August Update

Congratulations to Katie Mcmahon who has now passed her Level 2 – including her maths – and is now fully qualified. WELL DONE KATIE WE ALWAYS HAD FAITH IN YOU XX

Congratulations also to Sophie Miller who has passed her maths this week, welcome back Jenny Gladman, who is training for her level 3, it’s great to have you back Jenny.

A very special congratulations to Racheal Piert and Jerry. Special because one year ago Jerry was diagnosed with Bone Spavin and we thought that was going to be the last of his competition days, but Jerry has always been special (in every sense of the word!) and thanks to Racheal’s expert care, they are not only training again, but this weekend they managed to get their first elementary regional qualifying test score under their belt, with a very creditable 65.20%, well done to you Racheal and the ever so special, very spotty one!!

Also, congratulations to Racheal Butler, who qualified for the UK Rider Finals and got 7th in a massive prelim class and then 3rd in the novice. Wow! Brilliant work, well done to you.

Liz Nair had a cracking lesson with Rikki, who was on form again and Liz Burrows enjoyed a super ride on our own Peaches, who’s proving to be quite the dressage diva. Great to have you back Liz.

Penny and her own mare also called Peaches, continue to make super progress, they did their first Hunt Ride (South Notts) whilst I was away on holiday, on the whole I gather she was a star, so well done Penny. Helen Turkdogan and Leon have really made progress and I wish them every success in their next competition, watch this space, they should do well. Moira and Toots are zooming ahead and Julie and Stan are having a well-earned rest.

We welcome Melanie Shuttleworth and her family to the yard, Melanie has just places her two boys Max and George with us and we really look forward to working with them. Anji, my good friend from East Markham is bring her boy down today for Boot Camp, he’ll stay here for a couple of weeks and then back for a couple of weeks, then as and when for fine tuning!

Well done to all my clients, many of whom haven’t been mentioned, who continue to work with me and continue to do me proud with their achievements.

Happy Birthday for next weekend to Helen Turkdogan and to Kirsty Murray. Have a very happy birthday both if you and Kirsty have a great time in Corfu, I know you will, as they’re a great bunch where you’re going.

What’s been happening at College Farm Equestrian Center

Pedro (Markham Sultan) and I have been out having fun, due to a change in the rules, we were given an extra 20 points at Advanced Medium, and we lost them in three outings but did qualify for the Regionals in the process. We are now 2 points off qualifying for the PSG regionals, with another 2nd and 63.4% in a class of 10 at Vale View last Sunday.

We had record numbers for the BYRDS training which was held here last Saturday and the Have a Go Day at Epworth on Saturday is oversubscribed with a waiting list.

We’ve got the BYRDS Squadding day on Monday, which again is packed! So, everything is looking very positive.

The Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Specialist Rescue Teams have been down for training and we’re hosting a training day for all the Specialist Rescue Teams, when they’ll be bringing the Specialist Rescue Unit, which carries over 650 pieces of equipment. There are only two of these units in the country and one of them is based in Tuxford. We will also have the Rapid Response Unit here. They will be staging a mock rescue of a rider who is trapped under their horse, (a plastic model one) in a drainage ditch. Watch this space for a full write up later on in May.

We had a camera crew here again today. Your horse Magazine have done two features so far this year, one on a 20 minute work out programme and the other today, which was alerting riders to the difficulties faced by partially sighted or blind riders. Make sure you get your copy ordered, it was an interesting session.

Rider News

We’ve had lots of super competition results from clients in the last few months. Julie Frizzell and Stan in particular have shot to stardom… is Julie’s latest text………..Vikki, sit down…. We’re at Patchetts for the stoneleigh KBIS qualifier… And the little man has gone and won it!
It was a strong class with it being the National Para Championships, so fingers crossed for selection for the Para Championship Team. Earlier in the year in March, Stan won the British Dressage Restricted Championship at Vale View Festival of Para Dressage Grade IV Champion 2014 and 2nd in class of 15 in the warm up class.
In April Stan and Julie were 3rd in the Grade IV Championship behind paralympian Sophie Wells and team GBR MEMBER Tamsin Addison at the Nirvana Spa Para Dressage Championships ((Open) at Hartpury. They then went on to win the Medium Open Freestyle with 69%, qualifying for the BD Regional Championships 2015.

