Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Event groom diary: A season of highs and a career first

Jimmy & Crisy performing their circus trick - a kiss for a carrot
Meet Crisy Salmon, groom for international eventrider, Sarah Bullimore. Here she brings us up to date with her 2016 season - and what a season it has been.

Sorry for the long absence since my last post. It turns out I’m not very good at keeping up to date with blogging, but I see this as a good thing because now I can just summarise all the best bits from this season.

A new ride for me

Sadly, Jimmy, the lovely horse I had on loan, went lame over the summer. Injuries from general wear and tear that come with old age were diagnosed so we decided retirement was the best option. Fortunately, I found a replacement horse soon after. Lenny is my new ride and he’s working his socks off! He was certainly a tricky ride to start with and has tested my stick-ability (with mixed results), but we have a great bond and I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.

And my first 4 star

Sarah & Lilly after the prize giving
Grooming wise, I had my first experience at a 4* event and where better than our ‘local’ event of Burghley with Reve Du Rouet.  But, before that career highlight, we had plenty of work to do earlier in the season.
The Bullimore Team started the year on a high out in Barocca D’alva (Portugal) and  I was thrilled to go out there for the final part of the competition.  Sarah achieved fantastic results, with Reve Du Rouet winning the CIC3* and Lilly Corinne coming 3rd in the CCI3*. All the hard work and preparation over winter had paid off! 
In May we headed to the beautiful venue of Houghton(Norfolk) where Sarah’s up and coming youngster, Corouet, competed in the Burghley Young Event Horse 5-year old class, and Valentino was entered in the CIC3* as a member  of the Nations Cup team. Well, Corouet strutted his stuff and won the class; a real boost just prior to the Burghley young horse final for which he’d already qualified.  Meanwhile, Valentino showed his great reliability by finishing on his dressage score of 44.1 to finish a respectable 7th
September arrived, and off we went to Burghley! Sarah took Blou, her Badminton horse. Now, crowds terrify Blou and he made himself a little famous for all the wrong reasons in the dressage arena at Badminton in the spring.   So, it was a nail biting moment for us all when Sarah entered the arena at Burghley. I was so proud of him when he held it together to give them a good score of 49.1.
Crosscountry morning dawned and, early on, the course was causing problems all over the place.  Yet again, I was incredibly nervous. So much so, that when Sarah and Blou set off, I couldn’t watch them on the screens. I stayed at the finish line listening to their progress via the commentary. It wasn’t until a week later that I finally watched  the cross country on catch up TV  and despite the first few fences being a bit sticky, Sarah and Blou  made it look so easy! Picking up 22 time faults put them in a good position overnight. Thankfully, the next day Blou was full of energy, fantastically sound, and ready for the show jumping. Unfortunately, the crowds got the better of him and he dropped out of the placings. Not the result we were hoping for, but from my point of view, I loved every minute of my first 4* and I know Sarah will be back. A great saying I overheard a rider say this year was, “to put it in the f**k it bucket and move on”, which I think applies to anyone who works with or rides horses - although I’m not sure there would be much in Michael Jung’s bucket!

Parties and celebrations

Part of an (interesting) fashion show
The most fun event of the year had to be Boekelo CCI3* in Holland at the beginning of October. Lots of parties! Every night there was social event including a BBQ and fashion show. After completing another tricky and testing crosscountry course, the whole trip was topped off by Lilly Corinne finishing on a great score of 54.9 and in 9th place.
We finished the season on another victory with Corouet winning the Novice class at Oasby (Lincolnshire). He didn’t do as well as we had hoped at Burghley in the young horse class, so this win confirmed he is good at his job and an exciting prospect for Sarah despite his size – he’s only  15.2hh!

New arrivals

Milo (left) & his sister Mira
This year we also welcomed into the world a colt and filly, both born thanks to embryo transfer from Lilly into two surrogate mares. Having twins is a bit of a miracle, so we are feeling very lucky. With Corouet being the oldest of the current youngster and doing so well, the future is even more exciting.

Kathryn White is owner and director of Cathean Ltd Medical and  Copy Writing Services. She is a published medical, copy and equestrian writer with a passion for creating compelling text in collaboration with her clients. Her customers include pharmaceutical, healthcare and equestrian businesses across the world.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

IWMT 2017: The last hurrah!

After much thought and deliberation, I have decided that the Ian White Memorial Trophy (IWMT) 2017 will be our last. This event has been far more successful than I ever dared hoped thanks to the belief and support of so many people, not least the competitors.

