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A little BS at Brendons (Either interpretation of BS is fine by me)

Ok, so the beast has still not been completely tamed, but we definitely gave it something to think about!
Helen and Tigger were up first in the 85, and turned out a lovely clear round, then she was in to the British Novice, which was much more powerful and purposeful than their previous rounds, with Tigger actually standing off on a decent stride.
I then took Brian round the British Novice, (he gave me a beautiful round with an unfortunate pole), as a warm up for his first Discovery, and he was epic! Ok, so we still had a couple of poles. But it was a really promising round.
Next up in the Discovery was Dantastic, and my god was he on form! If I hadn’t stuck him into the bottom of the 8th, we would have left them all up! But instead we ended up with 4 faults.
So now it was time for the newcomers, and this was going to be exciting -we were going to get to jump the big water tray! We still have work to do, but it was such an improvement. He took a good stride into most of them, and we only had one brief mad moment. A massive thanks to Spidge Event Photography for their (as always) fantastic photos, (Although I’m never forgiving Ryan Miller for missing me in the 1.10) to PW Equine Physio, and Kelly Hazelden Equine Dentist for their continued support. And to super groom Claire and her assistant Amelia.

 

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When the beast strikes back…Borde Hill Report

So after smashing our show jumping demons at Pyecombe on Wednesday, my and Dantastic were keen to get on to Borde Hill. Brian stayed at home as I didn’t want to push him too hard, and Yvie of Team Jeanne was given the honour of riding Tigger for Helen (to give the ungrateful little sod a little more of a determined ride.)

Dan was first up for dressage and did a very respectable test, and then Tigger got a new personal best! It was then a 4 hour wait for the start of the BE100 show jumping, so I could just sit back and watch Tigger and Yvie go! And what a fantastic round of show jumping it was. He had 2 unfortunate poles, but jumped off of a good stride for every jump! No getting in deep and climbing out. The cross country course at Borde Hill has always been a trial for Tigger, but not this weekend, this weekend he aced it, coming home clear and inside the time!

Dans turn to go show jumping…. we were pumped, we warmed up beautifully, super trainer Caroline was holding our hand and guiding us through it. The new Voltaire saddle was putting me in the perfect position, we were ready.

We entered the arena.

Then…….. I got the first jump wrong. It went down hill from there. We had both parts of both doubles down! The Beast won this round, it gloated at me all the while I was walking out. Still, we had the fun bit to go.

Now, me and Dan love a bit of Cross country, and Borde Hill Horse Trials always give a decent course, so we were determined to have enjoy it, and quite simply, it was brilliant. We had a couple of little glitches that we need to work on (like getting reins I can keep hold of) but 98% of it was perfect.

So for any of you that wonder, beast taming is out of the window. I’m going into the slaying business now!!! No more Mr nice guy; Beast is going down!

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Taming the beast…Chilham (1) Report

What a weekend at Chilham Castle! There have been highs and there have been lows, and there have been some very early mornings! But it is always worth it to compete at such a lovely venue.

We started on Saturday with Brian and Tigger. Both of whom are just getting stronger and stronger in the dressage, achieving some very respectable scores! Then it was show jumping time, and Brian got completely overwhelmed and had a minor meltdown in the ring, but still managed to complete with only one pole and a huge amount of time penalties. Trigger tried hard, but got held up on the course by an incorrectly reset oxer. So it was off cross country! Brian was brilliant. He had one little episode half way round, but for the most part listened nicely and got off the leg. Although watching it back showed how gently we were going. Tigger, unfortunately, got held up in the start for about half an hour due to a fall on course, and just went off the boil, Helen could not get moving on afterwards and they retired half way round.

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Now it’s Dan’s turn!!!

So our Sunday started at 3.30 in the morning (this seems to be a standard Chilham routine for me now.) We were there by 6.45 in the morning, bright eyed, bushy tailed, and ready for Dressage! One of the perks of getting there so early is the photo opp in front of the big house!! Dan pulled off a great test, there is still a lot to work on, but he is getting better each time! And that is largely thanks to the help of Sune from Spring Hill Dressage.
Time to show jump! (Which is obviously the bit I was looking forward to the most, I just love it!) But with a supreme effort of will,  I “manned up” and got on with it, and just had the last pole!!!! So only 4 faults!! I may not be quite as immune to education as originally suspected! Something must have sunk in!
And then to the cross country field, where Dan proved again how powerful he is and how insubstantial my brakes were! But we got home with no penalties, and sneaked a cheeky 10th place! How fantastic!

