Shaun Mandy’s dressage blog: ‘A fabulous excuse for a big party’

  • H&H’s new dressage blogger, who is based in Denmark with top trainer Hasse Hoffmann, but returns to the UK every month to run clinics in Oxfordshire, has had a whirlwind of a fortnight

    Hello gorgeous readers!

    I am writing this as I sit on my A380 Airbus jet plane, having just taken off from Dubai, leg two of my journey from South Africa to home.

    The last two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind with riding, partying, teaching, airoplanes and monkeys! An amazing and motivating time.

    All is well at Hoffmann Towers and I am rather excited as I have recently got the ride on a nine-year-old old Michellino gelding, who I absolutely love. He is a super sensitive chap with halfpasses to die for!

    I am relaxing his mind and body with lots of deep half halts and lateral work. All going well, I will start competing him in the new year. Hasse, of course, is helping a lot with him.

    Also added to my list is a super four-year-old gelding by Skovens Rafael. He has a super expressive trot and uphill canter.

    A fabulous excuse for a big party

    So I turned 30 last week….eeek! Looking on the positive side, it was a fabulous excuse to have a really big party!

    My 30th party

    My 30th party

    Me and 12 of my Danish, Swedish and Norwegian friends flew out of Denmark to London (after a six hour delay due to a minor technical fault!) on the Friday and my party was on the Saturday.

    I had about 80 friends and family able to be there so lots of fun was had!

    I managed a little recovery time on Sunday before getting to Heathrow airport for my flight to Durban, South Africa, via Dubai to do my four-day dressage clinic.

    Bizarrely enough I found out that morning that one of my good friends and fellow dressage riders Tatiana Mountbatten, who until recently was based in Germany with Klaus Balkenhol, and was at my party on Saturday night, was on my flight to Dubai.

    We met up at duty free, terminal three, and continued the party all the way to Dubai!

    Old friends and new faces

    I arrived in Durban on Monday late afternoon where I was picked up by a very dear friend of mine and my twin godchildren.

    Another birthday dinner was had that night and then on Tuesday early morning I started teaching and did not stop until jumping on my jet plane on Friday night!

    Standard view at my godson's school – monkey included

    Standard view at my godson’s school – monkey included

    It was great to see my clients from my previous clinic and how they had improved and also to welcome some new faces and of course make new friends.

    I worked with a super young mare, bred in South Africa, but who’s grandsire is Treliver Decanter, who I know quite well – it’s a small world.

    Another of my clients imported her mare from Germany, which is really rather a big deal due to the two months quarantine because of African Horse Sickness. Anyhow, she is a fabulous mare and I have high hopes for them.

    I had a few high level showjumpers coming to me and it was interesting to see how they all rode softly forward to the bit with generally a good light contact.

    It was quite fun to teach some jumpers, especially when they see how important flatwork is to their jumping.

    An incredible thoroughbred

    Now it must be said that I do work with a lot of thoroughbreds in South Africa and with my eventing backround, have worked with many in the past, but this time there was one particular one and OMG I have never ever seen a thoroughbred like it!

    He was a green six-year-old, but his natural ability and temperament were A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! On one occasion he was a little confused by the rider’s aids and he just went into passage. At this point, I did ask if she would sell him! He also did flying changes for fun.

    During my visit I was fortunate enough to stay with one of my clients at her beautiful sea view home in Umhlanga Rocks. Well, it is truly the Hollywood of Durban!

    Shaun Mandy dressage blog

    Coming home

    The properties are out of this world…of course all with high walls topped with three layers of electric fencing surrounding them. I asked how high the voltage was to which she replied, I’m not sure, but I have found three electrocuted snakes in my garden – super!

    Well, my lovelies, I will shortly be touching down in London Town so must go.

    I watched Seabiscuit on this flight. It always makes me cry…and not just at the end!

    I will be flying back to Denmark tomorrow morning and really looking forward to getting back to my horses and my precious, darling Pringle of course!

    Until soon xx


    You may like...