Knightsend Equestrian

A New Beginning – Not a Good One :(

Everyone at Knights End had a fantastic Christmas and New Year, and we hope you all did too?

Unfortunately the festive cheer didn’t last and we had to make the hard decision to put Boo, our lovely six year old mare, out of her suffering. I had purchased Boo as a two year old and she was just super. Sadly at three we discovered she had an underlying condition that we did our best to manage, as it was a permanent condition. In the following three years I did manage to keep her sound for long periods, even managing to back her and enjoy some low level ridden work for a while, before she told me she couldn’t cope. The last time I mentioned her we had put her in foal to Debonair but sadly she didn’t take. I’m a huge believer that things happen, or don’t, for a reason and in this case she would not have made it until full term. The decision was very hard (the first we have lost) but we had to put her first :’(

Understandably I didn’t feel much like competing for a while and so it took me until the middle of Feb before I went back out with Dino. As our bad luck would have it I was very ill, so my stay away show at Keysoe was not the lead up to the Regionals I was hoping for….throwing up in ones lorry is not a fun experience! We still came away with a win and a second but I felt very under prepared for the Regionals a week later.

Well I shouldn’t of worried as my bad luck continued and the whole Little family came down with terrible flu, so I gave in and withdrew from the Winter Regionals, not that Dino minded I’m sure.



Knowing I had one class to contest at the Winter Champs was keeping me sane, in what seemed like the start of a terrible year. An email from British Dressage made it all seem worth it when they informed me that Dino had in fact qualified for the Medium Open AF at the Winter Champs as well, so we had two classes to compete in…whoop, whoop!

We are not far off the Winter Champs now so I’m sure my next blog will be all about our fun there. Our changes are still hit and miss so it could be exciting, we don’t expect to win in such a class field, but we will have lots of fun regardless :)

2015 – A Good End !

October brings about one of my favourite shows of the year, Sheepgate’s Area Festival! If you have never been to Sheepgate then you really are missing out, it’s a venue that certainly goes above and beyond for its competitors. They always run such fantastic shows and the atmosphere is second to none, not even the Nationals (IMHO).

Dino and I were only looking to contest the Medium Open AF class so had plenty of options on what we spent the rest of the three days doing! In the end I decided to conserve his energy and do four classes over the show, rather than the six I’ve done in the past, with the aim of securing our music regional qualification (with our new music) and finishing our Advanced Medium AF qualification, so we could contest that class at Houghton Hall in November.

Day one went very well, we remembered our music floorplan and Dino performed his socks off for a win on 75.33%. We had some super remarks from the judges and spectators so I went to bed a happy bunny. The following morning we contested the large Medium Open AF class. He put in a good performance to finish in second place, just missing out on a direct qualification to the Final at the Winter Champs.  We then did our Medium Music again that evening, to lots of spectators enjoying their free hog roast (love Sheepgate!). Another win on a plus 70% score so a good run through for Regionals. On the last day we entered an Advanced Medium in the hope we would finish our qualification, which we did with another win. It was a wonderful show with good weather and the usual good company :)



Houghton is my local venue and it’s turning into a really fantastic place. The staff run an efficient event and although it lacks some of Sheepgate’s special touches its a venue that’s most definitely on its way up.

As it’s only up the road we decided to do the Advanced Medium AF class and the Medium Open again the next day, having come so close at Sheepgate it was worth one more shot! I was expecting very little in the Advanced Medium as Dino has only just established his changes at home and they can bit a bit hit and miss! So it was a real shock when he went on to win the class, securing his place at the Finals. I couldn’t have been more proud of him, he’s such a star. We lacked a bit of energy the night after to finish 5th, but I was still on cloud nine! A chance to meet up with some fab friends at the local pub the night before made this show super special and a lovely way to end 2015.


The horses had a lovely quiet end to the year training and trying to stop from blowing away! I’ve never known so many storms!



This Year Is Running Away With Me – September Already!

I’m sure lots has happened since I last posted but as per usual I am now struggling to recollect everything! Warning it may be long…

In my last post I had recently fractured my hand and I’m glad to report that it healed wonderfully, in fact I’ve given it very little thought since. We often forget as riders just how dangerous our sport can be, and receiving the odd break now and then is a gentle reminder that two brains/souls are involved in this game, and horses are not robots ;)

Luckily of all my rides Dino is a perfect gentleman and so he did not get the same break off work the slightly tricker boys and girls had. A good job too as we had the Summer Regional Championships at Keysoe planned for the beginning of August, and I was feeling confident we were on good form. This was to be our last Elementary test together (or so I thought) and I was grateful as I often find I have too much time to dwell on the negative in the lower level tests, something that does not occur in medium and above as movements come quick and fast. Anyway we had a few good scores before the show so I kept our routine as normal as possible.

