as my target, not that I told anyone that, so I couldn’t be more pleased but I’m surprised!  Earlier in the week I didn’t think he’d cope but I rode him early this morning in the arena in walk and he felt relaxed so I thought I might have a good ride. He absolutely put his heart into that test.”ith Lady Anne Evans, Ann Cory and his own Hawtins Delicato. Producing some stunning work with the ten year-old gelding, the pair were rewarded with a score of 77.283%, a personal best in the Grand Prix with Del.

Charlotte Dujardin, based Gloucestershire, with Mount St John Freestyle, owned by The Mount St John Stud, entered the arena just before the final session. With the stunning nine year-old mare, the duo shone in the Tryon sun, producing a stunning test to score 77.764%.

“What an amazing horse to come here and do that!” said an elated Charlotte. “To cope with the environment and produce a test like that, I’m over the moon with her. There’s a lot of expectation on her and I’m so proud that she didn’t bother with anything; she’s so exciting for the future. There were a couple of mistakes but easy to fix and I couldn’t really have asked for more from her, she’s a real trier.”

Spencer Wilton and Emile Faurie put the British team in a promising position after completing their tests yesterday, scoring 72.795 and 74.581 respectively.

In the end it was Germany who took Team Gold after finishing on a final team total of 242.950. The USA finished second with 233.136 just ahead of Great Britain in third with 229.628.HR_WEG18_TRYON_DR_GP_GBR_TEAM-37929 - low.jpg

Photo credit John Stroud.

September 18, 2018  |   Share:

Sarah-Jane Brown August Blog

Where has the time flown we are already in Autumn fast approaching winter. It has been a funny old season with such a wet winter and then a hot dry summer. Huge thanks to Suregrow for their support as I still have grass for the girls and in fact quite proud of my grassland management. I poo pick daily in the summer, remove any offending thistles and docks as well as use Suregrow fertiliser and CSM. The grass is looking great and both the worm counts have been 0 at the last test. One of the cogs in ensuring they both perform well.

We have had a very busy month and lots of placings at all affiliated disciplines as well as some great training including a couple of great sessions with Caroline Moore.

Ever wonder if something is a silly idea? Was driving 3.5hrs each way for a couple of lessons going to be worth it. The Caroline Moore was at Millfield School, luckily the evening before I worked out not the same location as the horse trials otherwise could have been very confused.

Fliss was on first and the lesson focused on technical exercises towards xc using a variety of material and skinny fences. This is very new to Fliss and she coped really well soon getting the idea of skinnies. The video gives a good reflection of the exercises we worked through. Loved the imaginative use of dressage boards far better than doing flat work in!

The main points for me to take away from Fliss's session were:-

x - Try her in a different bridle, Micklems hold the bit low in the mouth and not ideal for horses that don't take the bit

x - Don't tip forward (might of heard that before)

x - Keep eyes up and ahead

x - Ride more forward

Ellie's session was slightly more advanced, it was great as Caroline adjusted the exercises to the group she had and what they wanted to achieve. Ellie was on fire, really pinging and picking up the difficult technical exercises really easily.


I have to admit the improvement Ellie has shown this year has taken me by surprise having thought maybe we had reached our level I think we can progress again to the next level in all disciplines.

The main point from Caroline for me with Ellie is to be bolder and more forward in the way of going.

For Fliss from here it was onto West Wilts BE for her first BE90 and second BE run. We were delighted with another double clear although rather slow cross country. She has got into the habit of working with her head down and that isn’t to ride and she can see a fence quite late. Whilst I am great believer that correct riding and schooling should always be the main way of improving the way of going I have had a play with tack and bits too. Bridle wise as suggested by Caroline Moore I have put her back in a conventional cavesson bridle, removed the martingale but am using an old fashioned running gag which is helping to bring her up off her head. This weekend we jumped her at Tall Trees in the BS and there was quite an improvement in her way of going. I doubt she will event again this year as we establish her way of going.

Ellie had her first BE run for a couple of months returning to Treborough where she won last time out.

Treborough has always been a lucky event for us but I never thought after our win there at the last BE event we could repeat the feat. I think I have said before it is the most fabulous venue on Exmoor with views to the sea and the ground is always very good and copes with any weather.

Ellie was pleased to be out eventing again and her dressage was a little tighter than I would have liked as she was eagerly anticipating the fun bits! I rode the test in more of a safe manner focusing on being v accurate. Luckily the judge liked it and we scored a 27 which was second best of the day in our arena. 

Treborough had live scoring and it is brilliant how quick it is. I'm not sure sometimes if it is a blessing or a curse as I went into show jumping knowing I was provisionally in the lead albeit others had show jumped and some even XC'ed but if I kept a clean sheet I would win.

Show jumping was a nice friendly track but Ellie was slightly causal, I guess we have jumped some bigger tracks recently and she definitely jumps best when challenged. Saying that she jumped a neat enough round but just dropped a hind toe on fence 6 for faults which was frustrating. 

This dropped us to provisional 5th but as we advanced towards XC and others had time faults or jumping penalties we moved back up to 2nd with the leader also to go XC. The track was very similar to the course at the last event so no major concerns but equally need to be very aware not to make any silly mistakes. Also knew I needed to keep her moving to ensure we made the time. 

She was amazing absolutely eating up the course and making it feel very straightforward. She is very balanced and surefooted meaning we can make up time down slopes or on turns and comes quickly back to hand when needed. She opened out nicely over the first 3 and then as we went down the track to fence 4 she was most put out that I steered her round the novice fence and not over it! She was quickly through the quarry and onto the middle element of the course where the camera picks us up. The corner is made more difficult by a dip in the ground 3 strides away but she hardly noticed this and kept on a great stride flying it. The drop to the brush she flew as she did the rails to water. We popped the last and I knew we were inside the time so dropped reins and patted her coming back to trot just inside the finish. Actually we only ended up 1 second inside the time so maybe shouldn't have been quite as causal!

The horse that had been leading had time faults so we had repeated the feat and won again, you can imagine how over the moon I was with Ellie. However on checking my scores I saw I had dropped to 19th with 10 jumping penalties given to me. 

I went to the secretaries and queried this penalty. I was given it for trotting over the finish. A rule has been introduced since the allowing of stop watches at lower levels to prevent competitors going round at break neck speed and then using the watch to slow down over the finish or final fences. The rule is you shouldn't deliberately slow down for this purpose. I asked to speak to the BE steward and explained that I had simply relaxed on finishing and as I was only a second inside the time it wasn't to avoid being too fast. I was given an opportunity to explain what had happened and the steward spoke to the start team and the scorers and it was decided that as it wasn't deliberate the penalties could be removed. Huge relief and big lesson learned that I need to keep travelling through the finish whatever the circumstances.

So we had our second win in the two Treborough events and so proud of Ellie. She was barely blowing or sweating when finished so certainly very fit. Hopefully have the opportunity to get another 2 or 3 runs in before the end of the season. 

August was a really busy month so to catch up with our other highlights check out my blog at


September 7, 2018  |   Share:

Second Place for Oliver at Burghley

Huge congratulations to our Suregrow sponsored rider Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class, who took second place at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. 

