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  • Samantha Lissington

Early Season Antics

Well! A lot has happened (and not happened) since our last update – eventing wise the weather is playing havoc once again, and it does leave us all wondering whether we should even bother trying to event in March at all next year!

But prior to that we did have a super productive February with three weeks in Spain taking Sooty, Charlie and Quantas. I used the opportunity to trial a few changes in my riding, which meant that I failed a lot! But the awesome thing about the Spain tour is the fast feedback loop – you can try something one day, make a change, and have another go the next.


The horses all jumped some super rounds, a highlight being Quantas jumping clear in his first 1.40m class (and making it feel pretty easy at that!)


It is a pretty incredible place, from 7am in the morning until 7pm at night there is a constant stream of activity – horses being hand walked, ridden to and from classes, dogs having the time of their life running free (which we loved!) and a never-ending procession of machinery and sweepers cleaning up after the 100(0)s of horses staying for the tour.


One of the things I loved the most about the experience was the quality time I got to spend with each of our “big boys” – it was such a luxury to be down there focusing just on them, taking as long as we liked to work them during the schooling days, which were almost as productive as the competition days!

A big thanks to Jess Barr for all her hard work on the trip, we also had a really enjoyable time getting to know Ellie Townend – who made huge progress in her riding which was so rewarding to see.


After three days of travelling, we got home on the evening of the 29th Feb, I then left at 5.30am the next morning to head to Germany! 3 days of horse shopping later and we now have a beautiful new mare (Malibu) in the stables owned by Jules & Marts Humphreys and Annabelle & Robin Greville-Williams. She is 7 this year but has only done some low-level show jumping previously. We’ve had her just over 3 weeks now and she seems to have taken to xc schooling like a duck to water! I am very excited to see her progress this year.


It is exceptionally hard to find these younger horses, we went through x6 failed vet checks, two international trips and 1000s of hours searching over the past 12-18 months in order to get this one in the stable – so it was a big relief to finally get the job done!


March overall has been hectic, we are one staff member down, so we have all been doing long hours with plenty of stupid early alarm clocks to get prepared for the season ahead. Thank goodness we have had a fellow Kiwi (Molly Todd) filling in while Fran has been out of action. She has been so much fun, Kaitlyn and I will be very sad to see her go as she heads off to America for a Kentucky Equine Research scholarship in June.


The vast majority of our eventing for the past 6 weeks has been rained-off, so there has been a lot of stop-start and we’re off! No, jokes we’re not!

The baby horses haven’t even made it to an event yet, but we head to Aston for their first unaffiliated schooling day tomorrow with x6 on the lorry! - That was actually a couple of days ago now, they were all super!

Based on the unpredictability of the ground, we decided to head to North Holland last week for an event called Oudkarspel, Molly was thrown in the deep end for her first away show, first international trip and first FEI grooming experience all in one! I think we both did great – finishing 2nd and 5th in the CCI4*S and ticking off that last all important qualifier for Paris!

Sooty will now aim for a competitive run at Marbach, whilst Charlie will focus on his first CCI5* run at Luhmuhlen! Suddenly the Olympics feels like it will be upon us in no time at all – and how exciting it will be to see how the next few months play out.

In total we have x4 new furry faces arrive in the stables in the past month – and ALL of them are mares!! If you missed our team intro video you can find it here.


I feel very lucky to be riding Kate Maitland’s 10yr intermediate horse called Delarado (Darcy) – she is just my type and I’ve been having a blast getting to know her! Interestingly we also have her daughter (Kitty!) who is a green 6yr and seems to be very flash indeed!

Last but not least we are so pleased to welcome a lovely 6yr called Aida who is owned by Sam and Richard Al-Dabbah. Kaitlyn is smitten with her and will be producing her throughout this year – she is a bit of a Sooty lookalike which also helps!!!

Big changes are afoot here at Team Lissington as we prepare to farewell Fran onto the next chapter of her life – we thank her hugely for all her hard work and the success she has brought to our team!

And so the hunt has begun as we look for someone crazy enough to join in our next adventures.


We will keep you posted!




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