Chloe Vell’s dressage blog: a new ride, results day and Leeds Festival

  • Since my last blog, I have had a great time riding and socialising! I had to do work experience in Leicester with my Auntie and her hospital colleagues. Big thanks to the Markfield Medical Centre for making me feel at home. My parents then picked me up and we went to Gloucester to collect Diva (Newton Feronia) and onwards to Devon arriving at 11.30pm.

    I went to Newton Stud where Diva was born because I was asked to ride the mares in front of German judges for the Oldenburg grading day the very next day! This was an amazing opportunity for me as a 16-year-old rider.


    Chloe and Diva

    It consisted of each mare doing loose jumping, trot ups and a rider performance test. I had never ridden these horses before, apart from Diva, so I didn’t know what to expect, but each mare was lovely to ride. However, Diva was the special one of course!

    The Germans gave their comments at the end of the day and each mare got great marks in their paces and ride-ability but it was fabulous that Diva became the first UK bred mare to be graded by Oldenberg Verband as a state premium mare. Lorna Wilson, the owner of Newton Stud was in tears and I was so proud to have helped in the process.

    The German assessors included Katrin Burger, vice breeding director of Oldenberg Verband in Vechta, who won the 2004 World Young Horse Championships on French Kiss.

    I was thrilled to be told how well I had ridden all three horses and how easy it made it for them to mark the horses. This was lovely of them to say and great feedback for me as a young rider.

    Whilst I was there I enjoyed riding a few more of the three-year-old youngsters. Riding young, recently broken horses is such a different challenge. They are more wobbly as they are weaker and need correction every stride to keep them working correctly over their back to the bit as well as dealing with any baby behaviour! Concentration is needed every moment as they need so much rider assistance at this stage and I loved every minute.


    Chloe riding an 18hh five-year-old

    As we were getting ready to leave the stud, Lorna asked if I wanted to take another horse back with me in addition to Diva to ride for her over summer. So of course I said yes and now I have Dotty to add to Diva, Santi and Kaja!

    We arrived in Gloucester to unload the horses at about 10pm and then we shot back to Cheshire arriving home after midnight, hoping to sleep before the ‘dreaded day’.

    Results Day

    The dreaded Thursday where I would receive my GCSE results had arrived!

    I was a bit concerned as I had a busy year competing for Great Britain in Holland and Addington and attending Excel programme days. This was as well as modelling in Tuscany for my sponsors and in London for my agency and playing for Cheshire County Netball. Also, during the time before my exams my dad was taken ill, my horse was injured and my mum broke her ankle so I was hoping I would not continue the bad luck!

    The amount of time and energy that goes into competing at this level had taken time away from school and studies so I was concerned about the possible consequences.

    I got home very late Wednesday night so I decided I would have a lie-in and then go to school when everyone had left. This was partly so I could receive my results in private, as I knew many of my friends would achieve amazing results and partly as I was exhausted!

    Just before opening the envelope I experienced more nerves than any dressage test I have ever done, but it was soon counteracted by happiness when I saw my results! I got A*s and As in nine subjects including the subjects I’m taking for A level, and three B’s for good measure, so I couldn’t be happier! Also a big phew that I hadn’t let myself down.

    I don’t think GCSE’s define a person at all and don’t really know if they will prove to be important, as my future career is also unknown at this point. I simply wanted to do my best without giving up the horses and the competing, which I love.

    More good news

    Straight after my results I had to pack and get ready to go to Leeds Festival. This was on the same day as results with a group of friends as a celebration.

    I rarely get chance to get away with friends, by choice, as my weekends and holidays are filled with riding, but it is great to get the chance when I can. We saw lots of amazing music artists and camped with thousands of others but after not showering for four days it was nice to get back home and have a nice bath. After only having two hours sleep the night before, a night in my own bed was a real treat! However, it had been really nice to have some time to relax with my friends and make a lot of new friends too!

    Whilst I was there I kept in touch with my parents who returned Kaja to the Animal Health Trust after 12 weeks box rest to have further x-rays and assessment with Dr Sue Dyson. I was holding my breath on the Friday, but was delighted to hear that all had healed and we could start riding and building her fitness back up to competition level again! A big thanks to my parents who did some serious mileage that week to support me and the horses.

    I am now back on the yard training all four horses for a week before going back to school for sixth-form.

    In my next blog I will share a new experience as I am riding all the Newton Stud horses for them at their Open Day on 13 September. Why not come down and join us as it promises to be a great day with a chance to look at the young stock for sale.

    I also have exciting news about a new European collaboration combining my passion for modelling and dressage to share with you so watch this space…


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