Wednesday 13th of March 2019
Jess Errington

Super Groom Jess Errington: Braving the elements!

Super Groom Jess Errington, Head Girl to Harry Meade tells us all about their adventures up and down the country despite the thunderstorms and heat-wave.

This month has been non stop with lots of outings to various parts of the country. With all the older horses back in full swing we headed to Barbury Horse Trials for four very hot days, with various horses each day. There were some very long days with all the horses going very well. We had Away Cruising entered in the 2* along with Tenareze, Monbeg Medlar and Red Kite. They all did smart dressage tests and were on great form SJ and XC. We were particularly delighted with Red Kite who completed his first 2* very well.

Away Cruising jumping very well at team training

It’s so lovely to have had most of our horses from young ages. It’s wonderful to see them progress up the grades. Red Kite is now a 7yr old and time has flown by so suddenly seeing him doing a 2* was pretty special. The other horses were all on fine form and we had a very successful few days at one of my favourite events in the calendar!

We got home late and un packed and re packed for the 4th day in a row ready for two days of Tweseldown with the younger horses. We had a few of the 5yr olds out and they were all on fab form producing great dressage tests and showjumped very well. We withdrew them before XC as the ground was pretty firm and they were heading to Dauntsey the following week.

The following morning first thing we headed to Aston Le Walls for long list team training. We took Away Cruising, Monbeg Medlar and Tenareze. It was great to be able to take two other horses as well as Away Cruising. It was a fun few days away and great to catch up with lovely friends and the whole of Team GBR.

Away Cruising having a good dressage session at long list training.

The evenings were spent with the team giving talks about their roles and putting the riders through their paces with various tasks, some of which were rather entertaining! We were pleased to see a big television on-site but unfortunately for some the World Cup took the majority vote over Love Island! The good food, alcohol and team banter got us through though!

A rather entertaining moment watching the riders/ grooms being put through their paces doing some stretches!

To round off our month we made the very long trip up to Burgham in Northumberland. We left at 6.30am with Away Cruising and Tenareze in the CIC 3* and Monbeg Medlar and Red Kite in the CIC 2*. We broke up the journey on route in Yorkshire and stopped off at Chris Bartle’s for a couple of sessions with two of the horses. It was a nice break for the horses.

All set up at Burgham before the thunder storm started.

We stayed there for a few hours where they went into stables and on the walker, they had a lunch feed and had a roll in their stables etc and also gave them a graze. It was another 2 or so hours on from there. We eventually arrived at 7ish after what had felt like 3 separate days in one! We set up camp and got everything unloaded. As we had only worked two of the horses earlier in the day Harry had to ride the other two at 8.30 at night! Once all settled in we sat down for some supper at 11.30pm!

A little soaked after being caught in the storm up North!

Although our week didn’t look great on paper the horses went reasonably well. Red Kite was the only one who let us down slightly and was quite naughty! After having gone so well I suppose it was bound to come to an end soon! He is a very nice horse but he is also a chestnut – no need to say anymore! He is very young and the atmosphere just got to him a bit and he was very spooky. I’m sure he will be very good again but we are aware that he may well let us down again. We are prepared to take that risk though! They are horses and not machines after all!

Tenareze loving his time round the 3* track at Burgham.

The other three all had good parts to their week. Monbeg Medlar did a really lovely dressage test and showjumped well. He was very good XC which was by far the toughest course he had done so we were really pleased with him. Tenareze was doing his first 3* and it was tough enough for a first 3* in both the SJ and XC. He jumped a classy round in the SJ which was big and the testing weather conditions made it even harder. The ground was very slippery. It was really causing problems.

Tenareze having a well deserved rest after the long trip up north and conserving his energy for the weekend ahead.

With the recent heat wave and drought! I had forgotten what rain had felt like and gosh did it rain and thunder! It was getting wetter and wetter throughout the day whilst they were jumping and I think for each horse I was having to swap to different and bigger studs per horse! Tenareze flew round the XC feeling confident and happy. We have been very patient and taken our time with him and gosh it’s paid off. It has taken a while for Harry and Taz  to become a partnership and really get Taz feeling confident and happy XC. It’s always worrying not knowing how they will cope and whether they will be happy stepping up a level.

I’m glad to say Harry said he felt really great and comfortable and we are excited for the future with him. I can’t believe my equal favourite child is now in the 3* club! I’m so proud of him! Away Cruising was, as always, a star. He did a lovely test which I think we feel was slightly harshly marked but that’s one of those things. He showjumped well and is improving all the time in this phase. He was a star XC looking and feeling fab. This was his final XC run before Burghley which isn’t far away now.

Away Cruising on flying form at Burgham.

Burgham is a lovely event, everyone is very helpful and friendly. They also had a food stand serving breakfast, lunch and supper in the lorry park very near the stables – this was ideal for the grooms – we are always so busy that most of the time we don’t have time to visit the trade stands which are usually so far away from the stables, so we end up not having time to go and get some hot food. It would be ideal to have more of this sort of thing at big events – as most people probably know good food, coffee and a cold coke are usually the way to a grooms heart. It doesn’t take much to keep us happy! We made the long trek home and arrived home at 12.30am. We put the two horses that don’t live out overnight out in the field for an hour whilst we un loaded all the kit. By the time I reached my bed it was 2.15am! Another long few days away with not much sleep!

Tenareze ready for long road home looking rather pleased with himself after his first 3*!

The season is flying past but it’s not stopping just yet with a busy Autumn ahead! I look forward to sharing all that news from Team Meade in next months blog!

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