On the day Keysoe was warm and sunny. I met Nikki Crisp (trainer extraordinaire) there as she had agreed to warm us up. This was the first time Nikki had seen me compete and I’m not sure she expected what she got lol! In the warm up I was having a panic, not something I normally suffer with, but it had been over a year since I’d competed at a Regional thanks to Dino’s WEG campaign. I hadn’t realised just how much pressure I was putting on myself until I finished my test. In fairness as soon as the bell rang it was a case of “getting down to business” and I just rode the test, but my mind kept picking at all the things I wasn’t doing so well. I came out of the test deflated and frustrated that I hadn’t given my all, which poor Nikki had to deal with. Dino of course received his normal pats and mints so did not think anything of it but I kept going over the not so good bits of my test in my head. I prepared everyone for a 64% score, thinking that I would be lucky with any higher. Everyone else thought I was mental as it looked good to them lol! Well they were right, and I know nothing! We scored over 71% and won the class with ease, so Dino became the Keysoe Summer Elementary Regional Champ, good boy Dino. This of course meant the Nationals, and yet one more Elementary test beckoned.

Aside from Dino’s competing we sent the girls off to our vets for that all important AI, hoping that we would have two Debonair babies brewing for next summer. Both girls were textbook cases (or so the vets said) but after several attempts we were left disappointed with no foals brewing at all. A very negative experience as first time breeders for us but we may try again next year with Boo, but this time we will send her to Woodlander Stud.

With no babies this meant that Glam could continue to be a dressage diva, much to her dismay I’m sure, so I’ve upped her work load again and once I feel she’s fit enough we shall try a few music tests with her over the winter months. With the new BD structure coming into effect in December it seems silly to take her out before hand. She has no points currently which will make knowing where she fits into the new structure much easier. Boo of course can not be ridden due to her injury and after her failed AI we had her foot re-xrayed to see how it as looking. The x-ray was not good at all, which astounded us all as she’s sound as a pound, with no hint of discomfort. It showed her pedal bone has rotated even further so I was worried about her future, however from watching her bounce around in her round pen you would think she was 110% ok. We will keep an eye on it over winter and if she still seems happy to move the way she is (it has the most amazing passage) then I will have no qualms about putting her in foal.

Datum came back into work sweetly after his cheeky behaviour earn’t him that time off! I was feeling really good about him, even though he went through yet another growing phase which saw his back end towering over his front, then disaster struck once again. He was turned out in his field as per normal one day whilst mum and I were poo picking in the back fields behind the hedge. We made several trips up to the muck heap, passing him as we did, and he was as settled as he usually is (loves his field time). On our last trip he was standing in the corner looking a bit twitchy so I went over to investigate. His field fencing was a mess and the electric rope that divides it was all over the place. He himself didn’t look too bad until closer inspection, which revealed a nice long gash down his near fore, but more worryingly several nasty rope burns around his neck and throat. Although we do not know exactly what happen I can only surmise that he spooked at something, ran and then slipped under his fencing, coming back up underneath it and wrapped the electric rope (which was on) around his neck. This then understandably made him panic further and caused him to tighten the rope round his neck. Poor mite, but he really is the most accident prone youngster I have ever had! Any way we kept and eye on him and I treated his foreleg (who needs a vet)! Once the rope burns had healed I decided that it was unfair to do any work until I’d had my chiropractor Nicky Jennings check him out. Structurally he was a bit of a mess but he was quite happy in himself and his range of movement seemed completely normal, so she gave us the go ahead to start again…….until his next suicide attempt!

Back to Dino…..The Nationals came up fast and as we set off for Stoneleigh I felt ok, certainly less neurotic than the Regionals which makes no sense at all. The BD programme had us down as the ones to watch in our class, but I knew that our class was going to be fiercely competitive with some brilliant combinations heading down the centreline. We arrived in good time on the Wednesday and took Dino for a stroll around the warmup and competition arena, saving me a job the next morning (lie in – whoop). We warmed up brilliantly on the Thursday and he felt on good form around the arena before the bell. He looked amazing and I was wearing my lovely new jacket from Sporting Colours, all was going to plan. I meant business with the first centreline (scoring 8′s) but after the halt I felt him start to retreat into himself. This is not new for Dino, and unfortunately for us it happened last time at Stoneleigh too. The atmosphere just gets to him and as he’s not one of those explosive spooky types he simply gets slower and slower until you feel like you could get off and carry him around for better marks. So I put on a smile and flapped until the last halt, and that was the end of our bid to become National Champs lol. You win some and you lose some, that is what sport is all about. Of course I beat myself up in the lorry, but you know sometimes you just have to go with it :)

So now I’ve written my essay and bored everybody to death I’m off back out to get the inmates in from the fields. This weekend sees Dino and I heading to Sheepgate for the Area Festival, a weekend I always thoroughly enjoy as the venue is first class and the show has a fab atmosphere. See you soon…..

June 2015 – What goes up…..

So here I am cheating by writing this post in July, and I’m ashamed as I am looking at my calendar to jog my ageing memory!

