Horsepower on point as Denis Lynch wins Mercedes-Benz Championat
Fending off the likes of Lauren Hough (USA) and Sanne Thijssen (NED), a delighted Denis said: “I have a very fast horse, I am experienced, and we had luck on our side today. My horse is really a fighter, who gives everything.”
In an electric 14-rider jump-off the Irish star wowed the thousands of fans who had packed into the grandstands and surrounding grassy banks to witness the very best international riders in action, enjoying the sunshine and thrilling top sport on display.
Frank Rothenberger set a true test for the world’s best in the picture-perfect grass arena; the time allowed of 80 seconds threw in a few upsets, with riders cutting corners to save time and consequently rolling poles. The penultimate fence featuring a solid-looking wall threw in a few spooks, with Maikel van der Vleuten (NED), rolling the pole on top and Jessica Springsteen (USA) having a scary moment with Cynar V.
The treble combination, featuring bright yellow poles with a fast six strides to the final element, and a double combination along the grandstand side which had the option of six or seven strides were the other most significant troublemakers, with many of the top combinations caught out. Top French riders Simon Delestre (FRA) and Julien Epaillard (FRA) both fell foul of the both, with big names such as Ludger Beerbuam (GER) with Chiara, Christian Ahlmann (GER) with Colorit, Marcus Ehning (GER) with Funky Fred and Ben Maher (GBR) all out of contention. Olympic silver medallist Peder Fredricson (SWE) looked set to join those through to the jump-off right up to the final oxer clipping the pole as the crowd groaned in disappointment.
Others also picked up costly time faults, with Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) with First Devision, Bertram Allen (IRL) with Hector van d’Abdijhoeve, Bassem Hassan Mohammed (QAT) with Gunder and John Whitaker (GBR) with Cassinis Chaplin all collecting one agonising time fault and ruling them out of the jump-off.
14 riders went through to the jump-off, with local rider Andreas Kreuzer (GER) and Cavilot leading the field in the galloping course, and a further three German athletes in the mix. The turn back to fence three would be the telling turn, with long distances and the possibility of taking a stride out to the final fence. First to go clear was Martin Fuchs (SUI) with his grew horse Clooney 51, setting the time to beat at 40.21s.
Denis Lynch (IRL) and relatively new mount RMF Echo put in a blistering performance to stop the clock in 40.21s, with the brave chestnut leaping the fences and galloping boldly across the grass arena. The Irishman set the precedent, putting the pressure on the rest of the field to come - Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) and Ikker were forced into an error at the turn back to the penultimate fence, rolling the pole and dropping them out of position. Similarly, Daniel Bluman (ISR) and Ladriano Z had the first pole down, with the pressure too much for the combination, and home hero Janne-Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann (GER) clipped the wall with Goja.
It looked as though poles would continue to roll, as Jack Hardin Towell (USA) and Lucifer V took out the first part of the double combination, until Lauren Hough (USA) with Ohlala put in a valiant performance, jumping clear but just shy of Denis’ time in 40.70s. Lauren’s little firecracker of a mare jumped her heart out for her rider, but took 8 strides to the final, slipping them to 2nd overall.
The huge striding Don VHP Z flew around the course, turning in air with Harrie Smolders (NED) perfectly balancing the tall horse and looking strong to be with a chance of the win. But a slip before the penultimate fence cost them time, and the stunning liver chestnut stallion just took out the front part of the oxer. Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Forever set off at a gallop, living dangerously with the enigmatic chestnut gelding leaping to the fences. Pushing for time, the pair took out the back rail of the GCL penultimate oxer, and down into fifth overall. The penultimate fence caused further drama still, after young German rider Laura Klaphake (GER) and Silverstone G were caught out on the turn back, crashing through and keeping them away from the top spot.
Young Dutch star Sanne Thijssen (NED) and Con Quidam Rb put in a stunning try, full of bravery and keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats as they flew around the arena. The pair look 41.85s overall, meaning Denis Lynch (IRL) would claim the top spot, including a brand new Mercedes-Benz car.
Tomorrow will see the €62,000 CSI5* class kick off at 18:00 local time, ahead of Saturday’s Global Champions League final and the Longines Global Champions Grand Prix of Hamburg, which takes place at 16:00 local time.