September 4, 2018  |   Share:

Get the Lowdown on Robert Whitaker

LEADING British rider Robert Whitaker has six European team gold medals and an individual bronze at European pony, junior and young rider championships.

Sponsored by Suregrow, Robert has also represented his country on senior Nations Cup teams on more than 25 occasions.

Son of the legendary John Whitaker, Robert is aRobert Whitakerlr.jpgn international star in his own right. He is a top producer of young horses, with a show jumping business in the south of England.

The family’s incredible show jumping success may have started many years ago, but with two representatives at the 2016 Olympic Games, this Yorkshire dynasty is showing no sign of slowing down.

Born: January 16, 1983 in Yorkshire.

Family: wife Kate and daughters Evie and Millie.

Best current horse: Catwalk

Best ever horse: Lacroix

Horse I would love to ride: McLain Ward’s mare HH Azur. She’s something else.

Equestrian hero: Ludger Beerbaum

Best ever win: The Grand Prix in Madrid on Nicolette.

Equestrian ambition: To be world number one. The Olympics would be good too.

Alternative career: I haven’t a clue, but it would have to involve making money!

Did you know? I hold the world record for the bareback puissance. In 2011 in Stockholm, I cleared a 2.12m wall riding Waterstone without a saddle.

Top Paddock Tip: Fertilising is a vital component to achieving a well-balanced paddock. It stimulates root development, resulting in a denser sward and therefore suppressing weed growth. We use Suregrow fertiliser twice a year on our paddocks, which keeps them in excellent condition.

September 4, 2018  |   Share:

Suregrow Support the SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials

SUREGROW are delighted to announce their support of the Ground Care Day and sponsorship of the 'Forest Glade' cross-country fence at this year’s SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials.


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.

Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials takes place from September 13to 16 at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.

Suregrow will be sponsoring the 'Forest Glade' a challenging cross country combination on the estate’s unique and undulating cross-country course.

The Suregrow team will also be supporting the new and informative Ground Care Seminar held on Thursday, September 13, at the event.

The day will include a presentation from the Sports Turf Research Institute, displays and demonstrations of ground care equipment from specialist companies, and a Q&A session with the groundsmen from Badminton, Blenheim and Burghley Horse Trials.

Jonathan Cox of Suregrow said: “We are pleased to announce this new sponsorship at Blenheim International Horse Trials. It is a fantastic event that attracts the world’s best riders and thousands of spectators.

“As grass care specialists, we hope the Ground Care Day provides vital insight and knowledge on how to manage grounds and grass correctly to ensure it looks healthy all year round.”

Look out for Suregrow’s sponsored event rider Nicola Wilson, who will be competing on One Two Many.  

Suregrow products include Suregrow Fertiliser, CSM, Paddock Grass Seed Mix, Fast Grass, Meadow and Laminitics Grass Mix.
Blenheim SSangYong logo PMS 2768 Landscape WO.PNG

September 4, 2018  |   Share:

Success for Nicola Wilson at Somerford Park

Well done to Nicola Wilson riding Chabadu for winning the Novice (I) at Somerford Park Farm.

August 21, 2018  |   Share:

Mount St John

Mount St John: "Can’t believe how quickly our grass has bounced back after the dry summer since we’ve had a bit of rain & added SureGrow."

 mount st john.jpg

August 17, 2018  |   Share:

Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin named for World Equestrian Games

The shortlist for the British Dressage team has been confirmed for the British World Equestrian Games (WEG). The team will travel to Tryon, North Carolina in September.

We are delighted to announce Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin have been shortlisted.

Carl Hester has been selected with his young grand prix star, his own, Anne Evans and Ann Cory’s Hawtins Delicato. This British-bred 10-year-old, by Diamond Hit, is in his first year of grand prix.

Charlotte Dujardin with Emma Blundell’s nine-year-old mare Mount St John Freestyle. The talented Fidermark mare only began her grand prix career this year but is so far unbeaten, with scores of over 80%in the grand prix special.

carl hester boles 2018.jpg


August 10, 2018  |   Share:

Personal Best for Bublingh

Congratulations to Richard Davison and Bublingh, who performed really well at Hickstead CDI. In the Grand Prix, Bublingh achieved a personal best of 73+% to finish 2nd.

Image may contain: 1 person, riding a horse, horse and outdoor

August 7, 2018  |   Share:

Brilliant Result for Nicola Wilson

Fabulous result for Nicola Wilson and  'JL Dublin' owned by James and Jo Lambert and Deirdre Johnston, at The Festival of British Eventing, Gatcombe. The pair achieved a lovely double clear to finish 8th in the British Intermediate Championships.

Image may contain: one or more people, people riding horses and outdoorImage may contain: one or more people, people riding horses, horse and outdoor
Pictures courtesy of Trevor Holt

August 7, 2018  |   Share:

Win a bag of Suregrow Fertiliser

We are offering you the chance to win a bag of Fertiliser (1 bag per 1/4 acre) for this month's competition - don't miss out!


Suregrow Facebook page


August 7, 2018  |   Share:

Sarah-Jane Brown July Blog

Another month has flown by and it has been a struggle with the dry hot weather. Big thanks to Suregrow as currently I still have grass for mine although even this has stopped growing, as I am writing this it is raining so fingers crossed for it to green up and grow again.

The weather has had a big impact on the eventing with the exception of one run I have pretty much stopped eventing and changed my allegiance to show jumping on surfaces. Actually the amount of effort events are going to is making some reasonable ground to run on but that doesn’t help the training at home so I haven’t done any cross country schooling or much fitness work. So until there is a significant change in weather I have severely limited my eventing entries. The one exception this month was a run at Bicton Horse Trials where Fliss did her first BE80.

I will start by reflecting on how far we have come together to get to our first BE.

In the winter my confidence was shattered. Yes I had jumped Advanced in the past but I didn't even want to canter Fliss. I spent more time crying than anything else and certainly had very little enjoyment in riding. I had supportive people around me and was honest about my struggles. Fliss was an angel very patient but as a green horse did need riding.

I took her to her first XC schooling at Pontispool in the arena in the winter and she refused point blank to get her feet wet or to follow another horse in. Eventually I managed to lead her in (in short boots and it was icy cold). We ignored XC and got our confidence together show jumping.

Finally I felt ready to tackle our first BE event. Huge thanks to the team at Bicton for producing a great event with the best ground possible considering the weather. The track was top end for the level (BE80) and certainly needed riding.

Dressage warm up was kept to 15 minutes as it was very hot and she was going sweetly until a grey pony starting working nearby, no idea why but she took fright, her head up in the air and really spooked. Luckily she settled to go in the arena and produced a nice test for her stage of training. A bit wobbly at times but great to have a judge that rewarded the good bits so marks ranged from 5.5 to 8. Very pleased that one 8 was for my riding. 

We were one of only two combinations to break the 30 mark with a 29.8 to leave us 2nd after dressage.

