Shaun Mandy’s dressage blog: an expensive mistake to make

  • Dear gorgeous readers,

    April has been such fun! Winter Championships, teaching in Cheshire and South Africa, best friend’s birthday celebrations and meeting the man of my dreams.

    As I write to you, I am sitting at Mark and Maria’s home in sunny Bournemouth. We had a fun family day yesterday as it was dad’s birthday. Mark took him out for some golf in the morning and the rest of us (Maria, mum, Pringle and I) met them for lunch at the golf club. This was followed by bowling (I did not win!) and then delicious cake back at the house.

    Mark's birthday celebrations

    Mark’s birthday celebrations

    In the first week of April, Euphoria E (Inky) and I went to our first championships together after our five month partnership. It was very exciting to be at the BD Winter Championships and we had lots of support with friends and family coming to watch.

    Inky coped very well in the big atmosphere and I was so pleased with him. We were doing the elementary open and I managed to miss out the ‘give and retake reins’ costing us a top 10 placing! It was part of the canter work and as I did not show it, I got a four from all three judges. I knew the test inside out, but when I was going over it in my head during my warm up, I rushed it and just left it out so it was only when I was going through my score sheets that I realised my error. Expensive mistake to learn from, but learn from it I shall!


    The real good news on that day was that I became half owner of Inky. Lis and I now own him jointly and we are both excited about the journey ahead of us with this gorgeous son of Uthopia.

    Mid-April saw me head up to Somerford Park in Cheshire for the Active Rider Camp. It was a year ago that Edward (Creamer) and I drove up there together to teach. This time however Ed could not make it due to being in Venice and getting engaged!

    It is a fun weekend for the ladies who come on this camp with their horses. A weekend away from their husbands and kids where they eat, drink, socialise and have dressage lessons. A beauty salon even drives into the park to do treatments.


    I made a couple of new friends in fellow trainers Stephen Thompson and Mat Turner (pictured above) and so all in all a lovely weekend was had.

    A couple of days later and I was on my jet plane heading to South Africa via Dubai for my four-day clinic out in Durban. It was lovely and hot out there and I had a great time.

    It was fabulous to see my regular pupils from my previous clinics and welcoming some new ones too. A very dear friend of mine, Lorina Waters, moved out to South Africa and I am godfather to her twins so it is always special to have some time with them and we certainly had a laugh and spent evenings putting the world to rights!

    With my god children

    With my god children

    Poppy and Inky had a well deserved little holiday while I was away and Pringle had a seaside one with my parents at their home in Bournemouth.

    Inky is now qualified for the summer regionals at medium level and Poppy needs a couple more points at advanced medium. Time to get entering some competitions and a Premier League or two!

    Hueston (Huey), Lorrain Nixon’s four-year-old, will be doing his debut competition very soon and I hope to be taking him to a four-year-old class this month.

    It was my friend Elodie’s birthday yesterday and on Saturday we had a little celebration. It started in Sarah and Richard’s hot tub with champagne. Sadly I arrived a little late and there was no time to strip and jump into the tub  (pictured top) as we had a train to catch to Bath for our night out. Before our dinner at a lovely Italian Restaurant we started with a couple of cocktails in the Canary Gin Bar.

    When we arrived, it was fairly buzzing and there was a tall, dark (Italian looking) man who caught my eye. Nothing more than I had seen him and thought he was handsome. About half an hour later and while I was up at the bar ordering round two of cocktails, he was suddenly standing next to me and asking what I would recommend from the menu!

    Conversation was easy and there was definitely a spark or something that made my heart skip a beat. My drinks order was up and I picked up two cocktails to take back to our table. As I turned, Ricardo (as I had found out his name) put his hand on my arm and said how lovely it had been to meet me. When I got to my table I could barely contain my excitement and told my friends how I had just met my future husband and it was fate that we had come to this gin bar!

    Continued below…

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    Obviously my friends were curious as to whom this man was and so it was decided that I would invite him over to our table. I went back to the bar and asked Ricardo if he would care to join us. He said that he would love to and would be over shortly. Within the first two minutes of conversation with me and my friends, Ricardo mentioned his wife! I then also noticed his wedding ring. It was hard for all of us not to burst out laughing, but we managed to keep straight faces and carry on chatting for 10 more minutes or so before heading out to our Italian restaurant and leaving Ricardo to head back to his stag party that he was on! He did still take my number — perhaps he was just being polite?!

    Well my lovelies, Pringle and I must now jump in the car and head back home to Oxfordshire to ride some horses.

    A little trip to Germany could be happening in the next couple of weeks and so there may be a new arrival soon at Shaun Mandy Dressage!

    Until soon xx

    Body Mind Mastery Quote: “Those who believe they can and those who believe they can’t are both right” – Henry Ford

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