Credit for Article: https://www.globalchampionstour.com
Wow... I wanted to write a blog / vlog / thing whatever they are called! (yeah in case you haven't noticed I am a horse rider not a social media guru) around twice a week but have you ever tried to make time to do something like that?!? I mean gathering "inspiration" is bad enough when you are running after two kids under 7, running the business and dealing with missing fur trees and people throwing rabbits. (more on that later) I remember being young and having inspiration and artistic motivation oozing out of me from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to sleep. Where did that go? what happened to my MOJO?!? I blinked and got old and seemed to have miss placed my MOJO!! lol
Anyway I digress as usual.. so these last 3/4 weeks have been slow, the spring wanted to come then didn't want to come then came again, then didn't... arrrrgggh!! which kind of left me feeling like I had started the race but then realised I had forgotten to take my yard boots off... two steps forward, three steps back if you know what I mean. Finally, this last week has been full of sunshine and we managed to get some things done on the yard and also inherited 2 new additions in the form of a horse and a pony. They are respectively called Equador and Crystal not our choices they had the names when they arrived. So without further a do here they are standing in our brand new paddock which we are super pleased with.
Who ate all the pies, who ate all the pies.... lol Yep, Crystal needs to lay of the grass somewhat. :-)
These lovelies had been staying across the road from us with a local village character who had been enjoying them as pets but didn't ride and also didn't have a lot of time to do anything at all with them. The facilities they were in weren't ideal, the boxes were kind a home made and very deep the horses had to step down about 2 feet to get into them and the drainage not sufficient. Anyway long story short we offered to take them both which we have. Here is a photo below of both Crystal and Equador they have been with us for about a week and a half now and I have them on HOCOR Complete and HOCOR Regen which is literally a miracle supplement and also HOCOR natural feeds which unfortunately are only available in Europe presently. In the 10 or so days they have been with us the improvements are huge and visually noticeable particularly with Equador.
We are thinking due to the current and continued financial pressures of getting a new roof on the stable we might book in some adult riding lessons on Equador as he is very easy and loves mooching around the arena in walk/trot. We already have our own horses contributing to their upkeep in the same way and are thinking that this could be a great way to help with the re build and also to pay for improvements to the facilities so all parties benefit. We shall see and I will keep you updated on what we decided and perhaps if we do go in that direction also upload a few videos to keep things interesting. :-)
On this subject we wanted to give a little shout out to one of our awesome customers Geraldine Fitzgerald who donated to our project to rebuild... we really, really, really, really appreciate it!!
Now on to "Missing Fur Trees" Have a look at this awesomely professional video "lol" made by me courtesy of samsung mobile phone. Notice anything odd...
SERIOUSLY THOUGH, someone actually came onto the yard and pulled up 30 of our little fur trees and made off with them. I mean we only paid around £1.50 for each one 2 years ago and at the height they are now they go for around £5 each, that's a £150 ($200) kick in the groin we really didn't need! what is wrong with people?!?
I said I would try to keep you guys up to date on our stable rebuild, I wont go over the whole thing again because most of you have read about it already but if you are here and reading our blog for the first time.. long story short our stable burned down nearly 2 years ago and we got stuffed on the insurance and so we have been trying to get it back to it's former glory bit by bit and with help here and there from friends, family and a Just Riding customer or two.
Many of our customers contacted me after I posted the video of the fire and were super supportive and so nice. So I said I would try to post little updates here and there when I have a spare few minutes to write something or take a picture or two.
So the update is that we still dont have a roof, although we have had a couple of quotes and have found the best possible price so at least now we have a financial target.
However, we have done some pretty cool "other stuff" on the yard, we put up a big paddock on what we thought was unusable ground for grazing, after 4 years of care, treatment and rest the work we did on it has paid off and the ground is so nice we are really pleased and looking forward to having that extra bit of turn out for the guys and girls. We also managed to replace the small fence around the play area which wasn't in a good way and put down some more bark on the play area itself. Inside we haven't managed to do anything more than when I last posted. We tried to plaster some of the walls but without the roof, even though we now have a good concrete ceiling the plaster became very damp and just fell off.. so we wasted money and time, lesson learned. We will start to repair the inside once the roof is on.
