May 2018: Spotlight on.... Katy Mellor
Katy Mellor is on of our Advanced Level Spotlight Scholars. She introduces herself in this blog:
Pre- season training
Our farm is situated at the foot of the Long Mynd, which has extensive riding and steep topography. Most of my endurance training includes hill work which is ideal for fitness. None of our fields are flat enough for dressage schooling, so I have weekly lessons with a UKCC coach (when I am at home), where we practice a range of exercises on the flat and, and over poles. I feel it is important to vary the horses work in order to make use of all muscles in the horse’s body and to prevent boredom for both horse and rider. As I only take the horses schooling weekly, I often imitate flat work exercises whilst out hacking.
I am currently studying Agriculture at Harper Adams University. This means that I am away from home during term time, which has made keeping the horses fit more difficult. My horse Sahir Opulence (Chester) has had a year off competing due to injury. Following his treatment he has undertaken a rehabilitation programme, in which his work load has gradually been increased in order to get him back to full health, ready for the season ahead. During his recovery period I decided it would be beneficial to bring Chester up to University and keep him on a local DIY yard. It was a challenge to balance work, a horse and social commitments, but it was well worthwhile. This allowed me to focus on Chester’s dressage and endurance training and ensure he was getting back to full strength.
As part of team TAJ, I try and visit Terry and Amanda whenever I can to help with riding and training their beautiful Bahrani horses. They are lucky to have brilliant outriding, especially for their barefoot horses. We often visit the gallops at Broxton to fit in some interval training and vary the horses work. However, as I am busy at University during term time, I am very grateful to Terry and Amanda for all the hard work and effort they put into keeping the horses fit and for allowing me to compete their talented horses along side them.
Cannock Chase Ride – 10th March 2018
Cannock Chase was my first ride of the 2018 season, where I competed my own horse Sahir Opulence (Chester) in the 32k GER. This was Chester’s first ride, after a year off, so I just wanted to make sure we both had a successful ride and enjoyed ourselves. We completed the ride at a speed of 12.4 kph and received a grade 4. I was pleased with this result as he hadn’t competed in so long.
Solihull Assessment Day – 11th March 2018
Terry, Amanda and I attended the assessment day in Solihull with Nasser and Bonanza. This was a really interesting day, in which the horses were assessed both in hand and ridden, by a vet, a farrier and a physio. We found the day very helpful and gained lots of useful advice for the future.
Kings Forest – 14th April 2018
Due to terrible weather including snow and constant rain, which prevented training we had concerns over Bonanza and Nasser’s fitness, who were entered in the 80km CER. It was decided that it was fairest to withdraw the horses from the ride and continue training, for our main aim which is Royal Windsor. It was a shame to miss out on such a good ride, but the horses welfare is always our top priority.
Pembrey Ride – 21st/22nd April 2018
I took Chester to Pembrey, where we did a 2 day 64km class (32km/32km). This was to be a good test of Chester’s recovery as latterly he didn’t seem to enjoy 2 day rides. We rode with my mum on our horse Quantock Willoughby. It was our first time at this ride, and it was beautiful, with a stunning stretch of beach. The going was great, especially for Willoughby who is currently barefoot. The weather was hot and there was no crewing allowed, but both horses coped very well and successfully completed both days. Chester received a grade 1 with good heart rates all weekend and a speed of just under 12kph. He also came 2nd in his PF class, which I was really chuffed with.
Royal Windsor – 11th May 2018
One of the main aims for team TAJ this season has been to compete 2 of their horses in the 80km CER at Royal Windsor. We are very excited to have both Bonanza Bin Shaiwman and Krayaan Nasser entered. They will be ridden by Terry and myself. The boys have had plenty of training including trips to the gallops and Kelsall hill. Both are fit and raring to go. They are now wrapped in cotton wool, ready to travel down to Windsor on Thursday. Fingers crossed for a successful weekend.