Show jumping was small for Fliss but I was very pleased with how she jumped so sensibly, neither treating them as insignificant nor over jumping. She didn't touch a pole and achieved a great clear round.


Cross country was a decent track for the level with lots of questions particularly for a horse that was yet to have any sort of round cross country. 1 and 2 were decent size and she backed off and needed strong riding, however once away she really focused on the job in hand and took her fences on. The water was at 7 and although she backed off for half a stride she trotted straight in and was away. The rest of the course she jumped sensibly with a big grin on her face, we took it steadily due to ground, heat and experience and clocked up 7.2 time penalties. This was still good enough to finish 3rd which I was over the moon with. 


Ellie meanwhile also had a success this month and even had her picture in Horse and Hound (26 July). Much as my focus is always on eventing my only mentions in Horse and Hound have been for non eventing pursuits and this time it was showing.  Touch wood there seems nothing that Ellie can’t turn her hoof to. This year she has had wins at affiliated dressage, show jumping and eventing. 

So it was time to try something new - showing! To be totally honest I have never been a big showing fan but always fancied trying Ellie in a Working Hunter Pony class. Now there has always been a major hurdle in this plan these classes are restricted to younger riders making me ineligible. However Cornwall’s biggest one day show Stithians had the class as open so we popped an entry in. The class was for 143-153 ponies as Ellie is in the lower range I didn’t expect her to be too competitive. 

It was about a week before panic set in and I realised we not only didn’t know what we were doing but didn’t have any correct gear either!! A close contact jumping saddle would not show her confirmation off that well, a Micklem bridle is evidently not correct and evidently white show jumping boots would be a no no. I don’t have a shirt and tie nor correct showing stick. 

Well the day before was spent teaching me and Ellie on the art of standing a horse up correctly and doing a good trot up. We also borrowed a cavasson bridle and some black boots. 

The course was 90cm with a variety of different rustic questions. It was quite spooky and caused a few horses stops. 11 fences on a sloping ring meant it couldn’t be taken lightly. 

I warmed Ellie up who immediately in a different bridle popped her tongue over the bit - hopped off and popped the bit up higher than I normally would have and luckily she didn’t repeat the trick. 

She jumped a super round and wasn’t affected by the spooky jumps. I think about half of the 14 jumped clear and were called back in for the showing bit. 

We were then called in in any order. Annoyingly I ended up at the end and was first to be called forward so I didn’t get to see anyone else’s show and learn what to do! Also after all my practice the previous day we walked up and trotted back under saddle for the judge so there was no stripping and running out needed. 

She did a nice show and we waited in line. Wasn’t the most settled line as a traction engine drove past the ring making a big racket. Ellie’s eyes were out on stalks but she did contain herself. 

The judge added the scores and we were delighted to be pulled in 2nd. Really pleased particularly as she is a little small for this class and not quite true to the type they are looking for. 

We went back in for the championship of the 3 Working Hunter Pony classes where we walked trotted and galloped for the judge. Have to say she gave a great gallop (best bit for Ellie) which the judge complimented us on. We ended up reserve champion which was amazing. 

A really fun day and nice to do something different. Ellie loved the experience of the crowds looking at her and being able to show off. Busy and buzzy atmosphere which didn’t faze her and can only stand her in good stead for some bigger horse trials in the future.4.jpg

We have finished the month off with a three day show at Dorset Showground show jumping. It was spoilt by the heat but horses and humans survived.

Ellie had an annoying 4 faultitis until the last class of the weekend where in a 1.05 pick your own line I really challenged her with some technical lines and angles over one of the biggest tracks she has jumped. This is obviously the way forward as she really focused and jumped amazingly to come 2nd in a very competitive class.

Fliss was a bit up and down or perhaps my riding was. She jumped a couple of super double clears in the Discovery classes but then I entered a Newcomers and the poles flew as I rode like a tentative lemon. So glad she came out the final day jumping really well, with 3rd place in the Discovery so no long term damage.

Looking ahead if the weather is kind Fliss is entered in the 90 at West Wilts which is the middle of August.  Both are booked in for lessons with Caroline Moore at Millfield which should be really interesting. Expect to hear all about it next time.


August 3, 2018  |   Share:

Sarah-Jane Brown in Horse & Hound

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August 3, 2018  |   Share:

Sarah-Jane Brown June 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! 


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.  


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).

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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.”


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.


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.

First placed Carl and second placed Richard.JPG

June 15, 2018  |   Share:

Suregrow Sponsor the Kidney Pond at Bramham International Horse Trials

SUREGROW are delighted to announce their sponsorship of the Kidney Pond at the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials.

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.

Bramham International Horse Trials takes place from June 7to 10 on the Bramham Estate, near Wetherby.

Suregrow has sponsored the Kidney Pond at the prestigious event for the last seven years.

The three day event will see excellent equestrian sporting entertainment, as well as the trade-stand village, offering an exciting shopping experience, including indoor and outdoor clothing, ideas for home and garden as well as everything for the horse and rider.

Jonathan Cox of Suregrow said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Kidney Pond at such a fantastic event. We wish all the competitors the best of luck.”

Look out for Suregrow’s sponsored event rider Nicola Wilson, who will be competing two horses Bulana and One Two Many.  

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

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June 5, 2018  |   Share:

Breathe Life into Your Paddocks with Suregrow CSM

Did you know 85% of grassland is mineral and trace element deficient?

Your paddocks and grassland may look in reasonable condition but is both the soil and grass the very best it can be?

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CSM from the Suregrow range provides more than 70 minerals and trace elements. A number of these enter into the plant and can be beneficial to the health of the animals eating the grass.

CSM injects a wide range of minerals and trace elements into the soil which maximises the utilisation of Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potash and Sulphur. This totally natural product stimulates root development and strength giving a denser sward, while also improving the eating quality of grass and acts as a soil conditioner which results in a denser more vibrant turf.

The minerals in CSM have many benefits for both the grass and horses. Calcium helps the grass growth and neutralises plant cell acidity improving the palatability of the grass. Increased levels of Magnesium in the grass can have a calming effect on the horse or pony and supports the absorption of Phosphate. Sodium, improves the palatability of grass and reduces the Potassium imbalance in growing grass. Chloride’s benefit is that it supports the transportation of nutrients in the plant.


May 21, 2018  |   Share:

Tracy Priest Takes the Suregrow Thames Speed Stakes CSI2* at Royal Windsor

Surrey-based Tracy Priest won the Thames Speed Stakes sponsored by Suregrow, at Royal Windsor, riding Penelope Priest’s Caristo VDL.

The 11-year-old grey gelding Caristo VDL and Tracy took the title with an impressive time of 61.19 seconds.

Having owned Caristo VDL since a five-year-old, he is currently on top form with a string of wins on the show jumping circuit.

Said Tracy: “It was brilliant to win, I am really happy with our overall performance.”

Royal Windsor Horse Show is the UK’s largest outdoor horse show with international competitions in three different equestrian disciplines. The CSI2* Thames Speed Stakes sponsored by Suregrow Fertiliser Ltd was an exciting event drawing in a great line-up of outstanding competitive riders along with an eager crowd as always.