Photo's here below of the little fence.. small steps.. etc. :-)
Well I think that sums up our 2 new additions, missing fur trees and a bit about the build. I will try to get on again in a week or so, knowing me it will probably be 4 weeks again... but hey ho, I will try.
As always my heartfelt thanks to all Just Riding customers for your continued and loyal support for our family run business without you guys we would just be a website with some pretty pictures of clothing... :-) xxx
Extra Update: I'm not sure if any of you read my previous blog post about the little pony who just appeared on our yard one day, well unfortunately despite our best efforts in screening the owner who we released him back to we heard that he has recently been removed from her "care" by the local authorities.
Apparently neighbors had called the authorities when they spotted the lady throwing rabbits around her field! Yeah, you heard correctly... "throwing rabbits" needless to say that lucky (named by us because he wondered into our yard and was treated like royalty for a month) has now been re homed and we are assured that the new owners are not in the least bit interested in using animals as any form of projectile, which is always good we think. :-/
Seriously though all joking aside if anyone witnesses anyone doing any such things please report immediately to your local animal welfare office, rspca etc. Thank You. :-)
Star strikers out in force as GCL Madrid Team riders revealed
With just a few days to go until the Global Champions League of Madrid kick starts the European segment of the 2017 Championship, the team riders for Round One can today be revealed. With rivalry and tactics fierce, the 18 teams are calling serious strategy into play for the fourth leg of the Championship.
Scott Brash will join his team Miami Glory among a whole host of other Animo Italia sponsored riders. We of course will be rooting for Scott and any other Animo associated riders this year.
Photo Credit: scottbrashequestrian.com
Reigning ChampionsValkenswaard Unitedwill bring star striker Marcus Ehning to Spain, with the top German rider bringing a history of success at the gorgeous Club de Campo Villa de Madrid after a Grand Prix win in 2016. Alongside him will be team anchor, top Italian rider Alberto Zorzi, who has competed at every leg of the Championship so far this season. Snapping at their heels in the overall Ranking battle are theLondon Knights, who bring in U25 Emily Moffitt alongside experienced Mexican rider Enrique Gonzalez, who debuted for the team in Mexico City.St Tropez Pirateswill return to a proven combination, with best friends Jérôme Guéry and Simon Delestre re-uniting for this round of action, and hoping to return to form after their gut-wrenching result in Shanghai where they looked set to win the event, until it unravelled in the final round.
The huge grass arena of Club de Campo Villa de Madrid will throw in a new challenge to the teams, after the tight square Shanghai set up suited the smaller, more agile horses quick on their feet. Galloping distances and wide open spaces mean the teams had to think carefully about which horses and riders would be best suited to the fourth leg of the Championship. With the option to change horses and riders between rounds, all eyes will be on the first round of action to see how the sport plays out, with teams vying for pole position and the advantage of going last in round two.
2016 GCL Madrid winners, theRome Gladiatorswill bring back Laura Kraut who was one half of the winning combination last year. This time, the top American rider will be teaming up with Lorenzo de Luca, the young Italian star making a big impression on the show jumping circuit so far. Home team,Madrid in Motionwill field their U25 Spanish star, Gonzalo Anon Suarez alongside Dutch Champion Maikel van der Vleuten, with the pair combining forces for the first time on home turf and looking for a strong result in front of their local fans. Tens of thousands of visitors flock to the venue every year to witness their heroes in action, contributing to an electric atmosphere as passionate spectators enjoy top sport and world class entertainment.
Heavy-weight German riders Ludger Beerbaum and Marco Kutscher will be out in force again for theCannes Stars, andMiami Glorywill field new recruit Denis Lynch alongside team anchor Scott Brash for the first time this season. Local fans will have plenty to cheer for as Spanish rider Sergio Alvarez Moya debuts the GCL for the first time with his team,Chantilly Pegasus, teaming up with U25 American rider Lucy Davis. Another brand new combination will beVienna Eagles’Emanuel Andrade and Kerry Mc Cahill, with the pair both taking their first start this season. Consistent duo Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani and Bassem Hassan Mohammed will be back forDoha Fursan QatarandCascais Charmsfollow suit with their winning combination of David Will and Andreas Kreuzer.
