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  • Samantha Lissington


I sit here actually in sunshine and still on a high having made it home late Sunday night after a very successful first time attending Chatsworth Horse Trials!

Sooty and Charlie put in really solid performances in the Advanced class in challenging ground conditions to finish 1st and 2nd, the highlight being their two clear show jumping rounds of which there were not many!

In general it’s been a pretty stellar start to the year for Team Lissington. There are so many lows in this sport that when these up-periods come around we feel like we must grab them with both hands!

As you all probably know, our season has been plagued with an unusually wet season, all up we’ve had 5 runs cancelled, and one event which we chose not to run. As it stands, we’ve completed the same number of events as we’ve had to cancel!

The horses’ coats have been slow to change, and everyone generally seems a bit confused about this stop-start atmosphere!

It makes for such a rollercoaster – all the build-up, last minute preparations, plaiting, cross country schooling, lessons etc, only to have a text message come through to say it’s all off. For Cirencester Park we had x6 horses plaited and on the lorry in the middle of town at 5am when we got the message!

Instead, it was a re-route to Tweseldown cross country schooling via the McDonalds drive-by.

However, amongst all the stop-starting there has been some real highlights for us;

5 year olds Cleo and Rafa completed their first unaffiliated 100 level event at Waverton House for double clear finishing 2nd and 6th, funnily enough they backed that up with double clears at their first BE100 runs at Kelsall Hill for 2nd and 6th again!

Cookie stepped up to Novice level at Kelsall Hill and smashed his first one out the park with a 22.5 double clear with a few time faults finishing in 5th. We’re very pleased to welcome Neil Robertson to the Cookie ownership circle, he joins the Bessell family, and we are all very excited for his first FEI event coming up soon at Millstreet in the 2*S young horse class.

Quantas was also double clear in the Novice at Kelsall here with a 24 dressage and a few time for 2nd place, he then had a last minute entry into Ballindenisk where he put in an impressive performance for his first CIC3*S – just picking up 20 penalties for jumping too big over a B element and missing C.

He had a lovely double clear in the Intermediate at Aston last week (with a naughty dressage test!) and will run in the IN class at Tweseldown before heading to Millstreet in the 2*L hoping to gain the first of his Le Lion 7yr Qualifications. We still have a 25% share available in him.

We have been significantly lacking match practice and it was luck-of-the draw which horses had managed to get runs in and which had not!

Poor Charlie had not had a single run before doing his very first CCI4*S at Ballindenisk, a huge ask for him. I was both thrilled to make it through the flags to complete and heartbroken to have collected 20 penalties right at the end of a maximum length track in deep muddy going. However, to have him come back full of confidence at Chatsworth was very rewarding and got us all very excited for the future with him!

Theo was spot-on all weekend in Ireland – a tidy test, a faultless SJ and a clear cross country put him in the top spot in the CCI4*S at the end of the three days and gave us our first big win together – he really dug deep and we couldn’t be more proud of him.

Sooty has had a slower start to the season and his first run was actually Chatsworth – not a bad first go Mr Soots! He now heads to Tweseldown for a quiet OI run and then Millstreet in the 4*S (fingers crossed to be in the Nations Cup team).

Kaitlyn has had the (pretty incredible) opportunity to campaign Luna for the first half of this year – and with it has come a huge amount of experience for her;

- Her first eventing starts on British soil

- Her first international FEI event completing the 2*S at Ballindenisk International

- Her first Intermediate start here posting a competitive score at Aston last week

Sadly it is now time to find Luna a new home, but a massive thanks goes to Susanah Asprey for trusting us with her and letting Kaitlyn take the reins.

We are starting to prepare for Millstreet – All up we will have x5 horses going, and will be completely flat out! It looks like we may have a large contingent of owners coming along, so we are really looking forward to sharing the excitement of the week with everyone!

In the spirit of making the most of the good times - we’re off to a celebratory team dinner, and are all very much looking forward to Thai night at the Plough!

Lets hope we have lots more to celebrate this year as we head into the UK Summer Stint!

Cheers, Sam


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