Jonathan Cox of Suregrow said: “We were delighted to sponsor the CSI2* Thames Speed Stakes. Well done to Tracy and Caristo VDL, it was a fantastic result.”

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.

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

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May 18, 2018  |   Share:

Oliver Townend Wins The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

Congratulations to Suregrow sponsored rider Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class for winning the 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event title.

After a clear round cross country, Oliver stood in third position overnight. It was a tense finish as Oliver took the lead from Michael Jung, with a foot perfect fault-free show jumping round with Cooley Master Class, to finish on his dressage score of 28.7 penalties

Oliver has had Cooley Master Class, owned by Angela Hislop, since he was a four-year-old and is a firm favourite on the yard. Sired by the much sought after Belgian Warmblood Stallion Ramiro B out of The Swallow, Coolio as he is known at home is now leading the way in eventing.

Said Oliver: “Obviously it’s a fantastic feeling to win. The owners gambled on me to win their money back, and I’m pleased the horses have come through with great results and that I’ve repaid the owners’ gamble on me.”

Oliver had a fantastic event not only winning with Cooley Master Class, but also taking seventh with MHS King Joules. Both horses are 13-year-old Irish Sport Horses.

Oliver was delighted to win, as this victory is his second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. To secure the title the rider must win the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton, Land Rover Burghley and Land Rover Kentucky Horse Trials consecutively. Oliver won Burghley last September with Ballaghmor Class, who is entered at Badminton along with Cooley SRS


May 8, 2018  |   Share:

Zara and Chiddock Time Traveller Win the Suregrow Show Pony Championship

Zara Brookes with Chiddock Time Traveller took the Suregrow Show Pony Championship at this year’s North of England Spring Show.

Based at Robert and Sarah Walker’s yard in Cheshire, the nine-year-old Chiddock Time Traveller, dazzled the judges Lucy Carey and Allan Robertson to win the title.

Zara has only had Chiddock Time Traveller since the middle of last season, so this relatively new pairing was delighted to take the championship.

Known as Billy at home, the chestnut Chiddock Time Traveller went foot perfect to impress the judges.

Said Zara: "I was over the moon to win the Suregrow Show Pony Championship. Billy felt amazing, he didn’t put a foot wrong. It is our first show of the year, so we are very excited about the season ahead.”

Added producer Sarah Walker: “We are delighted for Zara and Billy, he went so well. Billy has a really sweet nature and is lovely to deal with, they are a great partnership.”

Said Jonathan Cox of Suregrow: “Congratulations to Zara and Chiddock Time Traveller they put up a brilliant performance to win the championship at the start of the 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.

Presentation by Judges to Suregrow Champion Pony 2018.JPG

May 8, 2018  |   Share:

Suregrow Sponsor the Thames Speed Stakes CSI2* at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Suregrow are delighted to announce their sponsorship of the CSI2* Thames Speed Stakes event at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

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.

This year will see the Royal Windsor Horse Show in the private grounds of Windsor Castle from May 9 to 13, 2018, to celebrate its Diamond year and the Suregrow sponsored class takes place on Thursday May 10, 2018 at 12:30pm in the Castle Arena.

Royal Windsor Horse Show is the UK’s largest outdoor horse show with international competitions in three different equestrian disciplines. The CSI2* Thames Speed Stakes sponsored by Suregrow Fertiliser Ltd is set to be an exciting event drawing in a great line-up of outstanding competitive riders along with an eager crowd as always.

Jonathan Cox of Suregrow said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the CSI2* Thames Speed Stakes event for such a monumental year for the show. The event is set to be as fantastic as ever however this year will be even more exciting as the show celebrates its extraordinary history over 75 magnificent years.

“The class is set to be an exciting International jumping competition and will definitely draw in some fast and furious action.”

Suregrow sponsored dressage rider Carl Hester MBE, will also be in action at the show.   Carl will join a competitive dressage line-up also on the Thursday.

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

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May 8, 2018  |   Share:

Carl Hester - One on one at fifty event

We were very proud to be sponsors of Carl Hesters One on One at Fifty event on 11th November 2017.

Please follow the link below to see more


November 15, 2017  |   Share:

Latest news from Shoestring Events

A lot has happened since my last blog and generally things have been pretty positive. Firstly let me introduce you to the newest member of the Shoestring team – Fliss. Fliss is an Irish Sports horse by Royal Concorde from a Ricardo Z mare, she is 6 years old but currently green and quite immature so we are taking things really slowly and just letting her develop her strength and muscle.

Lots of hacking and a little schooling has been the order of the day and she probably won’t be doing much competition wise until next year. She has a great jump and can be very careful so may turn out to be more a show jumper than an eventer but Shoestring_Oct.jpgwe will see. She has the most lovable nature and is always looking to please. As the yard I rent involves hacking onto a busy road she is currently kept a few miles away with a friend who has lovely quiet hacking and a school, this is fab although having horses in two different yards does give some logistical challenged particularly with the light shortening. Ellie and Fliss are sharing a saddle and there is nothing worse than arriving at one yard and realising the saddle is at the other yard!

Ellie meanwhile has moved up to BE100 level fairly easily. It is strange but as a rider that has ridden at advanced level when you have been away from that level for a while 100 seems huge particularly on a 14.2 pony.  We chose our first event to be Treborough which is on the edge of Exmoor and one of the most picturesque events in the calendar albeit a slightly challenging drive. Treborough has a reputation for being straightforward which it is but by golly they certainly built to maximum dimensions over a long and hilly course. I will plead guilty to a slightly sleepless night. It wasn’t then helped when the competitor in front of me fell and we were held in the start box for 20 minutes.

Once underway Ellie flew round making nothing of the course and finished with an excellent clear. Frustratingly 2 poles show jumping when I rode a dodgy line to a double prevented any rosettes despite a good dressage. Our form was franked two weeks later at West Wilts a far smaller but technical track when she jumped another super clear but two rider errors show jumping as well as a dressage judge that was less keen on us kept us well out the placings.

The next event should have been Bricky. We had a good drive up, it is a favourite journey of Mum's not only is it less boring than the motorway routes but we pass some lovely farm shops that have access for the lorry to park. Luckily Ellie is chilled about any unscheduled stops!

We went straight to the event on Friday teatime and walked the course as Saturday was an early start. As always it was beautifully build and prepared although in a couple of places quite wet after the weeks rain. Luckily checking the phone no rain was forecast. We went back to the nearby stabling, plaited Ellie, cleaned stud holes and tack and set an early alarm. Worryingly there were a couple showers and checking Facebook prior to bed Bricky posted they couldn't cope with any more. When I woke up an hour later and could hear the rain pouring I knew what the outcome was going to be and indeed when the alarm went off at 5 the text was already in with the cancellation. The only good thing was the extra hour in bed!

Poor Ellie was unplaited and looked very non plussed. Nothing worse than being at the event and it cancelling, although the entry is refunded the fuel and time cannot be retrieved. Then again to be honest it is probably selfish to say this when the poor organisers have been spending months preparing the course and event only for the weather to wipe out the whole thing.

