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HORSE SCOUT REAL: YAZMIN PINCHEN- riding the storm of life and circumstance

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Once the starlet of the British showjumping, Yazmin Pinchen has ridden the storm of life that took her from regular team appearances, a string of exciting horses to the doldrums of losing her funding, her yard, and her family. She talks to Horse Scout about falling from hero to zero and most importantly, her dogged determination to rise back to the top. 

 

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25-year-old Yazmin Pinchen has been a winner on the international showjumping circuit since the age of 10.

 

She competed successfully in pony jumping and at the age of 12 years, she had her first major success when winning the Gold medal for England as part of the International Pony Team. At 14 Yazmin went on to represent the British team at the European Championships in Children on Horses, where she won Team Gold and Individual Silver medal.

 

As a Senior rider, Yazmin made her 5* debut at 18 years, becoming one of the youngest riders to be selected for a Senior FEI Nations Cup team. She was competing in Abu Dhabi alongside Peter Charles, Tina Fletcher, Robert Smith. “I jumped clear until the last fence when my horse stopped and we got eliminated. It was devastating at the time but I learned so much from that” she recalls.

 

Yazmin went on to compete on several on FEI Nations Cup teams and in Gijon, she helped the team win silver with her homebred, Ashkari. With the same mare, she competed in a number of FEI World Cup qualifiers with to gain a wealth of experience at the highest level and all before the age of 20.

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From childhood, Yazmin had aspirations to be the best showjumper she could and spent time working with some of the world’s best riders. “I started with Michael Whitaker when I was 16 and then when I was 18, I moved to Belgium to base myself with Ludo and Johan Philippaerts. I learned so much out there, which set me up for the future. Johan was an amazing teacher but sadly I had to come home because my dad was critically ill. When I was better I went to Simon Delestre, but it was really tough and after everything that had happened I felt I needed to be at home.”

 

Alongside her showjumping career, Yazmin is a mother to two-year-old son Harry. “I am really lucky because he is the easiest baby and he’s very independent. From the day dot, he has got used to entertaining himself. I am so fortunate that I am with my mum and she is a huge help both with Harry and the horses. We all live on the same property. My partner helps with childcare as does my groom who is trained nanny, so between us we are a good team.”

 

Taking time out to have a baby came with pros and cons. “Everything was going really well, I was jumping 5* and then I fell pregnant. I rode and competed until I was 4.5 months and I actually won more than ever when I was pregnant. I insisted on a C-section because I wanted to get back to riding as soon as I could and I was back on a horse two weeks later. But it wasn’t as easy as I expected.”

 

“I remember going to a show and turning about 100 circles because I was so scared.”

 

The feeling soon passed and she was back to her winning ways. However just as Yazmin was building her string up and planning her season, she was faced with the devastation of family breakdown.

 

“My dad who had been a big financial support to my career left my mum. It was a difficult time for all the family and he announced he did not want to be involved anymore. So we had to sell most of the horses and give up on all our plans to compete internationally. It was a horrendous time, I pretty much lost everything I’d worked for overnight.”

 

“I had to start all over again. Set up a yard and fund it all myself. Everybody assumes I am just this rich girl who is being supported by her parents, but that is not the case. Yes, I had help in the past but now I am having to fund the whole thing. Most of my horses are young and I have two of my own who have all the potential to be CSI 5* horses. What I need is owners to invest but it is difficult if you’re not at the top of your game. I am in a bit of a hole because I can’t prove myself without the backing. Even the good horses I have are just sitting there because I can’t afford to go to the international shows.”

 

Naturally bubbly with a positive outlook, Yazmin refuses to look back with any remorse. “It’s just life I guess and having a baby was the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s amazing being a mum and Harry is so much fun, he comes everywhere with me. It’s always been important for me to take time out to be a mummy too so I make sure I have the afternoons off to spend with Harry.”

