AV Trinity are proud 2013 sponsors of dressage rider Emma Clarke and Lexcen.
Emma Clarke has owned and trained Lexcen since February 2009.
Lexcen is a 16hh, six year old Weatherbys registered thoroughbred who was previously owned by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, before an injury cut short his racing career. The pair have enjoyed success in both the dressage and showing arena; highlights include qualification for South East Unaffiliated Dressage Championships at Hickstead, Equifest, Amateur Showing Society Championship, BSPS Bright Stars Championship and TARRA Championship in 2012.
Emma has been riding since she was four years old and has competed in most disciplines but now concentrates on dressage and showing. Her previous horse Char-le-roi competed up to medium level dressage, their highlights include competing at the South East Unaffiliated Dressage Championships at Hickstead, where they were placed fourth in their section and Champion Baileys Riding Horse of the Year at the Southern Counties Horse Show.
* pictures by Equisnaps
So, how is 2013 looking for Emma and Lexcen? The regular reports below will give blow by blow accounts of the events as they happen, but 2013 is shaping up to be a really good year of progress for Emma and Lexcen.
……Already qualified for the Summer Regionals at Novice Restricted level – Regional semi-finals end July/start August
……Sure to qualify for Dressage Masters League at Novice level – Semi-finals at the beginning of June
……Hope to qualify for the Pet Plan Area Festival at Elementary level (next step up) – Semi-finals from May onwards.
It looks like all of the hard work and dedication that Emma has shown in working with Lexcen is paying off – and AV Trinity are pleased that they have been able to help Emma towards achieving her ambition of competing with the top dressage riders!
Great news – Since I last wrote of our success at Speedgate I have been invited to appply to join the British Dressage Southern Team. The application process was very formal with a detailed questionnaire and details of my 6 highest scores coming under scrutiny before being put forward for consideration. Well, I have heard this week that I have been selected for the team, competing at novice restricted and begin team training this Sunday !! The team will compete at Keysoe in Bedfordshire over the weekend of 18th & 19th May, so no rest for the wicked! Apparently the regional development officer had a lot of applications to choose from so I am very grateful for my selection. I will keep you abreast of my training and progress, but suffice to say, 2013 has been a great year thus far and I amecstatic to be riding for “Team Southern” and representing AV Trinity at national level.
17th-19th – Keysoe EC, Bedfordshire – Affiliated Inter Regional Dressage Team Competition – N37 (Sat) & N39 (Sun)
Emma’s Report – Speedgate, Kent – Affiliated Dressage N23 & N37
What a weekend !!!
Finally a weekend where we had some sunshine (for my tests anyway). I arrived a Speedgate in good time as I was without my faithful groom (mum) or even a friend (whoever I can grab to help out). The parking was in a field and after seeing the state of the ground at home I decided to wait on the hard-standing until the organisers arrived. The field was sodden and after seeing a lorry and a 4×4 being pulled out by a tractor I was please that I had made the decision to stay on dry land! Lex was in a affectionate mood and was easy to work with in the warm-up area which was huge and had ample room to try out a medium canter or two. There were 10+ competitors in each class with a mixture of restricted and open competitors and I was also pleased that I had two judges who had not seen us before. Our first test was in what I call a “spooky” arena with lots to look at and we set off with Lex still in his happy frame of mind. I couldn’t have asked more of him and despite one canter which was not quite as sharp as it could have been, I was really pleased with the overall performance in this first test. I didn’t have long to wait before the second test, which for us is a good thing as I feel that Lex performs better if there is just a minimal break in between tests. The next class was a qualifier taking place in an arena we had not competed in before. Lex again put in a good test although I could feel that he was beginning to tire a little and this showed in his medium trot strides. I returned to the lorry to wash Lex down and to get him ready for the journey home before getting my results. There were some good scores in the high 60′s and low 70′s with one score of 73.3%. I looked for my score and suddenly realised that the 73.3% was mine! To say I was ecstatic was an understatement and to achieve 1st place and be 3% clear of the next highest score was a fantastic achievement. I scored a 9, a few 8′s and the rest were 7′s picking up first place in my section and overall. The comments from the judge was incredibly positive and made mention of Lex’s need to become stronger in his medium work. My second test score was 67.2% with a few riders still to go. The full result came in fairly quickly and again I am pleased to report that we picked up first place in our section and overall. The second judge commented on the need for greater strength in Lex’s work in order to improve the quality of the test, something that I can go away and improve on now that we have more daylight hours to play with. We have been putting a lot of work in over the last few weeks after a slightly disappointing day at Stilebridge last time out, and I am glad that this was reflected in my scores at the weekend. I am competing at Bedgebury next but for now its back to school and lots of hacking – Until next time ……….
