The rider of an 18.2hh Clydesdale who has won with over 72% at his first two British Dressage (BD) shows says the plan is to aim for regionals and Area Festivals.
Jessica Martin-Legg took the ride on Springside Shiver Me Timber last August, when he was six, as his owner Marie Jenkins wanted her to produce him.
“We didn’t intend to do what we’re doing now, it just went that way!” 5’5” Jessica told H&H.
“He’s not my normal type of horse but he’s super trainable and I love riding him.”
Timber had not done much schooling, but Jessica said the more he has done, the easier he has found it.
“He didn’t find it easy at first,” she said. “I couldn’t even canter him in the arena, as he just didn’t have the balance; it was like trying to steer a boat! He was really heavy, and used to trip a lot, but he’s always been soft in the mouth and responsive to the aids, although you can hear him coming a mile off.
“He doesn’t ride as big as you might think, although he makes my horse feel like a pony.”
Jessica, who has competed up to advanced medium level on other horses, put forward the idea of dressage last autumn.
“I said to his owner: ‘How would you feel about entering a competition?’ and she thought he wouldn’t be able to, as he’s not an elegant warmblood,” Jessica said. “But I said he’s so trainable and lovely to ride, and it went from there.”
Timber scored over 70% every time out at unaffiliated level, progressing from intro to prelim, to novice, at which he scored over 80%.
“I work for [international rider and coach] Lara Edwards and we had a lesson with her; she said she thought we could go affiliated, so we did.”
On 15 May, Timber won his first BD prelim, with 73.75%, and came second in another class the same day. Four days later, he won another prelim and came second in his first affiliated novice test.
“Everyone stops and stares at him at shows because he’s so big,” said Jessica. “I don’t think people quite expect what happens next! Marie’s almost in tears every time he wins, as she just can’t believe it. He’s pretty cool.”
“You see people looking and thinking ‘Really?’ but when they see him go, they understand”
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The plan now is for Timber to compete in the BD draught horse championships, as well as the summer regionals at prelim, and the area festivals at novice. Jessica also hopes to try Timber at dressage to music this year.
“We’re going to see how it goes,” she added. “He’s such a big horse, I don’t want to push him as far as possible but as long as he keeps enjoying it and can do it, we’ll go as far as we can.
“He’s so easy, although I have to say, the more I’ve done with him, the more he’s turned into a bit of a diva — but he’s amazing, and definitely special.”
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