 

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“I just want to make my son proud and do my best for him”

 

Yazmin feels that the adversity and change in circumstances she has faced have improved her outlook. “ I have had to learn to run a business, balance my accounts and be super organized. I think having Harry has actually made me more motivated because I want him to see me do well”

 

“It’s not easy, of course, you have your breakdowns”

 

“But everyone does. I sometimes get frustrated and give way to tears by thinking “I’ve become a nobody”. Luckily I shake myself out of it quickly enough and I would never let my son see that. I just always make sure I am a happy, positive mummy”

 

 “My goal is to get back on British teams and make the Olympics.”

 

“I know I have the ability and the drive, I just need the support. What I have learned from being in the doldrums is that it is important to be ambitious but enjoy the sport. I want to make everyone who supports me proud but I also want them to enjoy the ride.”

 

Yazmin is looking for sponsorship and owners at all levels. For more information contact Horse Scout:

Lucie@horsescoutpr.com

07752319988

 Photography by Events Through A Lens

 

Liverpool International Horse Show - Dressage - Charlotte Dujardin

Wowed by Liverpool

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Our roving reporter, Ellie Kelly heads down to the TheraPlate UK Liverpool International Horse Show  to check out the action.

 

It was my first visit to Liverpool-  both the city and the show and I have not been disappointed. Despite the 600 mile round trip, within hours of being there, I decided to make it a regular fixture. Nina Barbour has delivered a first-class event to this vibrant city. In a part of the world which is rich in horse enthusiasts and professional riders but surprisingly short of major equestrian events. Testament to the quality and production of the show, leading riders from the worlds of showjumping and dressage were competing, even at a time when many professional yards wind down over Christmas. Still a relatively new show, Liverpool International is gathering momentum but with leading riders some great entertainment, I wasn’t surprised to see the Echo Arena with very few empty seats.

 

On the first day, Charlotte Dujardin reminded she is no one-hit wonder when claiming the Equitop Myoplast Freestyle Dressage. The multi-medaled Olympian scored 81.938% on her flashy eight-year-old mare, Florentina VI in the Intermediate 1 class. Earlier in the evening, she paraded Valegro to an excited crowd at the Echo arena.

 

Also on Friday, teen showjumper Jack Whitaker won the Liverpool International Under 25 Grand Prix, sponsored by Equerry Horse Feeds. The son of Michael Whitaker has had another great year, including winning a silver medal at the Youth Olympics in Argentina.

 

It was a great day for the girls on the second day. Pony rider Claudia Moore repeated her great Liverpool victory of 2017 in the 148cm Championships, sponsored by Carden Arms. Claudia was a member of Great-Britain’s Pony European Championships this summer, where she claimed individual bronze. In the evening, Harriet Nuttall who scored the fastest jump-off time to win the four-star Voltaire sponsored jumping class, somewhat fittingly as the Somerset rider is sponsored by Voltaire.

 

On Day three Harry Charles underlined his status as one of world showjumping’s most exciting prospects by claiming a brilliant victory at the TheraPlateUK Liverpool International Horse Show.

 

The 19-year-old, from Alton in Hampshire, won the 1.45m international speed class, sponsored by Hope Valley Saddlery, with bay mare Doulita.

 

It proved to be a thrilling competition, with Harry’s time of 57.28 seconds proving just enough to edge out Graham Babes. They were both members of Great Britain’s gold medal-winning European Young Riders team earlier this year.

 

“It was an amazing win,” Harry said, after collecting a £7,300 victor’s purse. “I own the horse, which makes it extra special. I’ve had her a year, and every day I have put work into her to get her to this level.

 

Harry, son of London 2012 Great Britain team showjumping gold medallist Peter Charles, added: “It has been an absolutely fantastic year for me. Liverpool last year was my first real big show, and since then my whole career has taken off. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I want to win every time, it is the best feeling in the world, and I chase that every day in training. I want to make sure I do my best.

 

It was England and Ireland who shared top honours in the Puissance on Sunday evening. Yorkshireman Matt Sampson and Irish challenger Michael shared the top prize after they both jumped 2.20 metres (7ft 3in) to clear the famous red wall in a class sponsored by Equitop GLME.

 

And for Matt, it was a remarkable result, given that he only knew about his ride – Top Dollar VI – barely 30 minutes before the start after its regular rider Laura Renwick rang and offered him the ride.

