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A series of successful demos from Steph, but a little bit of bad news about Mr P...

Steph has just finished the last of her three demos across the North of England. "I got more confident as the demos went on," Steph tells us. "It is hard to judge the balance of how humorous and serious you have to be but I think by the last one we just about got it right! It was absolutely exhausting I have to say, when we went to Northallerton we had to travel 3 hours to get there, I then taught for 8 hours in clinics, then had a 3 hour demo before a 3 hour journey home! After Moreton Morrell we got to bed at 2am, Ben woke up at 3am and Annabel thought 7am was a reasonable time to get up the next day! At Barleyfields we had to take the children with us, and arrived to find they had no stables for us so Simon had to get both horses ready on the lorry, whilst juggling two children – Mr P stood on him twice and his patience was pushed to the absolute limit that day!”

“Mr Hyde was very well behaved considering,” says Steph. “The first evening I rode him in the arena while people were arriving so he could acclimatise to the crowds. There were blankets flapping and sandwiches coming out of boxes but despite that we only had the one rearing moment. I have the opinion that if you don't like it, don't look at it so reverted to some strong ‘shoulder-ins’ down the long side! He was quite tense in the first demo understandably and our flying changes were more handstand bucks than smooth transitions, but by the last one he was a pro and knew exactly what he was doing.”

“The bad news is that Mr P has been sidelined due to an incident in the field. We think he was spooked by something and he broke through his coral and cart wheeled around with the three year old, the result is that despite him being totally sound, he has had a fat front leg which after having it scanned, we now know that he has tweaked his superficial flexor tendon. It is very frustrating as I have kept him going all winter, and the vet has said that it is not an injury commonly seen in dressage horses - more race horses! So he is very miffed not to be able to go out to the parties we had planned and we will keep getting it scanned to monitor its progress.”

“Ancy, is due to foal any day which we are very excited about, so watch this space for a new arrival, and with Mr P offline, Captain Mac, our three year old, is coming online! He has been lunged and long reined and is now going off to be taught how to go forward before we start pottering about with him this summer. Between him and Mr Hyde, we will be kept busy. Mr Hyde has now qualified at Medium and is doing his first Advanced Medium on 16th April I chose the test carefully as it only has two changes in it! I am really hoping we can get a score of 60% or above!”

“In other news, Annabel has decided that she doesn’t like Shetlands having been deposited on more than one occasion, so Jess has gone back. We won't get another pony until she is a little older and more confident, but in the mean time I am using Jess as an answer for everything. Annabel keeps asking for a goldfish or a puppy and I just say 'No, because you didn't look after Jess!'"