Brilliant Badminton (and more!)

Hello! Again time seems to have run away with me and the amount we have crammed in since I wrote my last blog would probably fill a short book so I promise I will stick to most interesting bits!!

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First of all I have to mention what a wonderful weekend of sport and THE brilliant result at Badminton Horse Trials last weekend. What an achievement for one of the King’s of eventing, Andrew Nicholson. One completion would be fulfilling many event riders wildest dreams (including mine!) but 37 is quite something else and such an inspiration.

The other thing that leaves me totally in awe of Andrew (and his team) is his innate horsemanship and management of a 17 year old horse meaning that he is still in the peak of his physical fitness and condition to pull of such a wonderful result. And that was his 12th four star completion!! We all know how difficult it is to keep horses sound and fit and this is another reason that Andrew has shot even higher (if that was possible) in my expectations.

Back to real-life and the madness of Jess Campbell, event rider/vet!! My horses have continued their respective event seasons in very pleasing form.

Excitingly after a couple more successful runs at their respective levels both of the ‘grown up’ horses have stepped up a level.

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Bart moved up to BE 100 at Whitfield with a respectable 34 dressage, a slight green moment in the show jumping meant a couple of rails then he stormed round the cross country clear.

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Dan ran in his first Intermediate this past week which was incredibly exciting. Big D really rose to the occasion starting by really settling and listening to me and producing a 29 dressage, trying his socks off in the show jumping just breathing on the first part of the treble and then eating the cross country for breakfast, loving every second of it. It top the day off he finished up 9th!

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It was wonderful to be back riding at this level after a rather long gap spent producing and competing the younger horses. It was made even more special because I’ve been riding Dan since he was a wobbly, gangly 5 year old and realising that he is now and Intermediate Event Horse has made be very very proud of him and how far he has come.

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I am constantly trying to improve and perfect my post cross country leg care to try to look after the horses tendons, joints and ligaments in any way I can. The importance of ice and compression cannot be stressed highly enough but together with Jenny Watson I have started to add a few things after my normal icing routine.

Number One – Ice for 15 minutes followed by a 20 minute break and repeat. In short, removing heat from the limbs ASAP and trying to prevent or reduce any swelling by vasoconstriction of the local blood vessels.

Number Two – Aloe Vet Spray. To help any bruising or small skin nicks.

Number Three – Aloe MSM Gel. Containing MSM which soothes and helps to support the tendons and ligaments in their recovery.

All fingers very tightly crossed and touching all the wood in reach but this routine seems to be working very well for the horses so far this season so I’m excited to continue with it and to carry on having happy, fit horses around!

Rockingham CIC* is next for Dan and another BE100 run for Bart at Borde Hill. It has been wonderful bumping in to some of our GVG clients and other blog readers at events. Please do shout at me if you see me because it’s fab to say hello outside of work!

In the mean time I will carry on doing a rain dance but goodbye from me and these two super cute, future Event stars!

Jess

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5, 4, 3, 2, 1… and We’re Off!!

Actually somehow we are already a month in to the event season, how did that happen?! Get ready for a photo overload…

Dan kicked off the first couple of events in pleasing style. Twesledown Novice had a couple of rusty moments in the dressage and show jumping but they seemed to iron out a bit in our second run at Lincoln.

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Both events he was flying cross country and has been feeling like he is thrilled to be back out eventing. The best feeling at the beginning of the season!!

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Then followed the first run out for a couple of the babies at Goring Horse Trials. I love taking them out the first time and finding out what they’re really made of!

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Fabuleux (aka Fable) is a super little mare I have the pleasure of riding and eventing for her owner to give her a helping hand. Fable is really rather talented but is well aware of that so can be a little full of herself at times! She excelled herself in her first run of the season in the BE100 at Goring this season though and was feeling much stronger than the end of last year and managed to come home with a 5th and a VERY large bag of carrots!

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The new Irish boy, Global High Society (aka Bart) was a little gem in his first event. A sweet dressage followed by a baby pole in the SJ and a storming clear xc left him with his first rosette (and many more carrots!) in 6th.

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Last weekend was another Novice run for Big Dan at South of England. The dressage arena being on a bit of a slope didn’t play in his favour being a bit gangly still but he followed a 34 dressage with one down SJ and a speedy clear cross country.

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Dan is making the cross country feel easier and easier with every run so up grading to intermediate is starting to feel like more of a reality with every event. I’m having to try to stop myself from getting VERY excited!!