Rachael and Jerry (The Spotty One) are back out competing again and they won the BE95 last Sunday.

Beth and Tracy have had a super season so far and Beth got a whopping 69% in her prelim 7 last week.Tracy won the prelim at Selina’s at Milton with 67%

Grace Johnston and Albert got 70 and 72% at Witham Villa after the BYRDS training last weekend.

Sue Markin has had some super results with her lovely mare Zita at Milton EC.

Karen Dodsworth and Disney got a whopping 70.42% at Elm’s Farm.

Finally congratulations to Rachael Butler who was 6th in the Equestrian Life Championships on 5th April with 75.5%.

Well done, I’m really proud of you all. Some terrific results!

Vikki’s Blog 6th September 2013

Gosh it’s going to be a lengthy blog as I’ve so much to tell you all.

130906_beachWe are currently winging our way up to Scotland, a mixed party, Les and I, two dogs and 1 Swift! Becky brought us the Swift 2 weeks ago, it looked very sorry for itself and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong with it, but it’s head looked like one of those nodding dogs in the back of a car! After a few days, it didn’t look much better, its head had gone like an owl, only permanently looking backwards, not good. On a hunch I suggested we try it on antibiotics and a wormer, much to everyone’s amusement at Brodies, we picked up the meds and started it on its course. Anyway, it’s thriving and now mostly looks ahead and is staying fairly straight. The outcome is that we have a Swift to feed every few hours, so it’s had to come with us. It was difficult enough to find a hotel that took dogs (courtesy eventually of Dog’s Digs), I haven’t dared said we have a Swift as well.

Anyway, back to the story of why we are rushing up to Scotland… My gorgeous, beautiful lorry which has served me so dutifully for many years has eventually been sold.

Its been very emotional saying goodbye, but they’ve promised to love and treasure her and they are an eventing family and the father is a vet, so I think she’ll have a happy home. As I am now lorry less, we have been trawling the Internet and of course the two lorries we like are at opposite ends of the country, so we are hoofing it up to Scotland first of all to look at a very smart Iveco, 7.5 ton. I will need to be very careful not to get caught speeding – no more 40 miles an hour on A roads and no limiter, steady on!!

We’re just passing the Angel of the North, only another 200 miles…

130906_donkeysIt’s been very eventful summer at the farm with wildlife, Joe’s been bringing me a hedgehog every night, not always the same one, they love the food I’ve got them, though each to their own, it smells frightful. We have lots of baby frogs and toads in the garden and Katie brought me a wonderful one eyed toad yesterday!

By the time this goes to print, the baby Barn Owl will have fledged, it’s the first that’s been born in our nesting box and you’ll see from the photo he’s a beauty. The Nottinghamshire wildlife trust man came to ring him last Wednesday and we’ve only had 14 recorded born in Nottinghamshire this year.

We had another Swift in with us for 3 weeks earlier in the year, happy days, we were able to release him, a lovely sight to see him soaring overhead, fully restored and healthy, as we shouted our goodbyes and good luck messages, he was soon joined by half a dozen others and they continued to soar round us overhead for about 20 minutes, with their piercing calls filling the air.



We’re celebrating my nephew Luke getting married at the end of the month in France. It’s in a beautiful chateau and we’re really looking forward to it. Jenny will be on duty while we’re gone, hopefully there’ll only be the dogs, the canaries, the horses, the cats, chickens, fish hmm I guess she’ll be busy!




Student Progress

130906_rosettesKatie McMahon

Another result! Katie passed her Health and Safety exam.

Julie Frizzell and Stan

For the Para Equestrian Open Winter Championships at Hartpury places are limited. Therefore, Julie and Stan did fantastically well when in their first Northern region para test at Bishop Burton, they were placed 1st in their first test and 3rd with 62.9% in harder, second test. Terrific results Julie as now playing with the big boys!

Tracy O’Connar

Major spook on 1st test cost them dearly, but they still gained a creditable 4th place with 64.4%. Won the second test with 73.04%.

Last weekend, another win!! Then second, again, really good scores! Tracey’s on a roll….. Whoop whoop!

Sue Fynney and Higgins

She’s just done her first intro a test and got 63.91 and came 4th.

Anne Marie Smith with Ozzie

Ozzie’s first test 69.1% Anne Marie happy, happy, happy!

