This week we caught up with our 2013 Rising Star winner/Brand Ambassador to see what she’s been up to recently! Look out for her next blog on ‘Retraining Ex-Racehorses for the Show Ring’.
2018 ended on a huge high as Stilo Blue Native was made a cover star for the December issue of Equestrian Life Magazine and we featured in a double page spread write up. This followed the Showing World Magazine ‘In the Spotlight’ November article that Blue featured in following his wins at NCPA POYS, Northern Spectacular and his biggest win to date – winner of the ROR Heart Award Heart Throb Award 2018, judged by Clare Balding. Although last season started late (in June), but successfully, with Blue qualifying for the ROR Novice Aintree Championships, I decided to get to work earlier for my 2019 season and it certainly opened with a bang as I was selected as the winner of the Amy Griffiths Sponsorship Competition, bagging myself some beautiful prizes, including: an embroided rug, a jacket, a saddle cloth and photography vouchers. It is a privilege to write a regular blog for a company that I admire and whose photos I have bought and cherished over the years, which decorate the walls in my house!
Due to working as a full time secondary school English teacher and having three dogs to juggle in my daily routine, it is really difficult to keep the horses in regular work through winter on my DIY livery yard as we have very basic facilities and I battle dark nights and winter weather on my own. My mum comes to help me on a Thursday night after work as she has a Thursday off work and I am always grateful for an extra pair of hands. Mum is also hoping to come to some shows to help groom over the summer too and she is always a great support of my hobby. I now have a horsebox for the first time and so I will be able to travel to venues with indoor schools to make working horses a little easier in the future.
How Equilibrium Products have benefited Samantha
Bow had a very easy year last year after being gelded and Blue had a holiday over winter to help him relax after his novice season and gain a little more furnishing. Both horses were brought back in to work in January and I am really pleased with their progress so far. I use a range of Equilibrium Products to help keep them at their best, including the Massage Pad for warm up and cool down, the Stretch and Flex Wraps for leg protection during exercise and the Magnetic chaps for long hours of stabling to prevent swelling in their limbs. I am
so grateful for the support Equilibrium Products have given me since I won their Rising Star Award in 2013 and it is like Christmas Day whenever an Equilibrium parcel arrives in the post! Winning the Rising Stars Award, led to amazing opportunities like writing for national magazines and winning the TSM BETA International Rider Award 2014. Both horses are fed on Saracen and Equilibrium Products Simply Sunshine which gives them shiny coats and healthy skin– especially over last summer when we really struggled for grass and I was often seen with garden sheers cutting grass for my boys as they live out through Summer!
I am working hard on mind set as anxiety and self-doubt are my weaknesses. This year I gained sponsorship from Mindful Riders who are helping me conquer my fears in order to achieve my season goal: to ride in an SEIB Racehorse2RidingHorse qualifier for the first time since 2013. Although this may seem like a simple goal to some people, it is one that is hugely overwhelming for me and something that I am setting small steps towards achieving. This season is purely about learning, personal progression and having fun – the placings and rosettes are completely irrelevant and any wins are a huge bonus. Sport psychology is something that was introduced to me by a local young rider (Beth Smart, daughter of racehorse trainer, Brian Smart) and she has been a huge support to me and helped to control my nerves. As well as working on myself, I am currently working on Bow’s fitness and jumping as well as Blue’s schooling and weight. Blue is also doing some pole work and I have started having showjumping lessons with Katy Bannon as part of my dream of competing in British Showjumping competitions, which I hope to do
with Blue starting from next year. I think I will always show horses but I am keen to make showjumping my main discipline over the next few years and am dedicated to learning a new way of riding. As much as I love showing and can cherish my achievements and memories over the years, I have really struggled to do what I have done with 2am starts, hours of driving and huge expense with often only my salary and pair of hands to do it all. I do believe that showjumping will be a little more accessible for me as I have three equestrian centres close by with monthly affiliated competitions and so I will save so much time and money. I am so excited for the new chapter to begin but have a few more things I would like to achieve in the showing world first, including riding at Windsor Horse Show for the first time, as well as Aintree. My ultimate goal is to ride in a showjumping class at HOYS.
I planned to support the Winter Woolies Show as my first outing this year as I often attend this show to present the Stevey’s Lad trophy to the highest place ROR/ chestnut horse in the ridden horse section. I decided to take Bow for his first outing in 18 months, and his first outing as a gelding. Gelding Bow has worked a treat and he looks a lot more mature, focused and is much easier to
handle now. He was very mannerly and well behaved all day which has given me a little more confidence for our novice WHP season ahead, starting with a BSPS show at the end of this month. Bow started the day (10th March, Winter Woolies) with a win in the best gelding/stallion inhand class. He then took ring champion. I decided to stand down from the M and M inhand class and to keep him fresh for the supreme inhand. The judge selected him as her supreme champion and was so complementary about his pony quality, conformation and turnout. Although Bow is only 13hh, he is a true to type Highland with super depth and bone. A combination that I love to follow on social media (Eve Duggan and her 15hh SHP mare) stood reserve supreme to us; well done, Eve! I then took part in the novice ridden pony class. Bow stood top of the line of eleven ponies, which is his second win under saddle as he is so lightly shown! I was thrilled with the change in his behaviour under saddle as a result of being gelded! My friends (Tamara Cassells and Claire Batterbee) helped as grooms for the day and worked so hard to help me to get Bow sparkling (with the added help of MP Gloss Products, who I am proud to be a brand ambassador for in 2019).
Thank you for following my blog. Have a fantastic season! Not long now until the clocks change and summer shows begin…
Samantha, Bow and Blue