thetford-forest-holiday-adventureI don’t know about you, but I feel like September has flown by, as I type this I can hardly believe October is just around the corner, I for one am not looking forward to the dark nights and cold and wet weather that no doubt with ensue! Our sport really does take dedication and commitment – not to mention several layers of clothes in order to get through the winter!

So September has been a busy ol’ month for us.

We headed out for a spot of Autumn Hunting earlier this month, it’s was the first time out for me this year, my friend Candice brought her horse Stu who had never been hunting before and whilst it was quite challenging for him he coped well and I am sure the more we go the better we will be, there’s a lot going on for them to take in but it seems to me that the horses soon adapt to the situation and get used to hounds being around them. I didn’t get off to a great start though, falling off over a jump! Thankfully Mikey and I were both left unscathed and I guess it’s all part of the fun (that said let’s hope that’s the last time that happens this season!).

Having qualified through the summer at various local shows we headed off to the Chiltern Thames Championship Show at Herts County Show Ground run by Chiltern Rider Magazine. Rachel and the Honeychop team were also there on the day, giving out free samples and money off vouchers to everyone. We sponsored one of the rings too, so anyone lucky enough to come in the top two won a free bag of Honeychop which seemed to go down very well with the competitors. I had entered the Riding Club Horse and Ridden Coloured, despite letting Mikey down in the Riding Club class by not riding that well (bad Laura!) we still managed 3rd place in what was a strong class. I redeemed myself in the Ridden Coloured class and Mikey was foot perfect, which secured us the win, we then went on to take Reserve Champion in the Coloured Championship, I was thrilled, another sash to add to the collection – yay! The judge commented on what a lovely type Mikey was and how well he went round in the ride round with the other horses, it’s always nice to get good comments from the judge – makes you feel like you are doing the right things!amy-and-mikey-at-hickstead

You may remember I had qualified to compete at Hickstead, at the Sunshine Tour Show that takes place their, what an amazing experience to compete at such a famous venue! My niece Amy came with me as she had also qualified to do some in hand classes and we had a great time. Results wise it felt like we didn’t have much luck to be honest but we had a great time and I will definitely look to qualify next year! We did a lovely dressage test on the Friday of the show, my score was 68.89% which is a pretty decent score, we ended up 11th, which was just outside the placings, every other prelim classes that ran over the duration of the show I would have ended up somewhere 2nd or 3rd, so to get that score and to not get a ribbon was a little disappointing, but there was about 35 in the class and I was happy with my score so that’s the main thing. We came 3rd in the Ridden Coloured Class, there was a ride judge for the class too, it was the first time I have done a class where the judge rode, and I am so happy with how Mikey went for her, he was foot perfect and the judge told me he gave her an “amazing ride” which was nice to hear, I have been working really hard at home on his flat work in my lessons and he has been feeling great recently. The work paid off as we also put in a respectable performance in our novice dressage test too. Jumping at Hickstead must be a bit of a dream for everyone, sadly it didn’t go quite to plan, I had entered the eventer challenge and it was a round of two halves, we jumped the SJ fences perfectly, and I was super happy, especially as some of the fences were pretty meaty, sadly Mikey took umbrage to the fact the workers fences were in another arena and as we headed over the last SJ towards the first of the working hunter fences he was napping, I just couldn’t keep him straight or forward to the fences, so much so we got eliminated from the class after refusing the fences. Horses! I was pretty upset as the jumping has been going great at home but clearly some more work to do. Amy did a couple of in hand classes with him and she did a great job presenting him to the judges, sometimes he can be a bit grumpy in hand, but he had his ears pricked up and Amy ran her little legs off, they came away with a 3rd in the Best Turned Out class which was a nice result for them and put a smile on their faces. Honeychop Henry also came on holiday with us to Hickstead – he had a great time!

A horsey holiday was on the cards for this month, over at Thetford Forest, at a little place called Little Lodge Farm which is just on the edge of the forest, I had heard lots of good things about the place so Candice and I decided to book a 5-day break there and we were not disappointed! We stayed in the horsebox in order to save some pennies, however the farm does have some lodges on site which you can book to stay in if you don’t want to rough it in your horsebox, they looked lovely, one even has a hot tub! However, we had chosen the horsebox to keep the costs down and we made it nice and homely, taking our airbeds and duvets, we stocked the cupboards up with naughty food, we even had a DVD night one evening watching a Zac Effron film off the laptop whilst tucked up on our airbeds eating popcorn! The forest itself was amazing, literally miles and miles of tracks to explore, and although there is days and days of riding you can’t really get lost, my sense of direction can be a little off (OK, a lot off!) and whilst we may have made the odd wrong turn at no point we were properly lost! Little Lodge Farm also has a small cross country course, which we had a play over which was great fun. There is also a river running through the forest which you can cross with the horses, I had seen lots of pictures and videos of other people doing it so we decided to brave it, the ground was a bit boggy getting in to the river, but once we were in the river itself the water was just above their hocks, we had a splash and play around before heading out the other side and carrying on with our ride – it also gave the horses legs a chance to cool off after several long hacks – the horses were definitely happy for their day off when we got home!dressage-at-hickstead

We have been spreading the Honeychop name again this month. Leighton Buzzard Standbridge and District Riding Club had the last of their summer shows this month, Honeychop once again sponsored the Show Jumping ring and gave all class winners a free bag of Honeychop. And then Aspley Guise Riding Club had their Summer Dressage Championships, anyone who had qualified through the summer series which Honeychop had sponsored was able to enter, it was a good day and once again the class winners were rewarded with a free bag of feed.

Until next month

Laura and Mikey x