 

“I’ve only ever done one Puissance before but he filled me with confidence and it got easier as I figured him out a bit more,” said Matt.

 

There will be more hot off the press action from the final day of the TheraPlate UK Liverpool International Horse Show.

 

 

Photo from hopedeamer1-4

Meet the Cinderella of the Polo World

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Photo from hopedeamer1-4

You could say British polo player Hazel Jackson has the world at her feet. The 27 year old  is ranked equal second in the World amongst her female counterparts. She is rated with a nine goal handicap for Ladies and two goal handicap in mixed polo. She has also captained the British Ladies polo team. But far from the VIP lifestyle we envisage polo players to lead, Hazel explains that the reality for her, is somewhat different and even the most talented women are still alienated from the higher levels of the sport.

 

Her passion for polo started in the Pony Club at just nine years of age. “My family were horsey but it was hunting and point-to pointing, we weren’t serious polo players” she says. She grew up in the New Forest, attended the local school and then Brockenhurst College where she qualified as a personal trainer and sports masseuse “After college, I moved to New Zealand for six months for a polo grooming and playing job and then spent every winter in Argentina but I have always worked. I think this has been a good thing though. I’m not sure I would have got this far if it had all been handed to me on a plate.”

 

In order to play full time, Hazel still has to work for her keep and balance the books, despite her impressive accolades and obvious talent. “I have never owned more than four horses myself and base myself with a patron, looking after, riding and schooling their horses and they cover my costs in return” she explains. In the UK, Hazel is based with Roger White and rides for his Coombe Place Polo Team. “I am on the yard every day, schooling and mucking out. I love polo but sadly not all of us are millionaires.”

 

Hazel plays the UK polo season, which runs from May to September. Then she spends October to December playing the Argentine season but is travelling around the world to polo hotspots, throughout the year. Sounds glamorous right? But what this really amounts to, is her days off are spent on a plane or in an airport lounge and often driving a lorry full of polo ponies. “The top pros are paid millions and are flown around the world with their whole families. I have never even flown business class in my life and still haven’t found time to take my honeymoon” she laughs.

 

Hazel got married to Polo Manager Ivan Gaona last September but since their wedding, has spent just two weeks at home. Other than the UK and Argentina, Hazel plays in locations such as Thailand, Barbados, Singapore, America and Switzerland but her favourite place to play is the Club Ampurdan in Barcelona. “I play a tournament over there that is just so much fun. It is a family run club and has a lovely atmosphere.”

 

There have been many highlights so far. “Captaining the England Ladies team in Zambia in 2016 was a amazing. Partly because we have family there and they came to watch. Then in 2017 we made the finals of the first ever Argentinean Open. It is the highest Ladies Tournament in the World, held in Palermo in the middle of Buenos Aries.”

 

Playing in both Ladies and Mixed teams has its advantages according to Hazel. “I learn more from playing with men, it challenges you, makes you work harder and pushes you to your physical limits. But I would never usually be the main player in the team. Then I can put what I learn into practice in Ladies polo. When I am playing Ladies, I am usually running the team so have more responsibilities which I enjoy.”

 

As a woman in a heavily male dominated sport, naturally there are challenges. “It is a brutal game and you get shouted at but everyone gets heated and I can cope with that. What is frustrating is that there is a lack of opportunities to play high and medium goal polo even for the best ladies. You will never see a lady play medium or high goal in the UK, for example, it would be nice to see more girls getting a chance”. Hazel explains that whilst many patrons who own the teams, pick men because they are physically stronger, polo is 75% about horse power. So if you are never given access to good horses by patrons, then it is harder to prove yourself.

 

“To buy a top horse, you would probably need £200,000 and the bloodlines in Argentina go for crazy money It costs millions to run a high goal team. I paid £5000 for my best horse and a lot of my horses have been gifted to me by friends.” Like most of us, Hazel favours a certain type of horse. “I like them slightly bigger- around 15.3 hh (polo ponies are notoriously small to allow you to be closer to the ball). They have to be super fast, agile  and quick off the mark to “win the play”. But with a soft mouth and they have to be really tough”

 

Polo is a physically demanding game and of course it comes with risks. “I have been lucky to escape serious injuries but I have fractured my collarbone and had a hole through my lip from a stick. But I have friends who have lost eyes and had falls so bad they have had to retire and of course there have been fatalities.” Hazel highlights that protective gear is a must. In a game, she will wear goggles, a gum shield, protective gloves, knee pads and a helmet.

