I want to wish a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year to all the friends, followers and team at Saracen Horse Feeds. We have been feeding our horses since the beginning of this century on their feed and the results speak for themselves!
Firstly let me give you the low down on what we have been up to since my last news update.
October - the month for demo’s
I was honoured to be invited to Sweden again and this time held a demo at the famous national Equestrian Centre at Stromsholm. This centre is synonymous for the sport of horse racing in Sweden and has a fabulous history. The highlight of the trip had to be the dinner in the castle with the organisers/mangers of the Stromsholm Centre hearing about how it used to be the home of the Swedish Army in the past. Very fitting in this year of remembrance.
On coming home I carried on the racing theme and went to visit Tom Symonds Racing Open Day over in Herefordshire. I have shares in a horse called Dramatic Pause who won his first race this year on his first time out. It’s exciting to have another interest.
This autumn my UK demo was at Myerscough and the UK demos tend to be smaller audiences as we can’t seat as many people so it’s always a good opportunity to introduce some of my younger horses to these audiences so they get used to crowds. This time I had Sadie and Amy Woodhead riding and they were great, but the highlight as always is when Valegro comes out at the end for his “meet and greet” pats and selfies time! He gets mobbed by everyone but that horse just doesn’t mind the huge crowds.
Search for Pony
I am very lucky to have 5 wonderful Godchildren and it has been a dream of mine to breed a dressage pony for those of them that decide to start riding. So I decided to go to the Brightwells Welsh Cob sales in Builth, Wales. I tried my hardest to find a palomino filly but out of a lot of 300 not one of them fitted the bill – so I have had to put my pony breeding career on hold for now.
The next international Demo was in Vancouver, Canada. This was a National Convention and I find it fascinating to meet people all over the world to hear their views on the sport of dressage and see their horses. I was certainly given a great group of enthusiastic guinea pigs to work with during the two days I was there. Vancouver is a beautiful city and I got to experience the FlyOver Canada. This is an incredible 4D cinema where you feel as though you are flying over Canada in a sea plane complete with the effects of the wind, smells (not mine I hasten to add) sounds etc. Totally recommend it.
My Hunting Experience
Due out is a feature in Horse & Hound where I had a change of scene and was invited to go trail hunting for the day with the Heythrop. My good friend Simon Lawrence lent me a Master’s horse for the day and with great trepidation I set off. To say I was nervous was an underestimation! I haven’t jumped anything for nearly ten years and my hearty was in my mouth as we headed towards the first fence. But after clearing the first obstacle the thrill of my eventing days came surging back and I enjoyed three hours of galloping, jumping and having a hoot with the Heythrop hunt. They were great hosts and I can recommend trail hunting to anyone. However what I wasn’t prepared for was the next day – talk about stiff – nothing seemed to move until a few Nurofen had taken effect. Totally different set of muscles to dressage riding!
It’s Olympia so it’s nearly Christmas
So that’s another year over – well nearly. We are now preparing for Olympia and Charlotte will be riding my horse Hawtins Delicato at the show. Her mare has had a slight cough so she has had an easy time so she can’t be expected to compete – so as Charlotte needed to ride – then I gave her Del to compete. It will be exciting for me to watch him as he is on top form and then he will get a well-deserved break until the spring.
New Year Plans
I will be taking Ekitof out in the New Year to do his first Grand Prix. All my horses go and do their first GP tests locally so there is no pressure and they have generally been and competed at those venues so are used to the distractions! I will also be aiming Brioso, my mare who came from a racing yard as a youngster to do some Small Tour shows. I haven’t ridden at Small Tour as have focused on international shows for a while, so will be good to get out and about around the UK and the High Profile shows.
So the only thing to add is have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year and make your New Year resolution to enjoy your horses even more than this year.
Carl Hester and the team