Shivers Event Team News

American Visitors

Posted on 14th April 2010

In the middle of March we had a visitor called Kim Payne from Utah, America come to the yard for lessons.  She had found my website online and decided to arrange to have some lessons on some of the team's horses while she was over in England visiting family.  It was quite a novelty, but she was a lovely rider with experience up our Novice level horse trials and she  also teaches herself at her home near Salt Lake City.  Jack was a gentleman giving her the opportunity to experience something with a bit more experience while at the same time setting her some challenges after his winters hunting. 

Kim then attended one of my lessons with Ian Woodhead which gave us the opprtunity to discuss how she teaches and what her pupils are like.  It is amazing how we live so far apart but have a lot of the same ideas and a lot of the same problems with our pupils.

We then had a jumping lesson with Andrew Hamilton which gave us some great ideas for our own pupils on both sides of the pond.  Kim also had a fantastic lesson on Reeva and I think would quite liked to have taken her back in her suitcase.  We will definately keep in touch and swap ideas.

Kim and Reeva

New Starts for Some and New faces on the Yard

Posted on 17th March 2010

Well the start of the season is nearly upon us already and it's all systems go getting ready for Lincoln.  I always promise myself that I will be organised for the start of the season with everything clean and new equipment bought, however as usual riding and teaching  have not allowed me to have a minute to prepare!!

In February we were all sad to see Ben go to a new home in Perthshire.  He is to be ridden by a lovely young rider called Heather Graham who hopes to go on up the levels, so we all wish her the best of luck with him in the coming season. 

On the yard we have a couple of new horses to compete this year.  Although Harry arrived last May he has taken until now to really mature enough to come out and event.  He has been unbeatable at Discovery level BSJA this winter and we can now do a smart dressage test to go with the jumping.  He will have his first outing at Eden Valley. 

Harry aka Diamond Harlequin a Selle Francais x ISH

Reeva who I rode for her owner Vicky Bell at the beginning of last season is now a fully fledged member of  the Shivers team as my mum and I have now bought a half share in her.  Reeva has had a shock to the system over the last few weeks with lots of lessons and xc schooling ready for her season debut at Witton Castle.

We also have Dee a lovely little mare that we have bought to produce and then sell at the end of the season, hopefully she will start competing later in the spring as she has been showing lots of potential jumping over the winter.

Manor, Flyer and Clive will go to lincoln to do the ON and Buster will make his debut at Witton the week after.  We still have everything crossed that he has got into Badminton again but we will have to wait until next week to find out!  So onto the road we go once again lets hope it's a successful year for myself and all my clients whose progress I will keep you up to date with.

Season round up

Posted on 1st January 2010

I thought it was only right to finish with a season round up with all  the funny, traumatic, enjoyable and most miserable moments of 2009 for the Shivers Event Team

Quote of the year

I couldn't choose between these 2 but they both came out of Vicky Bell's mouth!

Quote 1

Doctor: 'What did you fall on?'

Vicky: ' the ground'

This was after Vicky fell off in the show jumping and had to get clearance from the doctor  to go xc, at one point with some of her answers to his questions I really didn't think he would say yes.

Quote 2

While travelling north on the A1 on the way back from Allerton Park Horse Trials and talking about the very long que heading southbound after the cricket at Chester-le-Street and football at Sunderland this was said.

Sara: 'Look at all the toilet blocks on that wagon on the south bound carriageway'

Vicky: 'Eeh do they put toilets out for people stuck in traffic jams'

Trauma of the year

This has to be mum breaking her arm in the midddle of the show jumping warm up arena at Barbury Castle.  It was even worse when she told me to carry on and jump and xc.  She returned later to the horse trials in the afternoon with a pink pot on in time for my xc.  It was very hard to concentrate for the rest of the competition and a long 7 hours drive home that night.

Sara's dipsy moment of the year

After a thrilling clear xc round on the Saturday of Bramham on Flyer I was all set to get my qualification for a CCI3* that is until I missed a jump in the sj.  Devastated is an understatement as I felt that I had let Flyer down.  I did feel better when I heard the great man himself, Mark Todd had also missed a fence SJ.

