Reflections on two paths to the BD Winters

WOW Saddles caught up with two of our Ambassadors at the BD Winter Championships at Hartpury.  Kim Young made the long journey from her base near Dumfries for a busy three days, contesting the Novice Open, Novice Freestyle and Elementary Open on First Miss Sunshine AS. Lesley Peyton-Gilbert on World Exclusive presented their PSG Freestyle test as part of the Friday night Gala Evening.

  1. Your first pony?

Kim: An amazingly well-behaved little white grey pony, called Paddington Bear.  He had quite the fluffiest ears you’ve ever seen.

Lesley: I didn’t get my first pony until I was 11. He was a 14.2hh Arab/Connemara cross called Jester, and a great show jumper.

  1. Your first dressage test?

Kim: I did my first test on Bear when I was 6 or 7. We scored 8’s and 9’s – I think they must have added cuteness to the scales of training.

Lesley: I was a late starter. When I was 15 I had an eventer, so I had to learn to do dressage.  I eased myself in by doing a Prix Caprilli test first.

  1. Why dressage?

Kim: I evented as a teenager, which was great fun but expensive. Then I started having lessons with Lady Joicey, who was inspirational. She didn’t care if your mount wasn’t flashy, as long as you wanted to learn.

Lesley: I find it fascinating, the intellectual demands it makes, the attention to detail that’s needed. I think it appeals to my OCD tendencies!

  1. When did you first meet your Winter Nationals horse?

: I went to Holland in November 2013. Merrie had only arrived at the backing yard a week earlier, but she had a kind temperament, moved well – and was within my limited budget!

Lesley: Wex turned up on my yard one day, as a 6yo. His owner had bred him, and was working at Novice, but had hurt her back and couldn’t ride. She knew of me through a mutual friend and thought the horse would suit me.

  1. What is your favourite thing about him/her?

Kim: She is a total worker, always tries for you.  I just need to be careful not to do too much.

Lesley: Mine is the same, he has a great work ethic, always giving everything he’s got. And he only needs a short warm-up, then starts working immediately so I never spend long on him.  That will really help his longevity.

  1. What does he/she find easiest?

Kim: We’re just progressing lateral work and starting changes, and she honestly finds everything easy.

Lesley Peyton-Gilbert - World Exclusive
Lesley Peyton-Gilbert – World Exclusive

Lesley: Again, I’d make a very similar comment. Wex finds everything easy, my only problem is that he can try too hard. He has a lovely walk,  a great foundation to work from.

  1. What are your future competition plans?

Kim: We’ve already qualified at Novice and Elly for the summer regionals. I’d love to get her qualified in the 6yo classes, and get at least to the semi-finals.  My goal is be competing at medium this Autumn and Advanced Medium next year.

Lesley: This is only his fourth PSG, and we’ve already completed his first Inter 1, with 70%.  I’m planning an Inter 2 by the end of the year.

  1. When you are not riding this horse….?

Kim: I run my own dog grooming business, The Grooming Room, in Dumfries.  I work the hours that suit clients – so that usually leaves me time during the day to ride.

Lesley: I’ve a 22-horse livery yard, a mix of eventers, dressage horses, and riding clubbers. I teach at home and for clients – I’m off tomorrow to do two days with the Kings Troop. I’m also a Futurity judge for the BEF, and Young Horse for BD.

  1. What is your horse’s favourite treat?

Kim: Every 10 days or so we box up and go with a friend for a long hack on quiet lanes and forest tracks.  It totally unwinds her – and me.

Lesley: Wex is addicted to carrots, and loves his regular physio and McTimony sessions

  1. And your favourite treat?

Kim: Prosecco!

Lesley: Prosecco!