Welcome to the world of Little Bentley Eventing! We are a small team of riders in the South East that take part in British Eventing, British Dressage and British Showjumping competitions. People will often liken us to a family, and when you see us at an event with the morning riders getting dressed as the afternoon riders tack up their horses for them whilst somebody else is dishing out bacon butties (and often alcohol!) through the lorry window, its not hard to see why! Of course, though, every team must have a leader, and ours comes in the form of Jake Tarrant; Yard Owner, Coach, Rider, Lorry Driver, and most importantly, the one with the house directly opposite our local pub!! We hope you enjoy following our journey, and if you do ever see us at an event, come and say Hi – we wont bite, promise!!
2016 was a very promising year for us, with a lot of the horses showing great potential around their first few events. We introduced Dantastic (Dan) to the team as one of Jake’s rides, and he has been a superstar throughout – one to really watch! Kilshannaig Trigger (Tigger) had a few successful runs at BE80 & 90, Cefnarochr aderyn du (Pepa!) joined us and was very successful at BE80 & BE90, and even dressage horse Trojan Odyssey (Troy) got to have a taste of eventing life. Ex-racer Novikov (Novi) also had his first go at eventing, and despite their somewhat bumpy start, he and owner Kelly Hazelden (our very own qualified Equine Dentist!!) ended the season with a fighting spirit, determined to train hard over the winter and ready to attack next season. However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows (when is it ever with horses?) as we decided to give ex-racer Andorran (Andy) a career change to showjumping after a substantial crisis of confidence with cross country. He is thoroughly enjoying being a showjumper, and was jumping round 1/1.10 tracks before his annual holiday in December – he is now beginning to jump again and showing even more scope and confidence than before, so we have high hopes for him for 2017. Even more difficult, though, was our decision to retire Albert VII (Bert). Bert was Jake’s main ride, and they had been eventing together since 2013. He came from an abusive background and was due to be put down for dangerous behaviour before Jake rescued him, and in his final year of competition was competing at BE Novice level. However, his age and arthritic tendencies have caught up with him slightly, meaning that he struggles with the showjumping phase (he loves the cross country so much that he doesnt care!). So, in order to be fair to him, he has been retired from competition and will now only be taken out as a lead horse for the babies round hunter trials and cross country schooling. Jake still has two very exciting youngsters – Dantastic and Seaview Jazz (Brian), to produce and compete, but Bert is the horse that started this all off, so he deserves a special Thank-You!
So, 2017. We started off the year with an incredibly exciting development to our yard – a nice new school! Over Christmas, there were weeks of taking up the old surface, laying new membrane and then putting in our lovely new surface from Tom Swayne Equestrian. We were then lucky enough to be given the first trial of Equivation’s brand new lighting system – completely portable, cost effective, and run off a normal plug. They also eliminate the need for planning permission, making our lives much easier! Its worth noting that the picture below shows them being used with only one school side of lights turned on, and they are still giving off plenty of light. The final touch was our pretty new school gates from DMC Ltd UK Services after our old ones were destroyed by a tractor and some dodgy driving! After a brief period to let it all settle, the ponies were brought back in from their winter holidays and the pre-season training could begin.
After a few weeks of schooling and fittening work (for both horses AND riders…I blame Christmas entirely!), then the fun part could begin – jumping!! Whilst our school still wasn’t quite settled enough to begin jumping on yet, there were plenty of opportunities for school hire and clinics in our local area. Our first clinic was with our trainer Caroline Jeanne, who knows all the horses very well and would have no fear in personally beating the riders, should they make a mistake! Pepa, Dan and Tigger all attended and did very well, (with little to no rider-beating required!) – it was a very promising first jumping outing of the year!
The development of our school also meant that we could allow more lessons and teaching to take place, and we are already planning to hold jumping clinics at ours in the summer. We are also able to accept schooling liveries, which Jake is now beginning to do more regularly. We have had some lovely horses come to us for boot camp, and we are looking forward to welcoming more in the future. Another baby member of Little Bentley Eventing is Roo, who will occasionally come over to us for a lesson and to see his brother Dan! He is ridden and competed by Zoe, Andorrans owner, and is owned by Super-groom Claire. Roo has also had a very successful start to the year, going for a couple of jumping outings and – most exciting – finishing 3rd at Pyecombe’s Arena Eventing, meaning he has qualified alongside Dan, Pepa, Andy and Tigger for the SEEL Arena Eventing Championships.
Halfway through the month, Dan was lucky enough to head off to Pyecombe to attend a clinic with Tina Cook. It was a very productive and useful session where lots was learnt and taken on board, and after the session, he felt ready to begin jumping competitively again. So, off he went to Petley Wood Unaffiliated Showjumping with Tigger in tow. Both boys were very well behaved, picking up a couple of clear rounds and really enjoying themselves. They have both been entered in Aston-Le-Walls alongside Brian, and if everyone can remember their winter training, it looks set to be a successful first event!
Thank you for reading! If you wish to follow our progress and get more regular updates, our Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/littlebentleyeventing/. We hope you enjoy watching our progress!