Shaun Mandy’s dressage blog: the importance of having a good support team around you

  • Dear gorgeous readers,

    As I write to you, I am sitting in bed at my parents’ home with my dog Pringle snuggled under the duvet by my feet. It is Monday morning, and certainly not my usual start to the week being down in Bournemouth.

    Dad went into hospital last week to have an operation on his foot. This has been a long time coming. It all started when he was 19 years old and had a brain tumour removed. This left him partially paralysed and back then the doctors were not even convinced he would walk again. He went on to lead a very active lifestyle being a fruit farmer in South Africa, but the right side of his body struggled a bit.

    A lot of you will remember, dad had a seizure about a year and a half ago which heightened the issue in his right leg. Walking has become just about impossible and living in constant pain unbearable. We are all hoping this operation will do the trick and that he will soon be back on both feet again.

    This brings me back to why I am by the seaside on a Monday morning and not in the middle of an arena teaching or riding. Though, it just so happens that I did not have any bookings for today, Mark is away for the week with work and I am joining my dear friends Sarah and Richard later for a treat at Calcot Manor Spa. This was their birthday gift to me last November so I’m rather looking forward to it!

    Playing in the sea

    This past month, as they all seem to do, has flown by and has certainly been filled with the highs and lows that only horses can seem to bring!

    My five-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Parry, who was for sale and who I had just about found a buyer for, was diagnosed with a cyst on his stifle and subsequently has to have six months out in a field doing nothing. The vet is confident that as it is on a growth plate and he is still growing, it could grow out. We will X-ray again in December and go from there. He is a fabulous horse with such a good brain and work ethic so I am keeping everything crossed for a clean bill of health!

    With Parry not being able to be sold and my current financial situation, I made the decision to put Princess Poppy, my nine-year-old advanced medium KWPN mare, on the market. Again, a lot of you will know that she had colic surgery last year. This became a sticking point on selling her as people were concerned about not being able to insure her for colic. On top of that, after I had just re-done her advert, she went lame.

    Not having the money to carry on with vets, I called up Edward at Twemlows Stud Farm and asked if they would like her as a surrogate mummy. Twemlows do a lot of embryo transfer and so are often looking for mares to be surrogate mothers. Edward said yes please and so a couple of days later, Poppy was on a transporter heading for Shropshire.

    Saying goodbye to Poppy

    The advantage of this situation is that while she is under their care, I have no costs, but I do have the option of having her back at a later date. So, one day when I have won the lottery and bought a farm, Princess Poppy can come back to me and be a mummy in a field!

    Inky and I were competing in the summer regional finals at Bury Farm the other week (pictured top). It was a big class and so I was very happy to go into fourth place after my test near the end of the class.

    My fabulous trainer, Ulrik Molgaard, was after me and bumped me out of my spot and so he finished fourth and I finished in fifth on 67.74%. I was very happy with this and especially as we had done a mistake-free test. I was in the advanced medium (AM) gold and the top four places secured qualifications to the nationals, so I was a little gutted to just miss out. I was hoping for a wild card, and it appears that I have just missed out on that too as they only gave three out for the AM gold and my name did not come up.

    It is so important for us riders to have a good support team, from owners, trainer, sponsors, farriers, vets to friends and family. We have to believe in ourselves and working towards our goals and dreams and to have like-minded people involved.

    At the polo

    Inky’s half owner, Lorain, has decided she would like to sell her share in him. This is an opportunity for someone who has a passion for dressage to buy into a talented eight-year-old KWPN gelding by Uthopia, heading for bigger and better things and also to be part of a fun team and enjoy the journey together. Exciting times ahead!

    Continued below…

    We had a really fun outing at the Jerudong Park trophy final in memory of the Hon mark Vestey at Cirencester Park Polo Club a few weeks back. It was a treat to be given VIP tickets from my good friend and fellow dressage rider, Shiwon Green. Her hubby, David, works for Laurent Perrier and so we had the prime spot in the champagne enclosure — my favourite place to be! — and then we got to watch the two Prince’s galloping around on horses!

    The Princes at the polo

    So my lovelies, I must now go as Pringle is demanding a walk on the beach.

    Until soon xx
    Body mind mastery quote: “Learning is a process of refining errors to the point where they no longer prevent our desired goal” – Dan Millman

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