Emma’s Report – Stilebridge Barn, Marden, Kent – Affiliated Dressage N23 & N39
Freezing cold as I have becomed accustomed to, I took Lex to Stilebridge Barn on Good Friday. The classes were very busy as everyone had taken advantage of there being a show on a bank holiday which meant that I had a possible two hours gap between my classes. Luckily for me there were a few withdrawals and I managed to get a slot just 40 minutes after my first test. The warm-up was quite busy and after putting Lex through his paces I entered the arena for the first test. It went quite well with no mistakes although I was a little disappointed with Lex’s medium strides. I was rewarded with a good score of 66.8% and 2nd place in the restricted section. Lex felt quiet tired in the warm-up for his second test and needed a fair bit of help throughout. We did have a few nistakes in the second test, a wrong strike off in a canter-trot-canter movement and an overshot circle which was my fault. We came 6th in a large class with a score of 62.07% which I was really disappointed with. The judge marked particularly hard and this was echoed in all of the competitors scores. This was the first time for a while that Lex had performed two long arena tests and he found it quite tiring. Now that the clocks have gone forward I will spend more time getting him fit which will hopefully overcome the tiredness and see us resume scoring at a rate of 65%+. Until next time ……………
Emma’s Report – Hadlow College, Kent – Affiliated Dressage N28 & N39
After our success at C obham Manor I had entered Lex at Hadlow College who are new to running BD events and, rather conveniently, just a short drive down from the stables. The weather was, as usual, AWFUL! It had rained hard for several days making the warm up particularly boggy which unsettled quite a few of the horses as it made it particularly hard on their legs. I kept the warm up short and headed for the indoor arena for my test. There was lots for Lex to look at but he seemed very focused on the task in hand. Given the dreadful weather and short warm up, Lex turned in a calmly presented, fluent test and we achieved an affiliated personal best of 69.2% in a large class of 15. My tests were quite close together so I went straight back to the warm up area before my second test in the main arena. Again, there was a lot for Lex to look at from training mirrors to decorative potted plants to people walking up and down the gallery. Lex found the test quite hard and made one mistake in the canter where he struck off the wrong leg – although he very quickly corrected his error. Given the warm up conditions, awaful weather and performing the hardest test to date, I was very pleased with Lex’s performance and our score of 65.2% in the second test. I returned to the lorry to get ready for the journey ome before checking the results. Lex was placed 1st in the first class and 2nd in the second class: fantastic results that show that our hard work is paying off. I am now waiting for confirmation from British Dressage, but I am pretty sure that we have now qualified for the Southern Regionals at “novice restricted” and are in with a healthy chance of being invited to the Dressage Masters League at Hicksted in June (invitations are sent according to a points based system). Our next show will be at Stilebridge Barn on Good Friday. Happy Easter!
Emma’s Report – 10th February – Cobham Manor, Maidstone, Kent – Affiliated N28 & N38
Cobham Manor was my first competition of 2013, as other shows I had planned to go to had been snowed off. I received good start times and set off with my friend Jess for company, I couldn’t help but worry that the nasty weather might take hold again. Every few miles along the M20, signs flashed warning of severe weather and I just hoped that we would be able to get to Cobham Manor, do our tests and get away quickly. Not only was it a terribly cold day but it was also wet and very windy. Lex, however, was undeterreed by the weather and warmed up with some lively combinations. Our first test was rhythmic and consistent with only a few moments of tension, and we received a score of 63% giving us 2nd place. I was slightly disappointed with this score but Jess gave me some helpful tips for my second test, a reminder that it is always useful to have the input of someone on the ground! Our second test was markedly better and more forward, resulting in 66% and FIRST PLACE ! I was also pleased to learn that we had accumulated some points for the Dressage Masters League which will be held at Hickstead in June this year. This is a national competition where the top 30 combinations in each section go through to a semi-final, with the top 4 progressing to the final itself (based on the number of points gained Aug ’12 to May ’13). I also qualified for the Sheepgate Tack & Togs Novice Restricted Championships in May. So, not a bad haul for our first outing of 2013! For now, weather permitting, it’s back to the school for more training.
