Journal

3 June 2017

England Sorry I have not written on here in some time now. Since writing my last blog we have moved yards and are now located near Swindon with the Horton family. They have been very welcoming and the yard has …

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Hungerford, England
January 19, 2016

Hello everyone and Happy New Year. With ice on the roads and the arena frozen solid, I find myself unable to ride the horses this morning, but at least I finally have time to write my blog!

The end of 2015 flew by and the 2016 season is nearly upon us. The winter is supposed to bring with it a more relaxed schedule and a bit of down time, but for us we’re full speed ahead. I did manage to get home for Thanksgiving which was a nice chance to catch up with friends and family but of course it was too short and there were so many people I didn’t get the chance to see. As much as I enjoyed going home, we have some big plans for the three grays this year, Sambuca, Halo, and Finn, and I was keen to get back to them. All three missed the end of last season due to injury or just plain bad luck, so we’re aiming to head down to Portugal for the CIC’s and CCI’s at the end of February and try to hit the ground running. Eventing doesn’t start in the UK until March/April, so we want to get a jump-start on things, and maybe thaw ourselves out for two weeks in the sunshine.

Halo (Aloha) has improved enormously since we got him last summer, and the winter has given me a chance to get to know him better. I was hoping to take him to Ballendenisk CIC3* then onto Boekelo CCI3* last year, but at an intermediate horse trials the week before leaving for Ballendenisk he had a very unlucky fall in the water on cross country. To add insult to injury, he was leading the division after doing a 28 dressage and a nice clear show jumping. Fortunately we walked away with only his knees badly scraped up and some very spectacular photos, but it did mean time off for his cuts to heal, and it put an end to his autumn campaign. He will do the CIC3* down in Portugal and I’m looking forward to picking things up where we left off last year.

Sambuca is back in full swing after nearly two years, and it has taken a lot of patience to give her all this time to heal. We have taken a very conservative schedule with bringing her back, and hopefully our patience will be rewarded. She was still a new horse to me when she had her accident, so now after all this time, I am finally getting the chance to get to know her, take lessons on her, and start to move forward. She is the most spectacularly beautiful mare and it’s wonderful to finally be making progress with her. She is definitely an exciting horse to have back out this year, starting with the CCI2* in Portugal.

Finn, like Halo, was on track for a big autumn event when two weeks before Blenheim he somehow managed to fracture a splint bone! He was of course feeling and going fantastically and right on form for a great result, but instead of Blenheim, we made the trip to Newmarket for splint surgery! Not really a fair trade I don’t think. He is back in full work now and ready to once again stage his comeback. He is also on the road to Portugal with the other two greys and, lord help us, we’ll definitely need to pack lots of purple shampoo to keep the three of them clean!!

Cavalier Crystal (CC) gave me a great year last year and it is with great sadness that I write that she has been sold. Only getting the ride last April, we achieved every goal that both Liz Williams and I set out to achieve. We qualified for Burghley Young Event Horse final at Gatcombe which was a great achievement in itself, and then she went on to win the final which was truly amazing. She also qualified for Osberton 5 year old Championships and did her first Novice, feeling like an old pro and finishing 3rd. She is one of the most promising young horses I have had the pleasure of working with and most of all, unlike all my other young horses that are bought for the business of being sold, CC was going to be a keeper, and I had allowed myself to make dreams and plan her future beyond Novice. It is the first time since getting Finn as a youngster that I could aim for the stars, and although I wish them the best of luck, it will be bittersweet to watch her go on to greatness from the sidelines.

Rupert was amazing at the Burghley Young Event horse 4 year old final. Having only had a couple of outings (one being the qualifier at Burgham) he was so good in the big atmosphere at Burghley and although green, he was well behaved and performed brilliantly. After a bit of time this winter growing up further in the field, Rupert is now getting busy aiming for 5 year old classes.

We also have a new addition to the yard in a lovely little 3 year old (now 4) mare called Hanna. She is a beautiful mover and has a super jump, and is so intelligent it’s almost frightening! I backed her in December which took all of a few days, and after having Christmas holidays off she’s starting work again….watch this space!

Thanks to my owners and sponsors. Without their help I could not continue what I am doing. Here’s to a successful year.

Hungerford, England
July 20, 2015

This season is flying by and maybe it’s because things are going well and I am busier than ever.

