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Meet the KBIS insured horses competing in the KBIS RoR Dressage Championships!

As proud sponsors of the KBIS RoR dressage Championships held at Blenheim Palace Horse Trials on the 19th-20th September 2019, we caught up with just a few of the competitors who insure their rides with KBIS! Find out all about the horses, the qualification process, their preparations for the Championships and their post-Blenheim plans.

Jeanette Turner and Kilmanseck have their fingers (and hooves!) crossed for the Preliminary Championship.

Working hard in preparation for the Novice Championship are Liz Whiting and Chatterly’s Lover.

Amy Mayor and Pearl Catcher are hoping for a result in the Elementary Championship.

Contesting the Elementary and Medium Championships are Stephanie Potter and Follow The Facts.

About the horses:

Jeanette Turner and Kilmanseck (Monty), the 12 year old bay gelding, have been a partnership for just over 6 years. “After losing my much-loved mare who I had owned for 21 years, I bought Monty. He was trained locally by Eve Johnson Houghton and I have since found out he was previously owned by the late comedian Mel Smith. He has a great personality and loves to be fussed by the children who walk past his field, plus he’s even nosier than his owner!”

Liz Whiting has owned the 16 year old chestnut mare Chatterly’s Lover (C) for almost 12 years. “Being a mare it has taken a long time to build a solid partnership. C can be very expressive in her moods and opinions, but she’s a real trier and will always put in 110% especially when she is out competing. She has her quirks, sometimes she is a monster to be caught and I can spend hours following her around the field until she decides she wants to come in!”

Amy Mayor and the 10 year old bay gelding Pearl Catcher (PC) have been a partnership for just over a year, having bought him in July 2018. “I’d describe him as captivating; he seems to charm everyone who meets him. He is genuine, really tries hard and is a quick learner.”

Follow The Facts (Ned) was gifted to Stephanie Potter in 2012 from Nicky Henderson’s stable a week after his last race. “We have done a little bit of eventing together and although he enjoyed the cross country, he found the show jumping fillers terrifying! We used to joke he needed to go to Spec Savers! It’s dressage he’s excelling at, we have achieved far more than I ever dreamed of and hopefully, there is still a little more to come.”

Qualification:

Monty and Jeanette qualified for the Championships at Malthouse Equestrian Centre. “My biggest obstacle doing anything during the winter is working full time. I only get weekends to ride and school Monty as we run out of light too quickly. We are members of our local Riding Club at Letcombe Regis who have an outdoor school which is great for practicing. Other than that I school on hacks or in the paddock if the weather has been kind.”

Liz and C did most of their qualifying tests at Solihull Riding Club. “In the run-up to the RoR National Championships at Aintree C had a severe asthmatic reaction in July. She ended up having a month off, lots of steroids and a nebuliser 3x a day! She’s building up strength again but it is going to take months before she is back on top form, I know she’ll still try her best at Blenheim though!”

Amy and Pearl Catcher qualified for the KBIS RoR Dressage Championships this summer at Manor Grange and Port Royal in their home county of Yorkshire. “Aside from training at home, I’d never ridden an Elementary test in my life and I clearly remember trotting around the arena just as the bell went before my first qualifying test, confidence a bit low and doubting my ability, but thinking “the judge doesn’t know you’ve not done this before, just go for it and fake it ‘til you make it!”.  I was delighted that the judges deemed us up to scratch and we qualified on our first three outings.”

Follow The Facts and Stephanie have been out and about collecting qualifications at venues including Hunters and Cherwell. “We are very lucky to have such a range of fantastic venues fairly close by.  As well as Blenheim, we also qualified for the Northern dressage championships at Aintree in August - finishing 3rd in the Medium and 10th in the Elementary classes.”

Championship prep:

As the nights are beginning to draw in, Jeanette has taken annual leave from work to make sure there is enough daylight for their preparations. “Having moved house this year I haven’t been able to do as much as I’d like. I’m working on Monty's fitness and keeping him forward going, as he likes to think working on the bit is a good excuse not to go forwards! My main aim is to enjoy the experience and do the best we can in a fantastic location.”

Liz has been working on strengthening C’s canter following her time off. “When she’s weaker her canter can become 4- time especially on the left rein, so this has been a focus. We’ve also been working on some lateral work to try and get her hind legs underneath her more, which is something she struggles with as she is naturally built downhill. I alternate schooling with lunging and sometimes a bit of pole work or jumping to keep things interesting for her.”

Amy and PC have been focusing their preparations on the challenges of working with an ex-racehorse on grass. “At the recent RoR Goffs Championships at Aintree Racecourse PC, unfortunately, reverted to a racehorse as soon as his hooves hit the hallowed Aintree turf! In the run-up to Blenheim, we’ve been training on grass at any and every opportunity to acclimatise him, including training with our coach Sue Chadwick at Crosland Moor Airfield. Test practice on grass next to the runway with the noise of planes taking off, flying overhead, and landing was perfect preparation for the distractions at Blenheim!”

Stephanie credit’s trainer Cara Hayward for the progress of her and Ned’s partnership. “We certainly wouldn’t be where we are now without Cara’s help. Together, we have been working hard on Ned’s overall way of going especially his trot work as he can get tense and choppy. We are currently teaching him flying changes which has been a challenge, but they are coming together well now. I am very lucky that he is very trainable and always tries so hard.”

Post-Blenheim plans:

As well as dressage, Jeanette also shows Monty. “We are also doing a small amount of jumping as I’m building my own confidence. Indoors I’m okay but outdoors I’m not so brave. Hopefully, during the winter we will carry on with the dressage and showing and keep on improving!”

After the Championships, Liz will be planning some more showing competitions alongside their dressage. “I’m aiming to qualify for the RoR showing championships at Aintree but this may be difficult as I work weekends and struggle to get them off in the summer especially. This is why we mainly do dressage as we can compete during the week on my days off. C enjoys jumping as well but we don’t do much of that as she gets a little over-enthusiastic and I don’t bounce as well as I used to!”

Amy has a self-confessed “work hard, play hard” attitude. “I work long hours as a hospital consultant in a stressful specialty, but one that I love; surgery and anesthesia. Riding PC definitely helps me relax and unwind. After the Championships PC is having a well-earned holiday while I’ll be planning our 2020 grassroots eventing debut from a poolside sun lounger in Italy.”

Stephanie and Ned are also part of the dressage display team and have been lucky enough to display at some wonderful places including Ascot racecourse and Your Horse Live. “Once the KBIS RoR Dressage Championships are over, we will head on up to Vale View for the Nettex Associated Championships in November. We then plan to knuckle down and get Ned ready for our first Advanced Medium which I am hoping to do before the end of the year.”

KBIS are one of the largest independent horse insurance providers, offering all types of insurance for the equestrian. Our products include horsebox and trailer insurance, breakdown insurance, personal accident cover, liability insurance, and horse insurance - including a wide variety of veterinary fee options. You can get a horse insurance quote online or call 0345 230 2323.