Lauren Shannon’s blog: I thought this was meant to be the off season?

  • It feels like ages since I last wrote a blog for Horse & Hound, as over the winter I am only going to do them every two weeks. The theory behind this is that winter is our off season and so less is going on. How wrong that is turning out to be!

    The yard is busier than ever, with 12 horses in work at the minute. I have had the normal influx of sale horses since the event season has finished. They are lovely horses, but the phone doesn’t seem to be ringing as much as normal.

    I’m not sure if this is because the end of the year can be quiet for selling horses, or if people are feeling the pinch and not buying much. I know horse sharing is on the up, so perhaps this is a possibility for them. Either way, they are all going well so I’m not worried about them finding new homes!

    Most of the event horses are back in work too. This year the ground was so hard over the summer that they did a lot in the spring and a bit in the autumn, but not a lot in between! This means that they can come in a little earlier and go dressage-ing and show jumping. “Louie” (Zero Flight) is now hacking, and will start proper schooling at the end of the month to get ready for Badminton in the spring.

    On a side note, “Delphi” (my mare Quixotic who retired this spring after finishing 17th and taking the British mare and owner-rider prizes at Badminton) is finally back home after spending the whole summer at Twemlows Stud in Shropshire.

    I sent her there as I knew that as a 16-year-old maiden mare, who was still four-star fit, Delphi would need some help getting in-foal. It took a summer of trying, but eventually, last month, she scanned in-foal with a heartbeat! She is in-foal to Cevin Z, of the Billy Stud, and I can’t wait to have her youngster with us this time next year. Now it’s just a waiting game – which is boring, but will be worth it.

    The other thing that I get to do now the season is over is more off-the-horse’s-back fun. I am heading to Cheltenham Racecourse this Friday for a fundraising day for Team GBR, with the Event Horse Owners’ Association dinner the night before in Knightsbridge. I love getting dressed up and getting to socialise with owners and supporters without a competition always in the back of my mind, so it should be a great week.

    Hope the start to everyone else’s winter is looking as bright!


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