REBECCA ROOKE, Cussay, France
LATEST BLOG FROM NOV-JAN 2013
My Final blog of the year for 2012 (oops just a couple of weeks late) is going to be a summary of my experiences with horses in Europe since June.
The decision to go to Germany for training with two horses (one mine and one from Muschamp) was so that I could gain more experience with my riding of young horses, to see how other trainers prepare and produce horses for the renowned young horse dressage classes. Well it turned out to be an eye opener. I found the daily work very demanding. I work my horses hard at home, but there seemed to be so much more pressure put on the horses during my month’s stay. Great facilities, beautifully manicured surfaces, but no suggestion of a change of scenery for the horses mind. We were in that arena every day………..! Something always under discussion is the Geman methods of training – of-course it is fine if the horse in question can deal with the pressure, but not so good if ‘chill out’ time is necessary for their brain in the form of hacking and turning out.
Unfortunately one of the horses broke out with a foot abscess a couple of days before the competition, so in the end I was only able to take one. Ringing my boss who was making the journey by car from France – 14 hours of driving - proved to be difficult! The competition itself was yet another test of my nerves – I had to learn the German dressage tests and cope with all things German. At least there many people speak English, (un like in France), so that helped my moral! The only competition I found time to go to was the Trakehner show. Yes, 750 horses and all Trakehners competing in four disciplines, including carriage driving!! It was an interesting long weekend. I didn’t win, but never mind I might try again next year.
So back to France, thrown in the deep end – two 3yr olds to prepare for the qualifying round, which will hopefully allow me to compete at Saumur in September, the National Dressage competition. Having worked with Trakehners for some 3 years now, they are quite obliging if well prepared. The two in question I had ridden and schooled for about three months before going to Germany, and whilst away they had six weeks break. When I had returned the gelding looked like a broodmare and had to go on a drastic diet. But we were successful and qualified.
August in France is summertime. Nice weather and as all the French go on holiday, so do the horses and me too, as there are no competitions. My boyfriend and I travelled right down to the south of France and into Spain following the coast line. What a way to relax drinking Sangrias and swimming in the Mediterranean at sunset. By the way neither of us speak Spanish, and my boyfriend doesn’t speak English, so my French is becoming more fluent!
La Grande Semaine de Saumur is always an exciting time (and with lots of pressure) and to add to this my special dad arrived the day before from Australia. This time he came to watch his own horse, Muschamp Rhapsodie de Coeur, known as Rhianna, and not her rider! So once again he acted as groom and really did work very hard throughout the weekend. My stress levels were at their max. I needed to do well in order to preserve our reputation of winning two classes from last year.
Unfortunately this time round there were no overall champions. However our reputation was upheld. Rhianna came 4th overall out of 60 horses in her young horse class, Scoring 84% in the final round. Rapelezmoi (Rosa) was Reserve Champion in the 3 year old mare section. Out of all the 3 year olds, including the stallions, Rosa was awarded the highest marks under saddle. Hercule came 3rd in the 3yr old gelding section. He did perform to his best as he was feeling the ordeal of the competition.
As a result of our success we sold the 3 year old Rosa the day after the event- the clients were so determined not to miss out on the sale, they came to the stud the next day (just 1 and half hours drive from Saumur) to look at her again and to organize vet checks etc. In addition someone else who was admiring our youngsters went onto our website and saw that we had Rosa’s 10 yr old mother also for sale. This turned out to be a really special sale as Rendezvous was sold to a very talented young rider who happens to be a member of the French young rider dressage team. Rendezvous was very special to us as she had produced some fantastic offspring. One of those happens to be mine, (actually my dad’s) Muschamp Rhapsodie de Coeur.