May/June went by in a bit of a blur. I did my first unaffiliated judging in May for my local riding club and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I ended the day with a lot of respect for the riders who braved some of the worst weather we have had this year, some of the affiliated lot could learn a thing or two!

June was to be a quiet month on the competing front as Dino had already secured his regional qualification, so I decided to focus on my training at home. It doesn’t do to get too many points with the current BD system, this will perhaps change with the introduction to the new system for UK Dressage in December, we will see. My plans for June were somewhat changed when I was ejected by Datum during a saddle fitting. I was sent flying to the look of horror on Lorna (LT Equine), Georgia and my mums face. Although I thought I was perfectly ok after finishing Datum I found it very hard to hold the reins with my right hand. Luckily I only had Dino left to check and he is so well behaved I can ride him one handed!

After struggling for a few days I went to get it x-rayed and low and behold I had fractured my 5th metacarpal. Ironically Georgia and I had a first aid refresher course at the end of that week!

Whilst the horses had a slightly easier month than I had planned we humans went along to Woodlander Stud to decide on a potential baby daddy for Boo. Sadly Boo has had her ridden career cut short through injury but she has the most amazing breeding so it has started a fantastic new journey for Knights End. The day was quite brilliant and Lynne Crowden was as informative as ever. After watching all the boys strutt their stuff and cooing at the foals we decided on Larkshill Debonair. He’s the most beautiful black stallion, a totally modern elegant type with correct paces and a fabulous attitude to work. We liked him so much that we have now decided to put both Boo and Glamour to him, so two bundles of joy at once if all goes to plan.

They very end of the month saw Dino and I head to Nikki Crisp’s for an intensive two days training. As ever it was totally fantastic with good company, good food, and good riding! We came away with lots of ideas and exercises to challenge the pair of us. Nikki never disappoints! The hand was a bit sore by the end but it was well worth it and I’m looking forward to our pre regionals tune up :)



April 2015 – Getting decidedly less rusty!

OK, we are now back up and running and the with the nights getting lighter it’s finally starting to feel like summer!

Through March and April I got back into the swing of competing with Dino (Bindro T). I really had no concept of how rusty one can become if not regularly riding tests, my last ones being over 7 months ago, but it became all too apparent! Dino of course is the ultimate professional, after all he didn’t have such a long break from the boards, having competed with Bert internationally last year (at WEG of all places). Although I felt rusty we still managed four wins and one second place and secured our summer regional qualification in two outings, not bad going. The highlight for me was getting to wear my new competition gear, I adore my new jacket from flying changes and my casco hat from the ladies at Classic Dressage. I now need to sort out a music for Dino and Glam, so thats my next step as far as competing it concerned.

Back at home Glam and Dino have also been busy with lessons and arena hire. We started having lessons with Nikki Crisp after a recommendation from a friend. She has now met two of my loons and so far they have behaved impeccably, even Glam who can be a little testing. We have our homework to do but the exercises we have been doing with Nikki have really been helping all my rides, so thank you Nikki! She has a wonderful way of using poles and exercises that are more “thinking outside the box” which is great as I’m more conservative in the way I do things. She is very positive about Dino’s future at small tour so she’s given me a huge confidence boost :) Here is a video of Dino progressing at home

After Datums little hoof injury, in which he had a cast on for a while, we were given the all clear to bring him back into work and crack on. He’s now working beautifully and I love him more each day……every girl needs her own barbie horse! Heres a little video

I have also kicked my judge training into gear with a fab training session with Harry Payne. It was a valuable learning experience and I am really looking forward to my next one. Evelyn :)


February 2015 – Here we go!

Ok, so this is my first post, in fact this is my first attempt at a blog full stop so I apologize if I send you all to sleep!

Here we go….

After a nice break over christmas 3 of the Knights End Equestrian horses are back up and running, but Datum is currently on the sidelines after damaging his near hind hoof. He’s had a cast on for the last month but should be back in action shortly, no doubt full of energy and 3 year old mischief! The rest are all going well but are looking forward to a change in weather and the lighter nights (as are we). Dino has changed shape dramatically over winter thanks to an increase in advanced work, his piaffe and pirouette work is really coming on, this has resulted in him needing to go up two head plate sizes in his Wow Saddle. Luckily the lovely Lorna Triggs of LT Equine has it all in hand so we can now really push on with the fun stuff :)

Michael Little has just built the liveries a brand new tack room, with all the bells and whistles, and I’m so grateful for his hard work. This does mean though that we have increased the list of new projects for 2015 lol, poor old dad!

It’s been a very quiet winter on the competition front so I’m looking forward to kicking back into action this spring. Until then I am enjoying seeing all my friends competing at the Winter Regional Championships, several have already had fab results gaining them a ticket to the National Winter Championships held in April.

Lastly, I have just sent my trainee judge application off to BD! I must be mad but I am really looking forward to increasing my knowledge base and progressing as a rider, trainer and judge. Over and out, Evelyn :)