Emma’s Report – 27th December – Bedgebury, Goudhurst, Kent – Affiliated N22 & N38
Fully in the Christmas spirit I decided to take Lex to Bedgebury for his last Affiliated show of 2012. Our “competition” training with new coach Sharon has been going well and Lex has continued the good work at home. Not surprisingly it was raining hard when we got to Bedgebury but fortunately both the war-up area and the test arena are under cover so we didn’t get too wet. The warm-up was very busy with many horses looking rather exuberant after having a few days off over Christmas! Lex on the other hand was calm and obedient as I had managed to cram in some last minute practice before the show. We headed (rather quickly in the rain) to the arena for our test and I was very pleased with Lex, his way of going and his suppleness. I made one annoyingly small mistake which I quickly rectified and rather pleasingly resulted in a score of 65.5% and first place! The second test, which was a qualifier, was much better with Lex Lex producing as close to a perfect performance as I could have hoped for and received a good score of 66% and another fist place. We now have 20 points at novice level which means that I will need to move up a rider group (from group 8 to group 7) when I next compete. You are required to move group when you win 14 points or more. Sharon, my trainer, has set us lots of goals for 2013. One of which is to qualify for the Summer regionals at novice and the PetPlan area festival at elementary (the next level up). The two wins on the 27th will now count towards this as its a points based system and I will now look forward to achieving this goal.
Lex and I wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year, especially Karen Vidler her the team at AV Trinity who are my kind sponsors.
Emma’s Report – 24th November – Bedgebury Park, Goudhurst, Kent – Affiliated N22 & N35
Since the Petplan Area Festival, all of my efforts have been focused on training, training and more training, and I have nowhad my first lesson with BD trainer Sharon Edwards. After analysing the test sheets from my last few competitions it was quite clear what I needed to work on and Sharon has helped me with exercises to get Lex lighter on the forehand in both the trot and canter. It was an appalling day on Saturday but nonetheless Lex and I carried on regardless and our first test went quite well with only one minor error. We did well enough to come second in our section which was incredibly pleasing and gave us both a much needed confidence boost. Our second test was as near to perfect as I could have hoped for and we scored a new Personal Best in a field of strong competition and came second once again. The hard work is obviously paying off and I have another lesson with Sharon in early December when we will continue working on my “test” riding. Until next time ……………
Emma’s Report – 14th October – Petplan Area Festival, Pachesham, Surrey – Affiliated N35 & N38
Leading up to the Petplan Area Festival, Lex and I had certainly been putting the work in. This included plenty of lessons and lots of schooling sessions on our own with ‘homework’ from Andy to work on our weaknesses. All in all, I was very pleased with how Lex had been going and felt as prepared as possible. On the day of the Area Festival, posh plaits stitched in a new wardrobe and in a fairly amenable mood, him and I, I loaded up and headed off to Pachesham. I was quite excited and nervous that I was heading to a show, my first since August. I had entered Lex for a warm-up test as we have not competed at Pachesham before and I wanted him to see the arena before the championship class. We warmed up well and headed to the arena. I had chance for a quick trot round before the bell rang and as we entered the arena my nerves kicked in. Not something I normally suffer with, I made some silly mistakes in the canter work resulting in a disappointing score. First test behind us, I headed in to the championship class. Nerves still biting, we started the test well and Lex and I seemed a little more relaxed. Sadly this did not last and in our first canter Lex broke and I couldn’t get the canter back to perform counter-canter. This knocked my confidence and the rest of the test lacked fluency and relaxation and we finished on a score in the low 60’s. I was obviously disappointed and kicked myself for allowing my nerves to get the better of me. I made use of feedback from friends who came along for moral support and who reminded me that we all have off days and to put it down to experience. This I shall. I feel much more determined now and am aiming to qualify for the regionals. Nothing like an ambitious goal – wish me luck!
Emma’s Report – 10th August – Stilebridge Barn Dressage, Marden, Kent – Affiliated P19 & N22
I have now competed in my first affiliated dressage competition. Aside from being very nervous, I did not know what to expect. The format is obviously the same but the class is divided between restricted and open riders to create fair competition. You need to gain a certain amount of points before you are regarded as an open rider at your chosen level. Therefore I am currently classed as a restricted rider. It was a lovely hot day on Friday and Lex was on good form. He warmed up well and our first test went smoothly with no mistakes although Lex was a little behind the bridle, something he has not done for a while. We were rewarded with a score of just under 63% and 6th place in a strong field which I was very pleased with. The next test was quite tough and the hardest I had completed. Lex was quite tired at this point, but he really tried for me. The judge was very complimentary and constructive on what needed improvement and explained how we could achieve higher marks. We were then awarded 65% and 4th place. Again, another great result for our first outing. I have since learned that we are eligible to compete at the area festival as a restricted combination. In order to qualify you have to achieve two scores of 62%+. The event will take place at Pachesham in Surrey, a large venue which is aimed at giving competitors the feel of competing in a professional environment against their peers and will take place in October. I will of course be taking part and aim to get as much experience as possible beforehand. I’ll be heading to Bedgebury at the end of the month where I will be competing as a novice. Hopefully I’ll be less nervous this time !!