We did at least do some show jumping and headed to a favourite haunt at Chard to jump the British Novice and Discovery. Ellie pulled it out the bag for a 4th place and £17 in the first class but we had a couple of rails in the Discovery.

So two more events left for the year at Calmsden and Aldon providing the weather is kind.

Meanwhile the yearlings are rapidly growing and so pleased with their grazing this year. I applied Suregrow fertiliser and CSM in April and the field is still lush and green with grass coming through despite the two babies grazing it all year as well as using as a playground.


October 24, 2017  |   Share:

The Latest news from Emily Cariad-Nicol Eventing

At the end of August we took Lander to Millstreet as part of the GB development squad in the CIC*. He was fantastic all week and pulled out all of the stops, even with the 34 hour round journey! He started the event to be inside the top 20 out of 72 combinations after the dressage phase with a good test. After a fantastic clear showjumping over a big track of fences he moved up to be in 12th position overnight. The next day he gave me the most incredible ride x country to be clear inside the time, finishing in 8th place! I couldn’t fault him all week, he was just amazing! Meanwhile I opened my GCSE results in the morning of our first day competing, and I’m very glad to say that I was very pleased with them, as they could’ve played a huge part in how I rode at Millstreet.

Unfortunately, with the arrival of a new livery horse, a week before the BE100 RF at Firle International Simba caught an air bound hoof on his chest and it became a little swollen. Luckily they’re good friends now! Although he would probably have been absolutely fine we decided to miss out on the event, which was a great shame as he had an opportunity to qualify for Badminton grassroots. However he was due to go on a 3 month holiday after the event anyway, so now he has an extra week with no work! He’s currently very hairy and dirty and just enjoying life as a normal horse, and we will be bringing him back into work at the beginning of November. At this rate he may need a new saddle, as in just over a month with no riding he has already grown a huge amount!

We ended the season by moving up to Intermediate, which was both mine and Lander’s first time competing at this level. We competed in the OIu21 at Little Downham and had the most fantastic day. We started with a 33.2 dressage in a very harshly marked section to be inside the top 10 after this phase. He then jumped a fantastic clear round showjumping which made me even more nervous than I already was going into the x country phase! It was a huge track of fences and I'll admit that I wasn't sure if I was going to cope with it, but we came back having had the most fantastic clear round, he was so bold and so scopey over the biggest fences on the course! We did however get a fair amount of time penalties, as I took one alternate route just to be on the safe side, and made my life extremely difficult by accidentally going around one of the judging cars after the jump, so I had to do a very tight turn slowly, which wasted a huge amount of time!! We were dropped down just out of the placings because of this, but it doesn't matter at all – we had the best experience that we could’ve asked for with our first time at this level, and now I’m extremely excited for next season with this fantastic horse. Lander is now enjoying a very well deserved 12 week  holiday, and his Connemara side is starting to show as he’s already extremely hairy!

And I’m thrilled to say that 2 new 3yo’s arrived at home a few weeks ago! Both are completely untouched mares from the Netherlands, and I must say they are quite beautiful! They both come from showjumping lines but have more than enough blood and movement to event. They’re currently being backed at Jason Webb’s and I am so excited to go and see them being ridden. They’ll come for a break in a couple of weeks and then go back down to Jason’s, at which point he will show me how to ride them. Then at the end of November it’ll be all hands on deck – so I’m looking forward to a very busy winter!

October 18, 2017  |   Share:

Caroline Powell takes the CIC2* title at Waregem 2017!

Sponsored rider Caroline Powell and the smart Flipper K made the trip to Waregem worthwhile by taking the CIC2* title! The pair were lying 7th after the dressage phase which they then followed by a super clear in both the showjumping and the cross country phases with only 3.6 time penalties to add. This was just the performance to take the top spot in this class but Lizzie Baugh and Quarry Man were hot on their heels finishing in the runner up spot with only 0.1 penalties separating them. Dirk Shrade and Catelan finished 3rd to complete the top 3 in the CIC2* class.

September 25, 2017  |   Share:

Suregrow Fertiliser sponsors Allerton Park Horse Trials 2017

We are very proud to have sponsored Allerton Park Horse Trials for another year. It provided a great weekend of competition with some very testing conditions at times after a lot of surprise rain on the Saturday night!

The showjumping proved to be very influential across the whole competition and it definitely wasn't a dressage competition. We would like to say a big congratulations to all competitors and well done to the organisers of such a great event (and the tractor drivers for towing people on and off site on the Sunday!).

Suregrow Fertiliser sponsored the Novice U18 section on the Saturday and the Open Intermediate section on the Sunday. The top 3 for those sections are as follows:

1. Brianna Tweddall with Lisboy Buachaill
2. Connie Warde-Aldam with Erco Polo B
3. Ellen Hobson with Fernhill Finnegan

1. Angus Smales with A Bit Much
2. Emilie Chandler with Gortfadda Diamond
3. Jamie Atkinson with Salunette

September 18, 2017  |   Share:

Oliver Townend on the front cover of Horse & Hound following his win at Burghley 2017!

September 7, 2017  |   Share:

Class by name, Class by nature!

Sponsored rider Oliver Townend clung onto his lead at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials to take the prestigious four star title with the 10 year old Ballaghmor Class, owned by Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop and Val Ryan. The win made even more of an achievement by the fact it was the horses first attempt at this level!

Oliver had one fence down and a time-fault but it was enough to seal the win by 1.3 penalties on a horse Oliver has produced from the start of his education. Oliver last took the Bughley title in 2009 on board another grey, Carousel Quest.

Second place went to Piggy French who jumped a clear round to rise from fifth on Vanir Kamira. Gemma Tattersall and Arctic Soul had one fence down, dropping them from second to third. Tom McEwen jumped an immaculate clear round on Toledo De Kerser to take fourth place.

Huge congratulations to Oliver and his team, we are very proud to support such talented riders!

September 4, 2017  |   Share:

Oliver Townend and Caroline Powell has a successful trip to Blair!

It was a worthwhile trip up to Blair Atoll for sponsored rider Oliver Townend who took top 10 placings on 4 out of the 6 horses that made the trip to Scotland.

Cooley Master Class finished 3rd in the CIC3* ERM, Cooley Down Under finished 3rd in the CCI* and Khoi Traveler and Tregilder finished 7th and 3rd in the CCI2* respectively.

Another of our sponsored event riders, Caroline Powell, also had a very successful Blair with Up Up and Away finishing 4th and On The Brash finishing 6th, both in the CIC3*.

Successful weekend all round! Next stop for our three sponsored event riders, Nicola Wilson, Oliver Townend and Caroline Powell, is Burghley. We can't wait to cheer them on, good luck!!

August 29, 2017  |   Share:

Nicola Wilson is on the front cover of Horse and Hound!

Sponsored rider Nicola Wilson is on the front cover of Horse and Hound 24 August 2017! 

Nicola won an individual bronze medal and was part of gold medal winning Team GB at the European eventing Championships in Strzegom. Another of our sponsored riders, Oliver Townend, was also part of the team.

