April « 2016 « Theresa Smyth's Blog

An inspiring story!

I have asked one of my clients Jacki Belchambers to put down on paper the amazing story of her horse Jalousie. I think it sums up the amazing bond between horse and rider and also that we are never too old for riding/competing and generally loving our sport!

“Jalousie or Lou as she’s known at home is a lovely bay 16hh AES mare by Sally Blair’s late KWPN stallion Jashin . Lou was bred by Mrs Joan Farquharson in Wiltshire and, born in May 1991, is celebrating her 25th birthday this year!

She was bought as a 2 year old by Jacki Belchambers and Wendy Malet, two friends who’d just lost another jointly owned horse and who were looking for a “nice person” to hack and ride at lower level dressage. She certainly ticked the “nice person” box but was deemed way too sharp by the ex-jockey who helped Jacki back her to ever consider dressage as a career.

Despite this Wendy, who was by now in her 70’s and Jacki persevered with her education and she qualified and acquitted herself beautifully as a 6 year old in the Preliminary class at the National Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh –a dream come true for dressage amateurs Wendy and rider Jacki. Lou progressed up the levels, qualifying for Novice, Elementary and Medium Regionals along the way until, due to personal circumstances, she was sold as a 12 year old to a teenage Emma Adams who downgraded her to Novice and, again, took her up through the levels to Medium, including a spell at Carl Hester’s yard where Emma spent part of her gap year as a working student.

Jacki and Emma made contact again when Lou was 18 years old, Lou having in the meantime enjoyed time with Emma on Under 21 training and winning a memorable Under 21 festival Elementary with a huge 76.4%. Emma and Lou subsequently moving to a beautiful parkland farm in Northamptonshire where Lou decided life as a proxy farm animal grazing 24/7 was preferable to dressage! It took many hours and much man power to round her up and return her to the world of dressage but she took to it once again after this gap of a few years and won at Elementary with Emma and Medium with Jacki.

Lou returned to Jacki in 2014 as a 22 year old when Emma started a family and is now based at the Wakehams’ Livery yard at Whitfield Farm in Warwickshire. It is here that Theresa was confronted with an overweight 22 year old “retired” dressage horse and it’s now 60 year old original owner and rider! The dream has come true again with Jacki and Lou training weekly with Theresa, getting back in shape and finally getting out on the competition circuit again. In 2015, Lou and Jacki were back winning Mediums and came third in their class at the British Veterans Dressage Championships held at Vale View. This year has brought a 2 wins and a 2nd place and qualification again for the Veterans Championships in October. Lou is as bright as a button, improving all the time and looking fantastic. She is a “once in a lifetime” horse – kind, willing, sparky and characterful and is now teaching Jacki’s grand daughter to ride alongside her continuing dressage career.”

Winter Championship Success!

Thanks to my team of helpers & supporters on Saturday! I was thrilled to win the Pet Plan Area Festival Medium Championship at Hartpury College with a score of 69.8% I did an interview with the Horse and Hound afterwards and there is a mention on the BD website too. I shall be uploading the pictures and write up onto my website shortly.
Cisco coped very well with the atmosphere of the big event and I was thrilled with his performance – a few things which could have been better but then don’t we dressage riders say that after every test!
So thanks again to Louise, Cisco’s owner, my sponsors Ocean Blue Equine and everyone who helped on Saturday.

Good start to the competition season

Well, my plan of concentrating on training over the winter seems to have paid off! Following my bad fall at the end of 2015 plus Louise’s decision to upgrade the horsebox, I wasn’t able to go out and compete for a while. I decided to work on training the horses at home and have lessons with Maria (Eilberg) on a more regular basis.

My first competition of the year on Cisco last week at Solihull brought 2 wins at Medium level with 71%+ in both classes, which completes our qualification for the Medium Summer Regionals. I was thrilled with how he felt in the arena. Perhaps it has done us both good to have a lay-off from competing for a while! It was really an outing to prepare us for the Winter Championships next weekend at Hartpury, so fingers crossed we can repeat that success. Cisco can be a bit quirky but I felt we really clicked on every level last week – it’s the greatest feeling when that happens and makes all the work put in over the winter worthwhile.

Solihull was our first outing with the new Gold/Silver/Bronze categories from BD which has replaced the Open/Restricted sections. It caused much discussion around the scoreboard I must say!! Although I haven’t really got my head round it all I have to confess – has anybody?? it does seem to bring together horse and rider as a combination but still with restrictions on riders at a higher level – so I cannot be a Bronze rider as I have competed at PSG and above. I was in Silver last week but if competing a young or less experienced horse at Novice level I would move into Gold because of my competition experience.

It was nice to see everyone at the Wheatland Hunt Pony Club rally at Easter. Good luck to all the riders this year in competition.
I should mention that I am DBS checked, have my BHS Safeguarding Certificate and am on the BHS Register of Instructors which is all very important nowadays when parents are choosing an instructor for their son/daughter.

Louise Danton is really getting on with her purchase last year, Blue River Cocktail (aka Winston). She won her Medium class last weekend at Rodbaston so it’s onwards and upwards this season! That almost completes their qualification for the summer.

One of our horses we had in for sale, Centaurs Commodore, has gone to a good home. Such a lovely horse. Tracy Young’s Section D pony, Ladi, has gone off for some XC schooling but is still for sale and would make a fantastic mother/daughter combination. All this means that I do have schooling/sale preparation liveries available at the moment so do contact me if that is an option for you and your horse.