Georgina Bird

Georgina’s test results over the last few weeks. 11/08 elms farm, Chris Pappa 68.33 2nd prelim 14. 11/08 elms farm, Julie Corrigan 68.33 1st prelim 13. 24/08 Prof equine Ruby Wetherall 67.9 3rd novice 28. 24/08 prof equine judge not sure 69.5 5th prelim 7. This weekend we didn’t do brilliantly but were placed in each test. Georgina is going to send you the videos as we didn’t think that her tests were that bad. 31/8 Royal London prelim 12 Susan bullock 66 4th. Prelim 13 Ann brown 65.8 final qualifier 8th out of 22 and the final prelim 18 Sharon Marshall 66.2 7th out of 18.

Mandy Denley and Binks……..

Continue to do well and are doing lots of hard work prior to the Nationals Championships in September at Stoneleigh. We wish them every success.

Jennifer Baker

Achieved her Stage 4… WHAT A RESULT!! Well done Jennifer, you should be feeling very, very proud of yourself.

Isla Oprych

Isla passed her BHS Stage 3, again huge congratulations, a fabulous result.

Karen Dodwell

P14 67.50 N28…62.92!! Our 1st 2 BD points! 1.9.13

Helen Turkdogen and Leon

63% (2nd) and 68% (1st). Four eights in test 2

Katie Lovell

Hi Vikki, appears you have worked a minor miracle – Katie and Blue in equal first after dressage at Richmond on 28.5! One down in sj to finish 4th – over the moon. Thank you so much.

Watch out for future blogs including; judging in Jersey, Assessing in Scotland for British Dressage Scotland, Judging the BYRDS under 25’s Championships at Sheepgate and lots, lots more.

Aimee and Martin’s Wedding Saturday 18th May 2013

Aimmee and Martin WeddingThis is the second family wedding we’ve enjoyed at All Saint’s Church here in our beautiful village of West Markham. Despite our concerns, the weather held and although the sun wasn’t shining, it didn’t actually rain thank goodness, although there were some wonderful brollies and matching wellington boots all lined up at the ready! The flowers were very traditional, blush pink, old fashioned tea roses, thistles, herbs, daisies and night scented stocks filled the church with their heady aroma. Ours is an exquisite church, steeped in history and there was an air of excitement as we waited for the bride to arrive. The pews were lined with family and friends, the girls chatting animatedly in excited whispers, their hats and fascinators of all colours, shapes and sizes bobbing up and down and seeming to have a life all of their own. After a few nervous glances, and a rather worried looking Gee, the sound system eventually burst into life and the music heralded the arrival of the bridal party, Martin who had looked very pale and nervous got a bit of colour back, Sue (Aimee’s mother) looked fabulous in a black and white outfit which really suited her and the bridesmaids (Victoria, Katie and Natalie, Aimee’s sister) were in elegant, dark blue, satin and organza dresses. Aimee however, quite rightly stole the show, she looked stunning in a blush beige, full length lace dress and matching veil, she was accompanied by her very proud father Barry with not a blush in sight, he looked very happy but actually more ashen than beige!! Words ‘warm seat and paper in hand’ come to mind and I don’t mean his armchair and speech!

The wedding service was beautiful and expertly delivered by our wonderful vicar, Colin Wall, who manages to put everyone at ease with his charming sense of humour and despite Martin being a bit keen and jumping the gun with his “I Do” the ceremony went without a hitch!

As the newly weds were carefully driven back to the reception by cousin Chris Hewgill in his Model A Ford I couldn’t help thinking as they went down the cherry tree lined avenue to Aimee’s home, where the reception was to be held, it looked very appropriate with the cherry blossom falling onto their car like confetti, just like it had on the church steps as they left.

Lancaster Bomber

So, feeling pensive, after a very busy weekend here in West Markham with the wedding on Saturday and the Lancaster Bomber flying over yesterday to commemorate the memorial in the Mausoleum, I couldn’t help thinking what a great privilege it is to live in this wonderful village……it’s not so much its beauty, it’s much more than that, it’s the easy chat and jokes with our lovely neighbours, catching up with those who we haven’t seen for a few weeks, the DVD which recorded the proceedings yesterday which turned up on my desk this morning (thank you whoever that was) it is having a sense of belonging to a community, with everyone having a job to do and quietly getting on with it, not seeking any praise or reward, save that of knowing that they ‘they did their bit’, just as with the wedding, the family all pulling together as one life force and as a result, something truly memorable and remarkable happens.