Most excitingly, Finn is coming back out competing again and he feels ready to take on the world! He’s entered in the CIC3* at Burgham at the end of this month and he will no doubt be very happy to be back at it. He did the dressage at Tweseldown last week for his first outing and he was so excited he made up the test as he went! He had all the moves and zero obedience! It’s so good to have him happy and feeling so well, and hopefully by Burgham we’ll be able to channel that exuberance in a more orderly direction!

Another very exciting bit of news is that I have a new ride on a horse called Aloha who used to be campaigned by Jonelle Price and Brian Cournane. He is a sensitive character with the biggest heart and I am so looking forward to building a partnership with him. He had a very successful run at Tweseldown in the intermediate, and he’s next entered at Burgham to do the CIC2*. We plan to take our time getting to know him, but once we do, I have very high hopes for his future.

People may have noticed from my website that Murray Lamperd’s 4* horse, Under the Clocks, is currently in my yard. Ninja is an absolute legend with top finishes at almost every 4* around the world. I am going to get him out and going at Intermediate level so he can hopefully do a CCI3* or CCI4* this fall/autumn. He is such a cool horse and a great character to have in the yard.

Cavalier Crystal was great again at Chepstow BYEH class finishing in the top 10. She also jumped another fab double clear at Upton House last week making it all feel so easy. She is such a talented mare I am really looking forward to her future and moving her up the levels.

Diabella Urgenta (Henny) had a great first Novice run at BCA last month, and other than a green moment at the water, she cruised around like she’d been doing it forever.

We are pleased to welcome back Ashley who is a friend from CA who spent last summer with us, before having to return home to finish University. We have had her mare Eva with us through the winter, and now Ashley’s back and planning to campaign her show jumping. They are getting to know each other again after a year apart and it’s exciting to see their partnership growing by leaps and bounds. I hope they will have a very successful summer.

It is with great sadness that I have to tell you all that Kinnordy Rivaldo (Ken) was put to sleep after an accident in the field last month. He was the toughest little horse I have ever known, and it makes me so sad that we never got the chance to fulfill his potential. In the few events we had together I was always awed by his talent and so excited by what he could do. He truly was a super star that never got his moment on the big stage but I will always remember the movement, jump, and gallop of a horse that was one in a million.

Hungerford, England
May 19, 2015

The event season is well underway and my horses are going well.

Diabella Urgenta (Henny) and Lady Valtas (Rascal) both had a great first run at Swalcliffe, Pre-Novice (that’s Training level in USA) in March. Rascal produced a, hugely improved from last season, 27 dressage, one down in the show jumping and easy clear cross country. Henny did a nice test, had a couple of rails in show jumping out of greenness, and jumped clear cross country. This was Henny’s first event with me and first Pre Novice, so I was pleased, and although she has some homework to do, she gave me a very nice feel cross country.

First lady (Dilly) went to Aston Intro as her first ever outing. She is wise beyond her years and confidently did a 29 dressage, double clear to win the section. She is an amazing young horse who is completely unfazed by anything, and I am looking forward to taking her out again.

Henny, Rascal, and Lively debate (Joey) who I am competing for a student from Stonar School, were all good at Ascott-Under-Wcyhwood in the Pre Novice. Henny had come on greatly since Swalcliffe to do a 34 dressage and double clear. Joey did a nice test (30) had a couple of unfortunate rails and then cruised around the cross country. Rascal did another beautifully focused and classy test and then jumped clear in the show jumping, but I withdrew her before cross country because the ground was getting too hard by the time it came to running her.

My new ride, Tarentino FLZ (Skippy) went to Bicton to do the CIC2*. He was a true star there and finished in 10th place. Skippy has had a very steep learning curve since coming to me in March and has stepped up to the task like a true soldier. Although everything is new and difficult for him, he tries his heart out so he’s come on amazingly fast. He did the best test he possibly could have done for where he is in his education and we were incredibly proud of him. He then jumped an easy clear around a tough show jumping track and went round the cross country like it was nothing to him. Skippy tried so hard all weekend, his owner and I were both in tears at the finish. What a dude! My next step with him is a CCI2* near the end of the year with a few more Intermediate runs in between.

Ringwood Magister (Finn) has now started his regular gallop work, which he loves. My aim with him is to do his first event sometime this summer and do a CCI in the autumn. Of course we all know with horses that this may change depending on fitness, ground conditions, etc. I have to admit, when I was watching Badminton this year I wished we were there again because he feels amazing at the moment but we felt it was best to sit that one out and give him ample time before making his comeback.

