Sam, Ollie & Ruby
Hi, my name is Samantha Fussell and I live in Swansea where I keep my horses on my own livery yard in Gorseinon, there we have two fields, twelve stables and a crushed glass and rubber arena. I have three of my own horses who I mainly do show jumping on, however we have tried the occasional dressage, which we haven’t done too badly in either. But my main discipline is show jumping and it’s something I see myself doing for many years to come.
Before I came to running the livery yard alongside my mum, studied in Hartpury College in Gloucester for two years on the Level 3 Equitation Diploma (Equitation) where my love of the subjects brought me out with Distinction*. I also came out of Hartpury with a BHS Stage 1 Full exam, and came home to go to Pibwrlyd College in Carmarthen to study for my stage 2 and three. I recently passed my Stage 3 BHS exam and am currently looking to go on and do my PTT and my stage 4 exam.
I’ve owned my horse Ollie for almost 2 years and when jumping, he tends to back off fences and when we get to them, he will balloon them twice as high which makes him tight behind, and as you can imagine, leaves me behind the movement. Even though he generally gives them enough room, this problem can leads to stops and fallen poles. This coming year I want to work on this problem by getting him out to lots of different shows and give him the experience of seeing lots of different fences, which will hopefully bring his and my own confidence back up. Before me Ollie was jumping at Newcomers/Foxhunter BSJA and was doing really well, I hope that we can continue our learning together and get him back out doing the heights he enjoys.
Recently we’ve been doing a lot of little shows at 70cm and 80cm to get him out and enjoying competing again, has been doing really well and he surprises me every time we go out. We went to Sunnybank being our first competition in a while where he done a lovely double clear in the 70cm coming out with a 4th and a just as lovely double clear in the 80cm getting 5th. The next show was Beacons in Ammonford where I again did the 70cm & 80cm, he did double clears in both again and had a 2nd in the 70cm and a 3rd in the 80cm. In both these shows he was calm, relaxed and not stressed, which is a step in the right direction towards the end goal.
I also have a youngster coming up alongside Ollie, her name is Ruby and she’s an 8 year old, chestnut Hanoverian x thoroughbred x sports horse. She hadn’t done much before I had her and she was very green, but she has excelled herself through her show jumping unaffiliated this year. This year I have started jumping her for her owner Tracy and she has gone from strength to strength. We recently qualified for Lincoln BRC National Championships in June as a team of four for Towy Valley Riding Club, which we placed 9th out of 24 teams! This was Rubys first stay away show and she did super with a clear round in the first round, and tiredness in the second round caused poles. I hope to do BSJA on her this winter and next year, her first BSJA is going to be in broomes on the 3rd October and she will be in the 90cm and British Novice. I also want to try BE with her as she is a very all round horse and I feel she would do well on the BE circuit.
Alongside Ruby and Ollie, I have my first horse Chester. Currently he has had a year out to rest and fill out as racing is a tough sport and I felt the best thing to do would be to turn him out for a year. He is an 16.1 thoroughbred ex-racer who I have previously competed BE 90’s on, he’s one of the cheekiest stubborn horses I have come across, but you can’t help but love him. His favourite discipline to do is cross country and he thoroughly enjoys it. My plan is to start bringing him back into work after Christmas with the intention to eventually do some more cross country and show jumping with him.
In the next month I’m hoping to return to college to resume my PTT training, teaching the students alongside my tutors to watch and observe them to gain experience. I have also had the opportunity to go and shadow my trainer Jonathan Pet at some of his monthly show jumping clinics, this I feel will give me a better understanding and feel for being in the ring and help me with my eye for improvements and show jumping courses.
Also very recently, I was very lucky to get the chance to be on S4C with ollie, for my local farrier Gareth Thomas who has shod our horses for years. The film crew for S4C came down to the yard to interview Gareth as he shod Ollie, then after me and Ollie had to jump a crosspole which was aired on TV.