Dressage diva moment of the year

Despite all our hard work over the winter with spooky Ted he was still giving his mammy a very hard time at competitions so I was asked to step in for Beckwithshaw.  He spooked all the way to his dressage arena and I didn't think I would get him in but he pulled himself together to get a very impressive score of 21. I felt like a real dressage diva after that!

End of season but work continues

Posted on 1st January 2010

The season finished with a flurry of placings on all of the horses and a win at Aske in the Intermediate on Clive.  We got our picture in the Horse and Hound for this win and he went on to finish in the top 15 at Weston Park in his 1st CCI2*. 

Horses have now been on holiday giving me a chance to work on some of the youngsters for next season.  It is vitally important to really give them some education with hunting, lessons, show jumping and dressage before the big boys come back into work. Harry a stunning irish sports horse/selle francais has been with me since May to bring on for his owner Paddy Hughes one of my sponsors.  He has been a fun character to have around and has shown us that he has matured over the summer with some good days out hunting and some wins at Discovery level BSJA. 


Dee my 15hh 4 year old project has turned into quite a find and she is already happily jumping round British Novice, attending  Pony Club rallies and going out hunting with a variety of different people.  She will start her eventing career next spring along with Harry.

My last project has been Flash a reg welsh section D.  He belongs to my husband Paul but I have been doing the work with him.  He is the most comfortable ride out of all of my horses and moves like a dream.  His first show was an eye opener  but he excelled at his 2nd show with a win.  Fitting in some showing this season is going to be difficult but we are really going to make the effort.  I get some funny looks and comments when I come out on him but I really love his 'I love myself' attitude.

Sara with Flash the Welsh Section D

I have also managed to have an ex-racehorse, Maggie, in to retrain to hopefully  vent next season and also lots of teaching.  I don't really do holidays but do give myself a day off to go picking up on a local shoot once a fortnight, it is something I find really theraputic even though unlike with horses I have no empathy with dogs and they completely ignore me!

Sara out shooting with the dogs

Burghley Blues

Posted on 29th October 2009


With only 1 day to get everything washed, and fit in a lesson with Ian at Northallerton,  we set off for my 3rd Burghley.  I set off with some apprehension as I was drawn 3rd to go and Ian wasn’t going to be there to warm me up for the dressage, even at this level we riders still need someone to kick us up the bum before we go in.  I also had to leave without Danielle, as we decided it was important she got a chance to recover from the flu, she was to follow us down on the Thursday with my hubby, Paul.  Vicky (Bell) said she would help me in the mean time and we made a bit of a chaotic team but just about managed to turn up on time for each phase.  Buster decided he didn’t fancy playing dressage in the blowing gale and we came out with a disappointing score of 59.

Some movements were good!

The advantage of an early draw is that it gives you plenty of time to course walk and shop.  The course was strong as usual but I was relieved Mark Phillips had taken over a minute out of the course  as Buster does struggle getting all the way round at a gallop with all the twists and turns and hills.  There was plenty of head scratching on the first course walk but by Friday I had chosen my lines carefully for Buster as I know him very well these days.

Saturday  arrived and again I found an advantage of an early draw in that it was all over and done with straight away and the lines you picked you had to ride, making me more determined.  He started really well and I knew when he jumped up at fence 6 the land rover fence he was going to be on my side. I took a slight dog leg at the land rover bonnet and he really tried hard and most importantly stayed on line.  He jumped up to half way really well but did start to tire coming back to Capabilities Cutting, I knew this might happen as he had missed all that work with tying up.  I nursed him back home but at the waterfall fence he misjudged the jump and dropped his back legs on it.  He continued quite happily though and despite being tired he finished with only 16 time penalties. 

Buster showing great style coming out of the water

I thought this wouldn’t be that competitive at the end of the day but I was proved wrong as horse after horse faulted on the course especially at fence 6 where I had taken my dog leg line, I really did feel quite pleased with myself.  In the late afternoon the girls then rang me to say that when they had got him out to get the blacksmith to put a shoe back on him he was really lame on a back leg.   I rushed back to find him on 3 legs with the vet looking very unhopeful.

We decided to try to get him sound as by Saturday evening he had moved up to 25th place just outside the prizes.  We tried icing and walking him for 5 hours but it seemed to make little difference and we had to withdraw him Sunday morning.

Although I was disappointed not to complete  I was also very proud of ourselves for getting round what proved to be a very tricky course.