Audrey Coulter will also make a return to theHamburg Diamonds, teaming up with trainer Harrie Smolders, and young Dutch talent Kevin Jochems will be returning to his first CSI5* following serious injury last year, teaming up with Michael Kearins for theMoscow Bears. TheMexico Amigoswill continue their strategy, with Christian Ahlmann and Henrik von Eckermann teaming up for their second consecutive event, and Daniel Deusser will unite with U25 rider Alexandra Thornton for the first time this season for theShanghai Swans.
Fresh from their success in Shanghai, theParis Pantherswill keep Jack Hardin Towell up front for the team, this time adding new U25 star Lillie Keenan into the mix for her first event on the Championship race. TheMonaco Aceswill also test out new recruit Pieter Devos alongside long-term Ace Daniel Bluman, and theBerlin Lionswill be looking fierce with Gerco Schroder and Ales Opatrny taking up the mantle for the team.
The first round of action will take place this Friday 19th May, with the first horse and rider entering the ring at 17:30. The teams will fight for pole position, with faults carried through to Saturday’s final which takes centre stage at 15:30 local time. All the action can be viewed via GCL TV, with expert commentary, in-depth analysis and exclusive studios.
OK so it's not a pony... we cant rescue cute Ponies every week just to satisfy your need for looking at a cuddly, scrummy pony!
So a few months ago we were all working away in our offices at JR HQ when one of the girls shouted Awwwww!! Poor Thing!! Now, as many of you know "Awwwww!! Poor Thing!" is effective code for everyone in the entire office to jump up and run to where he or she thinks the "poor thing" might be. I don't know know if it is horsey people in general but anything involving an animal and the words "Awwww, Poor Thing" and it's like someone lit a fire under them. "What Poor thing? Where is it?!?"
In this case the "poor thing" in question was a little dog absolutely soaked through, shivering cold and wondering around outside the office having been dumped on the roadside. (sadly a common occurrence in our road which backs onto woodland) So I ran outside and called the little guy over, he wasn't keen initially but he came over and I gently picked him up. He was filthy, wet and cold and stunk of something not of this world. He was a little thin but actually not to bad. I looked over at the office window which was by now full of Just Riding staff...OK I said I'm taking him in doors to get warmed up and have something to eat.
OK so I am waffling.. Cue the "poor thing", here he is...
Unfortunately we don't have a photo of him on the actual day we brought him in from outside, we think we might have one somewhere but are rummaging through thousands of images to fine it, If I do I'll post it on here.
So I took him home which is conveniently close to the office and got him clean, dried and fed. He was so good, just stood there while I washed him down in the shower.. ate so much food then passed out.
Bathtime.. we put Bonnie our cavalier in with him for reassurance.
The kids came home that afternoon to find our family plus 1 dog (we already have a rotty who lives out and a cavalier who lives in) I made it quite clear to the kids and other half that I would be looking for a good home for him as we couldn't possibly take another dog on...
So during the weeks that followed "Stefan" as he was now called started to kind of blend into our life, we had a couple of upsets in the first couple of weeks which our spaniel helped him to sort out. We also took him down to our local vet to have him neutered as we felt this was the "responsible" thing to do for him and it also helps with them not spraying and humping everything in sight. I mean he literally humped everything when we first brought him into our home, lets put it this way.. the cat was not impressed.
Stefan here below post op... all inoculations done, micro-chipped and sorted.
The days and weeks rolled by and I seemed to try less and less to find a home for Stefan the more he seemed to blend into our lives. He is such a clever little boy, Oh I forgot to mention the vet said he was only just over a year old roughly the same as our cavalier.
I have a funny story about the first trip to the vet, I asked my husband to take me and we went into the room to speak with the vet about Stefan. In the days running up to this appointment for some reason my husband had convinced himself that Stefan was some kid of pedigree breed.
He said in an authoritative way (as husbands do) that the under bite he had looked like he was a pedigree of some kind., he was sure if it. So he said to the Vet "Excuse me is he a pedigree of some kind because I noticed his bottom teeth underbite the top row and I have seen this before on a pedigree breed." (I'm thinking British Bull Dog) the vet turns trying to be as gentle as possible.. errrm, No. The underbite is a defect of mixed breeding! I looked at my husband and LOL alot!!
