Team Member One: Solo
Solo is my 22 year old, now retired, 15’3” Danish Warmblood. He was kindly bought for me as a confidence giver after a bad experience with my first horse. He is the kindest, soppiest Labrador of a horse and I immediately trusted him from the moment I sat on him. With him I started my dressage training with June Long and completely fell in love with it at 14 years old. Each year we seemed to unlock more ability in Solo. We had only intended to keep Solo for a couple of years. He took me through Pony Club Dressage Area finals and to numerous Pony Club Nationals and I was spotted for BYRDS at one of those Areas.
Solo: His Career
We represented BYRDS Southern for 7 years at Inter-regionals, U25 Nationals and on 2 occasions the Home International. He twice attended the High Performance Camps with him. At 17 he was diagnosed with Navicular syndrome and the vets told us we would have to retire him. With good maintenance and rehabilitation he came back to competition and went better than ever! In his last season we started to unlock the illusive 70%! However his competitive career was cut short. When he also developed ringbone in one of his front feet on top of the navicular. It was this that inspired me to train up as an Equine Bodyworker as I had seen how much soft tissue work had kept him sound and helped him to rebalance and stay comfortable.
Through the work of our fabulous farrier John Stern and Newnham court Vets and McTimoney chiropractor Sarah J Holmes and regular bodywork sessions, Solo is now in light work and sound without any pain relief at all. John still calls him his miracle horse.
Solo: What he has taught me
This horse has taught me so much, in particular patience. Also how to rehabilitate and how to read a horse’s behaviour. As well as looking for an attitude and signs of discomfort. All these things I have been able to take on board both in my work and when riding other horses.
Team Member Two: Fiasco
Fiasco is an 8 year old 15’3” KWPN Jazz x Inspektur gelding. He is co-owned by my mum (chief supporter, Carolyn Collyer) and my fabulous trainer June Long. June has had him since an unbacked three year old. Two years ago, when Solo had to be retired, I was incredibly lucky to get the opportunity to ride this beautiful horse. As my first young horse (5 at the time) it was a great opportunity to work with my trainer. To learn how to work with a young horse and really develop my riding on a more natural athlete than Solo. It was a big jump for me, especially as he was an incredibly hot five year old and I suffered a lot of whiplash from his lightening quick spins.
Fiasco: Growing Up
However, come his sixth birthday he seemed to turn a corner. In our first year competing we went to our first regionals at Novice. We even got a wildcard to our first nationals at Hartpury! We managed a spook free test- if a bit rabbit in headlights. Happily we were the 2nd Under 25 rider in our class. We have since been to the regionals at Elementary and been selected for the High Performance Camps two years running. Excitingly we are about to get out at Medium level this season.
Even as a young athlete Fiasco benefits from his Bodywork sessions to help promote more symmetry in his movement and release the tension caused by hard work and field acrobatics and it is part of his maintenance routine along with his chiropractic treatments.
I have absolutely loved getting to know this cheeky chappy the last two years and thoroughly enjoy working closely with June to train this talented young horse up the levels.