Although I didn’t get to do big Badminton this year, I did still get to go with Cavalier Crystal (CC) in the 5 year old Burghley Young Event Horse Class. She is a new ride for me and one that is very exciting for the future.  Considering we had heavy rain and gale force winds, CC was incredibly well behaved and showed herself off beautifully. After her dressage, show jumping and conformation was judged she was tied for 2nd out of nearly 60 horses. The top 10 horses went back in the ring to be judged by a new judge on their gallop and “star quality” and then the marks were combined together. When it was all said and done, CC ended up 9th. There really wasn’t much to separate the top 10 horses and it was all down to the stamp of horse that the particular judge wanted to see. We couldn’t have been more pleased with her for our first outing together, and our next event is Tweseldown, Pre-Novice this Sunday, so fingers crossed.

Sambuca is up to full dressage and it won’t be long until she can start gallop work. She’s settling nicely now that she’s doing more work and she feels better than ever so fingers crossed she can be out at the end of the summer. Like Finn, we are in no rush, and we’ll give her as much time as she needs to have a successful return to competition.

I am happy and sad to say that Rascal has been sold and left for her new home this morning after her lovely owner (Jim Patton) came to the difficult decision to sell her. She came to me straight out of racing a year and a half ago and has been a lovely, trainable, talented, and at times rather fiery mare. I very much enjoyed having her in the yard. Jim gave the horse a second opportunity in life and now she can go on and be successful in any discipline. I would like to thank Mr and Mrs Patton for sending Rascal to me and for their continued support throughout. Good luck to Rascal and her new owner.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this and thank you to my sponsors, Mountain Horse USA , One K Helmets, APF, RevitaVet, Veredus, Treehouse, PerfectProducts and Ovation for their continued support.

Hungerford, England
December 20, 2014

Just a quick update on what’s been happening.

I had a great trip home, enjoying Thanksgiving with my family and catching up with old friends. I also enjoyed teaching a couple of clinics whilst I was in California, a big thank you to those who helped organize that for me.

I returned to the yard and got cracking again with my horses. Needless to say, in this cold winter weather they’re all rather fresh which is keeping me on my toes!

I am excited to announce the launch of my new revamped website, please take a look at http://tianacoudrayeventing.com/

Wishing everyone a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Hungerford, England
November 14, 2014

Now that the eventing season has officially wrapped up, it’s time for me to catch up on the tasks I often neglect, like writing a blog! So here’s a little update on the last few months.

We’re now completely settled into the new yard in Hungerford and, a little bit at a time, the business is growing. I currently have 12 horses stabled here including a handful of nice young horses to work on over the winter ready for the 2015 season. We’re so lucky with the miles of hacking, hills to canter up, and logs to pop over, my four year olds are nearly ready to go eventing now!

Smartie (Clever and Smart) is a 6 year old that we picked up over the summer after a brief foray show jumping in Belgium. We managed to squeeze in three pre-novice events before the season was out, and although incredibly green in every way, he improved every time out. He is exceptionally talented, has a huge heart, and loves cross country. I’m excited to put a winter of training into him and hopefully he will come out at Novice, aiming for a 1* in the spring.

Kinnordy Rivaldo made his return to competition in the summer and after only a few light runs, we headed over to Ireland for the CIC3* at Ballindenisk. He stepped up to the task nicely, finishing 12th and getting a qualifying result for a CCI3*. Three weeks later, we headed to Holland for the Nations Cup CCI3* at Boekelo as a member of the American team. It was such fun returning to Boekelo as it was four years ago that Finn and I made our first trip to Europe for Boekelo. The event never disappoints when it comes to great competition, great parties, and great company, and it was wonderful to be a part of the team again. Unfortunately, with the limited preparation, Ken was too green for the task, and I ended up retiring on cross country. We are still a relatively new combination, and very much lacking in match practice, but every time I compete this horse I get to learn something new about him. I will very much look forward to next season with him, and picking up where we left off. A big thank you to David O’Connor, Joanie Morris, and the US support team for their help at Boekelo and their continued help throughout the past year.

My intermediate mare Sambuca is recovering exceedingly well (touching a lot of wood) and I was thrilled to get the green light to start doing dressage. She is absolutely loving being back in full work and the long summer of walking her in hand is hopefully paying off. The girls all deserve an award for the endless hours of hand walking the roads, in rain or shine, for the last 4 months. I probably owe each of them a new pair of shoes after all the miles they have walked! We can now look forward to a winter of dressage and hopefully start jumping in the spring.

