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After a short break at Christmas, it has again swung into a busy new year.

During my GCSEs I did less modelling in order to concentrate on my studies as riding in itself is time consuming. I have started to work more on shoots (pictured below) as I now work for two agencies, Select in London and Nemesis in Manchester.

It feels good to be able to support some of the expenses of competing and it’s a really interesting job which I love, giving me the opportunity to meet some very creative people.

Mooi en Lief, for whom I am brand ambassador, have just announced their sponsorship of some British Dressage events so it’s great to also be supporting and promoting dressage to a wider audience.

Chloe Vell blog modelling

Lesson with Carl Hester

My new year kicked off with a lesson with Carl Hester (see video, top). While Kaja was off work I had missed my lessons and obviously so had she. We set off bright and early Saturday morning in ferocious winds and driving rain.

Carl starts the work in canter as I always do with Kaja as it helps her to soften and warm her body up in preparation for the more intense trot work. Kaja seems to love working at Carl’s and is always able to produce some lovely work, which makes me feel proud.

We worked on keeping the straightness while Kaja takes the weight onto her hind legs. We went through most advanced movements and found ways to increase marks from sevens to eights.

In her tempi changes I must remember to stop watching Kaja. This causes me to drop my head, putting weight on to her shoulders. If I keep looking forward, it keeps the movement uphill. A useful tip for everyone to think about!

A testing personality

I returned to the yard to ride Santi in preparation for his trip to BEF Excel training. Santi is now a rising five-year-old with a testing personality and you never quite know what he will bring from day to day.

We have decided we need to get him out and about to see if he improves his consistency away from home. Some days he is not for the faint hearted!

I was crossing my fingers he would load, travel and behave in a different place. We loaded the horsebox with supplies and I did all my homework before the two busy days.

Next morning, I rode Santi before loading Kaja onto the lorry. Santi was being brought for the
second day by transporter with Daniel Bremner’s support and expertise!

We settled Kaja at Solihull (pictured below) and the wind was still howling. I got up the next morning bright and early for our freestyle instruction lesson with Emile Faurie, Gareth Hughes and David Hamer.

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We ran through the test, then received feedback on its content and quality. It was great to get hints and tips from experienced riders on how to produce your best test in time to make some changes to my routine before the international season starts.

It was interesting to hear that judges want to give good marks so clearly show them your best movements.

Later in the day lots of us went to a local hotel for dinner after digging someone’s 3.5 tonne horsebox out of a huge mud hole on the grass. Needless to say we were all ready to eat and drink by the time we got there.

Continued below…


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Scary environment

Chloe Vell Blog Santi

The next day, Daniel sent a message to say Santi had loaded fine and was travelling well so I could get excited about the prospect of riding him in a lesson with Emile.

He was a little tense in his lesson in moments, but behaved so well in a fairly scary environment as a lot of work was being completed on the main building.

He tried a couple of times to get away from me, but quickly behaved and I was thrilled with his performance. Hopefully we can begin to build on this as Santi has now travelled well on the last two occasions.

We packed Santi off, loaded Kaja and got back on the road home.

The remainder of the week involved getting back to school and two urban-theme photo shoots with a couple of great photographers in Manchester while Kaja and Santi rested, then had flu jabs and a visit from the dentist.

Chloe