Vikki’s Blog 15th May 2013

Spring seems to have finally arrived thank goodness, the grass is growing a little and the swallows are back!

Spring is HereWe’ve had lots of successes this month, Amelia has just found out that she’s passed her PTT, I’ve upgraded to List 4 judge and Matt has had his first book published. It’s on sale on Amazon and available in paperback or electronic forms. It’s called Witch Angel and Warrior King and has had some super reviews.

Clients continue to do well too! Mandy Denley and Binks had terrific scores at Hargate, 1st with 76.66% in the Preliminary 13 qualifier and another 1st in the Novice 27 (training) with 67.9%. I wish Mandy the best of luck in the Regional Dressage Championships next weekend, let’s hope the northern teams do well.

JenniferBaker with Skerne Skyvara (Hattie) at
Richmond equestrian centre on the 27th April, a very impressive 2nd with 62% in the Elementary 50 and 57% in their first ever Medium! A super result as Hattie not always the easiest of mares and needs a really sensitive and educated rider. Sunday 12th May……1st with 62% in the elementary this time it was Louis’ turn. Jennifer said he came back at her a bit in 2nd half but the Medium was much better and he got 61% with eight 7’s and also two 4’s! A really good result again for Jennifer.

Tracey, who always tells me she can’t compete, completed both of her tests. Stayed in arena even though Thyme was very spooked. They did Intro A and got 66.5% and 2nd place, with A Peel judging. Then Intro B with 66.08% and got 1st. L. Tolan judging. Tracey said she was “totally buggered but elated”. Brilliant!!!!

Chatsworth Horse Trials is on this weekend coming, I’m judging, but it’s an early start! The first horse comes down the centre line at 8am! Then in the evening we have a champagne reception hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, hopefully I’ll be able to stay awake!

The weekend of the 17th and 18th of May will be a busy one, my niece Aimee is getting married on the 17th and then on Sunday we have a Lancaster Bomber flying over the Mausoleum in Milton. This is to commemorate the death of a young 22 year old bomber pilot and the six members if the crew who were also killed, when their plane crashed on the top of the hill in the field by the Mausoleum on the 2nd of December 1943. The pilot was trying to land at Gamston in thick fog, but ran out of fuel, he’d tried to land at Ossington but over shot the runway, he then tried to get to Gamston and you know the rest.

If anyone wants to come and see the Lancaster fly past, it will be coming over the Mausoleum on the 18th of May at 11.15. Everyone is welcome; proceedings will start at 11.00 at the Mausoleum.

Finally, look out for Your Horse Magazine again this month, we’ve been working on an article which is going to print on exercises you can do with your horse both in the school and out on a hack to improve your horse’s performance.

Keep letting me have your results and successes!

Vikki x

Vikki’s Blog 24th March 2013

Frost glistening on the branches on the trees on the laneWell snow has rather put a spanner in the works and finances are somewhat wrecked due to all the cancellations! No lessons again this weekend, due to the heavy snowfall, not to mention the extreme cold horses and humans alike are having to out up with. Enough of my moaning, there have been some positives over the last few weeks….a couple of superb lessons with Stephen Clark, courtesy of the ABRS Jeffres Trust Bursary, which I was so fortunate and honoured to be awarded last year.  Pedro (Markham Sultan) seems to be finally free of his cracked heels, they have been so sore, it’s been heartbreaking seeing him struggle, but there’s a definite improvement and I’m sure his ‘silver boots’ have helped! Our next hurdle is to make sure that we stay well out if the way of this Equine Herpes Virus, and for that reason, we’ve pulled out of the PSG PetPlan Championships at Hartpury, with the outbreak just a short distance away from Hartpury, I felt I didn’t want to risk it! It’s very disappointing, but hopefully we will be there next year.

Judging is in full swing, I’ve been asked to judge in Jersey which is very flattering and something I shall look forward to as I’ve never been to Jersey before.

