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  • Samantha Lissington

Right in the thick of it

Writing this blog gives me the sense I’m popping my head above water to check our surroundings – to give a nod to how far we’ve come before we dive right in again and keep on swimming!

We've spent 3 of the past 5 weeks abroad - with a week inbetween each time to catch our breath before focusing on the next international - Millstreet. Luhmuhlen. Mallow.

The horses have all been performing exceptionally well, most of them have stepped up a grade and we’ve already had x3 International wins this season;


·      Nadal – won the CCI2*S at Millstreet

·      Mr Cookie Time – won the CCI2*L at Millstreet

·      Delarado – won the CCI3*L at Mallow

Sadly Rafa (Nadal) has now sold to a lovely American rider, and for once in our lives we are going to try to not spend that on horses - instead locking it away to go towards a house deposit. I know I have a good eye for a horse, but I have a feeling that house shopping is going to be something rather foreign to me! I am so excited that Raf has gone to such a great home, and we can't wait to see him smashing goals out in the USA.

Mid-June we headed off for a very special trip to Luhmuhlen for Charlie’s first CCI5*L. There really is something that gives you goosebumps just being at a 5*, and Luhmuhlen certainly know how to put on a show!

I risk making you all bored with how repetitively excited I am about this horse. We had some costly green mistakes in the flying changes, but I would happily bet on him doing a sub 30 5* test in 2025.

He gave me probably the ride of my life around the cross country in heavy downpours; you can watch the footage here. He then came out with a spring in his step on Sunday morning to jump around with one down on the final day.

I was so blown away with him that I am now at a bit of a loss of what to do next, the plan was Pau however if we are brave enough we might be tempted by a little event starting with B…  

We’ve had quite a lot of change within our team and a particularly big thanks goes to Molly who spent 10 weeks filling in for our short-staffed changeover time. We will miss her cheery personality and wish her all the best with her scholarship at Kentucky Equine Research in America!

J’Aime (an Aussie) must be mad, she is back for more torture having done 6 weeks for us over Winter in 2022/23!  We have also had Ava (another Aussie) come for a stint in our team, she is really excited to be heading to Team Bragg so we will still get to see lots of her which is nice!

Michaela has joined us for a time period and is experiencing a high performance team for the first time – her twin sister Olivia has headed to Ginny’s yard which in a way is a funny social experiment. I feel Michaela might have drawn the short straw looking at the amount of work we have coming up in the next few months haha! We are right in the middle of fly season, so riding at 5am is not an uncommon occurance to get everything done before they come out with the rising sun!

As for Olympic selection – we have made the top 8 but not top 4, New Zealand has probably the largest field of quality combinations to choose from this year and we are privileged to be amongst this group of riders. We head to France in the next couple of weeks to prepare at the Pre-Olympic camp, we will lock in that experience and will be there if needed. And if not, we can’t wait to cheer on our fellow Kiwis!

Very excitingly my Mum and Dad (Nan and Dale) have decided to come for a quick trip to make use of the Olympic tickets that they purchased in the hope that we would be competing. They haven’t been over since 2019, so I am really looking forward to showing them the life we have created in the past 5 years. They haven’t even met Kiara yet! I can’t wait to show off all our new friends who we are so lucky to have made during this time. We are also looking forward to catching up with Pip and Sharon – I wonder how many Kiwi faces we will manage to bump in to in the spectator stands!?


As we look forward to the next few months we have an exciting lineup;


  • Hartpury – Which has been given the British Championships, as it currently stands it looks like we will have about 6/7 horses going which will make for a real buzz of an event for our team.

  • Cornbury – We look forward to the Young Horse Championships every year and this year is no different! Again, we should have a big team of horses going, and we look forward to returning to an event that seems to improve year on year.

  • Blenheim – Quantas’s main target for the year, we look forward to the 8&9yr championships run at 4*S level in September.

  • Le Lion – Cookie (7yrs) and Cleo (6yrs) now both have their qualifications to attend the World Young Horse Championships in Le Lion, so fingers crossed all stays on track!

  • Pau – At the moment we are thinking that Sooty (and possibly Charlie) will target Pau again, more cheese and croissants for all!

Just this evening I've hit refresh on the World Athlete Rankings, turns out we're #15 on the list - which is just crazy to think! It won't last as we've not got many FEI runs planned for the immediate future, but we will enjoy the moment!


It has been an immensely sad time for the eventing community as we attempt to process the loss of our dear friend and peer Georgie Campbell. Georgie tragically passed away in a riding accident and the news rocked us to the core. I think we would all be lying if we said that it didn’t make us question our life choices when someone as talented as Georgie has been taken from us far too soon. I don’t know how we justify the risk, how can you? All I know is that I live a very fulfilled life and I am so lucky to have such purpose and passion to chase.  

And so we keep on swimming... head down, keep kicking!

Cheers, Sam


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