That is all our early eventing antics up to date for now. Tomorrow is another run for the babies at Ascott Under Wychwood so I’d better get cracking.

I hope you are all having a wonderful and chocolate filled Easter Weekend.

Jess x

Introducing Team 2017!

As this season’s wonderful madness is about to kick off in earnest I thought I had better introduce the team. Equine first of course!!

 

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AGHALAAN WEE DAN – Dan, Daniel or Dave to his friends.

Dan is the Team Captain this year! He stands at a rather large 17hh (although he doesn’t think he’s that big!) and is rising 8.

Anyone who spotted my blog at the end of last season will know that last year’s season was cut short at the point of stepping up to 1* because of a kick in the field – horses! Dan’s tentative plan this season will be to step up to intermediate.

 

img_3140GLOBAL HIGH SOCIETY – Bart

Bart is 16hh, rising 6yo, Connemara x TB. He is our new Irish import of only a couple of weeks. Owned by a wonderful, enthusiastic syndicate, some of whom are new to this eventing lark!

We still have plenty of getting-to-know-each other to do and he has pretty much just been hunting so far but he is rather smart (and he knows it!) so it’ll be really exciting to see how he progresses this year.

 

 

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STARLIGHT ROYAL – Star

Star is our little 14.1hh (although she definitely doesn’t think she’s a pony!), 7yo mare. She was bred by Jane Holderness-Roddam and is by Littledale Brightstar (Grandsire Catherston Nightsafe) so is definitely an eventing aristocrat.  We’re all watching with bated breath!

She has done a little hunting but not much else so will be joining the other two babies starting her eventing career this season.

 

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QUICK GUY – Womble, or sometimes Wobble!

The baby of the team, Womble is rising 5 this year and was started late so has a fair bit of catching up to do. He is very willing and tries his heart out. At the moment his legs seem to get longer and longer every day so we are taking everything very steadily and letting him grow into himself in his own time.

 

In addition to my crew, I will be riding Fabuleux (Fable) at some more events this season whilst gradually passing the reins over to her owner, Flo.

I’m very lucky and ridiculously excited to have such a wonderful team of young horses to event this season. No eventing would be possible without the incredible support of my parents and the team at home, led by the indispensable help and guidance from my long time mentor and coach Sarah MacDonald.

Here’s to 2017; I hope you all have a fun and safe season with your horses!!

 

Deutschland, Dressage and Devastating News.

It has been a very sad week. My beloved first horse, Barnaby, who took me from Pony Club to my first international event was put to sleep after fracturing his radius in the field. He was the most kind, forgiving horse with the biggest heart and absolutely worth his weight in gold – putting up with my many mistakes and teaching me the ropes. He is responsible for the eventing addiction I have today.

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It was incredibly tough to say goodbye to the superstar who was such big part of my life.

Steve was absolutely incredible even though I was totally pathetic!!

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In much more up-beat news I was over in Germany trying to do some more horse shopping at the beginning of the month. The way horses are bred and produced over there are is another world all together. The studs are breeding top class horses on a huge scale – all young stock are kept in big barns, slightly reminiscent of barns of cows in the UK.

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Sadly no purchase my end although I did join the 2017 fallers club off a just backed 4yo. Of course just for the entertainment of everyone else there! I even managed to get roped in to doing some ‘off duty’ vet work whilst over there.

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Back at home we’ve been out and about getting some ring practice before the season starts. Dan improved hugely at his second dressage outing to win his class and baby Womble was beautifully behaved at his first competitive outing and tried really hard for a respectable 67%.

There’s another trip to Ireland on the horizon next week as well as more show jumping and dressage practice, with the first entries in the season seems to be fast approaching.

I hope everyone’s horses have come out of the winter feeling well. Fingers crossed that the weather gods cheer up and decide to get the sun out very soon!!

Jess x

 

 

 

Here comes 2017!!

I hope you are all feeling suitably full and relaxed after Christmas, Happy New Year and all that! I used the excuse of having lots of horses to muck out to the full!

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Now it’s full steam ahead to the 2017 season. It feels like it’s going to be an exciting one!

I have a few exciting new partnerships and I can’t wait to continue developing them over the course of this year. The first being brand ambassador for Jenny Watson’s Forever Aloe Oaklands.

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The involvement of Jenny and the Aloe Vera products has been a tremendous boost. Jenny has ridden at a high level in dressage so understands the pressures and stresses of life with equines, and she knows exactly which products are useful and when, for both humans and horses.

