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  • Samantha Lissington

New Year, New... Things!

We had a lovely time back in NZ – some beaut days amidst an unseasonably wet Summer! Little did we know just how bad it would get after we left…

It has been shocking to see all the flood damage since we’ve been back on

UK soil, our Kiwi friends are all very much in our thoughts at this tough time.

Rewind a month or so and thankfully the weather played ball for our favourite people on their special days – Maddy and James got hitched on the 6th of Jan in Blenheim and Ginny and Mitch a few days before that on New Years Eve at their family farm in Kaukapapa (it was nice to have a party thrown for us for New Years!)

Lots of prep went into it and we were so thankful to share the memories with them. How lucky are we to have such great people in our lives!

We had an early Christmas present with the arrival of a new niece. We were very pleased to get to spend some quality hand time with the brand new Olivia May Chambers.

It was quite fun to be on the receiving end of the weekly video updates (provided by the girls) – and great to get a few lessons in (although challenging with time difference and via dodgy wifi!)


I rode a few horses while I was away – just helping out with the odd lesson and sitting on a couple of NZ bred horses to check on the quality being produced back home. Very pleased to say they are lovely types and the future looks bright for NZ breeding – well done everyone involved! Though I couldn’t believe how sore I was the next day after riding – I guess after spending a decent chunk of time recovering I had lost more fitness than I thought I would!

We did the usual busy busy - touring around visiting friends and family – at one point I had moved around 8 nights in a row! Whilst living out of a suitcase is fun we’ve really enjoyed settling in back home in the UK.

We flew back into Heathrow on the 12th of January and headed straight up to the yard to ride a couple – it was very nice to be sitting behind my favourite pair of little black ears again! I was also pleased to hop back on the big horses and have them feel exactly the same as I left them, and the young ones had even learnt some new moves! A big thanks to Kaitlyn for all her hard work on that front. Fran had the yard looking immaculate (as per usual) and (thanks to J’Aime) Kiara looks like she’s been spoilt rotten! We were all sad to see J’Aime go after her 6 week stay, but I’m sure we will see her again in the future.

New year, new me?

Having had too many Christmas puds over the festive season, Brayden and I have joined the rush of keen-January-New-Years-resolution-makers, and have signed up for the gym.

We are enjoying heading there early each morning, we’re trying to make it part of our routine so that (hopefully) when things start to get busier we are already in the habit of fitting it in. We will see if we make it through the late Feb/March phase out stage!

New year, new job

Well not for me anyway!

Brayden has an exciting new role with Keyflow feeds, he started in January and will be managing the South West sales area. So some of you may seem him a bit more often around and about.

New year, new lorry!

We are over the moon to have bought a new lorry, after all the dramas of last year we have invested in a shiny new one to take us from A to B all around the continent! She’s a 2004 Scania, built by Whittaker, and we are taking name suggestions! (Starting with S! Best option so far is Scarlett!) She had a good check over from Tom at Haynes Horseboxes and we’ve taken her out for a couple of test drives which have been luxurious!

New year, new plans

Sadly we had a couple of horse injuries at the yard while we were away (thankfully everyone will be ok, just starting a touch late), so the Spain Sunshine Tour suddenly turned out not to be financially viable enough. We’ve decided to save that for next year and will instead head to some local SJ days to make up for it. We might not get the sunshine we were hoping for, but our bank account will thank us for now!

We have put together a draft season plan for the horses, if you like you can have a stalk of it here.

The horses have all had their pre-season MOT (UK) / WOF (NZ) checks, we’ve had visits from;

  • Alice Croxford (Andre Buthe Vets) to check that all the horses have a clean bill of health

  • Anki from Sederholm checking the saddle fit

  • Adrian and the team from South East Dental Services doing their 6 monthly dentist checks

  • Alice Dorman has been through the barn doing physio treatments with everyone

  • And Jack the farrier has just started putting the first set of stud holes in our shoes!

It is all getting rather exciting!

New year, new owners

We are very pleased to welcome Annabelle and Grov to the Lord Seekonig Partnership (aka Charlie). Having had a great time with Quantas last year, they decided they would diversify their risk and join in with Charlie at a higher level this year. Charlie is aiming to step up to 4* level and will look toward the Blenheim CCI4*L in September. We have one share left in him for anyone who would like to join the fun.

New year, new opportunities

Whilst we are on the ownership front – a rare opportunity has cropped up to join the fun with Quantas. One of his existing owners (Jane Burmester) is (very admirably) planning on climbing Mount Everest this year! Which by all accounts is a rather expensive process. So if you would like to join in one of our most exciting future prospects then please let us know.

New year, new life

Having done some soul searching whilst back in Kiwiland, Brayden and I have decided to stay in the UK long term, we have been on the fence for a while about what we will do after Paris, but we have been pleasantly surprised by how much we love the country and the lifestyle. It feels like a new chapter having committed to that decision, and it feels like a great place to be in all respects.

Hope everyone is well and we look forward to seeing you out and about early season.

Cheers! Sam

PS If you’re up for some more reading, it was lovely to see Cookie on the front cover of the Show Circuit magazine in New Zealand – there’s a great article with lots of neat pics thanks to Play Creative. It is free to read here.


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