So Stefan is somewhat "special", that's all good he'll fit right into this family.
Months have rolled on an I gave up on finding a home for him, he has become a real part of Just Riding and our family, he is in the office everyday the girls love him and so do my kids. It took a few weeks for Bonnie our Cavalier to accept that she wasn't the princess of the castle anymore and that she had to share her space with this new dog. It was a classic lady and tramp scenario, he tried so hard to win her over and she was having none of it. This is Bonnie below when we told her that Stefan the street dog was staying..
Since his arrival they started to get more and more attached and now around 4 months on from when we first found him they are inseparable I actually cant remember our life without him. I think to myself often, who could have dumped such a awesome little dude next to the road.. I can only imagine someone thought they were getting something else and when he started to grow they realised he was a bit of a special mix and dumped him, who knows? but their loss is definitely our gain in this case.
Bonnie and Stefan Below Sharing a bed..
Bonnie - "He is telling the story about when he was a street dog.... AGAIN!"
Treats for the gang, the Cat always wins...
Stefan has turned out to be such an awesome dog, he is very clever and really independent. He is still a bit delicate with raised voices, men and quick movements even at home he will head for the door if someone shouts. But we are getting there slowly but surely.
Anyway I hope you enjoyed our story about Stefan our new addition, I know it's not a Pony or a horse.. maybe next time! :-)
Last photo here is Stefan sleeping with my daughter who he adores, yes they are both actually asleep like this.
I simply had to add this video which was taken a few days ago, my daughter and Stefan in the front garden... Apparently he likes it.
Thanks for reading... I hope you enjoyed it.
Any comments are appreciated below and of course your continued support of our store www.justriding.com
Now this is just plain weird! seriously, I was writing the article about the fire at our place and that it had set us back with our plans for the rescue and re-homing side of the business. Anyway, as I stand here before you hand on heart my phone bleeped and I looked down at an incoming whatsapp message I opened it up and there appeared to be a black dog that looked soaked stood in the middle of a field. No, it wasn't a dog and it wasn't any old field. It was a tiny black pony and it was my field!
So I messaged back wth is that? thinking an unauthorized pony purchase had taken place.. on the contrary no one bought him this guy had wondered through a forest which borders our place and into one of the paddocks with my two boys (who crapped their pants) he then proceeded to trot between paddocks under the bottom rail of the fences.
He was eventually caught and Herbert who works on the yard said he was in a bit of a state with parasites and very bad hooves.. he had apparently crossed a river to get in with the other horses. We separated him off and started to call around the yards we knew, no one literally no one had lost a pony. How odd, in the 30 years I have worked with or been around horses this has never happened.
Later that I went down to the yard and gave him some apples and other norty treats and checked him out, I called my vet straight away as he did need some attention and also I wanted to be on the safe side, I also called the local councils department for strays etc and a welfare place locally. None had received any reports that a pony had gone walkabout.
That evening the vet came out and powdered him with stuff to get rid of the lice and other nasty things, checked his teeth all the usual stuff, it turned out he is around 2 years old.
The council and vets said as there was no chip wait around 2 weeks and if no one reports or claims him just chip him and put him on a passport yourself. So we waited and no one has come forward. We chipped him and got him a passport, his new name is LUCKY. (I know not completely original but my 5 year old named him, and lets face it he is lucky wondering onto my place I have sucker for ponies written across my forehead)
So week 3 and he is much better, we cant get to his feet yet to sort them out but he has been treated for everything else, a few trust exercises over the coming weeks and we'll get to his feet and sort them out to.
What a lunatic pony this is, seriously green as anything behave as though he never saw a person before, so funny the first time put him on a lead he just started bucking bronco all around me.. he is so tiny I have a dog bigger than him and when he puts his full stallion attitude on it is rather hilarious.
Week four and he has really settled in we made a miniature paddock but miss judged the little fences and he just jumps out, he is fascinated with show jumping.. when we are training on the big horses he comes running over and watches, so funny. The other horses like him and so do the kids.
Getting to know the human gang.. he is very shy not just head shy but all around shy. But we will work with him and he'll come right. He would make a great little grooming pony for a club or something..
If I rear up surely I'll be as big as you are... ermmm, no.
