In The Saddle column: We're jumping ahead with spring on the way
I’ll be glad to see the back of my swampy paddocks with hopefully a bit of sunshine due around the corner now. Fingers crossed.
The winter seems to have been mild, but very wet. We’ve not had many frosts or much snow, if any, but by goodness we’ve had some wind. Everyone has suffered with boggy fields and we are no exception but it’s onwards and upwards hopefully now.
This year the plan was to fully start my horse ‘Haverlands Sully Fire’ (known as Sully at home) after lightly backing him before the winter with my lovely friend Ellen.
Unfortunately Ellen made a move to the Cotswolds, which was a super career move for her working on an event yard but meant we lost both a friend and trainer here. Luckily we keep in touch by phone and she hears all about Sully’s progress.
This meant I needed to find someone to help me continue my young horse’s education from a baby playing in the field to starting his future ridden career.
It’s like a minefield out there, and whilst there are many great trainers I needed Sully to stay local due to his immunertherapy injections but not compromise on the quality of training.
Unfortunately with no arena at home, it’s best to have a safe place to start a young horse. A place where you might bounce better.
A young, but brilliantly talented international two star show jumper was recommended to me by a friend. She sounded great and had the facilities to take Sully to board and train safely at her yard.
It’s very hard when you’ve known your foal from three months old and have had him at home from six months old. I feel very precious over him. After all, I’ve controlled everything I’ve done with him and have had some super people help me along the way. Sending him away though is different.
I knew I needed the right person for both Sully and I. So I arranged to let Harriette come and meet my horse and that way both Sully and I could get a feel for what she’s like. I also researched her online too and liked what she did.
When Harriette came to my home to meet my horse, I felt very much he would be in safe hands. It’s very hard to hand over the reins, forgive the pun, to Sully but I instantly felt she was right for us.
Harriette Rushton has a wise head on her young shoulders. She started riding at the tender age of eighteen months old and was competing off the lead rein at just three years old. She told me her mum couldn’t run fast enough in the ring, but I think she was super talented even at that age.
Her fondest memory as a child is riding riding through the stubble fields with her mum and family. I love that. I do hope Alyssia says something similar when she’s older.
At the age of twenty, she now competes regularly internationally in showjumping at two star level. She runs her own yard offering a schooling and breaking livery, boarding for horses, competition livery and lessons. It’s well run, small and friendly and I immediately felt at home with everyone.
She’s got her own lovely horses at home who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. The beautiful five year old Kronos V by Douglas and her seven year old Claxon Van De Bosweg by codex one x cathargo z. They are very talented horses, trust me.
In fact, last year she came sixth in the newcomer second rounds last year on Claxon at Keysoe. This is a three stage round of prestigious show jumping competitions, with the final round being 145m high and a Horse of the Year Show qualifier. That’s some accolade.
She’s aiming to have a string of good horses to compete abroad (and in this country) to Grand Prix level. I have no doubt she will achieve this after seeing her train my youngster and her own horses.
I asked her why she does it, and she simply tells me she loves to make people smile and enjoy their horses. I can see that. So far she’s made me smile, laugh and cry - all in a great way though and she puts up with me recalling countless tales of shows Sully has been in. Poor woman!
So far, I’m delighted with Sully’s progress and I regularly go and see him to watch her train him. I’ve also met Harriette’s lovely sister, Charlotte, who helps in the initial stages (the dream team I call them) and I’ve even made a new friend in Emma who boards her horse there.
I’ll keep you up to date with Sully but if you would like to talk to Harriette about your horse then you can contact her through her Facebook page - Harriette Rushton equine or email her on [email protected]. In the meantime I’m really pleased I’ve trusted her with my baby. She is excellent. Next time I’ll share with you my first proper ride on him.
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