The yearly highlight for the Trakehner breed worldwide is the International Stallion Market of the German Trakehner Verband in Neumünster. In October 2012 we headed for Germany. The Trakehner Verband were celebrating their 50th aniversary and I was going to be there. Breeders, sellers, buyers, riders, trainers and friends of the Trakehner horse came from all over the world. The event consists of four straight days of nothing else but Trakehner horses. A new stallion crop is presented for evaluation and approval. Some 150, 2 year old colts are screened each year during the summer selection tour in August. Aproximatley 40 – 60 colts then move forward.
The best brood mare auction in all of Germany is held on Saturday afternoon. The selection of the annual "National Champion Mare" is an event not to be missed as well. This is the parade of all regional champion mares of one year. Elite foals of the year, and a selection of fine riding horses are also up for auction over the weekend.
Thursday begins with the colts being trotted up on the hard surface in front of the judges and crowd. A good first impression is hard to make. The colts are generally very anxious and on their toes in the icey cold weather.
Friday is the free jumping phase. The colts are generally a little more relaxed by now.
Saturday is the last chance for the colts to make their impression. They are shown at liberty. The liberty phase was conducted in the much admired Dutch fashion, with horses being led through a number of figure eights before trotting and cantering down the longside.
We are told Saturday afternoon which colts have been approved. This year 11 colts were approved out of 44. On Sunday the champion is announced. The proclaimed champion was a stallion called Donauruf ( by E.H. Herzruf x Exorbitant xx) with 50% TB blood through his second generation. (both dam and sire were Anglo-bred) Standing at 1.70m, this tall youngster had a most impressive frame and one of the best, most solid foundations of the crop. Herzruf just happens to be the sire of my mare Rhianna !
The Trakehner grading was a fantastic experience and a superb way of getting in touch with Trakehner enthusiasts from around the world. Hopefully I will be able to go again this year.
Bye for now from France,
LATEST BLOG FROM FRANCE (APRIL 2012)
Winter in central France. How I survived I’m not quite sure especially as it was minus 17o at 8 o’clock each morning and minus 25o at night for a period of nearly a month. Gee that’s what you call freezing………… do you realise what that actually means? NOTHING WORKED! The water was frozen, the power cut out, the cars wouldn’t start and to top it all I couldn’t even ride my horses. It was too dangerous. So getting out of bed to go to work was a real mission.
However when the snow arrived the horses thought they were in heaven. No work – it was to become playtime for them. They were out during the day with at least three layers of rugs in paddocks deep in snow. They had fun, in fact they loved it, but when I came to bring them in at night they were on ‘tip toes’ as the snow had balled up in their feet. The snow had turned into ice. Getting it out was something else.
I should add that, despite the hard work of carrying buckets of water for 19 horses from the one and only tap that was working and throwing salt everywhere to make sure that neither horse nor human slipped over and broke bones, I had some fun in my time off! My boyfriend and I spent hours making a giant snow man. He had stony eyes, a carrot nose and fine branches from the tree for his arms!
Anyway that aside I saw light at the end of the tunnel and now it’s all over and spring has arrived. Today it was mild and nearly T shirt weather.
For now I have a new role in life: chief stable manager! Good experience, I guess. It seems that the 19 horses at Muschamp are now under my care. This is because we have suddenly become short staffed, so if anyone is looking for an OE feel free to write and find out more about this great opportunity! Handling broodmares and youngsters is not really my thing. I’m a rider and prefer to be on top of the horse, not alongside, but I am managing and it has helped me understand the difficulties of overseeing young French trainees……….! So that’s why I need some more help from down under!
Competitions have begun plus I have three 3 year olds that I have just broken in and bringing on. So that means seven horses to ride on a daily basis………………………….a busy bee!
Two of the riding horses were entered into the first comp of the season for Muschamp. One a ten year old called Rendez-vous, known to us as Rhonda, who had been a brood mare until last spring. She can’t breed any more (except by ET), so we put her under saddle and after a lot of hard work she is now ready to sell on. However in France it is difficult to sell older horses if they have not competed. Rhonda is a lovely mare, although a little sensitive, but she went out and won at this, her very first dressage competition, with 68% at a level equivalent in Oz to elementary, so I was very pleased with her. We were competing against the well know world eventing champion Jean Teulère! Dare I say it he made a mistake and got lost in the test – these things can happen to us all.