Week four and I received a phone call today from a lady who I know who says that she knows whose Pony it is, can you believe it 4 weeks after it went walkabouts!! Anyway I said that I would need to speak with her as I had concerns over the Ponies condition when it found ITS OWN WAY to my yard.
Spoke with the owner and although she had no passport and no chip, after answering several questions I am assured that she is the rightful owner. It is a weird one sometimes when you "rescue" a horse or a pony you want to find either a new home or the rightful home for the animal, but sometimes there is a nagging voice in your head telling it would be better off with you. :-( but I cant keep them all. After a few meetings and some long conversations with this "non horsey" owner of the pony I am confident that he is going to be alright. She paid me back the vet fees which is a bonus..
So that brings this little saga to an end, I look forward to posting details of the next one on our blog for you guys to follow.
Any comments or questions in the sections below.. all are welcome and dont forget you can subscribe by clicking the subscribe link on the right.
In late 2015 Just Riding had been trading for a few years and so with profits from the business and ALL of our savings we commenced with our quest to build our own stables.
I think it is most horse owners dream to have their own place to keep their beloved horses and we are no different. We had and still have big plans for Just Riding Stables the first plan was to create a base for the business close to the horses, the second was to create a building and facilities that could accommodate the horses we rescue so that we could give them a comfortable temporary home in which they could feel safe, be well looked after, re schooled if necessary and eventually re homed.
Aside from our Brand Ambassadors program we had always wanted to build somewhere that we could use to rescue and re-home abused or unwanted horses. We managed to secure a deal on a very old stable and some surrounding land through my family. The stable was water tight, well mostly..but in need of a lot of work to bring it up to the standard we wanted it at and make it a habitable place for horses. After all it wasn't all about rescuing horses this would double up as our family getaway, a place for the children to play in and enjoy as well.
2016 came along and with it super exciting times, we commenced on site and made the first cut in the land for the schooling arena.
The days and weeks rolled by with work on the build really steaming along, powered by me.. I was on site everyday! I am sure the builders loved that! lol
Here below is a gallery of images which shows how the development progressed over the following months, we found that our plan changed around 20 times as we moved forward the builders would come up with improvements and ideas which we always loved and of course agreed to. The problem is with working like this, sure you end up with the exact washroom you wanted and the toilets in the barn itself instead of outside but when the bills start coming in for these "extras" ouch!
Click or Tap on the large image to expand the gallery.
Around 5 months on and you can really see the changes in this video from what was the old building to what is becoming the new. The guys were working tirelessly, we still hadn't secured the site with regards to perimeter fencing and so still no horses on site at this point.
These are the last few pictures towards the end of the year, the outstanding tradesmen we had employed had successfully and almost completely renovated and rejuvenated what was a completely outdated mess of a building. We could not have been happier.
My two favourite places was the wash bay created from nothing, tiled and looking stunning and the tack room which lead into the new office. I could not believe that from a room that was used for keeping pigs in at one time, something so beautiful could be created.
One of the proudest moments of my life hanging the canvas picture on the wall of my grandfather who originally owned this building 50 years ago, one on photo he is standing one foot on each horse. He had horses in his blood like me.
A few days after completion the horses had been moved in, we were already using the yard as a valuable place for outdoor play with the kids and had cleared a space and thrown down some wood chipping for the much anticipated play area. Which arrived a few days after this photo below was taken.
The two rescue kittens we had taken in where happy and content, life was good and everything seemed to be going in the right direction. We had taken one young horse on to train and we had already started to look for rescue cases that required our help.
One late summer afternoon we were all at the yard, there were even a few tradesmen finishing off a few bits and pieces. I was washing off a horse with another rider, the guys were tinkering with the wi-fi in the office, kids were running around and the music was playing.. the weather and the atmosphere at the stable was just perfect. You know when sometimes you wish you could just cut a piece of time out and keep it forever well for me this was a time like that.
To some it might not look like much but to me it was perfection and I had my slice of paradise and I was looking forward to doing so much...
I posted this happy photo on Instagram and wrote "LIFE IS GREAT !!!"
We heard the children screaming first and I thought they were playing, but I then realised that something wasn't right. 5 seconds later I heard the word I think any stable owner fears the most... "Fire!!"
