Martin’s Blog 6th April

A nice day today so all the horses out in the paddocks for the second day running after they’ve been ridden. A busy morning with plenty schooling both at home and away. 1st Lot we schooled Mr Mafia (Tom Bellamy), Ballymountain Boy (Andrew Tinkler), Reve (Harry Stock), Young Phoenix (Alfie), Champion Court (Kieran) led Buckle Street (Issy) and Cut and Run (Ash) up the 8 flights of hurdles at home and they all jumped well.

Second lot Jon & Jack Hughes came to watch the horses we took to Jon Trice-Rolph’s Todenham base which were their own Enforcement (Tinks), Raving Bonkers (Ash), Back on the Lash (Harry) and Debden Bank (Tom). It’s fabulous for young horses to leave the ground for the first time in Jon’s arena and the riders get instruction from Jon too as a pair of eyes on the ground is a huge help. Therefore everyone gets something out of it and it was a very productive schooling session.

Late morning Nick Ponting called in for a catch up. The Anders Foundation, a charity that Nick is a trustee of, used to sponsor us and Nick has taken the old sponsored rugs and sheets to be given to the riders they sponsor which is fantastic. Read about one of their riders here.

No blog yesterday as after second lot I rushed off to Ascot Racecourse as Freddie was competing in his second Pony Club Pony Race. Such lucky children to be able to ride at amazing racecourses…Cheltenham last week, Ascot this week! Again, they were so friendly and welcoming and we parked next to a boy, Hugh Barclay-Smith who was making his debut in his race (from a non-horsey background so everyone can have a go) – who knows they may become lifelong friends and line up at Ascot in a valuable chase in years to come?! Bob Champion helped with the course walk (no parents allowed!) and also judged the Best Turned Out – well done to Belinda as ‘Bubbles’ again looked a picture.

Freddie (& his mum) was much more relaxed than Cheltenham and was thrilled he managed to ride to post without assistance – a big feat! He got a fabulous start and nearly made all the running just getting caught in the final furlong to finish 2nd again. Great experience though and he has now had to ride finishes in both his races and is gaining in confidence all the time. It’s not only Freddie making friends – Belinda bumped into Karen Walker (nee Beevor) who was a great pony club friend and they’d lost touch for nearly 30 years! She too has a Fred and I have no doubt we’ll be seeing far more of them. Chris Dee a huge help and support to Belinda & Freddie so thanks to her too. Watching the older children ride I have no doubt that the sport is in good hands – a lot of talented riders.