A couple of weeks ago, my mother and I had a lovely trip to Amsterdam, a place I had never visited previously.
It was fabulous weather and we sailed round the city in a canal bus. We tried to cram in all the tourist sights that we could the afternoon before the shoot the next day.
One sight I made sure I visited was the Anne Frank Huis. This is the museum within the Frank’s hideaway at the factory owned by Otto Frank. I had read the book so I knew about their story but visiting the actual rooms where the families were hidden put the book into perspective.
The videos inside the museum were very moving, with Otto Frank talking about how hard it was for him to return home after liberation to find out that none of his children had survived and for him to read Anne’s diary.
The next day the photoshoot was based around fashion wellingtons that are fun and functional. and they are certainly something we wear a lot in equestrian sport.
There were two other models from Belgium and Holland. The shoot was relaxed in a disused area outside Amsterdam and it was great to discuss dressage as a sport with the owner of the company who is keen to come and sponsor some classes in the UK.
The next week I met with a photographer and reporter from Cheshire Life magazine who wanted to do an article on my achievements and my future. The article should be out by the end of this month.
The following day I met with a company called Equestrian Vogue and I have collaborated with them for an exciting piece of work every month. It is something I have done to try to bring together my sport with the huge fashion world and see if together we can bring publicity, finances and entertainment to equestrianism. In my next blog I will have launched the project and I will be able to fill in the details.
Diva’s first novice
Last weekend, I competed Diva (Newton Feronia) (pictured top) in her first ever novice competition. I had entered hors concurs which meant I could attempt the test and get feedback from the judge without worrying too much about the score.
I was very pleased with my first test even though, as to be expected, there were quite a few baby mistakes. In the second test Diva was a really good girl showing her potential, but still with small baby errors. The two judges were totally different in their opinions, although for me the two tests were alike. That’s dressage though, you have to keep strong and believe in what you are feeling about the movement of the horse beneath you.
We were awarded 70% which I was extremely happy with considering Diva hasn’t learned rein back and she broke in the counter canter. This was a very good novice debut for Diva and I am hoping to get her qualified for the regionals, perhaps just in the music as it may be too much for her to do both.
Competitions are a great way to develop training as it shows which movements you need to work on, or the general way of going, with feedback from a judge’s point of view — even though sometimes it may be at odds with what you are feeling.
With Diva, I will be working on her counter canter and helping her build her strength behind. Also, I will be continuing with teaching her leg yield which she is picking up very well as she is a fast learner — a great quality for a dressage horse. I look forward to the next competition I do on her in a few weeks to see if her marks improve.
It was also exciting for me to hear this week that Carl Hester has bought Diva’s half-brother from Newton Stud and I look forward to seeing Newton Credential in a few years time.
Since my blog, Kaja has been continuing with her trot work in straight lines and will be starting canter work in straight lines this weekend! She is also now allowed to go in the field on her own without being hand grazed which she is loving. After a few weeks cantering in straight lines, I will be able to start building back up her fitness and the movements gradually.
I am also developing more of a hacking routine and training her to be able to hack without passage featuring or spinning around! Hacking in her routine is very important for her rehab as it allows her joints to strengthen as they walk on different surfaces other than the arena surfaces which will help her become stronger. She is a sensitive horse and it takes some time to train her to hack, which she seems to have forgotten since her box rest. I am persevering as I think it is also important for her mind.
Diva has been trained well and even as a four-year-old is bold on a hack. You learn a lot about their likes and dislikes whilst hacking and it serves as a great exposure to strange atmospheres in big competitions in the future. It is a different aspect of training a horse which becomes very important when competing — the work needs to be done to desensitise your horse as well as train the movements. It can be frustrating to have a fabulous horse at home but a tense one away in test conditions – I am sure we have all had that at some point!
I am thrilled to say I have been selected for this year on the Great Britain Junior prime squad for my third year!
And in my next blog I will have some exciting news with fashion joining equestrianism.