We are very proud to support both riders! 


August 25, 2017  |   Share:

Team GBR take Gold and Nicola Wilson secures individual Bronze at the European Eventing Championships 2017!

Great Britain takes team gold and sponsored rider Nicola Wilson secured individual bronze during a tense final phase at the European Eventing Championships this weekend (19-20th August 2017).

Unfortunately sponsored rider Oliver Townend had to withdraw Cooley SRS before the final showjumping phase leaving the final 3 members of the team, Ros Canter (Allstar B), Tina Cook (Billy The Red) and Nicola Wilson (Bulana), to showjump clear and take the top spot.

They finished 9.1 penalties clear of Germany, the defending champions. Sweden took bronze.

In the individual competition Ingrid Klimke rode a beautiful clear aboard Horseware Hale Bob to seize gold. Michael Jung and FischerRocana FST were also clear and took individual silver with Nicola Wilson and Bulana taking bronze.

Massive congratulations to the whole of Team GB and to Nicola Wilson for taking the bronze medal!! 

August 21, 2017  |   Share:

The latest news from Emily Cariad-Nicol Eventing

So finally the event season is in full swing for us, although it is already nearly at an end! Over the past few months I have completed my GCSE's, whilst staying extremely busy with the horses.

Simba is now comfortably competing at BE100 level, and has been extremely successful: ending on his dressage score of 26.5 at his first ever BE100 at Tweseldown to place 3rd and subsequently qualifying for the regional finals at Firle in a few weeks. He also placed 3rd at his first 5yo class, just one placing away from qualifying for the Young Event Horse Championships at Osberton.

Lander is now sound (thankfully!) and has been competing at Novice level and above for the past few months. Just after my exams had ended he competed at Keysoe in late June in the Novice. A fantastic dressage score of 26.5 in a very harshly marked section meant that we even had a pole in hand going into the showjumping, which was handy – as he was slightly lazy over one of the fences! He then gave me the most fantastic feeling x country, and was easily inside the time. We led from start to finish, taking our first ever affiliated win! I was extremely pleased with our performance, and hopefully this win wil be the first of many more to come!

CX2_3106_354_ANNAGHMORE_BOOMLANDER_Nicol2c_Emily_C.JPGJust last weekend both horses competed at Chilham Castle in the international horse trials, this was my first ever time competing two horses in separate classes on the same day, and it was definitely hard work! Lander competed in the CIC*: we gained a good dressage score of 48.6 on the Saturday to put us just outside the top 10 overnight. We then returned on the Sunday with both horses to complete the CIC*, and for Simba to compete in the 5yo class. However, we took one horse in the trailer whilst the other travelled in the lorry! For anyone who know my two horses, they'll know that they are the best of friends; and although we have taken them both out in the lorry together many times without an issue, I did not want the added pressure of knowing that one of them may not have performed to their full potential because they knew that their brother was only 100m away - so we had to hide them from each other all day, just in case! Lander proceeded to have 4 faults in the showjumping (over the first fence as the jockey didn't get enough canter!), and then a fantastic clear x country over a technical course with just a few time penalties, eventually ending in 11th place!

Simba then gained a 31.3 dressage, and as all of the horses were within 3 penalties of one another all was to play for in the jumping phases. He then cruised around the show jumping and the x country effortlessly, ending on his dressage score to come 6th place. So overall we had a very good weekend!

Recently we have been taking the horses to an aqua treadmill for fitness work, as the ground has been far too hard for fast work, and we wanted to see if the treadmill could improve their overall way of going, and it certainly has! After only one session both horses' walks had so much more purpose, and they're both gaining plenty of muscle at the same time – which is always nice to see.

We now only have 3 events left in this season, and then both horses will be going on a holiday to have some down time and relax, Simba will have 3 months off whilst Lander is having 7 weeks off. Hopefully both of them will come back into work raring to go!

The fields are also looking in fantastic condition! Although there has not been much rain, they are still very green; and, as well as being grazed on by the horses, we are having to mow them every month due to the grass growth! I love the summer for the simple reason that everything is so green, and that there are no muddy gateways!


August 4, 2017  |   Share:

The latest news from Shoestring Eventing

It has been a good couple months although maybe not the most exciting blog wise. We have been active on all affiliated fronts and Ellie has been showing great progress, however, frilly wise there seem to have been a few too many just out the placings! For a very competitive person this has been a source of frustration but then again drives us to improve me.

DSC_0058XX.JPGSince our fall at Pontispool we have now established ourselves at BE90 level with some nice clear rounds, the odd pole show jumping has cost us dear though. As Ellie is ony 14.2 I find my position influences her far more than it would on a bigger horse so I have to be careful not to get in front of the movement. Equally I can struggle by overthinking her slightly shorter stride in related distances.

So we have completed West Wilts, Treborough, Bicton and Launcestion with finishing scores ranging from 33.7-43.7 which is pretty pleasing. Currently debating moving up to a 100 level at the end of August.

We have also had the chance to do some affiliated dressage at Tall Trees where working at Novice she produced the best tests to date with two scores of 66% winning her 8 BD points and a 3rd and 4th place. Dressage is certainly not my favourite phase but more a necessary evil that has to be endured! Competitions are only entered when all jumping options have been eliminated! Saying that we do work hard at home and have had some really good lessons with Stef Eardley to help improve things. With Ellie her main problem is that she will often curl behind the vertical particularly when she is tense, Stef gave us some really good tips to help this. I was trying to stop this by giving her the rein whereas a lot of the time she actually needed support from the hand.

Show jumping wise we have progressed to jumping British Novice and Discovery, I can assure you on a 14.2 pony a Discovery jump off 1.05 – 1.10 looks pretty big! She is very scopey though and I just need to learn to adapt to her size and stride.

This last week I organised a Biomechanics clinic with Russel Guire from Centaur Biomechanics who is one of the top people in his field working with the British Equestrian Teams. Considering my past injuries and wonkiness I have always been keen to have a session so the only way to do so was organise a clinic in Cornwall. I had no shortage of people keen to take part.

I watched a few sessions and couldn't help but be extremely impressed how Russel helped a wide variety of riders of different ages and abilities. He started by assessing each rider on a centre line from both directions and then riding a circle in each direction around him while recording the footage on a slow motion camera. When this was done riders came back to the 'office' as pictured to review the footage. Here he could point out any positional issues and discuss reasons it may be happening. He then asked riders to do a centre lie in walk with their eyes closed and it was amazing without the correction ability of the eyes the horses quickly veared in the direction their riders body was taking them.

What impressed me most was not only could he recognise the problems but he could put a plan in with the riders to help correct the issues, this was a variety of exercises or simple corrections that quickly made huge differences in the horses way of going. The feedback from all the riders was very positive.

Typically my session was not as straightforward he quickly identified from the video that one side of my pelvis / hip was doing more work than the other giving almost a rolling motion.

I told him about my old injuries and accidents that mean my hip and ankle are pinned and that also I ride in low grade pain most of the time. This also precludes we from riding some big moving horses. To compensate I ride with quite unlevel stirrups up to 3 holes different.