I’ve been on the drinking gel for about five weeks now and am feeling the benefits already, just having that bit of extra energy. They also have great digestive properties: all the Christmas food and no feeling horribly stodgy and bloated!

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Winter training is hotting up and freezing over in equal measure. The horses have been out jump training but schooling is a bit stop-start at the moment with everything freezing over. Hopefully things will start warming up and we’ll be back in full swing preparing fully for the event season which now feels like it’s very much on the horizon!

My final piece of exciting news is that thanks to some generous offers of syndication I am on the hunt for a new youngster to add to the team for the coming season. Horse shopping has to be the best type of shopping – Germany and Ireland are on the cards… Watch this space!

Best wishes and good health to all of you and your four legged friends for 2017.

Jess.

International Adventures

The event season is now well and truly over; what else to do but chase some autumn sun for an end of season get away!

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I managed to sneak a couple of days off work and made the most of the horses having a bit of down time. Heading to Portugal to enjoy a few gorgeous days of coastal exploring and intensive relaxing. It’s a tough life!!

Feeling recharged and and sun soaked it was back to the UK to do a couple of busy weekends of on-call before jumping on a plane to Ireland for the Monart Sale.

Monart was an eye-opener. It is based at Niall and Lucy Griffin’s beautiful Wexford base which we tried to appreciate it as much as possible between torrential downpours! There were 91 horses entered in the sale, the majority of which were unbroken 3 year olds along with several broken 4, 5 and 6 year olds.

It was a fantastic experience to watch such a quantity of horses of such quality. A great opportunity to sharpen my eye as well as keeping up to speed with the current breeding trends.

The auction itself, held in the hotel restaurant, was very exciting to watch and required a huge amount of self control to stop myself getting involved!! Maybe next time…?!

So back to reality now; it’s Meagan’s turn to go on holiday so all hands on deck. Winter training with the horses is steadily starting to pick up again – DAN IS BACK TROTTING!!!!!

I’m sure you will (but hope you don’t) understand that feeling!

Until next time, J.

Eventing By Proxy

So with Dan well and truly out of action and a couple of the other horses I event for people having holidays for one reason and another I’ve suddenly found myself needing to find other ways to get my eventing fix!

I have been avidly following the new Event Rider Master’s series, which is an innovative new way of trying to broadcast our fantastic sport to a wider audience (http://eventridermasters.tv/). The whole series has been streamed live online and I think the aim is to try and move it on to TV next which would be quite exciting!

The final of the series was held at Blenheim and by happy coincidence my boyfriend was jumping in the charity high-jump so we went and combined the two over the weekend. He was riding Leo, his super 7yo who jumped beautifully to be knocked out at the second last height, jumping a very respectable 1.72m! The class was held in aid of the Willberry Wonder Pony charity which raises money for bone cancer research as well as granting horsey wishes to seriously ill young people. It was set up by the incredibly inspirational Hannah Francis who passed away recently after fighting a very severe bone cancer herself (https://www.willberrywonderpony.org/).

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If anyone has experienced having a horse on box rest and starting a “controlled exercise” plan you will be able to relate to the (?!)fun I’m currently having starting walking a rather keen Dan. As much as I am thrilled that he is on the mend and starting work again is finally on the horizon… I think possibly having treated his leg from the beginning only makes me more on edge as he decides the tree on the yard has turned into some form of horse eating monster!!

Sorry for the brief and competition free update. I watched Bicton and Gatcombe pass us by feeling quite left out. Hopefully there will be more excitement to report on shortly! I hope the end of everyone else’s event/summer competition seasons have been going more to plan.

Jess

 

 

It was all going too well.

All is still going well on GVG Brooks side of things (touch wood!), I feel like I’m starting to get to know more people which is really lovely. It’s also starting to feel like I’m getting to know my way around even if the numbers of U-turns I do a day may suggest otherwise…

With Dan on flying form I was very excited to get him to the CIC* at Bicton which would have been his first international event. Sadly horses are horses and when I went to ride him early on the Monday morning before work he had a very large right fore above his knee. In a bit of a panic I rushed into the practice to grab the x-ray machine and raced back with all my fingers crossed that I was just being paranoid.

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Dan’s chipped radius

Sadly, I wasn’t. Horses! He has chipped his radius and although it doesn’t look too dramatic there may well be other little fractures which we have to wait a few weeks before we’ll see them on x-ray. His bandage is on and now he is cross-tied just to be extra cautious. Very frustrating timing but it could have been much worse and he’ll be back to fight again next season, fingers crossed. He is currently feeling quite sorry for himself, very bored in his box.