Ian and Moose at Hambleden
The IWMT began in 2009, just over a year after my husband, Ian, died of a brain tumour. He was 42. In his memory, I wanted to give something back to the sport we had both been so passionate about. And, in particular, encourage amateur owner/riders like ourselves to go out there and enjoy eventing.

The first event went very well, and I swear the winner was heaven sent. Why? Well, she rode a dark bay mare who looked exactly like Willow, my mare at the time. A tudor rose had been stencilled onto her hindquarters, which appealed to this Lancashire lass, and her cross country colours were the same as mine - green. When I heard how she'd described her mare in her commentary notes, I could have written them myself about Willow. The day after her victory, she contacted me to explain that the reason she had entered the trophy section was because her young nephew had died of a brain tumour earlier that year. She said she had felt him beside her in spirit that day at Smiths Lawn. It gave us all goose bumps!

I could not have continued this event without my wonderful friends and family. Nor could I have done it without the backing of Smiths Lawn horse trials organiser, Tissie Reason. A regular reader of the Team White column I wrote at the time for Eventing Worldwide, Tissie was thrilled to be a key member of the trophy team. Part of the reason our section has remained so popular is thanks to our amazing sponsors, from top riders and trainers, including Piggy French, Gill Watson, Jonty Evans, Nigel Taylor and Robert Stevens, to businesses and organisations, including Equilibrium Trizone, Protexin Equine, Your Great Mind coaching (Elizabeth Hough), the Event Horse Owners Association (EHOA), Feel Good Forever aloe vera products (Crisy Salmon), Bossy's Bibs, NAF UK and Sarah Alexander (Alexander Technique lessons). Last but by no means least, the rider who completes the event with the highest score also wins a prize courtesy of Chester the Eventer and his owners, Cala and Garry Russell, who generously donate a box of Say It With Brownies.

Friends and supporters of IWMT
It is now time for me to move on as I feel my life is transitioning into another new and exciting phase. I know Ian would understand my desire to live in the 'here and now' and follow my dreams. After all, I witnessed his pain and anguish at knowing that he would never have the chance to fulfill all of his. On his behalf, I want to thank every one of our competitors who have been involved in this competition - we really couldn't do this without you. Here's to a successful final event - thank you to our sponsors for continuing their support to the final hurdle - see you in August at Smiths Lawn Horse Trials for the Cathean Ltd Owner/Rider section. For more information, see the event schedule on and

Kathryn White is owner and director of Cathean Ltd Medical and  Copy Writing Services. She is a published medical, copy and equestrian writer with a passion for creating compelling text in collaboration with her clients. Her customers include pharmaceutical, healthcare and equestrian businesses across the world.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Young horse diary: meet Baz

"I'm not looking for a 4-year old!" Well, that was the plan, as I searched for a new horse earlier this year.  And then a beautiful 4-year old found me - but, that's how it works with animals, isn't it? They find you.

And so it was with Baz (aka Hesterdora). Right from the first time we met, this stunning and affectionate bright bay gelding turned on the charm in the stable, wanting lots of fuss and attention. Under saddle he felt like he was totally 'with me' the whole time and I knew, after just one ride, that we would have fun together.

A few weeks later, he arrived at Hill Green Farm Livery. I could not have wished for a more sweet-natured, chilled out chap. Since his arrival he has brought untold joy, and I think he represents a new phase in my life, having no links with my past, only the here and now.

I've never brought on a horse this young before, so it's a steep learning curve for both of us, and I couldn't do it without the unwavering support from the Hill Green posse, and especially Gail and Grace Wilson. I must also thank experienced Dutch trainer and rider, Jeroen Hulsman and his talented team, who started Baz's training and have, therefore, made my life a whole lot easier!

In a short space of time, there have been many firsts - pole work, jumping, adventures to other arenas in the horsebox and having shoes fitted (thank you Bella Tschaikowsky and Adam Watts). And just to make sure I don't get too complacent, Baz suddenly turned rodeo star for a few moments last week just to remind me that he is only 4!

I'll keep you posted with our progress through future blog posts, and please share your own experiences of bringing on a young horse.

 Kathryn White is owner and director of Cathean Ltd Medical and  Copy Writing Services. She is a published medical, copy and equestrian writer with a passion for creating compelling text in collaboration with her clients. Her customers include pharmaceutical, healthcare and equestrian businesses across the world.