Mustard and Mandy – Our Journey So Far

It all started 12 years ago with an advert online, a trip to Derbyshire and returning home with a very ‘green’ Mustard.

From there I’ve been lucky enough to have had lessons with some wonderful trainers – Carol Hipkin, Tammy Ruffles, Rosie Groves to name a few and more recently with Julie Hugo-Ross. Each one has played a huge part in where we are today and I am very grateful to all of them.

I would also like to say that becoming a member of the CVRC gave me so much confidence (particularly Carol Hipkin) at a time when I really needed it with all the different clinics that were available (and still are) because Mustard has always been so sensitive and extremely sharp – I have tested the theory of gravity on him many times along the way (meaning that when you part company with the saddle you do indeed meet with the ground!).

Mustard and I joined Affiliated British Dressage in 2017 and he has qualified many times at Regionals being placed seventh in his first year out of well over 30 starters. Had great lumps of surface not fallen out of his feet and hit the boards which spooked him the placing would have been even better but I know most people have their ‘If only’ stories to tell from competing. Nonetheless, I was thrilled with that result.

Life with horses is hard work – it challenges you mentally and physically. My journey with Mustard has been far from straightforward and easy. I, like so many others go out training and competing in all kinds of conditions and it is getting experience in all these conditions that gives us a great advantage if one wants to climb the ladder be it dressage, jumping, cross-country etc.

To be part of the Elementary Team Qualifier for CVRC at Easton and Otley College in November 2019 felt wonderful and exciting. I had put in a lot of practice and knew my test well. The time came for me to go in and do my test. My horse was breathing fire and I suddenly felt very nervous, my mind went blank and we got eliminated! As you can imagine I felt so disappointed not only in myself but because I wasn’t able to do a better job for the Club.

I walked round the warm up arena outside – it was cold and dark and I contemplated packing up and going home. I had also entered for the individual Medium test but wondered if I could go through this humiliation again. However, I quickly gave myself a stern talking to because I was lucky to be there and I don’t give up – no matter how hard it gets. It was a great opportunity to gain experience at this level and so I went in to perform my Medium test with a positive mindset. I told myself it didn’t matter where I came. What was more important was to feel on the drive home that night I had done my best and I hadn’t given up.

I am so very pleased to say that Mustard was placed first in that test. We drove home that night with the red rosette and I had the biggest smile on my face!!

That drive home could have been very different had I have given up after my first test. I will always remember that evening as it taught me such a valuable lesson – attitude and the power of positive thinking!

I am now so proud to say that as a result of that I can represent CVRC once again at The BRC Intermediate Championships at Medium level.

Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me on my journey so far – I feel very blessed and thank you to Mustard who is a very special horse and my best friend along with his buddies Pedro and Seamus.