Matt Jenkins’ dressage blog: rain, rain and more rain

  • What a week! Is the sky ever going to stop falling in?! I hope you have all stayed remotely dry — my heart goes out to all of my clients who have been affected by the flooding, many of whom have evacuated horses to their highest ground for over a week now. At Crown Farm I have been lucky that mine have all kept their feet dry, but a lot of people in the village have not been so lucky and have come to us to seek refuge.

    However, just when I was thinking I had managed to avoid Mother Nature’s bad moods, disaster struck. It happened when I was doing my usual drive back to Bristol to teach my clients there. Now, people who know me quite well know that, although I am a careful driver, I wouldn’t say I have the best of luck! Yes, that’s right — the flood got me! I drove around a sharp bend on a main B road and was faced with the vastest stretch of water I have seen in a long time. I managed to avoid the water, but in doing so had a brief encounter with the grass verge — which would have been fine, if it hadn’t been for the gallons of rain that had given the verge the properties of quicksand! To cut a long story short, an hour later and a very nice AA man saw the little black car survive to live another day!

    On brighter news, I went to visit the next generation this week. My foals, Dolly P and Branston, are looking great. I have kept them on livery at the yard from where I purchased them, Court Farm Livery and Stud. Darren Mattia and his team are experts at breeding and producing young horses and I know my foals are in great hands. Branston is simply the cutest foal you ever did see! Dolly P has grown quite a bit and has turned into quite a big old bird and both look in awesome condition; I can’t wait for three years time!

    I feel really lucky to have such a great bunch of horses to ride at the moment. I ride two mares on a freelance basis. First is Ruby — she is by a stallion called Ragazzoni, who relates back to Rubenstein. Ruby is a five-year-old mare that I ride a few times a week for her owner Sally Donegan. Sally is starting up her own business as a personal trainer so is understandably very busy. That’s where I come in to keep Ruby fit and ticking over whilst Sally is busy working. Ruby has changed from being a little backward in the school to being a little pocket rocket! She has so much energy now and is turning into such a smart little horse.

    The second mare is Maisie — she is owned by Angela Bailey who is a human and equine physiotherapist. Maisie is by a stallion called Raubitter and we have high hopes for her. She has not always been the easiest horse to train, but now we have got her on side there is no stopping her. She shows a real talent for lateral work and, once she gets stronger and more balanced, will be a real cracker. I don’t believe in pushing young horses and think it’s so important to allow them time to get stronger, more balanced and mature enough to do the more complex work.

    There are a busy few weeks coming up, I have lessons with the boys booked with Dan again and another ex-racehorse to ride whilst his owner is away on holiday for a week — so, plenty to think about. Hope you all keep warmer and drier this week!

    Until next time,


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