Hello everybody! I hope that everyone who reads this is well. My name is Eve Duggan, and I’m a showing rider based in North Lincolnshire. I have had the support of BETTALIFE® for almost a year now. The PharmaTRAC, PharmaQuin and PharmaPlast supplements have hugely benefitted my team of ponies during this time.
What a strange year 2020 has turned out to be! The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of billions of people across the world. Like all equestrians, the lockdowns and government restrictions have meant that our competition season has been short, but thankfully sweet. In this blog I will give a brief overview of our season and what we have learnt this year!
In January, Michaela Pollitt from Equisign Tack and Feed gave us a 6 week trial of PharmaPlast to try on our show hunter pony, Withymoor Damsel (Daphne). Daphne increased her muscle mass so much in this short time (with no other changes to her diet or workload). So we decided to keep her on this supplement and explore the range of BETTALIFE® products.
We tried PharmaTrac for Daphne as she suffered with Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome in 2018. It definitely worked and helped to keep Daphne feeling good in herself at the start of the season. We ventured to Bishop Burton for BSPS Area 3B’s Winter Show, and Daphne performed to the best of her ability to stand 1st in the mixed height open show hunter ponies.
Kerching, or Koosh as he’s known at home, has been with us on loan since December 2019. So we were still very new to each other at the start of the season. At 16 years old, PharmaQuin was great to support his joints through both the winter and the competition season. We had a 2nd place in the 100cm Arena Eventing class at Speetley Equestrian Centre in February, which was my first course at this height. The weekend after, we had a great round in the BSPS Open/Restricted 15hh WHP class at BSPS Area 5’s Winter Show. Although Koosh was very tense in his individual show, resulting in 4th place, we still qualified for the restricted final (due to be held at the BSPS Winter Championships, but unfortunately cancelled!), so I was over the moon!
We then tried our hand at a Royal International qualifier a fortnight later and gave Koosh PharmaTRAC on the days leading up to the show. It must have helped settle his gut; he went clear and was perfectly relaxed in his individual show and placed 3rd in top class company. We were so happy with the results!
Next, we visited Onley Grounds for our last shows pre-lockdown, Area 6 on day one and 17 the next. We took both Koosh and Daphne. Koosh jumped two testing Royal International qualifiers, we had a few poles but we came away with things to practice. Daphne was the star of the show, qualifying for the Royal International Horse Show in the Intermediate Show Hunters, also placing 2nd in two 15hh Show Hunter Pony qualifiers. I was lucky enough to pick up the best rider card on both days too, which was a delight.
Unfortunately, lockdown came less than a week later! I ceased jumping activity with Koosh and spent a lot of time focusing on flatwork with both the ponies. I kept them ticking over and to keep things from being too repetitive we also free schooled and lunged. After lockdown eased, I started weekly jumping lessons again with Koosh. I also had the pleasure of judging in-hand and ridden showing classes at In The Spotlight’s show held at Speetley Equestrian Centre.
In June, we purchased a new member of the team – 4 year old Kudahs Mayfly (Mable). We taught her the basics of groundwork, including lunging, long-reining and trotting up in-hand once she was settled in. We sent her to Sammi Hancox in September to start her ridden career, and she is now broken and riding away and has just returned home. She will be having a winter holiday, then returning to her education in early 2021.
Daphne’s first show of the post-lockdown season was BSPS Area 3B’s summer show, also held at Speetley Equestrian Centre. Daphne performed very well to stand 2nd in the Open 15hh SHP class. A couple of weeks later, we ventured to Arena UK for the very first UK Nationals competition. Daphne went well again here in a big class to stand a credible 3rd in the Open 15hh SHP. We were so thrilled with her performance that this was the end of her season. Although she has been out and about to some clinics since. She will return to the ring in 2021.
Koosh and I spent a lot of time having lessons in the summer, as lockdown had interrupted our plans to really get to grips with our jumping. We did however manage to compete at the BSPS Summer Championships in the 15hh Working Hunter Pony classes. We had a pole in the restricted class so I gave myself a pep-talk, then we went on to produce a confident clear round in the technical open class to finish 7th. I was absolutely over the moon with going clear as the course was difficult and I could count on one hand the courses I’d jumped at that height before that show!
Koosh and I finished our season together on a high with a win at the BSPS Working Sports Pony show in the 95cm Cross-Country Training Class. He loved every second of the round and was spot on the optimum time. We enjoyed a 4th in the Open 15hh WHP class later in the day, another technical course resulting in a few poles but we are learning every time out.
Koosh and Daphne were also 2nd and 7th respectively in the online Autumn Virtual Windsor series, with photographs taken from the BSPS Championships and UK Nationals. It was great to have this online series to participate in since we missed out on so many competitions.
Daphne had a short winter holiday in September and she is now back in full work and feeling incredible. Koosh is currently enjoying his holiday. The extra time I’ve had on my hands with lockdown and Koosh on holiday I’ve put towards my BHS Exams. I recently passed my Stage 2 Coaching exam, meaning I have completed my Stage 2 in Complete Horsemanship award. I’m really looking forward to progressing to Stage 3 soon.
I’d really like to thank the team at BETTA Life for being so supportive through the season. The supplements are supporting the ponies in many ways, and I look forward to seeing what 2021 brings!
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