Perfectly Imperfect Little Pea

Perfectly Imperfect Little Pea

Many of you will have seen the pictures of my little grey boy Pea (EROX) all over my social media, I can’t help it he’s just so beautiful! With Cassini breeding lines and the most gorgeous temperament he is genuinely one of the most talented, honest, friendly horses I have ever come across! He isn’t however, without his quirks…

Pea is sharp, and I mean super sharp… if he can be terrified by a random blade of grass he will be, his own reflection quite possibly is the scariest thing he has ever seen and for goodness sake don’t move your reins once you’re on. But he also has lameness issues, issues that meant that I have been unbelievably lucky and ended up with him in my stables.

I fall for horses very quickly but normally not if they don’t belong to me. Pea was different. I first met him at Buckminster in 2014 as a 5 year old and fell head over heels in love with him. He was all bandaged up after his XC while having a free range graze (he doesn’t ever go too far!) and he just looked so lovely standing there having his tail bandage put on ready for the journey back up north without moving a muscle…  So when Jimmy (James Sommerville) called last year to ask if i’d consider taking him on I had to ask if he was sure eleventy billion times, would I consider it? I’d have chewed my own arm off to have Pea lameness or no lameness.

I’m not sure if you all know but I am a massive geek and love to learn so investigating Pea’s issues is almost as exciting for me as having him with me in the first place. Luckily he is the sort of horse who would come inside, sit on the sofa & watch Love Island with you if he could so getting him to co-operate during the investigations is easy! He loves the attention & he gets regular spa’s at the amazing Flawborough Equine out of it so he is one happy pony!

I brought Pea home in November last year and had a lovely no-pressure winter with him hunting, jumping, hacking, improving my flatwork and XC schooling with not a lame step in sight. Everything was going very well (too well obviously) until March when he just started to not feel quite right. There was nothing hugely obvious he was just a little bit “off”. I decided that the best way to go about things was by process of elimination so booked him into Oakham for some x-rays and a general once over. Vet, Rafael Domingo was brill. He gave Pea a very thorough examination prior to our x-rays and was as puzzled as we were. Typically wanting to please, Pea put in a textbook trot up and was super level on the lunge… into the X-rays we went.

The main motivation for the radiographs was to make sure Navicular wasn’t the issue and it wasn’t… He is conformationally pretty poor foot wise and the x-rays provided another surprise for the vets as we all thought his nearside fore was the issue (it wasn’t)…

Although there is nothing to suggest Navicular or any related issues, he does have the very early signs of arthritis in his off-side front foot so we had his coffin joints injected and he was good as new again. I even managed to get to an unaffiliated event at Norton Disney (which was pretty hard) and he didn’t show any signs of being sore afterwards, that was until the middle of May…

He’s been intermittently lame since then and as heart breaking as it is we’re going full steam ahead with the investigations. Having changed his shoeing to offer him more support without restricting the growth or spread of his hooves his recovery from any lameness seems to be much quicker. We are also super lucky to have the amazing Emma Hawthorne of Flawborough Equine Rehabilitation and Gilly Carter-Morgan of Equi-Therapy UK in our corner. He gets regular cold, salt-water spa’s at Flawborough and was thermal imaged by Emma a couple of weeks ago… These images have thrown up some really interesting results and have led us to decide that getting scans of BOTH of his front legs will give us more pieces of the puzzle so we’re all booked in for another amazing treatment with Gilly and scans by Home Farm Equine next Thursday… wish us luck!

Good, better, best… Beautiful Barbury

Good, better, best… Beautiful Barbury

Leg 3 of 2017’s Event Rider Masters is fast approaching and I can’t keep my excitement under wraps any more… The St James’ Place Barbury International Horse Trials is only days away!!

With the World’s top eventers set to battle it out around Captain Mark Phillips’ CIC3*, CIC2*, Intermediate and Novice courses this year’s event is set to be the best yet… The entries read like a who’s who and the inclusion of the ERM CIC3* class is only going to make it all the more incredible! Can you tell I’m getting giddy about it?!

From 6th – 9th July the Barbury Estate just outside Marlborough in Wiltshire transforms into a hive of activity when riders, owners, grooms, sponsors, spectators, traders and officials all descend on the impressive natural amphitheatre to witness & take part in some of the best Equestrian Sport in the Calendar.

This year promises to offer more action, attractions, shopping and entertainment than ever before with the addition of the Arena Eventing competition, the BYEH qualifier, Inter-Hunt relay, JCB Champions `Challenge (with none other than Zara Tindall at the helm of the Eventers’ team) and the innovative LIVE on-site Cross Country commentary I reckon it is going to be one not to miss.

Perhaps the most exciting thing for me though (as always) is the ERM section. The list of entries is unbelievably hot with 11 of the top 30 FEI Ranked Eventers in the world entered. Chasing the incredible 1st prize of £16,000 always gets the blood up and I can’t see this time being any different.

The most interesting of the ERM challenges, I think, come from the ever determined Gemma Tattersall – WINNER of Leg 1 of this years’ Masters Series at the Dodson and Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials and her new mount Pamero. The King of Barbury himself (and one of my all time heroes) Mr Andrew Nicholson will put up a huge fight in his quest to claim a 6th consecutive Barbury 3* victory with his seasoned 4* campaigner Nereo, who he last piloted to victory at Badminton in the Spring of this year. However, perhaps the most exciting combination to come forward, in my eyes, is Ollie Townend and the gorgeous and very special Cooley Masterclass who come here following back to back (2016 & 2017) Burnham Market CIC3* victories. You could say this pair are fairly unproven at this level but I have a feeling their performance this weekend could be very special! And we absolutely cannot discount the amazing Nicola Wilson and her gorgeous boy Coco (One Two Many) who are on fire at the moment!

I am genuinely so excited I could pop about the top level sport that Barbury is promising, and not just in the ERM section. The other two CIC3* sections are also out of this world entry-wise…

  • Andrew Nicholson has the beautiful grey Swallow Springs (who I know he thinks a lot of),
  • Ollie has Cooley SRS who is fairly unproven at this level but has very exciting form
  • William Fox-Pitt has the amazing Clifton Signature for only their second run and their first 3* as a partnership,
  • Laura Collett & the incredible 9 year old “FOD (finish on dressage) King” Mr Bass are looking to put Bramham behind them
  • Kitty King with Vendredi Biats come forward on the back of three consecutive wins and a run of 14 top 20 finishes
  • Zara Tindall and the boisterous Fernhill Facetime finished top 15 at Bramham and will be looking to better that
  • Tina Cook and Badminton 2017 top 10 finisher Billy the Red will be looking to cement their place on the Team GBR European’s team.
  • Tim Price and his Burghley 2016 top five partner, Ringwood Sky Boy are in with a shout
  • Bill Levett and Monart Sale graduate Lassban Diamond Lift (Sparkles to his friends) will be looking to put in a good performance after a disappointing Bramham
  • and
  • Sam Watson with Ardagh Highlight are possibly one of my favourite combinations of the whole event and come forward with a win at Ballindenisk CCI2* and a top ten at Belton CIC2* under their belts.

I definitely cannot call this one but we absolutely will witness some of the best Eventing Sport that this country has ever seen this weekend and I CANNOT WAIT!

I’m lucky enough to be joining the ERM gang down there on Friday so will get to witness all of the action from the best seats in the house but as ever, if you aren’t able to join us, (tickets are still for sale online http://www.barburyhorsetrials.co.uk/new/tickets/?ftredirect=1), the ERM CIC3* will be streamed LIVE and for FREE at www.eventridermasters.tv… you might even spot me on there if they don’t keep me locked in a box this time 🙂