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In more exciting news my little six year old, Harry, was out eventing at Aston le Walls in the BE100. He was a star from start to finish and just rolled a couple of babyish poles in the showjumping. He is such a sweet heart to do and could not be easier which makes the day very enjoyable and relaxing! Here he is showing off his scope.

Sadly having missed Bicton and an end of season three day now being out of the question for Dan it’s time for a re-think for the rest of the season. I got my eventing fix this weekend watching Burghley Horse Trials on the red  button. What an exciting competition it was. Fantastic to see the cross country back at the forefront, where it belongs! Massive congratulations to Chris Burton, what a result to roll four show jumps and still hold on to his lead!!

It seems like Autumn has decided to arrive with a vengeance today so I hope you’re not getting too soaked doing your horses!

Jess

Starting out.

This past week I have mostly been on chauffeur duties whilst Steve recovers from his shoulder surgery. It’s been a great way of having an introduction to the practice and meeting lots of you!

I’ve had a fun introduction with lots of Veterinary First Aid talks for Pony Club Camps. We have been to Mid Surrey, Surrey Union and West Kent Meopham. They have all been very enjoyable thanks to some lovely and very enthusiastic children (and their parents!).

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I have been all the way through the Pony Club up to achieving my A test, as a member of the Sandown Chase, loving every minute of it so it’s fantastic to see so many children also having an amazing time in their respective branches and feel like I can give something tiny back!

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It has also been a busy week on the eventing front. I had three horses running at Wilton Horse Trials in Salisbury on Sunday. Dan was in the Novice and jumped another storming double clear, popping round making it feel easy! He is quite big and gangly still so dressage  in a 20x40m arena isn’t very easy for him so there is plenty of improvement to come in this phase but he is such a trier.

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I was also riding Tommy, a lovely 6 year old, in the Novice. I started riding Tommy for his owner earlier this season to give him some more experience and hopefully get him established for a junior rider to be able to take on in the future.

Wilton was our first Novice together and he did a smart test of a 26 followed by a much improved show jumping with one down and a super round cross country just marred by a green glance off at the second part of a double of corners. He is an absolute pocket rocket and very flashy on the flat so has a very exciting future ahead of him!

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Last but definitely not least was Fable in the BE100. She had waited very patiently on the lorry all morning and was ready to get going! She really felt like she has grown up a huge amount already since Little Downham with a much more settled test followed by an unlucky pole show jumping. Again she absolutely flew cross country, loving every minute of it. I think that feeling of the horses loving the cross country is what we all event for!!

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It’s full steam ahead to the next events at the moment with Dan’s first international, the CIC* at Biscton fast approaching. It’ll be amazing to be riding back in top hat and tails again.

I hope everyone has enjoyed their Pony Club and other camps that seem to also be in full swing at the moment!

Hello!!

Hello, I’m Jess, the newest vet to join the team at GVG Brooks. I’m starting this blog for anyone who’s interested in having an insight into the highs and lows of combining being an equine vet and an event rider!

Very briefly, a bit about my background, I live quite locally and we’ve always used the practice for our horses so it’s great feeling like I know the rest of the team fairly well already. I graduated from the Royal Veterinary College and can’t wait to get stuck in and meet everyone.

Initially I am going to be working for Steve three days a week and in the rest of my time I will be focusing on my eventing. I have evented up to intermediate and CCI** level in the past and this season I am incredibly lucky to have a number of lovely young horses to produce and event. A couple are my own horses and a few I am riding for other people.

To kick things off I was at Little Downham on Sunday with two horses. Dan, my 17.2hh 7 year old (who thinks he is really a Labrador rather than an event horse) and Fable, a very talented (even if she is a little sassy at times!) 6 year old who I am riding for her owner to give her a bit more experience.

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Dan concentrating hard!

Dan was running in his second Novice which was quite a step up at LD. He jumped a super double clear which felt all the more rewarding as we had quite a number of green wobbles at water last year with him and yesterday he stormed through both water complexes very confidently.

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We had Fable in the BE100, her first event with us. She was also on form and contained herself brilliantly in the dressage and followed up with a lovely double clear. She is definitely an exciting one for the future! I ran both horses fairly steadily cross country so picked up a hand full of time penalties which dropped both just out of the placings but it was a brilliant, educational day for both horses.

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Fable flying the last.

I hope everyone has had a lovely weekend in the sunshine. Bring on next week, back being a vet and looking forward to eventing at Wilton next weekend!