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Two days after competing at Addington CDI, I rushed off to an exciting photo shoot — for an equestrian company, at last. I have been wanting to combine riding and modelling for some time, so was delighted to start a new partnership with Cavalleria Toscana and Four Seasons Equestrian, travelling to their base for a day’s shoot.

After this I went home for two days to rest and catch up with friends for the last few days of the school holidays.

During my first week back at school I already needed permission to finish early and rush for a quick schooling session before taking two ponies out for their debuts. Charm was competing for the first time at a British Dressage affiliated competition and first time at elementary level as he was only recently imported by his owner. It was also my first time out on Peanut (pictured top).

Chloe Vell warming up CharmThe two stallions travelled well together after some squealing and Charm (pictured right) was first to warm up. He behaved himself despite constant whinnies from Peanut, who was still on the lorry.  In his first test he scored 68.6% and in the second, the harder test, I made an error of course (or rather my mum, who was reading it out did!) and we scored 66%. I was so pleased with him.

Then it was Peanut’s turn. He was so eager and excited after standing in the box. The competition was small, so as I reached the warm-up I was given a 4min call — needless to say we abandoned the first test, but still only had 15 minutes to warm-up for the second. It was Peanut’s second ever medium, but he was great and scored a calm, well-behaved 64.1%. We then rushed back to have a last session on Kaja before the British Dressage National Championships the following day.

Due to EHV warnings we decided not to stable and therefore not do the arena walk.  Unfortunately, Kaja had a bit of stage fright in the indoor arena at Hartpury College. She showed a few too many “unscripted” movements that did not score well! She is a hot mare, but will hopefully have learned from the experience. I know I have.

It was then straight on to Arena UK to demonstrate at the BHS Spring Convention with Stephen Clarke. As I prepared the stable, my mum hand-grazed Kaja to help her prepare for another indoor arena. She does love to be in the field. The next day she was back to her calm self and we had a wonderful time with Stephen Clarke — the legend.  It was also great to catch-up with Matt (Frost), Daryll (Thickett) and the other riders away from competition.

So what’s next? I’m off to London on Saturday for a photo shoot and then the following weekend Peanut is doing his first pony FEI tests at Keysoe Premier League.  In between, I need to book ferry, find passport and sort horse papers because two days later we’re off to Saumur CDI in France with Kaja to compete in the junior Nations Cup CDIOJ. I will let you know how I get on!

Chloe