He also assessed me over a jump and although not as clear the tendency was the same.

In some ways he was complimentary that my riding ability made me cover up the problems very well but I should not be riding with such uneven stirrups and that in itself is causing me problems and is likely to cause more problems. If I had a significant leg length difference then I can ride slightly uneven but mine is not that significant therefore by doing so it may not be helping me physically. However at this time he was unwilling to give me exercises to correct until my physical disability and how much it can be corrected is understood. He has referred me to a physio near Taunton to assess this, the physio in question regularly works with all types of riders including para riders and can assess what can be improved so maybe working with them both we can improve things. It would need a lot of additional strength and conditioning work as well.

I went away feeling slightly deflated on one hand but very positive on another as the possibility is there that I can improve another level. However to do that it sounds like a lot of hard work ahead. My biggest regret is that I didn't meet Russel and the people he has access to 5 or 6 years ago.

Watch this space for progress!


July 31, 2017  |   Share:

Nigel Coupe strikes again!

Nigel Coupe pipped Yorkshireman Robert Smith to win the 2017 Cock O'The North at The Great Yorkshire Show 2017.

Nigel and Glovers Hill were the last pair to tackle a seven-strong jump off and faced a good test after seven-time winner Robert Smith and Ilton posted what seemed to be an unbeatable time. Just three weeks after winning the Hickstead Derby, Coupe and Golvers Hill went at breakneck speed to seal a very well deserved victory by 1.36 seconds.

Keith Shore and Mystic Hurricane finished third in the class, six seconds behing Smith.

We love this picture of Nigel giving Glovers Hill a hug after winning the class. I wonder if he knows just how special he is! 

Photos courtesy of K2 Photographic.


July 14, 2017  |   Share:

The Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby 2017

After an exciting Hickstead (isn't it always?!) Nigel Coupe and Golvers Hill claimed the 2017 Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby.

Nigel and Sue Simmons' 14-year-old Irish gelding produced only one of two clears to give the first Derby jump off since 2014. They were joined by Harriet Nuttall and A Touch Imperious.

Completing the jump off course with one pole down, Nigel Coupe set a target of 90.73sec.

Harriet and "Henry" finished on a time of 91.06sec with two poles down to put them into the runner up spot.
Three riders tied on four faults, first-timer Holly Smith with her Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard winner Quality Old Joker, Ireland's Billy Twomey with Diaghilev and another Irishman Dermott Lennon with Gelvins Touch.

William Funnell's Billy Buckingham impressed on his first trip round Hickstead, finishing on a round with no jumping penalties but a step back on the bank and a time fault left the pair to collect sixth place.

It had been an exciting previous day too with Matthew Sampson winning the British Speed Derby on catch ride Topflight True Carlo.

A "change in circumstances" meant Matt only found out on Friday that he would be taking over the ride from Christy Kemp. Matt set an unbeatable target when he jumped clear in 92.73sec.

Congratulations to all competitors at the Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby Meet, from showing to scurry driving to showjumping. Take a look at some of the brilliant shots taken by K2 Photographic in our gallery.

June 27, 2017  |   Share:

The latest news from Nicola Wilson Eventing

We continue to enjoy a great season here at Nicola Wilson Eventing.

Last weekend at Luhmuhlen was so exciting and I was absolutely delighted with Bulana competing in her 1ST CCI4. She produced a beautiful test scoring 38.70 within a whisker of the Germans and gave me a superb ride cross country clear inside the time to move us to 4th place going into the show jumping. The show jumping track was probably the biggest I have seen at a Horse Trials and she jumped beautifully to produce one of the very few clears picking up just a few time faults to leave us in the runner up position. I was a bit frustrated to miss the victory as I felt she deserved the win but I am delighted with how far she has come, we are an established partnership now – she is such a competitor.

Berry had given me a great ride around Chatsworth CIC3* ERM just a month earlier where she finished 4th with a 39.9 dressage and double clear that I went to Luhmuhlen hopefully well prepared.

One Two Many showed his experience in the CCI3* at Bramham. He was the only horse clear inside the time cross country and this helped to secure him 8th place in our 'home' event. He will run next at Barbury in the CIC3* ERM.

Meanwhile we are pretty busy with the younger horses on the yard who are all continuing to make great progress racking up 8 wins and 9 top 10 placings between them since my last newsletter in April. Three have stepped up to Novice, JL Dublin has won his Novice Regional Final and was 8th in his first 1* at Chatsworth.

We will have a couple of weeks near home now before setting off for Barbury in July.

Fingers and toes crossed that we can continue the season in such good form.

June 27, 2017  |   Share:

Nicola Wilson takes the runners up spot at Luhmuhlen CCI****

Suregrow Fertiliser sponsored rider Nicola Wilson finished second in the CCI4* at Luhmühlen!

Nicola rode Jo and James Lambert's Bulana to a clear jumping round on the final day with 3 time penalties to complete on a score of 41.7.

German rider Julia Krajewski and Samourai Du Thot finished on 41.1 to take the top spot, just 0.6 of a penalty ahead of Nicola.

Overnight leader Bettina Hoy and Designer 10 had a fence in hand going into the final phase. The pair hit fence six and despite finishing the course with no further jumping penalties, 3 time faults dropped Bettina to third position.

We would like to pass on huge congratulations to Nicola and her team!

June 19, 2017  |   Share:

2017 Bramham Horse Trials

Yoshie_Oiwa_EBHT_-14.jpgSenior CCI***

Yoshiaki Oiwa made history as the first Japanese rider to seal victory at Bramham with a clear showjumping round. On board 10-year-old gelding Calle 44, Yoshi rose from third place after the cross-country to take the title.

Cross-country leader, Gemma Tattersall and Quicklook V, had the back rail of the triple bar down, plus one time-fault which dropped them to second place.

Australian rider Sammi Birch who was third going into the final phase, also had a fence down on Hunter Valley II, but they maintained their overall position.

Toshiyuki Tanaka rose from 35th after the dressage thanks to a speedy clear across country on Talma D Allou, to eventual fourth, incurring just one time-fault around a tough showjumping track.
Sponsored rider Nicola Wilson, who was fifth going into the final phase riding One Two Many had two fences down, resulting in an overall 8th position.


Under 25's CCI***

22 year old Will Furlong held onto his cross-country lead to take the Bishop Burton College CCI3* under-25 title after a dramatic showjumping phase. Even more impressive, this was Will's first CCI3*!

The pair won by 2.6 penalties over Gina Ruck and Rehy Too who jumped a beautiful clear round to hold second place. Alicia Hawker and Charles RR finished a very credible 3rd.


A speedy cross country round by Izzy Taylor and Dr Patricia Turner's 12 year old, Trevidden, paid off in the CIC3* enabling them to finish on a score of 47.4 and take top of the podium.

Second went to Paul Tapner and the three-star specialist Yogi Bear VIII, who jumped a double clear, to finish on a score of 51.2.