We immediately ran up to the hay loft to see how bad it was but it was way too late, the flames at the far end of the building where our new building attached to the old one were as tall as the roof itself and spreading so fast there was no chance to do anything other than to get everyone out and release the horses. A few guys tried in vain to use a garden hose to slow the spread but it was absolutely hopeless. We were blessed that everyone from the surrounding houses came running over as soon as they saw the smoke and started to grab everything and anything and dump it outside on the paddock. Within 10 minutes there was a huge pile of saddles, bridles, computer bits, furniture.. everything that was inside that could be moved was now outside.
We all stood in shock and watched 12 months of work and the last 10 years of savings go up in flames.. utterly powerless and utterly devastated.
Here is a short video which shows the sheer ferocity and scale of the fire.
A brave firefighter tries to do everything he can to save my stables.
The following photos are still today a little difficult for us to look at, some people might be thinking. What? it's only a building, but to me this "building" was the realisation of a lifelong dream. I had against difficult odds brought a building back to life that had once belonged to my grandfather who passed away just before I was born. Call me a romantic but I loved the notion of that!
The scale of the damage mostly from the gallons of water the fire service poured into the building is devastating. The fire destroyed the upstairs and the water destroyed the downstairs. In fact so much water (9 fire engines) was poured into the building that the concrete ceiling was found to be structurally unsound afterwards. #tackroomsdontmakegoodswimmingpools
Our new crisp white ceilings, a few days later they just started to fall into the building.
After the fire we found one kitten but his brother was missing for a while, we feared the worse. This was the final twist of the knife as far as we were concerned it was horrible news that we really did not need. As the guys that worked on the yard started to clear the rubble and fire damaged hay and equipment we received a call to say they had found the other kitten, alive!
The poor little thing had actually singed his whiskers they were all curled up, it shows how close to the heat he must have been, one very lucky kitten and at least 8 of the 9 lives used up for sure I reckon. In an odd way this news lifted us a bit, a small triumph out of what was a hideous time.
We had been knocked down by what had happened but with horses and other creatures we were responsible for we got stuck into clearing up and assessing what needed to be done. It is at times like this that you find out who your friends are.. some of them even turned up to help with cleaning up and just offering to do whatever they could. Like Bishu in the photo below who literally threw himself into the soot and muck for two days we wont ever forget that.
We worked quickly to isolate 3 outdoor boxes and a room which was largely unaffected by either fire or water to store feed, we put up a tent for the hay and moved some horses to friends. The others that we could keep at the yard we did.
The roof had to come down and unfortunately the entire ceiling as it had been deemed to be unsafe. Our two handy men who had been working odd jobs at the stables for me tore down the entire roof and the ceiling, along with my Dad and some friends. I was speechless at how they all worked so hard on that building for me.
When I saw this after a few weeks of the guys working on the stables I truly wanted to throw in the towel and walk away, we were actually in a worse situation than we were when we started the renovation of the old building, at least then we had a roof. I think this was one of many moments where curling up into a ball in the corner was definitely an option.
Work has continued on the yard and we now have a ceiling but no roof, we have to get a roof on the building this year it isn't an option not to, because if we don't the winter will completely destroy the building. I am determined to make this happen this year, hopefully with the support and loyalty of our Just Riding customers your continued business will make this possible.
The inside where the boxes are located is rubble but we are working slowly to restore it, the tack room below seen in the photos above have not been touched, the plasterboard all has to come off and replaced and repainted which we have not yet done.
There isn't much else to add at this stage, right now we have been developing this new website and invested in new brands, attending shows with the shop and moving forward.
The stables are being worked on currently but on a drip payment basis, basically it works like this...If we have a reasonable week on Justriding.com we put up some plasterboard or lay some bricks, or buy some materials for the roof. Everything we had went into the first renovation of the building and so it has to be this way for now.
We wont be deterred from realising our dream, every time I think about quitting I just have to look at my smiling face on that horse on the last instagram post I made before the fire.
In the words of the amazing Nelson Mandella "A winner is a dreamer who never gives up"
If you feel like making a donation to our project you can do so right here:
Who? exactly.. for those of you not as ancient as my self you wont understand a thing about what I just wrote, having said that who am I to assume perhaps you are all cultured music lovers who know exactly who, The Who are!?