 

Outside of polo, Hazel says there is a little time for much else but she enjoys Yoga and surfing and her perfect holiday would be a beach one. “I am also starting to do more fitness. During the season, I am playing two or three matches a week so you need to be fit and strong and I want be at the top of my game. The aim for me is to get up to a 10 goal handicap. Then I would love to play in a medium goal mixed game one day too.”

 

“Horse Scout is the complete answer to networking for the future of equestrian. I love working alongside them and it has already opened many new doors for me. Horse Scout is a company which offers so many contacts and platforms throughout the equestrian and horse world. They are always working with new products, the right people and looking to the future for ideas to benefit the horse world in general.

I am excited to see what comes next.”

 

Written by Ellie Kelly

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Finding a dressage horse with Liz Diegutis

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Finding a dressage horse with Liz Diegutis

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“It’s about temperament and rideability. Breeding and looks are of secondary importance” says International Dressage rider and trainer Liz Diegutis.

Whether Liz is looking for a potential Grand Prix horse for herself or a schoolmaster for an amateur, she believes that the horse’s temperament should be top of the list.

“They need a trainable brain. A horse who likes to work makes the job much easier.” For top level sport, Liz explains that whilst they need some spirit to give them a presence, if it is “over the top” it is likely to problematic. “They need a good natural engine but they must be rideable. People blame breeding and certain bloodlines but I think this usually goes down to how well it has been trained. I have bought horses with all the talent but if they are anxious or too hot, they require a lot of patience and expertise and sometimes it never comes right.”

“The most important thing for any rider, is to look for something within you abilities. If you buy talent, then you have to be able to manage it. You must have a good feeling for it. Don’t sit on a horse and think. “I’ll learn to ride this”.”

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Liz is also wary of spectacular paces, for any level of rider. “I avoid massive paces because they often come with problems” Liz says. “Particularly when you are trying to collect a pace. Look for three good paces, they certainly don’t have to be extraordinary particularly for an amateur. I look for a good four beat walk and a natural jump in the canter. The trot can be produced and developed. In fact I have a homebred mare who perhaps didn’t have the best canter as a young horse but we have trained the pace. She is at Grand Prix now.”

Buying British is something Liz feels strongly about. “ We have some brilliant studs in the UK now who are breeding and producing some fabulous stock. There are many examples all around the country but I have been particularly impressed by Court Farm Stud, Mount St John, Caledonia Sport Horses in Scotland and the Oppenheimer’s at Headmore Stud in Hampshire.”

“I also think you can usually trust the UK sellers and breeders more than foreign sellers. I was based on the Continent for a few years and I know how it works. If you choose to go abroad, you have to know where to go and who to trust. Wherever you go I think you should always take someone with you. Preferably more experienced than yourself and ideally someone who will sit on the horse for you too and give their verdict on top.”

Liz is less fussed about bloodlines when she is buying a horse but as she breeds her own, she has a wealth of experience in the area. “I go for old, established bloodlines like De Niro and Negro and I’ve always been a fan of Sandro Hit. They have a reputation for being tricky but if you understand their brain, they can be brilliant. Of course the mare is the important bit, so you need to look at that side too. I only breed from a good mare.”

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Conformation is not a deal breaker for Liz but she does have three rules on this. “Good bone, good feet and straight limbs” she states. “The rest, like length of back I can overlook, if it gives me a good feel. Dressage horses come in all shapes and sizes, even at Grand Prix level. To be competitive I would always buy something that is attractive to the Judge but that is not just about looks.”

An over-produced horse should also be avoided. “I don’t like to see a three year old that looks like a five year old, simply because it has been over fed and over trained. This will nearly always result in issues later. As my aim is Grand Prix, if I am buying a youngster, I like something that has been slowly produced. With my homebreds, they live out rough for the first three years of their lives before they come in to be broken. Then if they are any good, I take it very slowly.”