Finn is very jealous every time the lorry goes out of the yard without him but he is still in full work and taking his job of hazing the working pupils very seriously! This horse really does know how to make his own entertainment, and the girls can’t help but come to be amused by his silly antics, eventually! As much as he begs us to do something more exciting, we’ve decided to keep him home and be absolutely sure his leg is fully strong before he goes eventing. Like with Sambuca, I really believe that the long dedicated hours of doing everything properly and cutting no corners will pay off for us in the end.
With a bit of luck I might get home to the states for a holiday this year, but we will see!

Hungerford, England
July 17, 2014

Sorry I’ve not written in a while, here is a full update:

I have recently moved to a yard in Hungerford near Lambourn where I am trying to expand my business and take the next steps in my life. I owe a huge thank you to Nick Gauntlett for helping me find my feet when I first came to the UK but now it’s time to push forward on my own.

Finn was amazing around this year’s very tough Badminton and finished well. However as you may already know he picked up a small strain at Badminton which was discovered on a routine scan. This was very unexpected because he had been feeling so well, and disappointingly it has ruled him out of the World Championships this year. He continues to feel great and is still in full work, with the aim to be out competing in the spring if not yet this fall. I am thankful that it is only a small setback, but obviously the timing couldn’t be more unfortunate.

My young horses are going really well and have done a few pre novice runs, all very successfully. It’s great that Rascal’s owners, Mr and Mrs Patton, come and watch Rascal (Lady Valtas) regularly and are enjoying getting into eventing. My other young horse, Miss Dynamic, has always been a horse to produce and sell, and as she has proven to be a super smart little horse, it was time for me to send her on her way. Although it’s very sad for me to see her go, I am so pleased that she is a perfect match for her new rider and I am excited to see her succeed in the future.

Earlier this spring I purchased an intermediate mare from Germany and she is, in one word, amazing!! Sadly I was only beginning to get to know her, when at our third event together, she stumbled after a fence cross country and struck into her tendon on a front leg, significantly damaging it. This was an unbelievably unlucky thing to have happen, and completely devastating for me and for the horse to have our season come to a sudden halt. At this point we were really starting to click with each other and were ready for big things!! Two months on, she is now well into her rehab, and the injury is heading in the right direction. We are pleased with the healing rate and are hoping, in time, that she will return to eventing with all the promise that we left off with.

I have been asked to ride John Wrottesley’s 4 year old, Stolen Moon (Oliver), in a few BYEH classes. Oliver is showing great potential and will hopefully be liked by the judges! He has fitted in here very well and acts like he has lived here all his life.

I also have a new intermediate ride in a horse called Bruvver. With Miss Dynamic sold there was a space for a new project. The plan with Bruv is to run him round a couple of intermediates and see how we get on.

Ken (Kinnordy Rivaldo) is back up in action and is feeling fabulous (long may it last). He completed his first Open Novice at Upton House last week where he did a lovely double clear, and is aimed at Aston Le Walls Open Intermediate in early August. Although his future is being planned one week at a time, optimistically a CCI3* in the Autumn is my goal. Riding him around Upton House was a reminder of what an incredible horse he is, and I can’t help but hope to have many more rides like that.

Along with new horses and a new yard, I have a wonderful team of people helping me to achieve my goals (keep my life organized!!!). Hopefully with their help, and a touch of good luck, we will have many exciting things in the future.

Chipping Sodbury
November 5, 2013

Not too much excitement since last I wrote. Winter has arrived in force, with freezing temperatures and even a “hurricane” that, all joking aside, brought 80 mph winds and torrential rain. Equestrians across the country were split, do the field horses come in, or do you leave them out? They’re sheltered by trees, but the trees will fall down… My unscientific study showed that all the Brits brought them in and suffered mucking out extra stables. The Aussies and Kiwis stuck it out, “ah mate, it’s just a bit of rain and wind!”. Our horses all came in. I am a California softy after all!

My girls, youngsters Jess and Rascal, are growing and improving every day. Jess continues to find life oh-so easy, and has everyone wrapped around her metaphorical finger. I jumped a cross country fence the other day, and she boldly took it on, leaping sky high just because she can, and pulling her feet up to her ears!!! I wish we’d snapped a photo as the view from on top was most impressive! Rascal amazes me with her continual improvement and how easy she finds collection; possibly that is why she never made it as a racehorse. If they keep going at this rate, I think we will have a lot of fun in the spring when they go out competing. Finn is feeling full of it, rainy wind not helping, and continually testing my bronc riding skills. It’s been a good while since I’ve been riding naughty broncs, so I’ve had to up my skills in a hurry! Funny how the reflexes go with time.