At this same comp I had also entered Rhianna (Muschamp Rhapsodie de Coeur), who was often mentioned in last year’s blogs. My favourite ride and actually the six year old daughter of Rhonda, who is now owned by my father..…………….. since dad lives in Oz, I guess she is really mine!
We travelled in a small horse van, which is a great little vehicle that I can drive on my car licence. Rhianna decided that she had never been weaned from her mother and therefore when she was taken off the van leaving her buddy friend behind she was not going to play the game! Being in season didn’t help and no doubt added to the havoc that she caused in the actual arena! To make matters worse there were also three stallions responding to her calls! No rosettes this time.
Never mind one week later Rhianna redeemed herself by scoring 74% in the young horse qualifier for Saumur next September. We have to have two winnings of over 68% to qualify for these championships, so we are half way there.
In the next four weeks we have a very busy schedule. Training with three different trainers, weekly competitions and three lovely youngsters that need to continue with their schooling in order to qualify for the National Dressage Champs.
No doubt there will be lots to tell you in my next blog, so I will be back again in a month’s time. Meanwhile you could go onto the Muschamp Trakehners Face Book page and see some photos of the 3 year olds under saddle.
Interview with Janet, Muschamp stud owner.
We are in the middle of winter here in France. Being in Europe I thought that I should make the most of this opportunity and organised to take a break for a week to go skiing in the Alps with my French boyfriend – only on the understanding that I returned with no broken bones! What an amazing week. I had only ever skied before for two days in Oz, and this was something else! I had a great time and loved the skiing. I think we should all give up horses for the winter and take up skiing.
After all, working with the horses at this time of year is really routine – no outings, nothing happening, just training, and so instead of boring you with a standard ‘blog’, I asked my boss if I could interview her!
An Interview with my boss Janet Scollay-Lorch
Janet, I have always wondered why you decided to move to France from the UK and then continue breeding Trakehner horses?
Well, I have always been ‘charmed’ by the French culture, and after marrying a New Zealander, whose mother was French, and who didn’t really want to stay in the UK, we started doing some research into the then current horse market and found that the dressage world in France was ‘up and coming’.
I personally had travelled there a lot and felt I had a good enough grounding in the French language so I foresaw an opportunity to follow in the family tradition and become a ‘promoter of the Trakehner breed’ - this time in France - by transferring Muschamp’s breeding programme to that country.
England was by then (autumn 1996) more than well catered for in the world of Trakehners and for me it was time to ‘move on’………………..little did I know what was in store for us all!!
Can you explain to me a little about your current Trakehner breeding programme?
Muschamp has a small herd of brood mares with well-known pedigrees orientated towards dressage and eventing and most importantly the ability to perform.
My best mare is the state premium mare Hoffnungsvolle by Herzzauber out of a mare by Hemingway/Flaneur. It was her that produced the two champions under saddle this year. Then I have a beautiful black state premium Hohenstein mare, a premium home bred mare by Sponek out of Pour La Joie by Arogno and two young mares for the future with which I intend using Embryo Transfer in 2012.
So, how many Trakehners are actually bred each year in France?
There are 20,000 horses born each year in France, the majority of which are the Selle Français, the national breed of France. However, of actual pure Trakehners there are only approximately 20 born in any one year. There are just five or six studs throughout France. Many other breeders are realising that the Trakehner is an ideal horse to use to ‘up-grade ‘other breeds. As the majority of Selle Français horses do not, on the whole, have a good movement, French breeders are looking to cross their Selle Français mares with a warm blood as an ‘improver’. .
One example of a stallion that is being used is the Trakehner Grafenstolz by Polarion out of the State Premium mare Gypsy Lady by Camelot. He became France’s eventing champion in 2008 and is being used quite a lot on eventing mares. So there are more and more part-bred Trakehners out and about.
