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  • Samantha Lissington

We have LIFTOFF!

As soon as the season plan came out that was it – action mode! We are now in the full swing of things, back doing water treadmill sessions at Tim and Jonelle’s twice a week, attending regular squad trainings, off cross country schooling, coaching, lessons, you name it - we are there!

Our first training-day (practice competition) at Aston was a raging success with our bunch of babies at BE100 (equivalent) level; Jasmine – 76% double clear Diego – 70% double clear Jonnie – 71% double clear Cabbage – 72% double clear Ricky – 73% one down, clear xc

We were over the moon with how everyone behaved and showed progress after the break. Lets hope that’s the general theme for this season please!

Sidenote 36: On the yard side of things the flies got REAL bad, so our leave-home time has been 4.45am for the past month. It does seem ridiculous but having midday naps is a plus. Rainy days they don’t arrive, so that is the one plus side to average weather! See attached photo from 6.41am in the morning!

I’ve been pretty sick lately – no Covid symptoms but frustrating nonetheless! I am regularly cantering around the arena with tissue nose plugs. It is quite literally the most unflattering of looks.

On the squad training front we had a particularly exciting day spent with Scott Brash which was very memorable. Zazu was a champion and it was so cool to be training with the big guns.

This weekend we have our first BE (British Eventing) Horse Trial – we are headed off to Barbury with 7.

Sidenote 37: If you remember from last year, the vast majority of events over here are run over one day – as opposed to New Zealand which is run over two days. So we will be going with the novice horses on Saturday, and then the BE100 horses on Sunday.

Aston Le Walls is next on the calendar – fingers crossed for a successful ballot!

Sidenote 38: Here in the UK there are so many entries that many riders get balloted out of events. Each season you get a ballot sticker per month, and two Super Ballots. Using your super ballots gives you the highest probability of getting into an event.

Sidenote 39: Aston had 1815 entries for ONE EVENT! They have had so much interest that they are running an extra TWO days of competition, so now we will potentially be driving back and forth to Aston (2hrs away) for up to 5 days depending on our start days and times.

The plan for the next few months is starting to get a little clearer all the time;

The younger horses may aim for some age group classes at the end of the season in October (eg Osberton, or with a longer shot – the Le Lion young horse championships).

The big boys are going to target a 3-week-long tour in Portugal at the end of the year. The eventing season in the UK gets pretty ‘suspect’ in mid/late October due to the wet ground conditions, however the weather down in Portugal is a different story! They can afford to continue eventing much later, and as a result the team are running a 3-week-long Winter tour from mid-November to the first week of December which will finish with 1/2/3 and 4*Long classes as the final event. You can check out the tour details here:

How many horses we take down will be budget-dependant, but it should be a great opportunity to gain some travel experience with the benefit of extending the short 2020 season.

Unfortunately some not-so-good news for us, Rui has had an injury during the lockdown period and will not be on the lorry for the trip down this year. He’s injured the annular ligament – the one that wraps around the other ligaments and tendons on the fetlock joint. He successfully underwent surgery last week and is back home on box rest. Thankfully the recovery for the annular ligament injury should be much shorter than other more common ligament and tendon injuries. He should be back in action in about 3 months time, which will give us plenty of time to prepare him for the leadup to Badminton 2021. Hi

s Kiwi parents (the Quigley family) have been fantastically supportive during this time with him.

On to a big up for the year – I have been given the ride on Zazu for the season. I am very lucky to be sitting on a horse of his calibre, and it is such a fantastic learning opportunity for me to apply to the rest of my team. We are ever-appreciative to Alex and the Giannamore family for trusting me with him.

Other exciting news – big smiles all-round this week as we welcome The Pure Feed Company as the official feed supplier of Team Lissington! We were introduced to Pure when we moved into the Buttermere yard. The girls and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the feed, which has a similar fibre-first philosophy to our friends from Fiber Fresh in New Zealand. We are looking forward to working with the team and will give you a full run-down in due course!

Sidenote 40: Sounds like our Portugal campaign has a naming sponsor – The “Pure Feed Portugal Tour” – it was meant to be!

So there you have it, you’re all up to date! Hopefully we will have a good report to follow from our first competition(s) out and about.




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