Emma’s Report – 29th July – Holt Farm, Warlingham, Surrey – Equifest & Amateur Showing Society qualifying show
July was almost yet another missed month in the competition calendar. Following a deluge at Crockstead and Felsted being rained off, due to the showground being under water, I luckily found a venue in Surrey that was holding Equifest/Amateur Showing Society qualifiers. I entered for the Equifest/Amateur Showing Society Riding Horse and the Equifest Amateur Showing Society Hack class. It was an early start as both classes were at the beginning of the day and were fielded by some stiff competition. I think it safe to say that Lex has decided that he prefers dressage! In the go round he decided to throw in a few flying changes which unfortunately caught the judges eye. Perhaps he is feeling inspired by the Olympic dressage horses! He was also a little naughty in his individual show again, throwing in some flying changes but gave a good gallop which meant we were placed 4th in the class. The hack class was much better and Lex seemed to settle. We produced a good individual show, a better gallop and were placed 1st. Lex will be happy to get back to the dressage arena on the 10th August at Stilebridge Barn in Marden where we will take part in our first affiliated competition. I feel both nervous and excited – watch this space ……
Emma’s report – 1st July – Crocktead, East Sussex – TARRA qualifying show
June was a quiet month for myself and Lex. Work was particularly busy which meant Lex had a bit of time off after Hickstead. In between I have been schooling, once again sharpening up my transitions and working on Lex’s suppleness through lateral work. I’ve also upped our hacking which has been an enjoyable break from the school. I managed to get to a TARRA qualifying show in July at Crockstead in East Sussex. The weather again was up to its old tricks and despite setting out with good weather behind us there were sporadic periods of rain, hail and wind. I had specifically chosen to go to Crockstead as the judges would be riding, something Lex is not used to. Lex was particularly spritely in the go round in both classes and the weather had made the going a little sticky. The TARRA ridden class received a good level of entries and despite some playful leaps, Lex and I were pulled in fourth for the judge to ride. Lex gave the judge a better ride than me that day and was pulled in second in the final placing, gaining a TARRA ticket to Equifest. The Equifest/Balanced Horse Feeds riding horse class was full of quality riding horses both large and small. Lex gave the judge a good ride but unfortunately due to the strong competition we were out of the placings. I did however get some useful feedback from the judge which will give me some things to go away and work on. July is looking very busy with another TARRA qualifying show in Essex and my first affiliated dressage competition at Bedgebury. I also have a couple of lessons in between with Andy who am sure will put me through my paces! Until next time….
Emma’s report – 26th & 27th May – Hickstead, West Sussex. – P15 & N35 Dressage
My last report mentioned that I was experiencing a few issues with Lexcen and I’d resolved to go away and address them. The chiropractor has been out, a new lightweight Wintec Isbaell dressage saddle has been purchased, Simone at Dodson & Horrell has been consulted on nutrition amd the dentist will also be giving him the once over during the next few weeks – Lex has a better life than I do!! With everything in order I have been aiming all competitions and training towards Hickstead which I entered at the end of May. Having qualified for both Prelim and Novice it meant that I would be attending on both Saturday and Sunday – the hottest days so far in 2012 ! This played to my advantage as Lex is more manageable in the hotter weather. On Saturday we had a short warm-up before heading into the main arena. I surprised myself as I wasn’t nervous and I had remembered my test. We received a good score and were placed 5th overall which was amazing and because we were in the top 6 we were part of the mounted presentation and got to canter around the international arena. I am also the proud owner of a lovely rug emblazoned with “Dressage at the Hickstead Championships” on it. So, with Saturday behind me, Sunday was a day that I hoped to chalk up as “experience”. I kept the warm-up short again due to the heat and headed into the International Arena for the test. Well, Lex turned in one of his best performances in a very busy environment. I really could not have asked for any more from him. I waited around until after the class has finished to see my score and was gobsmacked with another 5th place overall and we were again part of the mounted presentation! With Hickstead now behind me, it’s time to move up to affiliated dressage. The forms have been sent off, so next time I write, showing aside, it will be from the point of view of a newly affiliated rider – very exciting.