Third went to New Zealand's Tim Price, who produced a very classy double clear on Cekatinka. Tim has recently taken on the ride of this mare when his wife Jonelle fell pregnant. Something says he may be a little reluctant to give Jonelle the horse back when she returns to competition!

We would like to say a very well deserved well done to all competitors at the 2017 Equi Trek Bramham Horse Trials. Take a look at some of the super action shots taken by K2 Photographic plus some videos of the Suregrow Kidney Ponds on our galley page.

June 12, 2017  |   Share:

It been a rollercoaster ride but we're back on track...

Since my last blog we have very much had the rollercoaster ride typical to the amateur eventer, or maybe just typical to anyone with horses. Ellie has returned to full work fit and well and we have progressed back to eventing fitness. Our first event was Millfield I knew that with the dry weather there was a risk that conditions may not be to my liking but I was hoping the ground was acceptable. The team were working hard on the course and although it was firm with the continued work I felt at 90 level it was acceptable to run.

sj.jpgHowever I was swayed when I walked the show jumping, the ring was on what they use as a rounders pitch and the grass cut very short, they had spiked but the ground here was pretty firm and you would need studs to stop slipping adding concussion. The warm up (although seen before they had worked on it) was a bit rough and very hard. Sadly there was no significant rain forecast that night and I decided for Ellie having had time off and being her first run we would save her for another day. Really disappointing and must emphasis this is no reflection on the event who worked very hard or anybody that did run. In fact with a lot of rain Saturday night I understand the going on Sunday was pretty near perfect. For once the blow was softened by finding something else to do nearby. So we headed off to Chard Equestrian for their BS show. This was Ellie's first competitive jumping show since last October and it was great to be out again. In the British Novice we just had a pole in the jump off section and in the 95cm open she jumped a super double clear to win her first BS points. Was so pleased with this result don't get me wrong it is still a bit all or nothing i.e. long strides or bounce up and down then pop but we are moving in the right direction.

xc.jpgI am aware that I am very risk adverse and sometimes a bit too much maybe but when you only have one or two horses you can get over protective. Luckily 2 weeks later we made it to our first event at Pontispool. In the dressage we had one of our best ever marks of 24.3 in a generously marked section, we then proceeded to be clear showjumping leaving us comfortably in the top 10 before cross country. Ellie gave me a super round cross country over a testing track albeit a little green at times. I am not sure exactly what happened but at 3/4 way round we approached the hay cart, we just lost our stride and she chipped in and left a leg meaning she landed on her nose and only just stayed upright catapulting me out the saddle. There are some spectacular pro pictures of the sequence if you want to look them up on Jayphotos site by my name in the BE90 section of Pontispool.

ellie.jpgEllie rather than waiting to see if mother was ok disappeared back to the lorries so we had no alternative but to retire. Luckily I was able to get a lift back from the organiser to find Ellie. I am sore but my Kan Teq back protector is invaluable at times like this it offers superb protection. Ellie has a slightly bruised knee but is trotting up sound, we are sharing the Arc Equine to help our respective aches and pains.

So some cross country schooling is planned this weekend before we head to West Wilts for our next event.

Hoping I will have some more positive news to share next time. However talking of good news I have sold Posy which I had been hoping to do for a few months now. This means it is horse hunting time where I spend hours pouring over adverts, pictures and videos and when I do go and see something usually find I missed that it only had 3 legs or I wasn't told some vital bit of information or sometimes however nice a horse is it just isn't my cup of tea - I can be fussy!

babies.jpgI do have a smart one growing up in the field and Kensa is a year old this week, in the last few months she has changed from a foal to looking like a little horse. She still has plenty of character and cheek though and poor Tommy doesn't get much peace and quiet. Seems a long time to wait though! The two yearlings are really appreciating grazing the field that I fertilised in early April. Have to say the grass seems very good and thick which is ideal for the youngsters. I managed to finish the other fields only last weekend, must admit doing by hand I was aching a bit the next day!



On the Shoestring front my website and social media have just had some great stats for May.

Website Page views: 125,000
Unique visitors: 12,100
Course Pictures
24 Venues covered
80 sets of pictures
1935 photos uploaded
Facebook 8,370 likes with post reach of 30,000

Very excited that an amateur website and associated social media is pulling in so many people.

June 2, 2017  |   Share:

Why use CSM?

Majority of grazed grassland in the UK is mineral deficient. CSM contains over 70 minerals and trace elements to inject lost nutrition back into your soil, creating the optimum conditions for quality, healthy grassland. 

Make the most of your grassland and apply CSM now! 

May 24, 2017  |   Share:

Withdrawals, withdrawals, withdrawals!

The event season is here, but sadly for us out of the five events that we've been entered into I've only competed in two! Lander competed in our first event of the season in the BE Novice at Tweseldown, but since then we've struggled to get out!


Four days before 5yo Simba's BE90 class at Munstead he hit his leg on the corner of the arena during a fantastic dressage session; three stitches later we were advised to put him onto 2 weeks of box rest – meaning our first withdrawal.

Five days before Lander's second event at South of England I very stupidly and randomly fell over in the stables, giving myself a terrible black eye and cut which meant that I couldn't see for four days! Meaning our second withdrawal.

Finally Simba had his first outing of the season, and only his third ever event, in the BE90 at Horseheath. A fantastic dressage test in a harshly marked section for 30.3 put us into 3rd place after this phase; he then jumped a beautiful clear showjumping to move us up to 2nd place. As the ground was extremely hard and he's still only young I took it easy x country, gaining many time penalties. But he gave me a super confident clear; so I'm now extremely excited for his first BE 100 class in a few weeks' time at Tweseldown!

We then took Lander to GB junior training, and he was an absolute star! He really impressed the trainers all day in both the dressage and the track jumping, and consequently we've been put forward for the trip to Millstreet Horse trails in Ireland to compete in the CCI J* later on in the season, the objective being to give international experience to 16 year olds. And he wore his SureGrow sponsored numnahs all day!

17796510_1460432337340114_434658196613631813_n.jpgBut disaster strikes again! Just over a week before Lander's second event of the season at Chilham he walked out of his stable lame. The next day when our physio came out for her monthly visit to see all of the horses he was sound again; but a few days before the event he went hopping lame. Meaning our third withdrawal! Our vets and farrier thought that he may have an abscess, but they're back out on Monday for further investigation.

On a better note, the fields our starting to look fantastic! A couple of months ago all of the gateways were muddy, with absolutely no grass; and the fields themselves were looking rather bare and the grass was very sparse. But now thanks to SureGrow Fast Grass and Paddock Grass Seed Mix the fields are looking brilliant and positively green; and even though there has been hardly any rain in our area the grass growth has been fantastic! We are hoping to extend our land and grazing into another field which lies alongside our own, which would complete the square of land that our house and stables are built on, so this is also extremely exciting. All of us at home find the field maintenance quite therapeutic, and with the arrival of a new sit-on mower it's easier than ever! We have set up a time lapse camera in one of our fields to watch the grass growth over a period of a few months, and soon that video will be ready to view.

May 10, 2017  |   Share:

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