2017 round up ( grab a coffee - its a long one!)
So I’m a little late getting this out but here it is !
2017 had to be one of the craziest years ever, This was our first year at Wings Farm, I loved this place when we first came to see it and I’m still in love with it now, Wings Farm has a very special energy about it, a calm peaceful place, the horses settled right in as soon as they set a hoof in their new fields - that was the real test - if our horses are happy then I am happy. There’s a lot of work to do here still to get this place how we really want it to be, so hang in there folks and bear with us, we’re working on it!
We ran a series of one day workshops here throughout the year which focused on everything from groundwork to working with the garrocha, These one day clinics proved really popular and we will be doing more this year too! We also had lots of private intensive workshops - these were incredibly popular, we had lots of fun meeting new people and their horses.
We also hosted clinics for visiting clinicians, we had insane numbers of people on these - every clinic full to bursting, it started off with Jean Whitebread’s body working and caniosacral workshops, learning about the horse from the inside out is fascinating, Jean makes these workshops really easy to understand, the horses love it too! I’m over the moon to say we’ve got Jean coming back twice this year to do a Holistic horse works level 1 and level 2 workshop. Numbers are strictly limited to 3 to 4 people on these workshops due to the number of horses each student needs. To book on these camps you need to contact Jean (www.equinereconnect.co.uk) She will tell you how to book and if there are any spaces left that is. We will continue to do more clinics with Jean in the future so stay tuned!
Jeff Sanders visited us twice in June and August, his clinics are always sold out within a few hours of me advertising them that’s if I actually get chance to advertise them! His knowledge of the California Bridle horse and biomechanics of the horse are second to none, these clinics are always great fun and you come away feeling like your brain has exploded but Jeff’s teaching style and enthusiasm for his craft just make you want to know more.
For the August camp Jeff brought his family along too, we finally got to meet Api his wife who I am delighted to have as a friend, and his adorable little son Krys, who was just none stop smiles throughout the clinic. Right now his 2018 clinics are sold out, I have opened a waiting list, so if you want to ride let me know and I’ll put you on the waiting list. I also have a lot of interest in clinics for 2019!!!
July saw another sell out clinic with Steve Halfpenny, Mark was in Australia on a business trip for this one, so it meant me and Rhian were flat out busy throughout this camp doing food and making sure everyone had everything they needed. For 2018, we have Steve for 5 days, this camp has already sold out - If you haven’t paid a deposit yet, then I’m afraid you've missed out and you’ll have to go on the waiting list- registration for this camp is closed. However I do have people wanting to go on the list for 2019.
During August, I started having lessons myself - I’ve spent years riding colts, now I want to progress further than that and I want to ride finished horses and get my own horses further along than where they are, I found a fabulous coach - Sue Barber, Sue has taught classical dressage for over 40 years and she has produced many top riders. She is also the mother of the UK’s number 1 working equitation rider Holly Barber. Sue and I hit it off immediately, I love her to bits, She pushes me further than i think i can go and she is totally blunt with me which I love. If Im good she tells me, If its rubbish, she tells me, Just the way I like it!! Sue suggested I go for the try outs for the UK working equitation squad, which at first I thought she was joking, but Sue doesn’t joke, she was deadly serious so Sue and I put weeks and weeks of hard work in- More about that soon!
September saw me going out to Czech, to Jeff and Api’s home, This was a fabulous week and I learnt heaps, I got to go to some phenomenal castles, I finally got to see Kladruber horses for real - something i’ve wanted to do since seeing a picture of one about 20 years ago! The Kladruber is the oldest Czech breed of horse. I got to ride Api’s horse each day during this week, ( Thank you so much Api, you have an amazing horse!) and I got to meet a brilliant craftsman - František Pálek, He makes some of the most beautiful armour Ive ever seen ( I did bring a little bit back to the UK!)
October was insane! It was Sue and Skeeter’s first meeting, The squad try outs were second week in November, and we had just over 3 weeks to get him from fat to fit, and western to working equitation! We put hours of work in, whatever the weather we were there and the final week before the try outs we were having lessons every day. Skeeter has benefitted immensely from meeting Sue and Holly, I cannot thank them enough fro pushing me and Skeeter a lot further than I thought we could go! Stay tuned too - I am currently working on dates for Workshops with Sue and Holly at Wings Farm! So if you’re into working equitation, this will be your chance to work with a couple of the biggest names in the sport here at Wings Farm!
November was the try outs, All our hard work paid off, we were selected to be the reserve rider for the UK team, I hope this inspires others to work harder and push themselves, You don’t achieve anything by staying in your comfort zone ! I have to thank Sue and Holly here, I really could not have done any of this without their tuition, enthusiasm and dedication and Sue’s straight talking! Thanks guys!
However, some people think I’ve turned my back on western - nope I haven’t - everyone who knows me knows I’m into the California Bridle horse and for me Working equitation has more in common with the bridle horse than some of the western disciplines. Good horsemanship is good horsemanship regardless of what tack you wear!
Finally December! December saw us flat out - first time ever in i don’t know how many years I am flat out in the depths of winter, we have a full yard of horses, not only do we have our own horses to ride but we have a six extra horses here for work - every stable is occupied! Rhian and I are just non stop!!
I have to thank Rhian here actually because she works so hard on the yard and she is so very dedicated and motivated towards her riding, She is a joy to work with, so thank you Rhian, Wings Farm just wouldn’t be the same without you!!
2018 has already gone off with a bang, my first lesson with Paulo Santos, who is the working equitation UK squad coach, I had a fabulous lesson, with him and I learn’t loads - and I mean loads, not only is Paulo squad coach he is also a Grand Prix rider. It is fascinating to work with someone of this calibre, I’m really looking forward to learning more from him!
I think 2018 is set to be even busier than 2017, we already have six private intensives booked in, along with all the clinics, I am teaching regularly in Hull with the wonderfully enthusiastic Black horse horsemanship group, I'm back at Top Barn Horsemanship centre three times this year and then I am also off back to Oakridge Quarter horses to give a Cowboy Dressage clinic there and we have many workshops going on here at Wings Farm too. I will of course be available for private lessons either at your yard or mine.
Stay tuned for workshop dates!
(Oh, the picture! this was sunrise December 2016- totally untouched or photo-shopped- I did say Wings Farm had a really special energy! :D)