Have you ever used Grafenstolz on your Trakehner mares?
Yes we have: two yearlings by Graf and one two year old. They are all smart types and potentially very good eventing prospects for the future if his other young stock are anything to go by! We are actually an agent for his semen in France.
Do you have a good stud vet nearby?
That part of my research into our area of France went very wrong. I won’t go into detail, but it got to the point where I was going to have to give up breeding or start our own insemination centre! So we did the latter and in the spring of 2008, eighteen months after arriving, we opened the doors to our new business. The admin and protocol for actually getting to that point were indescribably complicated, but by good fortune I had met an experienced gynaecological vet who was looking for a seasonal contract, so together we marketed the facility. Out of the wood work arrived all these Selle Français mares wishing to be inseminated with frozen semen! In 2009 we had 80 mares pass through our centre.
Since that year our French vet has moved on, and it has been hard to find another French vet who will just do the stud season. However, we are very lucky that when it is spring for us here in France it is winter in Australia. We now have an arrangement with one of Australia’s leading gynaecological vets, Robyn Woodward, who works with her husband Max Wilson in Queensland at Wilson’s Equine Veterinary Services. They come and stay for the stud season and run our insemination centre.
So do your horses live out a lot or are they all kept stabled?
We have about 25 ha of grass paddocks. The brood mares and youngsters are out at grass as much as possible, but it gets very cold here in winter, so they have to be stabled some of the time. The young horses under saddle are always in at night, but we try and put them out in paddocks daily when possible.
What do you do about feed?
The majority of breeders in France mix up their own feed in the old fashioned way – oats, soaked maize and barley plus they add some extra minerals. Bear in mind that they are mainly breeding France’s own national breed the Selle Francais, and the size and type of this horse can vary enormously. The famous blood lines are those for jumping. Everyone in our area is mad keen on jumping, with dressage still in its infancy.
So to go back to feed: we tried a couple of the French brands with very poor results. We had trouble with bone growth in the youngsters and lack of muscle structure with the horses in work. We did manage to bring in some feed from the UK, but it wasn’t a consistent enough supply to rely on.
In our first year I made a big effort to get out and visit other stud farms, horse events and other associated activities. On one of these occasions I visited Haras des Briandes, aTrakehner stud near Lyon belonging to Suzanne Barthod, president of the French Trakehner Society (AFT). Her horses looked great and she was feeding the ST. HIPPOLYT range, imported from Germany. Now we feed St Hippolyt to all our Trakehners and it has made an enormous difference to the way they look and perform. To help with the financial burden we have become the main agent for this feed in the centre and west of France.
Do you do any in-hand showing?
Not very much as there is only one main show for the warm blood horse in the year. It is run by France Dressage and takes place at Saumur at the end of September together with the French National Dressage Championships.
There are in-hand classes for foals (not brood mares) and two year olds.
The horse has to qualify for this event at a regional show in August.
At the Saumur championships there is also a class for three year olds. They have to be shown in hand on the first day, being judged by a panel of judges including judges from Germany and Holland, and then the day after are judged under saddle. It is this class in which we became champions in September this year with our Trakehner filly Muschamp Harmonie by Titelheld out of the mare Hoffnungsvolle.
Were there many Trakehners present at this event?
No; I would say that75% were warm bloods – Hanoverians, KWPN and Oldenburgs - and the rest Selle Français. Trakehners probably made up about 5%, but interestingly the Trakehners that were present accounted for several of the top placings.
Is there a Trakehner breed society in France?
The Trakehner Association - known as the AFT - was founded by Dr Dirk Langle who still acts as the registrar. The AFT mainly caters for the breeders and organises one promotional event annually as well as the foal branding. Because France is such a large country the branding takes place at various studs throughout France. There is no annual show as the French don’t like to travel their horses very far and never seem to travel mares with foals at foot, except for the finals in Saumur. This society is a daughter association to the German Trakehner Society who organise the famous grading of 2 year old stallions at Neumunster on an annual basis.
