2024 – preparations in full swing!

Now that the start of the event season is in sight, we have been ramping up the training and outings here at Meridian Stud. The great British weather has certainly thrown everything at us, but we have tried to not let it dampen our spirits!

We headed to Addington with a full lorry for indoor showjumping practice and came away feeling really happy with how they all jumped. The gold star went to Hazard Z (Harry) who pinged around the 1.20m for fun!

Our great sponsors Spillers, held a riders day recently, which was super informative and a super day out for us.

We also had productive sessions on the flat with Ian Woodhead, which was put into practice at Rectory Farm combined training, where a few of the younger horses were a tad over-enthusiastic to be out, but nothing out of the ordinary for the time of year in horizontal rain conditions!

All in all, we are in a good place and hoping to start at Cirencester at the end of March.

WhatsApp Image 2024-02-19 at 18.54.27

2023 – an honest reflection

It is always good to look back over the season, after having a moment to process the whirlwind of a years eventing! Here at Meridian Stud, there have been some memorable results along with the inevitable highs and lows.

A great moment was homebred 5YO Meridianway Victory coming 11th at the Burghley Young Event Horse final. This was such a great day for everyone involved, especially the horse, who really came into his own. He looks to have an exciting future ahead.
5YO MBF Jackpot also performed admirably all year. Taking to the eventing game so easily, winning two events and finishing with a brilliant double clear at Cornbury 5YO Championships. It is very exciting to have these two for next year and beyond.

Higher up the levels, I was really pleased to qualify KEC Delicate Girl for the Novice Championships at Gatcombe. She put in a great performance in the show jumping, in very challenging conditions, before the event was sadly abandoned. But great to have got there.

However, to remain true to the blog’s title and give a full picture of the year, it has been far from plain sailing!

My most seasoned campaigner, Piccolo V, picked up a small injury just before eventing began in March. Although not a disaster, for me mentally not to have him as part of the team to keep my confidence up was a challenge. I was then quite surprised that it took us some time to get back up and running after his break.

Hazard Z has always shown real promise and has super scope. However, after posting five double clears on the trot, including a top 10 placing at Tweseldown in the Intermediate, the wheels seem to come off. After a challenging time with him at Upton, it seemed that fate intervened. Our lorry broke down and Team O’Connor kindly offered to take Harry (Hazard Z) home. He then spent some time there, with Austin doing a super job which culminated in a 2nd place at Cornbury in the Intermediate. I have since had two confidence-building runs on him and hopefully, we are now back on track. Sometimes you have to know when a change of scene or change of jockey can make a difference.  As always it takes the eventing village…!

I also always find it interesting how the year can unravel so differently, from 1. What you have planned, and 2. How each individual horse progresses. A great example of this, is with the two 5 year olds. Jack remained super confident (at times almost a bit too bold!) throughout the year, whereas Victor I had to be mindful to keep his confidence high and take it more slowly. They both finished the year feeling great in their respective classes (with Victor finishing 3rd at Tweseldown 100 in his last event, and I have already mentioned Jack’s Cornbury triumph), but the path they took to get there was quite different.

With both the mares I competed, KEC Delicate Girl (Delphi) & Timpex Karizma (Kizzy), I had to be aware of keeping them happy in the minds and their bodies. I had rider falls off both of them mid-season and had to build back from those. Kizzy came back especially well picking up 2nd at Swalcliffe, which was rewarding for the work put in. With her, our team of farrier and vets worked really hard to address some foot balance issues – it was real attention to detail stuff, but this is so important when competing horses and we owe it to them to leave no stone unturned when it comes to their welfare.   

Moving onto a more light hearted note, I have been showing our last homebred Fly the sights and sounds as he is now 4. Fly & water jumps seem to have provided some of the funniest moments of the year. During his first ever schooling trip at Chiltern XC, it took our lovely livery Philippa and her horse Fitz to get him in, where he then lay with his head in Philippa’s lap as a comfort blanket! He then knocked me over when trying to lead him into the water at Boomerang and I got very wet! The joys of young horses! But I am pleased to report that he is gradually progressing with his confidence  with water, so the patience and time (not to mention the soakings) were worth it!

The winter months now lie ahead, which can seem quite daunting after the warmer summer months eventing. I do look forward to field mastering for the Berks & Bucks draghounds during our downtime, a day with them always provides some winter fun for both the horses and I. There is nothing like jumping hedges with no pressure to put a smile on everyone’s faces!

During the off season, we will do a review of the competition horses looking at their performance across all 3 phases. Looking at statistical analysis helps to set goals for next year and create a winter training programme needed to get there.  This helps with the daily grind and gets some real focus into training. So, for next year, my hopes would be:

  • To qualify Jack and Victor for 6YO finals at Cornbury and possible selection for Le Lion
  • Doing a 3*L on Delphi
  • Taking Pickle Advanced
  • Producing new rides Ava & Ricky up the levels and to a potential 3 day.

