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Sponsored Rider Update – Sarah Gadd

Richard Martin

“It was finally time for our first event of the season, and after Goring Heath being cancelled at the beginning of April we were putting our ‘brave’ pants on, going straight in at Novice level. We have done a lot of jumping over the winter and Milli schooled well XC a few weeks ago so I was confident she was prepared enough. Unfortunately it didn’t quite go as well as we had planned…..

The day started off well, with Milli performing a nice dressage test, she just about managed to contain her excitement that she was out at a party! There was a noticeable improvement in her medium trot strides this year which the judges liked and we scored 34.8 which put us in the top half after dressage! This was a great start for her first time competing back out on grass!


 Dressage - Web Edit


Next was the showjumping and after jumping such big tracks and fences in my lessons with David throughout the winter, the 1.10/1.15m course at the event looked very inviting, but it seemed to be causing a few problems with not many clears. Milli’s excitement got the better of her in the warm up and we were squeaking, buckin’ and bronkin’ all over the place……she definitely knew she was at an event now! In we went and Milli was on a mission, she knew exactly what she had to do and flew round jumping an amazing clear, I was chuffed!

With it all to play for now, I was very excited to get out on the cross country course and give it our best shot. It did seem a tougher track than usual at South of England’s spring event but there was nothing that looked too intimidating for our first run. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1……GO! Milli jumped out the start box with huge excitement which she has never done before and resulted in me having to jump fences 1 and 2 with only one stirrup! On retrieving my stirrup we were off and over 3 and on to the first combination at 4 and 5. Milli was eating the ground up and travelling at a very good speed as well. She seems to have found a few more gears ‘speed wise’ during the winter. We went straight routes through all the combinations and she was flying, next was the water and the skinny house which was quite close to the water edge and, as most of you probably know I’m not a big fan of water jumps after my falls on Roxie, but Milli gave me nothing to worry about! She went flying in, splashing through the water and out over the skinny house to exit the water, staying as straight as ever! She was giving me a great feeling, well until we got to two from home and unfortunately she just switched off, which was a big surprise as she was feeling great! Unfortunately this lead to our first big E on her record which is a bit disappointing, but on the positive side the dressage was good and she jumped ace in the show jumping so we are both here, fit and safe to fight another day. Milli came out of the stable the following morning 100% sound and full of beans so we are thinking perhaps she just ran out of energy, bless her! Since then there’s been lots of training going on and I had a SJ lesson last Saturday and after explaining to my trainer, David, what happened he agreed with me and we think she just ran out of puff and possibly scared herself as she was jumping so bold and brave all the way around the course until we stopped. Here is a link to our South of England video:


XC 2 - Web Edit


I’m very pleased to announce that there is a new four legged member to the team as well in the form of Diaz who is a lovely sweet mare bred by the WKD showjumping team at the Sycamore Stable in Ireland. She is rising 6 and I’m very excited to have been offered the ride on her as it is thought that she has a lot of potential as an event horse and in the week I’ve had her she’s ticking all the boxes and is my type of horse. I love her attitude, she feels like once she’s built up a great relationship with her rider she’ll do anything for you!

Now on to some not so good news and unfortunately Roxie’s split the scar tissue on her knee open so we are back to lots of bandaging and have a very unhappy Roxie in on box rest! . It’s typical, Roxie schooled so well over the weekend and I was just thinking of taking her out to some local dressage shows. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious and she’ll be back strutting her stuff soon!

After our run at South of England not going quite to plan I decided best not to run at Novice level at Hambleden as it is a very tough track, with most of the fences also being in the 1* and I feel Milli could do with a nice confidence building run to avoid any loss of confidence. Our next run will be in the BE100open at Chilham at the beginning of May……wish us luck. :)”



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