Is it easy to sell Trakehners in France?
The answer to that question is very easy – it is a big NO! However I have to admit that after five years of learning about this market it is becoming easier for us. The word is getting around that we are producing top quality Trakehners, and the breed is becoming better known and, thanks to you Becky, we are winning competitions! Winning a national championship for young horses does get you noticed!
Sadly the standard of riding here is not high, so we have to be ultra-careful to whom the horses are sold. It is no good some young girl falling in love with an attractive Trakehner with lovely paces and the history that goes with it if they do not have the ability to ride the horse! The French trend is to have a ‘project’ and they do massive research before purchasing, ……..which is not a bad thing.
However, as they don’t like to travel they want to see videos and more videos, masses of photos and then, of course, the trainer has to be involved too! Vet checks are as difficult as in the UK.
Nevertheless we have actually sold our Trakehners quite well when we look back over the five years. We now have a waiting list for 4 & 5 year olds under saddle………which can’t be bad!
So now that we are well into 2012, what is in store for me and your horses?!
Well – not the Olympics …….yet! However we will keep Harmonie (3yr old National French dressage champion) so that you can try to win with her again in at Saumur. Then we have your favourite Rhianna (that’s the 6 year old) who hopefully will also fly a winning flag for Muschamp.
In addition you want to compete in Germany at the Trakehner Bundeschampionat, Hanover in July. That would be really exciting. I have never had one of our home bred horses compete in Germany. This championship is the annual meeting for all Trakehner horses in Europe and they have classes for all the disciplines. Maybe we can get also you some training in Germany and perhaps you could take up the offer that was made to you by the head of the most famous German stallion training centre and go and ride young stallions being prepared for their 3 year old performance test. All in all plenty to work towards for next season!
So my interview finished: I hope that you enjoyed it.
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Fourth Blog.. August/Sept 2011
The countdown is on...less than 2 weeks to go until the "Grande Semaine de Saumur", which incidentally means the French Young Horse Dressage championships. Saumur is a beautiful town, with one of the grandest castles in France overlooking the River Loire. A town renowned for its excellent wine in addition to Le Cadre Noir. I'm anxious, yet very excited.
I am taking 3 lovely young horses to Saumur - 3 yo Harmonie, 4 yo Handsome Harry, and 5yo Rhapsodie de Coeur, all Muschamp bred young Trakehner horses.
After seven busy months of training and preparing, the event is finally in sight. Keeping the youngsters ticking over - without applying too much pressure - has been difficult. It is even harder making sure that they don't peak too soon, so that when competition day arrives they will perform at their best.
My stress levels have been running considerably high for a couple of weeks now: I just hope I have them under control for the event! As we all know if the rider is nervous, then the horse will sense this nervous rider. And I am also sure that when the horses step off the truck their adrenalin will already be raging at a rate of knots. For the young horse three year old test I have to ride in the arena with two other horses and the commands will be read out in French by a caller. Never mind- all should be calm on the day. My dad is flying over from Oz to watch and I know he'll be a good calming influence - can't wait!
Next Sunday my trainer Helene Schulte arrives. She is staying here for the week to tune me up..... and the horses. Run through the tests, improve the transitions and ensure I can understand the French caller!
Last week Muschamp Stud had a 'visitation' from Germany. Every year before the season's foals are weaned, they have to be looked at by a judging commission of the breed. In the case of France, the French Trakehner association organises a week when the judges (including representation from Germany) go around to various studs to judge then brand this season's foals. (See Muschamp Trakehners Facebook page for pictures of this year's foals).
In addition, if the stud has a mare of 3 years of age or over, that they wish to breed with in the future, this mare is presented to the judges for grading. Marks are allocated for type, conformation, limbs, paces and overall impression. Any horse that gets over 53 is a potential premium mare. Muschamp Harmonie (my 3yo ride for Saumur) was awarded 55, so with luck I might be able to do the performance test with her in Germany next year!