The new generation of horse riding boots from Animo Italia are more than worth a look they are tipped to be the next huge thing in the world of riding boots and recent sales and the trends on social media suggest all the assumptions are correct, I mean come on even Madonna is instagramming herself in Animo!!
So in our last article we touched on the fact that Animo were now creating their riding boots entirely in house and this has proven massive in their move away from the first generation boots and into the latest designs which are simply beautiful. The calf skin is some of the finest calf skin leather, sourced in Italy and conditioned specifically for use on riding boots. The soles are the same as most hand made / made to measure boots use, they are glued and stitched vibram soles, even the zippers are YKK the best zippers in the world. The insides are lined with a softer calf skin leather and the inner soles are also leather lined. There has literally been no expense spared in the making of these boots, from the point of origin to the place of production quality runs through these boots like a vein of gold through an Alaskan mountainside.
It is unsurprising that we are seeing super stylish and super talented young riders such as Jessica Mendoza, Jo Clee and Mario Stevens wearing Animo Riding Boots, I have a feeling that we are going to see many more of the worlds top riders favouring Animo boots in 2017.
In a previous article I wrote about the state of riding boots today, in regards to the longevity and durability of the boot itself. I told you about the use of calf skin and importance of country of origin and conditioning of this ultra soft skin. I can not stress the importance of this enough, because calf skin is so naturally soft that it must be worked and handled correctly in the earlier preparation stages in order for it to provide a completely balanced solution. Too soft and sure your foot will feel like it is in a slipper for a few months but you will more than likely be shopping for a new pair within a year, particularly if you ride a few horses a day, Too hard and its blisters for weeks possibly longer and lack of flexibility in the boot which is paramount for riding. It must be just right, and given that I have tested the new generation of Animo for a good few weeks now I can honestly say with hand pressed firmly to heart that they hit the nail on the head with these models. They are soft yet durable, rigid yet flexible... I am so pleased with mine.
The only down side with Animo's new generation of riding boots is not a negative for you, but more a negative for Animo... if as I suspect their boots are going to last for years and years, there will be little need to replace them and so what then?? I think to be honest, I will be buying my next pair of Animo boots out of an obsession for the latest trends and styles rather than necessity.
I can almost hear you all saying, really?!? Yes, I am afraid so.. I own the Zody field boots which I am delighted with and now I see they have released the new Z10 with crystals actually embedded into the toe cap decoration.. I have never seen that before on any boot and so yes, I think I will be treating myself again this year! But isn't it nice to do it because you want to, not because you have to? :-)
Without further a do here are a selection of the new generation of riding boots from Animo for 2016/17.
On the left we have Animo Zody field boots or laced competition boots the most popular boot presently and on the right Animo Zen a ladies dress boot without laces.
Here below we have ZOK a dress boot for men (without laces)
If you are looking for something with a bit of sparkle and glamour then look no further than the Z10 tall boots embellished with crystals in the toe cap decoration or the ZINIA/17 short boots also lined with Crystal.
You will notice the beautiful ZARA unisex mini chaps in the background on the photo above, a perfect accompaniment to the stunning ZINIA boots. They are also a great combination with the two boots here below. ZAMBIA the ladies short boots and ZEUS the short boot for men, classic timeless style.
For any questions about Animo you are welcome to speak to a member of staff or to browse the Animo Italia Riding Boots Collection you can click here.
Introducing the latest offering from Parlanti the KK Boot or K Boot as some people are calling them. Professional riders seem to be seeking comfort of classical styling, certainly in 2016 we have seen this more and more with increased sales of Parlanti's K Komfy short boot and Ocala the tall general purpose boot which we like to refer to as a cross over boot because you can ride 5 horses a day in them, give them a polish and look perfectly respectable on the weekend.
Well these are the replacements for Ocala, and we are not disappointed!
First of all the boots are incredibly comfortable with increased use of buffalo leather and elastic stretch panels to ensure both durability and fit to the riders leg and foot. The exclusive B-Flex rubber sole and two elastic inserts will provide the best fit you could hope for. KK-BOOTS are the ultimate in lightness and comfort. They are both beautiful and durable.