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Sarah Gadd’s Review of 2016 – Part 1

“Well I can’t quite believe it has been a whole year since I was sat down typing my review of 2015, but after what has been a bit of a topsy turvy year with the odd injury thrown in between plenty of ups and downs I’m very pleased with what has been achieved across a range of disciplines on a variety of horses, some rather big for little me!
I’m going to do my review a little bit differently this year and instead of going through our results and other shenanigans that have gone on I’m going to do a review of each horses year…..hope you enjoy reading it 🙂

Before I look back over what super things my three girls have achieved I just want to mention the other fantastic horses that I’ve been lucky enough to ride this year. Back in March I began riding a horse for a client/friend as she just didn’t have the time to keep him competition fit. Icarus was a rather big horse for me to ride but we quickly built up a great relationship and had great fun out at some local competitions, picking up wins at both SJ And indoor XC as well as some Riding Club events.

Another horse I was asked to ride was a lovely homebred mare owned by Mrs. Marietta Fox-Pitt called Snow Leopardess. This super mare is only 4 years old but has already got a fantastic race record behind her. To add a bit more experience to her belt Marietta asked if I would mind riding her in the Sport Horse Breeding Young Sports Horse class at the Kent County show at the beginning of July. It was all very exciting and after some acrobatic displays she calmed down slightly and the judge soon liked us and we finished 4th out of 7 competitors which we were all very pleased with!

WKD San Remo
After finishing the 2015 event season in flying form and having a short break I couldn’t wait to get cracking with Diaz to see what 2016 had in store for us! We started the year off with jumping plenty of double clears at British Show Jumping competitions…..if only we’d registered here and we could have won some of our entries fee back! As we approached the start of the event season I thought we’d better get to a dressage show and see how our flat work training we’d done over the winter had worked. Answer was very well; we scored 70.54% to finish in 2nd place in Novice 27. One more SJ competition before our first event and Diaz flew around the 95cm and 105cm classes finishing 3rd and 1st respectively jumping two super double clears!

We started the 2016 eventing season off at BE90 level and Diaz was on cracking form jumping double clears inside the time at our first two events of the season and with dressage scores in the low 30’s we finished 6th at Munstead and then 5th at Goring Heath.


On to Chilham Park at the beginning of May and after such a great start we upped our game and entered the BE100 class which is quite a tough XC track at Chilham, not that it was a problem for Diaz as she jumped another super double just adding some XC time faults to our great dressage score of 32.3 to put us just out of the placings!

We also did the Riding Club Intermediate Qualifier Horse Trials in May and jumped another super confident XC round at the bigger height to finish in 7th place in our arena.
Next was Tweseldown BE100 and Diaz’s confident XC rounds continued with another super clear inside the time! Unfortunately a ‘cheeky Diaz’ moment in the SJ meant we finished out of the places but I was very pleased with her XC round!

Next was Stratford Hills and despite the trek there it is always a lovely event with a tough XC which I felt Diaz was ready for. We picked up a PB in the dressage, a very unlucky 4 faults SJ followed by our first 20 penalties of the season. She didn’t deserve it at all though; she tripped on landing when dropping of the step at fence 4 and just couldn’t get her balance back to jump the skinny at fence B!


Unfortunately this was to be our last event of the 2016 season. We are not sure if it was from a silly 5 minutes in the fields but she just wasn’t her usual cheeky happy self for a while and after a visit from the vet we were sent on to Liphook Veterinary Hospital were Diaz spent a few days. Various tests, x-rays and scans were done and despite a bleak initial prognosis the vets soon changed opinions and she was home a few days later looking much more her usual happy self which was nice to see.

After a few months in the field chilling Diaz is now starting to come back into work but with a full time job and two other horses it is such a struggle to fit it all in! I’ve been on her already and as the office I work in is closed between Christmas and New Year I’m looking forward to getting back behind her cheeky little ears soon, even if they are very fluffy at the moment! She looks a bit like a fat fluffy pony 🙂


Diamond Mill
Due to picking up an injury towards the end of 2015, Milli spent the first few months of 2016 stuck in the stable on box rest, not that Milli minded spending the chilly days tucked up nice and warm in the stable with unlimited access to food though! As the days started to get longer and the weather picked up Milli started to come back into work. It was so nice to be back on her and she was feeling great so I couldn’t wait to get her back out competing.


As we got into June she was fit and ready to get back out competing and after 4 faults in the first class due to pure excitement Milli went on to win the Discovery class at Cobham Manor BS.
Keen to get some more double clears under our belts we went out the next weekend in June, this time to Pachesham Equestrian Centre. Discovery was first and Milli was absolutely flying, no wait I was……she actually managed to jump me off! After putting in a short stride after I’d thought we were going on the long stride Milli sent me flying out of the saddle, as we landed I landed on her neck and Milli being Milli put her head down to the floor which was where I ended up! Putting this behind us we went in and jumped a lovely double clear around the 1.05m National Amateur Qualifier to finish in 5th place!

On to July now and we were back at Cobham Manor again, picking up another Discovery double clear and winning the class being the only double clear combination was a nice added bonus due to the course being a bit twisty which some found a bit difficult!
Since she started jumping again, we have had regular lessons with David Pearson-Smith and he has helped us with our jumping an enormous amount and he really feels Milli has a big future ahead of her in the jumping world.


As we were getting towards the end of the summer we spent the August Bank Holiday weekend at Weston Lawns for their bank holiday bonanza competition. Milli started in great form by winning the first class with a nice speedy double clear. Unfortunately, after this we had a bit of 4-fault-itus, it was her first stay away show and she struggled to settle being away from home. Despite the 4 faults here and there I was very pleased with how well she jumped, especially around the bigger tracks in the main ring……was good to have her jumping well again!

After a busy few weeks with work, Roxie out at Championship competitions (more on that in a bit) and Diaz at the vets, it was soon October, and the indoor winter shows have started. First we were at Blue Barn where Milli won the 1.05m class with a speedy double clear and then we jumped our first Newcomers and picked up our first double clear and finishing 5th was a nice bonus!
Getting towards the end of October, the clocks have changed and we are on the downhill to Christmas. Aiming to pick up our last few Discovery double clears a go we headed off to Duckhurst where we finished 5th in the Discovery and then a speedy double clear in the 1.05m landed us a second place!

The following weekend we were back at Duckhurst again, this time we were 7th in the 1.05m Open and then picked up an unlucky 4 faults in the Newcomers, but jumping a very confident round.
With Milli feeling confident around the bigger tracks again we headed back to Blue Barn and finished 2nd in the Discovery, picking up our final double clear. We then went on to pick up an unlucky 4 faults in the Newcomers, at the smallest fence on the course. As she was jumping well I also entered the 1.15m class and Milli jumped a super, rider satnav error meant we picked up 4 faults but I couldn’t have been any happier with how she jumped for me!

After a slow start to the year due to injury, it is great to have Milli back on top form and back out competing, doing what she loves best!”