During the last week of August it was time to go on holiday. I packed my bags and set off with my French boyfriend to the West Coast of France for a week. The French all take their holidays during the month of August - midsummer- and the sun is supposed to be shining!
Unfortunately this year summer never really arrived. However, we were fortunate enough to have super weather for most of the week. Thousands of the French population had flocked to the beach and it was heaving. Most of the time we spent tanning ourselves in the brilliant hot sun, spending big at the shops (mostly window shopping), and wining and dining at some very smart restaurants, for which of course, France has a very good reputation. All in all we had an awesome time travelling to several different little places along the coast. Not only did I have a fantastic holiday, but so did my riding horses "chilling out" in the paddocks.
So life in France is good - next month hopefully I will be just as positive - all depends on the results of Saumur!
Third Blog.. July 2011
Mid summer here in France - not as hot as usual (21 degrees should be nearer 28), so being cooler helps with the schooling of the horses.
Early morning starts are OK, but I now have a social life, which is great, but summer BBQs tend to start late and go on all night! Believe it or not it stays light here until at least 10.30pm. Anyway I am at last meeting lots of people my own age and speaking more and more French!
All that helps when it comes to the rules and regulations for competitions. They seem very complicated and a mass of detail, so for me, still very hard to understand.
In order to compete one must know how the system works - it's all computerised- we enter the event just seven days before the comp. and we can see how many entries for each class and 3 days later the allocated times are available to view. Then immediately after the competition the results are up for everyone to see. It's a great system - we have our own account and if we win money it goes directly into our account, and so far this season we are nearly breaking even!
Last month I said that my next competition would be at a very smart place... and so it was! In Pompadour at the National Stud, which is funded by the government. (In Oz we have nothing to compare this with, so I will expand a little next month). It has over 170 permanent boxes and nearly 140 days per year dedicated to equestrian International and National events. The atmosphere was somewhat overpowering for young Handsome Harry, coming from a very quiet country area and only being broken in earlier this year. Nevertheless this lovely Trakehner had confidence in me and did everything right...except for taking a major dislike to the photographer, who was quietly clicking away at the side of the arena totally oblivious to Harry's concerns!
The standard was high - we were competing in the four year old young horse dressage class - and we came away with a 1st place on day one in the 'preliminaire' and again a 1st place on day two in the Finale, which is in fact a harder test. The horses are judged on their individual paces as well as submission and overall impression.
Most horses in France are Selle Francais - this is the French breed of riding horse. However, warmbloods are becoming more popular, as is the dressage discipline.
I compete to assist Haras de Muschamp (Muschamp Stud) in its aim to promote the awareness of the Trakehner breed throughout this vast country. Totilas, has of-course, done a fantastic job, his sire being the famous Trakehner Gribaldi, but generally in France, dressage is just beginning, and Trakehners are beginning to be noticed.
This week-end on Sunday there is an important event just one hour from here where we are going with four two year olds in-hand and my best three year old called Muschamp Harmonie. It is the qualifying event for the Saumur breeding horse classes in September. The two year olds are judged on conformation and paces - all in hand in an indoor arena. The three year old I will ride in a dressage arena and have to ride a simple test. It is merely to show off their paces and way of going. Upon completion the tack is removed and the conformation judged...so wish me luck that this lovely three year old will manage to cope with the atmosphere!
Speak to you next month.... Rebecca Rooke, Cussay, France
Muschamp Handsome Harry, below at Pompadour.
Second Blog.. June 2011
What an honour to be sponsored by Overflow Equestrian! Thank you!
My blog is going to briefly tell you who I am and how I came to be riding Trakehner horses on the other side of the world, followed by monthly reports of what is happening here in the Loire Valley, near Saumur, the national centre of equestrian activity in France.