It is a big list, and there will undoubtedly be some twists and turns along the way, but I am looking forward to working & training hard to see what I can make possible!

FDA She’s So Dignified

2017, bay, mare. Sire: Dignified Van’t Zorgvliet, Dam: Minstrels Lady

Ava had a really freak accident in the stable with us at the beginning of 2023 – soon after we bought her, but she luckily came right and we were able to finally get her out this autumn. She has had a couple of runs around some nice unaffiliated events and impressed us by stepping up to 100 level really well.

It will be good to get to know her more this winter and see what we can achieve in 2024.

Global Typhoon

2016, bay, gelding

Sire: Typhoon S, Dam: Violet G

Global Typhoon, known as Ricky, joined us in the autumn of 2023. We bought him from Hannah Bate where he had done a bit of eventing as a 5YO, then mainly show-jumped.

He successfully started his campaign with us winning a 100 class at Tweseldown. We are looking forward to 2024 and beyond with him!

Oasby

Pickle pinged his way round his end of season event at Oasby. Putting in a lovely run round the OI to close out his season 🤩👌

Kizzy joined Pickle on the long road trip to Lincolnshire. She also had a great end of season run. A gluey showjumping ground resulting in an uncharacteristic couple of rails but a super confident cross country despite being caught in a sharp shower! Now feeling well and truly established at Novice level. Also heading out on her holidays but looking forward to next season 💪

A top 10 weekend

A super weekend with the team in the sunshine ☀️✨

Timpex Karizma put in a great performance putting in a professional test and a upper double clear at Swalcliffe Park Equestrian on Saturday to come 🥈 in her Novice section 😍After a couple of unlucky blips this year it was lovely to have it all come together for her.✨

Meridianway Victory had a strong finale to his season at Tweseldown 100 yesterday to finish 🥉. He’s had consistent top placings in BYEH qualifiers this year, finishing 11th in the final at Burghley and now really finding his feet with a couple of successful BE100 outings. Lots of education done and now time for a well deserved holiday.✨

Global Typhoon really beginning to remember the Eventing job (he evented a bit as a 5 year old) with an assured double clear at Tweseldown 100 on Sunday to take the 🥇🏆 . Still a bit spooky at times, but overall really confident – so excited about his future next season. 😍😍

A great team effort this weekend – thank you to everyone who made it happen 💪

Cirencester Cotswold Cup

Smart new addition Global Typhoon (Ricky) went really well finishing just outside the top 10 at his second event with us 🌀😍

Meridianway Victory (Victor) had a great outing for a 30 test, one down and a super clear XC for his second 100 💪

FDA She is so Dignified (Ava) impressing with an assured clear round the 100 in only her second ever event 🤩

A great day of laying foundations for the future at The Cotswold Cup great end of season event in Cirencester park. Thanks to Alec Lochore and all the Cotswold Cup team for all their efforts over the season. Great series for our youngsters learning their trade 👌🙏

South of England

A great outing at South of England yesterday 💪

Kizzy put in a confident performance round the Novice. A super 29 test, followed by an uncharacteristic couple of poles but actually jumped really well round a decent track in the atmospheric main arena. Then a great cross country growing in confidence all the way round. 😍

Pickle having a stellar outing. Also producing a 29 test, lovely clear show-jumping for 1 time fault and a faultless cross country round to finish 4th 🤩 The pesky time fault costing us 3rd place!

Harry also had a great spin in the intermediate with Austin O’Connor Eventing. 31 dressage, like Kizzy a very unusual couple of poles but jumped really well overall and an awesome cross country to finish 6th.

A great job from the SofE team with super ground and the country fair running alongside giving a ‘big show’ atmosphere providing great experience for the horses – thank you 🙏

Little Gatcombe

We headed to Little Gatcombe with four on board – so set to be a busy day.

First up was Ava, doing her first ever event. She was still a bit wobbly in some of the test -especially the canter (🙄) but the judge described the trot work as a ‘ joy to watch’!! This was followed up by a super clear SJ and a lovely XC with a minor blip at the log drop. So looking forward to cracking on with this mare and so grateful to have her out after a prolonged recovery from a freak stable accident.

I then had Kizzy doing a confident boosting run around the 100 – which went perfectly with a great double clear. 5YO Victor was doing his first 100 and was also brilliant, finishing on his dressage score of 34 for 10th place.

Last but by no means least, was newbie Ricky. Having spent the last couple of years showjumping he was little taken aback by doing everything in the mud, wind and rain. 31 test despite being a bit spooked by the conditions. Lovely SJ and a green wobble at a skinny XC. But delighted with his overall performance in what was a bit of a baptism by fire!