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Posted on Oct 1, 2021 in Riders blog, Sue Chapplehow-Lacey

All in Equestrians life….you couldn’t write it..

All in Equestrians life….you couldn’t write it..

Photos are thanks to Julia Sherwood  

I feel that what I’m about to write sounds like something from a TV drama but unfortunately all is true.

Let’s start with the good times since my last blog.
Our children are on holiday so that has been great fun. My husband Gareth built a swimming pool for us out of large bales of straw and a silage sheet also heated! We even put the bouncy castle in it which has a slide which made it extra fun.
I have to say I was thankful that my horses are used to bouncy castles. At Blair we had to walk past a three story bouncy castle to get to collecting ring and Dressage arenas.
I really can’t remember what events I’ve done all a bit of a blur at present.
Skipton both Drumany and Ki did the 90 it rained and rained and rained and you never guess what it rained. I have to say the organisers did a sterling job of keeping the competition going on the Saturday so well done to Team Skipton. Drum jumped double clear and Ki had a pole showjumping but I was exceedingly happy with both of them.

Ki Be90

Millie won the performance class at the Northern Connemara breed show and gained second in both the novice and intermediate working hunter.
Northallerton was an interesting day, not the best on paper but educational for all of the horses, again very happy with what we went away gaining in experience. Children headed back to school on the 18th August, and the little one started nursery the next week.
This worked well as we had the preparation for Blair. Originally this was going to be our summer holiday competing Millie in the working hunter on the Friday and then Ki and drum on the Sunday in the 90 section.  Due to the fabulous number of entries Blair received they decided to run the 90 section on the Friday. It meant I had a very manic day but thanks to Tanya BE secretary and the NPS secretary alongside Sam and Katie who were fantastic grooms, everything ran smoothly.

Millie 143cm M&M open

Well Drum lost the plot in the Dressage I have to say I got the worst dressage mark I have ever had a 50! Never mind the next phase, showjumping didn’t get much better. They were tiny and she just ran through them thankfully on cross country, after about fence five, we settled into a rhythm and she popped around lovely. Millie unfortunately had some poles and looking back on the mark sheet if she hadn’t had these she would have won. She is still green and I was super proud as this is the first time she has gone straight into an open track without jumping a novice prior. I felt I couldn’t see a stride on her so kept getting deep but maybe that’s after the ride I’d had on Drum but either way I was very proud of the two horses. Ki was the last horse to go in the 90 section. She did a lovely Dressage. I think we were third after Dressage. Knowing the showjumping was small I was a little concerned and I was right to be. The round was lovely and rhythmic but we didn’t pick our feet up. She gave me a fantastic ride cross country popping away answering any question given to her. We did have a blip at the water. I’m not 100% sure if it was the water or the crowds larger than she had ever seen before but either way the second time of presenting she popped beautifully and still finished within the time allowed.

Drum Be90

Now our nightmare begins.
I am fortunate to stay with a friend when competing at Blair where I have a lovely field to turn out the girls. On Saturday morning the lady who owns the yard had checked them before leaving, I arrived with Katie 15 minutes later to find Ki had snapped her leg. Truly shocked and devastated is an understatement.
Ki was one of the most talented horses I have sat on and we had such huge hopes for her. We weren’t at all bothered by the poles or the stop the day before as this was just education, only her 4th event. We had already been aiming for the one star at Blair the following year.
Katie was with me throughout, Drum and Millie stayed beside Ki until the end.
Huge thank you to Ian Rogers the vet that came, he was fabulous also to Gray’s fallen stock as they were very sharp at coming to collect her.
When you’re away from home in a strange place and something like this happens you feel truly lost.
I have always made the promise to my horses that I will bring them home, It sounds silly but I feel as if I have failed to keep my promise. Rationally I know we did everything we could and did the best by Ki. Still this does not make the heartbreak any less. We made the journey back home. Millie and Drum were very happy to see Tom and Seduction.

The next day Sam, who owned and bred Ki came over and in a supreme effort to behave as normal, we decided to get a takeaway for the family. I’m driving into town following a taxi which carelessly hit a cat. The driver drove off leaving the cat flailing about on the road. Sam jumped out, got the cat on the pavement when a neighbour came out so I asked her for a box to put the cat in. She brought me something the size of a ring box! Thankfully a guy came out of the Chinese restaurant with a box the cat fit in. We got the cat to the vet but unfortunately it did pass away later.

The week was a blur of tears and sadness. I really didn’t want to talk to people or see anybody and literally functioned on basic requirements only.The next Saturday, I got up early, gave myself a shake, stood up tall and thought, “Come on get a grip”.  My farrier was due in at 5:30am so I got the horses ready for his arrival.  Then I decided I would treat the children, Gareth and my farrier to a McDonald’s breakfast. So off I went to my little jollies and got breakfast. I was returning home into our very small quiet village.and there was a guy covered in blood!  Not knowing what had happened i stopped to help him, he told me somebody had been stabbed. Truthfully I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I phoned the ambulance and found the stab victim. I did what I had to do and left. Talk about spreading the news, this was reported in the Daily Mirror.  Yes, the breakfast was cold when I got home but thankfully my children are used to my cooking so they still munched it upl. Sam and I were struggling to come to terms with the loss of Ki.

Ki BE90

Though the next day was the Richmond horse trials, I couldn’t decide if to go or not. One half wanted to go so that I could put an event behind, finishing without a horror story but equally I didn’t want to go back as it was always Ki and Drum. Anyway I made myself go. When I got there I realised I had forgotten my cross country hat!  It was a difficult day but the camaraderie and desire to to help was so very much appreciated. The horsey world has some wonderfully kind and caring people in it.  I send a huge thank you to Abigail who owns Richmond equestrian centre and Angie Johnson of Baileys Horse Feed as they both went above and beyond to try to find me a hat.  By the time I had finished my dressage test I was told that my hat was on its way from Scotland!  Thank you Steven and Cat, your legends!. Back to dressage.  We were due to go 2nd, unfortunately the first competitor did not turn up, so we were first in.  As always, there were tense moments but equally improved moments so she gained her personal-best Dressage of a 33.8 and went on to show jump and cross country clear to finish sixth.  I’m going to end the eventing season on that note.

As a way of lightening things up, We have decided to go to the Belsey Bounce in a couple of weeks, as I think that will be great fun. Overwinter Drum and Millie will concentrate on their dressage and show jumping, along with a few arena events.
When the time feels right we will start to look for another horse for Sam preferably a mare so she can stay in team super girls 🥰
Hope you are all keeping well.#teamsuperg

Kind regards

Susan Chappelhow – Lacey

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