It has now been 5 months since I first arrived in France. I have French lessons once a week , but am not yet brave enough to talk to people!! Lucky me that I am surrounded by Aussies and Kiwis! Finally summer is here. Green fields, sunflowers, wheat, barley, you name it: the area I am in is very fertile!! Where I am based at Haras de Muschamp there is a stud and an Insemination Centre.
Lots going on. A vet on site, foals being born, mares arriving for insemination and this breeding season Muschamp is honoured to have one of Australia’s leading stud vets, Robyn Woodward, who has been working here with her husband Max Wilson from Wilson Veterinary Practice in Queensland.
I keep myself quite separate from the stud side and am focussed on the riding horses which have mainly been bred here. Paul, the stud manager and his staff handle the young horses from day one. I really only take over once they are ready for breaking in. Team effort is the key to success!
March saw the start to the competitions for me. First outing was a dressage competition -pretty scary for both me (and the horses)! Imagine competing amongst a whole heap of French competitors. I feel such an idiot when they say something in the warm up arena and I can’t respond! Must study more!
I took two youngsters – first time out for both, and one mature horse that had not competed for some time. We have a four horse truck, but sadly I don’t have my truck licence, so I have to rely on Paul to chauffeur me...........that means being very nice to him!
The day dawned: we left at 6 am. – all plaited and dolled up – pitch dark at the time, and me learning the French tests en route! All good until I find that one of my horses is on passport control and I had to go and present the passport to the judges before I competed, who proceeded to talk to me, of-course in French.
So working in was a challenge for me and my best horse, Rhianna , she was ‘on her toes’, big time. However we got through it and won the test with 78% followed the next day with a similar result, thus qualifying for the National Championships in Saumur at the end of September. After the test I had to wait in the arena and one of the panel of judges stood up and announced the results and gave his opinion on the way my horse was working. Both Paul and my boss, Janet speak fluent French, so came to my aid with a translation!!
One week later – enter the eventing world. Even more scary!
My little horse for this event was Turandot – a 7yr old Trakehner mare – very talented in all 3 phases. I had only been riding her for 6 weeks but she was previously campaigned by a young guy who had her on loan. (Only out on loan because I didn’t return last year). I loved riding her because she really adored her job, and looked after me so well.
There were 46 competitors in a class equal to pre-novice cross country and more like novice, in the dressage and show jumping phases. We blitzed the dressage, and she held the lead right through, winning on her dressage score.
Unfortunately, for me, after this competition Tiffany was in hot demand and she has recently been sold to a young girl. Trakehners in France are few and far between so she leaves Muschamp to hopefully continue her career and promote le haras (the stud) as well as the breed in a different area of France
Time to bring on a new youngster for this discipline! Hopefully next in line is a black 4 Yr old Trakehner (of-course), called Traumprinz. Showing plenty of talent I have been to one competition with him ........... time will tell.
As the weeks rolled by everything seemed to be falling into place. My riding horses were improving out of all recognition - some thanks should go to those who have been training me during the last few weeks. However as everyone in the horse world knows, things can go wrong! Just prior to the competition in mid June my very favourite horse Rhianna did not seem right, and a bruised sole has been blamed................Then the older horse was in season at that time and she really didn’t want to work in her usual way. So all in all it was a disaster weekend for those two, but I did manage to get a high percentage in both tests that I rode with Muschamp Handsome Harry, the four year old...............and he is now also qualified for Saumur in September. So I guess I need to take the ups and downs all with a pinch of salt, and be pleased that I came home with some success!
I am thinking positive and getting on with preparing for the next competition. It’s an important one in a very smart place – stay tuned for the next blog!!
First Blog.. May 2011
I am Rebecca Rooke, 21yrs old, and sat on my first pony before I could even walk. I come from the Hunter Valley, NSW, where I grew up on a small property with both my parents being involved in the horse world. My mum still competes and breeds dressage horses (and uses Overflow Equestrian products, see their website www.overflowequestrian.com).