To supplement the little operation I have going at home, I’ve been taking on as much teaching and riding as I can. I enjoy getting out freelancing and meeting people. I find it interesting how, 3 years later, I now have a very similar arrangement in England to what I had in California. Ideally someday I will have everything out of one location, but for now, any work is good work.

Potentially my most exciting news is that I have an opportunity to buy a young advanced horse that has already proven to be a winner, and all indications would say, is a world class horse with the best yet to come. I am aiming to put together a syndicate to secure his purchase, and we are up against the clock. Other interest is growing as more people learn that he is up for sale. It is an opportunity to gain a very valuable horse for the future, and for the future of the American Team. I am reaching out to anyone who might be interested, or who might have connections that would be interested in becoming a part of the team. The USEF has made huge strides with the Eventing Owners Task Force, facilitating the formation of syndicates to make ownership affordable and tax deductible, and to bring likeminded people together with the common goal of winning medals at Olympic, Pan-American, and World Championships. If anyone has any connections that would potentially be interested in owning a share or two, I would be most appreciative of an introduction. I am optimistic that we can put together enough people to make this a reality, and add another superstar to my small but exciting team.

England
September 15, 2013

Since last I wrote, my little piece of the world has been agonizingly quiet, that is until I took a sharp left turn, and I now find myself once again stretching daylight hours. That is of course the only way I’m happy. Sitting on the bench is never good for my psyche. Aachen was a hugely successful trip, and I came home, proud, energized, and feeling atop the world. We even got our picture on the cover of The Chronicle of the Horse. When I saw it, I had a momentary thought of “this is my biggest achievement yet”, but then I told myself that was shallow, and to put the Olympics back in top spot. But it’s a close second, definitely! Unfortunately, I also brought home a few injuries with me. Mercifully, they were all my own, and Finn came home in great shape, but nonetheless, I was benched. For Finn that meant we have taken an easier plan for this autumn, and for the first time since he was a six year old, he’s getting to have a season without a three-day event. I am pleased that this is a good opportunity for us to regroup, buckle down, strengthen our weaknesses, and get all our affairs in order for next year, but sitting back and watching Burghley, Blenheim, and the likes go on without us has been trying to say the least.

What does a competitor do when they can’t compete? Turn their world upside down apparently. Although I’m still based at Chescombe Farm, I have taken on a separate yard, and am setting up on my own. It’s an evolution that was inevitable, and I suppose now is as good a time as any. So from sitting, glued to my computer, studying what makes Michael, Andrew, and Jock so consistently good and how one can better them, I’ve been dislodged to go dig trenches, pressure wash, cobweb, and clean up “I don’t even want to know” mystery items. I have lots of plans to do up the tack room and grooming area, but first I need to fill those freshly done stables, which is together a stress and an opportunity. Thanks to the recommendation and efforts of a few friends, I’ve had a thoroughbred straight out of race training sent to me. It is very early days, but she’s settling in well and has a certain resemblance to Clifton Promise. Who knows?.. Seems like a good place to start! I’ve also gotten a 4 year old mare that is wise beyond her one month under saddle. She moves, she jumps, and today she even had a canter around Badminton Estate. Maybe she’ll be competing there in 5 years. Again, who knows?.. I do love the dream and endless possibilities of young horses. Finn started from just that! Hopefully I can soon have a few more empty stables filled and this whole thing will take off rather than wash away in the winter floods. There’s no better motivator than necessity.

My Aachen Experience
July 12, 2013

What an experience! Aachen was everything I had hoped it would be and more. Finn was an absolute star and the ground jury called him ‘the horse of the competition’! Although as a team we were riddled with bad luck from beginning to end, every one took the disappointments on the cheek and made the most of the opportunity to be there. It was an honour to be part of the first American team ever to be invited to Aachen and we all have grown from competing in the environment. For me, it was another conformation following our great result at Badminton that Finn and I are on to something. The little improvements that will take us from 10th to leading the field are now the finest of details, and will be the focus of our work for the next year. It was clear that Finn belongs amongst the best in the world and that we are not far now from besting them all!