Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy birthday Horsemart!

The Horsemart Team: (L to R) Georgie, Tracy P, Jane, Sarah E, Sarah W, Laura, Sam P, Tim, Tracey L, Sam K, Di & Steph
On Thursday we had our 10th birthday party at Hickstead, held in a rather swish suite overlooking the arena.

We invited lots of our lovely clients along to help us celebrate, and were joined by special guest, Olympic showjumper Ben Maher!

Ben & Sarah E

It was a brilliant night - starting at Pimms o'clock it led on to scrumptious food, speeches from Sarah W and Ben Maher, a splendid charity auction, enthusiastic dancing to a terrific live band, and an enormous cake.

During the auction guests bid on, amongst other things, a showjumping lesson with Ben Maher, a dressage lesson with Hannah Esberger-Shepherd, a holiday by the sea and a private polo lesson. All the lots proved popular and it was most exciting, if a little nerve-wracking, watching everyone bid.

Sarah W & Horsemart founder, Dom Booth, cut the Horsemart birthday cake

Through the auction and our collection buckets (which we rattled unceremoniously beneath people's noses) we raised over £1,300 for our chosen charity, the Hope in the Valley RDA. We couldn't be more thrilled about how generous people were, and would like to say a big thank you to all those who offered lots, and everyone who bid for them.

Here's to the next 10 years of Horsemart!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hickstead a-go-go!

Well, today is the first day of the Hickstead Derby, and as promised we are there, handing out magazines, show offers, happiness, joy and lots of smiles.

As you can see from the picture, we have a posh new trailer (which our Timmy is modelling in a very dashing fashion). We're so smart now we barely recognise ourselves - but don't worry, you don't have to pay to speak to us, we're a down to earth bunch! So stop by and say hi. You'll find us at Stand 46, behind the Public Grandstand.

We're also very excited because tonight is the night of our big 10th birthday bash. I'll be sure to bring you more on that early next week, so watch this space!

Also, while I'm here, I'd just like to say thanks to all of you who log on and take part in our polls. We appreciate your input, so keep voting, and get your friends to join in too!

That's all for now folks - see you at Hickstead!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A day out with the girls

On Saturday, Tracey L took her girls to Area Dressage...


“Addy (Landgirl) did an elementary test, number 48, scoring 59% – unfortunately not high enough for her to get placed, but she is a bit of a ‘marmite’ horse for dressage judges – they either love her or hate her.

“She went really well and enjoyed her first outing since her tendon injury at the end of the last event season – although she was slightly disappointed that there was no showjumping or cross-country after the dressage!

“The main reason for the outing was to take my sister Nicki’s new horse Winnie (Girlie Intuition), whom I luckily have the ride on, to her first show. We’ve only had her for two months, so we’re still getting to know each other. She’s still very green and babyish, so we wanted top take her out to a dressage competition as part of her training towards, we hope, eventing her next season.

“She did a wobbly but sweet first test – she’s still a little bit unbalanced and with such long legs she sometimes gets them in a pickle. But we managed to stay inside the arena and produce a reasonable first test.

“Overall I was extremely please with both the girls – we had a lovely day out, and most importantly we kept all four legs on the ground.”


Monday, June 16, 2008

Fair's fair

Yesterday, Sarah Wood (boss lady) and Sam Parren (marketing guru) attended the first in the series of equine car boot sales being held at Ashurst Farm in Leigh. All donations for the day were to go to Epsom RDA.

When they arrived there were already plenty of pitches set up and ready to go. The weather was kind and the turnout was good with most people arriving for the bargains in the morning. Sarah and Sam set themselves up at the gate and handed out free copies of National and Local Horsemart to lucky visitors.

Our next equestrian charity car boot is on Sunday 20th July. To book a pitch call Esther on 01293 862110.

Pictured: Charlotte Faulkner, member of staff at Ashurst Farm Feeds, and Sam P

Courses for horses

On Saturday, Sam P attended the first combined training clinic run by Horses'n'Courses at Hickstead Showground. Her trainers for the day were Chris and Karen Wellings, and they covered flatwork in the morning and jumping in the afternoon...

"I have to be honest and say I really didn't know what I had let myself in for! I was unsure how many people would be in my group, what we would cover and what I would get out of it. As requested, Lottie and I were in the lovely all-weather surface at 8.45am to warm up and be ready to start at 9am.

"In the first lesson, there was only me and one other lady, Anna, with her stunning 15yo chestnut gelding. This was lovely – it felt very one-on-one and personal. Anna and I had similar horses that were a bit dead of the leg, so Chris made us concentrate on the horse’s responses to the rider – they had to go when told, turn left and right and stop/slow down on request. 1hr 15mins later we both had more forward going horses that we felt were doing all the work, whereas at the start it felt like the horses were on a ‘joy ride’ as Chris said, with us doing all the work.