 

Written by Ellie Kelly

 

Photography by Stuart Lark

 

 

Emily King’s training trip to Marcus Ehning

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Emily King February 2016-1193

 

Emily King – My trip to Marcus Ehning

At just 21 Emily King has already made a strong impression on the Equestrian world. She entered her first BE event at the age of 12 and from the age of 15 was a regular member of British Junior and Young Rider Teams. Emily won individual silver at the Junior Europeans in 2012, the same year her mother won eventing team silver at the London Olympics and made her CCI4* debut in 2015, finishing fourth with Brookleigh, at the tender age of 19.

Horse Scout are lucky enough to have Emily on board as an advocate. Ellie Kelly caught up with the gutsy blonde, shortly after her return from time spent with German show jumping champion Marcus Ehning, who helped Germany win team gold at the Sydney Olympics and the World Equestrian Games in 2010. He has made it to the top of the FEI Longines World rankings and has partnered great horses such as For Pleasure, Plot Blue and Comme Il Faut.

“I’ve always admired Marcus as a rider and after I left school at 16 to focus on eventing, I have been away training at different yards every winter” explains Emily who has previously been to Pippa and William Funnell, German showjumper Marco Kutscher and Finnish eventer Piia Pantsu. She has spent two winters with Ben Maher and honed her flatwork skills with dressage riders Ferdi Eilberg and Kyra Kurkland.

Emily spent six weeks with Marcus, coming home just before Christmas. “I basically work as a groom and rider. I found my own accommodation and instead of payment, I received training” she explains. “It really was fantastic because I learn so much about their routine and management as well as the riding side.”

Emily took one horse with her, Quinlan Z, a six year old stallion who was purchased as a five year old last spring with the intention to event him but also use him as a breeding stallion.

“Marcus is such a great horseman. In the entire time I was there, I never once saw him get cross with a horse. He is always quiet and patient and it’s interesting as he is a very slight build and yet rides a real variety of horses, from big, powerful stallions to small, really blood types. When you ride his horses, they all go in the same way, because of the way they are produced by Marcus” Emily says.

“His training philosophy has a lot of emphasis on rhythm and he was encouraging me to keep the horse in a forward open rhythm, between fences and through turns. So the idea is that you take one less stride to every fence” she explains.

“What I also found interesting was that he likes to give the horse a lot of space in front of the fence, rather than ramming them into the bottom of the fence as you expect some show jumpers to do. This is to allow the horse the time and room to make a shape and teach good technique” says Emily. “It was amazing what a difference it made when I started to ride with this in mind. He is strict on rider position so I hope I have improved in this respect too.”

When it comes to management and the running of the yard, Emily says their attention to detail was on another level. “The grooms knew each horse inside out and whenever a horse came back from a show, it would be jogged up and undergo a flexion test. Every Monday, the vet would come and all 22 of Marcus’s top horses would be jogged up, flexed and seen on the lunge” she says. “His horses would be ridden for about 45 minutes or more as well as going on the walker and they always went out in the field each day.”

The 2018 event season is nearly upon us and Emily is excited to put all her winter training to practice. “This year is looking good so far. I have some lovely horses to ride and some exciting young ones. Then there is Dargun, who did his first CCI 3* last year and will be aimed at some ERM classes and maybe a CCI4* in the autumn. He has so much ability but is still young so I plan to take it slowly” she says.

Emily has been working with Horse Scout since Spring 2017 and has already reaped the benefits of all it has to offer. “We’ve used Horse Scout for selling horses and I have also been to see horses to buy. There is always a huge selection and you can target exactly what you are looking for. And I love following their social media.”

“I’ve also been riding in Jin Stirrups which Horse Scout introduced me to and I love” she says. “They are light and the grip is amazing. Even when it’s raining and muddy, they stick tight to your foot.”

Emily’s top tip

“Leave no stone unturned. Plan for every eventuality and be ready for anything that might be thrown at you at a show. That really gives me confidence.”

 

Written by Ellie Kelly
Photo credits Hannah Freeland Photography