Emma’s report- 24th April – Oldencraig Equestrian Centre, Lingfield, Surrey. – N27 & N28 Dressage
What lovely weather we’ve been having! I was lucky enough not to get caught in the downpour yesterday at Oldencraig and fortunate to get a good run over there via the M25. This however is where my luck ceased. Oldencraig looked more fabulous than I remembered and the quality of horses and riders there were as exceptional as ever. Lex was full of Joie de Vivre and after a buck and a few leaps in the warm-up we headed to the “international” arena to take our test. There is plenty to distract horses at Oldencraig – flags, advertising boards, horses coming and going from one of the many arenas, mirrors in the warm-up area and a main road within earshot to name but a few. This all proved too much for Lex and out first test was very tense with a couple of one time changes thrown in on one of the canter diagonals for good measure. I expected a low score for the test and indeed that is what we received. The second test, I am pleased to say, was much better. Lex had familiarised himself with his surroundings, pulled of a better test and a much improved score. The standard at Oldencraig is exceptionally high and on this occasion we were not placed in either test. I always find it a good leveller after you have had a few outings, to go somewhere like Oldencraig to gauge your progress. This will likely be our last dressage outing before Hickstead on the 26th & 27th of May, so for now its back to the drawing board with a lot of hard work required at home.
Emma’s report- 15th April – Speedgate Farm, Longfield, Kent – P12 & N24 Dressage
Well, the weekend was certainly interesting. Despite coming down with flu and spending several days in bed, I headed to Speedgate on a horrible windy Sunday. Lexcen was a little spooky as the wind whipped round his tail and other invisible monsters seemed to keep him rather nimble on his toes! The first test went reasonably well and we achieved 6th place in a very large class. Lex was quite excited to be at a new venue and was a bit strong, something that did not go unnoticed by the judges! By the time the second test came round, the wind was up and the rain was falling, causing things to fly around and people to retreat to their cars. Then came the hailstones, right in the middle of my test! Lex took exception to this and when asked to halt at the end of the test, he refused to stand still – I can’t say that I blame him. However he finally settled, we saluted the judge and headed back to the lorry to get dried off and set off home. We achieved a score commensurate with the test and all things considered I was rather pleased. We were unfortunately out of the placings in the second class but it gives me much to work on this weekend when I have my lesson with Andy. I will be heading to Oldencraig Equestrian Centre on Tuesday 24th April and I am really looking forward to it, as its been a while since I competed there.
Emma’s report – 8th April – Stilebridge Barn, Marden, Kent – N27 & N28 Dressage
Since I last wrote, I have been working hard on Lex’s general fitness and his canter work (unfortunately, I had to move our outing to Oldencraig to 24th April, due to personal circumstances). I managed to squeeze in a lesson with my trainer Andy before my show at Stilebridge Barn on Easter Sunday. We both found the lesson tiring as Andy takes no prisoners and there was much for us to work on! I had been practicing counter-canter and medium strides in advance and felt slightly smug when I was asked to do them in my lesson which we both did reasonably well. The smugness soon faded when I was asked to do some lateral work (which I hadn’t practiced) and did a ‘rustic’ job of it! We both finished the lesson tired, but it highlighted our weaknesses and things we needed to work on in the warm-up at the show the following day. We were lucky to have nice weather at the show and our first test went well with one or two silly mistakes on my part which stood us in third place. The second test was harder, something Lexcen prefers, and we did a much better job and were rewarded with a ticket to Hickstead at Novice level and a red rosette, needless to say I was elated. Out next outing will be to Speedgate this Sunday, a new venue for us. Let’s hope the sun keeps shining!
Emma’s report – 11th March 2012 - Sandhurst Farm, Lamberhurst, Kent – N28 & N34 Dressage - ” Hello all and welcome to my first ‘blog’ where I plan to keep you abreast of my progress with Lexcen. It was a great weekend for it and Lexcen’s first time completing two novice tests, the next step up for us. We had a lesson on Saturday to iron out a few ‘issues’ and Lexcen was a little tired in both his tests. We had a problem with our canter in the first test but I was quickly able to correct this and was delighted to record a new Personal Best and win the class. Our second test was a bit more technical and I was just hoping to get some practice in at a new venue. Lexcen prefers tests with a bit more to them as he can become distracted at times. We completed the test and I was very pleased with Lexcen’s performance. When the class had finished I collected my score sheet and am pleased to report that we broke our previous Personal Best and won the class. It would be great to have a season like this but I am realistic and sure that Oldencraig on 24th March will present some challenges for us, as there are lots of ‘scary’ things for Lexcen to look at! Until then……”