"After a three-hour break (during which we got to watch the other lessons) we were back on and ready to take what we’d learnt in the morning and put it into practice over fences. This time there were three of us in the group. At all times the fences were kept relatively low – it was more about us keeping the horses forward and confident.

"We started off with some gridwork to get the horses thinking for themselves, and then we moved on to a course and practiced over it with some jump off turns. I have to say, Lottie and I found this part a lot easier! Although Lottie did try a little nap over the course, with Chris’s help her temper tantrum soon subsided.

"Overall it was a great day, really worthwhile and definitely worth the money. Many thanks to Simon Gaskin, owner of Horses’n’Courses for organising my day, and to Chris for putting up with me and Lottie!"

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New boots from a car boot?

This Sunday, 15th June, we'll be at Ashurst Farm Feeds in Leigh, Surrey, for our equestrian charity boot fair, from 10am to 3pm.

If you're in the area and fancy picking up a horsey bargain, while at the same time donating to a worthy cause, why not stop by? And when you're there, come and see us to say hi and get your copies of June National and Local Horsemart.

Proceeds will be split between World Horse Welfare (formerly ILPH) and Epsom RDA.

See you there!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Rain, rain, stay away!

Our Bath & West team have hardly dried out, their coats are still soggy and their wellies are stuffed with newspaper - but there's no rest for the wicked, or indeed, the wet, as we have once more shoved them, blinking and squinting in the light, out of the office door and into the big wide world - this time to the South of England Show, which kicked off yesterday morning. Along with the B&W stalwarts - Sam P, Sarah W and Georgie - the two Traceys, Laura, and our newest team member Becky, will also be coming out to play over the course of the three days.

They were up with the lark yesterday morning to set up the stand, and I actually ventured out of the office too, and popped to the showground to attend a rather yummy press breakfast - it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. I then visited the piggies,


and a disgruntled llama,

watched some of the Trailblazer competition,

and was forced, yes forced, to do a little shopping and part with some money at the Joules stand. Sometimes my job is almost too hard to bear.

Sarah W and Sam P were also suffering for their work, when they left the stand for a while to go to the President's Lunch. I'm sorry to report that there was alcohol involved, but it doesn't sound as though they embarrassed themselves - well, no more than usual. If I hear reports to the contrary I'll be sure to let you know.

It was a really busy day on the stand, lots of lovely folk coming to say hi, enter our free prize draw, place ads, buy horsey paraphernalia, and just enjoy a chat in the sunshine. If you're coming down today or tomorrow, we're on block 29 by the Balcombe Ring so be sure to stop by - we're a jolly friendly lot and we love meeting new people! So far, there's been no rain and the sun was most bright and shiny yesterday - so please all think positive weather thoughts to keep the precipitation away - we don't do brollies.

See you at the show!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The show must go on

The Horsemart show season has now started in earnest, when four members of our merry band set off for the Royal Bath & West at the end of last week. The lucky quartet selected for the adventure were business manager Sarah W, marketing manager Sam P, and sales execs Tim and Georgie.

As is the way when HM attends a show, camping was the accommodation de jour, and tents were duly unravelled and erected with aplomb (or not). It was Georgie's first show excursion as she's one of the newest additions to the HM team - none the wiser, she packed extensively, including a pair of fluffy slippers that probably didn't see daylight.

The team were optimistic and looking forward to a fun weekend meeting visitors to the show. But thoughts of boasting a healthy, sun-kissed complexion to pasty colleagues left in the office were soon scuppered, when the heavens opened.

True to form, the British weather was as unpredictable as ever, as Shepton Mallett and much of the surrounding area was hit by torrential rain and a flash flood on the Thursday night. The dramatic weather was the stuff of headline news on TV and national radio. The team's tents floated gently in four inches of water, so dejected and rather soggy, they abandoned ship and headed to the homes of various family members who luckily live in the area.

Determined not to be beaten and with a substantial breakfast inside them, they returned to the show on Friday morning. They were rewarded by a glimpse of sunshine and a steady stream of visitors, who had also refused to bow down to the grey skies and mud worthy of a Glastonbury Festival mudslide.

The rest of the weekend went without a hitch, and by the final day they felt that the show had been a great success. Fun was had by both the HM team and the spectators, and the weather, although damp, hadn't dampened anyone's spirits.

If you fancy popping along to see us at a show, we're out and about all season - next stop, South of England at Ardingly in West Sussex, from this Thursday, 5th June, to Saturday 7th June. Come and say hi and you can take advantage of some great show offers. We're also running a free prize draw - 3rd prize is £250 worth of Tayberry clothing, 2nd prize is rubber matting and Aquamax bedding worth £345, and 1st prize is a terrific field shelter from Stable Designs worth a massive £1,675! This is a competition not to be missed, so make sure you come and visit the stand so you can enter!

See you soon!