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Ups and Downs…HorseHeath (1) Report

So, Friday saw us making the trip to Horse Heath for Brian, Tigger & Dan’s first stay-away event of the year. And what a lovely friendly venue it is, with the poshest toilets ever seen at any event! We will definitely be returning in the future.
Now, it was not the most successful day on paper, but a day we all have. Nothing quite went right for us. (Apart from the dressage that is…. all of the boys performed their own personal best dressage tests! So that was a definite success.)
The show jumping beast won this round and had us all at it’s mercy and all the boys did some very nice work cross country, but sadly it was too late by that point. There are plenty of ups and downs in this sport, as this weekend proved, but we are already looking forward to the next event, where we will be ready to show the showjumping beast what for!
So not perfect, but not the worst weekend after all. 

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‘Tis the season…Munstead (1) Report

Any equestrian will know and understand the struggle of the seemingly endless slog that is winter. If the diabolical weather, knee deep mud and constant darkness doesn’t make you want to cry, your suddenly-colossal feed bills certainly will. As eventers, we have another slap in the face to deal with during these already trying months – the complete absence of the sport that we love! So, when our alarms went off at some ungodly time on Sunday, it’s no surprise that the grumbling was kept to a minimum. We’d been waiting months for this! So, after heading up the yard, mucking out, and loading the horses on the lorry, we set off for Munstead Horse Trials with Dantastic, Kilshannaig Trigger, Seaview Jazz and some very excited riders onboard. The season was finally upon us!

First up was new recruit Seaview Jazz, AKA Brian, who was entered into the 90 at his first ever BE event. Having only been with us for a couple of months, we were keen to see what he would make of such an event, and he did us proud, barely batting an eyelid at the buzzy atmosphere and busy warm-ups. He flicked his toes to score a respectable 34.3, cruised around the SJ with ease to bag a clear round and then headed out to the XC – a phase he’d never had any experience with before, but despite a couple of honest stops (the trakehner was most definitely going to eat him!), still managed to storm home inside the time. A rather successful first outing all round, and lots of promise shown for the future!

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Next up was Kilshannaig Trigger, who was also doing the 90. He managed to perform a sweet test for 37.8, despite being joined by a loose horse in the warm up, and picked up 4 faults SJ due to a particularly terrifying filler, but all was forgiven out on the XC course, where he managed to fly round clear picking up just a couple of time faults, and finishing him on his personal best score of 47. A brilliant result for his first event of 2017!

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And finally, it was the turn of resident superstar Dantastic, who was fit and raring to go for his first BE100. Having not been Cross Country is several months, his mind was set on galloping around the course from the word go, but he still managed to score a 38.3 dressage and had just 1 one unfortunate pole SJ. Once released onto the cross-country course, he stormed round to come home clear inside the time, full of running and ready to go again!

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All in all, a truly successful day out eventing, with all three horses showing real potential for the future, and a promising a very exciting season ahead.

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XC Training with Camilla Kruger

Representing your country at the Olympics would be the pinnacle of many athletes careers; but not for Zimbabwean event rider Camilla Kruger, who is only just getting started. With her sights set firmly on the World Equestrian Games 2018 in North Carolina (USA), and the Tokyo Olympics 2020, she will not have much time to sit back and reminisce on Rio – it’s time to crack on with training.

Now, Camilla is not content with just working on herself and her horses, she is determined to give back to the equestrian community that supported her on her journey to Rio. She wants to help the next generation of riders develop the skills and the attitude to follow in her footsteps, to support them as they take their own journey to realise their potential, and with her new base at Angley Equine Services in Cranbrook, Kent, she is perfectly set up to do this.

As a thank you to Equi-vation, the suppliers of Camilla’s fantastic bespoke Tack lockers, a special cross country training session was held at Littleton Manor Equestrian centre.  The Weather was almost perfect, and the going was superb; and under Camilla’s superb tuition, the horses were really flying.

We are incredibly lucky to share Equivation as sponsors with Camilla, and so we were invited along to the clinic. It was new recruit Brian’s first time out Cross Country, and although he was a little overwhelmed to begin with, he soon settled down into some lovely work thanks to the helping hand from Camilla. Tigger was also very well behaved, and Camilla worked with Helen on fine-tuning his ability to travel in a more forward fashion and had him jumping off a longer stride. Dan was the star of the show as usual, and although he was more than a little exciting about his first cross country session of 2017, he still cruised around like a pro, and under Camilla’s watchful eye, he was able to find even more spring than before!

To find out more about training with Camilla, find her on Facebook – Camilla Kruger Eventing Zimbabwe, and be sure to visit www.equivation.co.uk, to view the full range of their products.

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2016 going on 17…

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!