Lincoln Horse Trials stood up well to the snow and rain, it was cold sitting in the car for 30+ tests, but we had a very enjoyable morning and superb lunch, with good company! Oasby Horse Trials was challenging, especially as the wheel on my car got cracked and Les and I had to swap vehicles! Much to my amazement and to everyone else’s, the Merc battled through the inches high mud and snow and never got stuck once! We did have an hour’s wait to get out though, as all the lorries had to be towed in and out and various vehicles got stuck, blocking the road.  It was fun and games for the several tractor drivers who were kept very busy throughout the day!

I spent an excellent day at Jenny Ward’s centre at Brampton.  David Hunt was teaching, there were some super combinations and as usual, Jenny excelled herself on the hospitality front, with Easter cakes and heaps of chocolate biscuits.

Last Wednesday was the Judges Convention at Bury Farm, again a very informative and interesting day, just the travelling that was difficult with the weather! Snow storms accompanied us all the way down! Hopefully the Regional Reps meeting at Stoneleigh this week won’t be too affected by the weather and will go ahead as planned.

Future events…….Withcote Horse Trials 6th and 7th of April.  I’m really looking forward to this as I’m judging on the Saturday and then I’ve been asked to be the BE Trainer again for the event on the Sunday, it was glorious weather last year and I was concerned I was going to get sun stroke! I wonder what this year will bring, melting temperatures or snow blizzards? Who knows! I’m also looking forward to judging at Chatsworth Horse Trials on the 11th May, the area dressage qualifiers at Sheepgate in June and the BYRDS Inter-Regional Squad Competition at Keysoe, on Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 June.

At home it’s all been happening, Emma and Richard are back from South Africa, so its been lovely to catch up again and remember with them our fabulous time as their guests at their wonderful farm, though I think like me, they must be missing the glorious South African sunshine!

Aimee, my niece, is getting married in May, so we’ve had Aimee’s hen do.
We’ve had the police waking us up at 7am in the morning as a car had skidded and come through the hedge! The poor ponies were a bit traumatised and we had to get the fence repaired pretty quickly, but fortunately the driver was unhurt!

Elvis, the canary, has been being hunted by a Sparrow Hawk, who seemed unaware of the presence of the glass in the conservatory! Actually, come to think of it, Elvis didn’t seem to realise that there was glass there to protect him either! He was very shaken and all of a flutter! He seems much happier now though, Matthew bought me a canary hen for Mother’s Day and we introduced them to one another yesterday.  It was love at first sight and yes, you’ve guessed it, her name is Priscilla!

Matt is about to publish his book ‘Witch Angel and Warrior King’ it will be a real treat if you read it and available in the next few days on Amazon in Kindle form, so look out for it folks.
One of the bigger frozen lakes at the wildlife sanctuary
I am very happy to say that I managed to complete my 50km run for Children in Need, thanks to my very generous friends who sponsored me, I should say us, as Joe and Winnie did it with me, we managed to raise £166.00, which with Gift Aid, added up to a marvellous £205.00, £105.00 over my target, so I was thrilled and quite overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity! You know who you are and I can’t thank you enough.

It’s certainly been a busy few weeks, but despite the weather, a productive few weeks too.


50km challenge completed for Children in Need

As per my earlier blog post, I have completed the 50km challenge in 1 week for the BBC Children in Need, total raised as of today is £166.00 plus a further £39.00 in gift aid.

Thank you to everyone who supported me in this challenge.


50km in 1 Week for BBC Children in Need

Please go to my Facebook page to sponsor me, or you can go straight to Or you can simply text ‘VIKK50’ followed by the amount i.e. VIKK50 £5.00 ……THEN SEND THIS TO 70070

Joe and Winnie are keeping me company and running it with me. I’m not worried about being able to do the miles, just finding the time to cram them in, in what seems to be a very hectic work schedule at the moment!

We’ve braved snow, blizzards, floods etc. so please dig deep to help us to help a child in need.

Thanks Vikki.

Vikki’s Blog 19th January 2013

It’s been a good Christmas, although there was plenty of mucking out to be done, but it was a peaceful time spent with my family and one of the nicest ever and everyone got stuck in and helped out.

I’m loving the snow, it’s great to spend time with Joe and Winnie doing lots of walking, but it does play havoc with earning a living and I’m not looking forward to sitting on some rather naughty horses when its all cleared up on my return from South Africa!

Im really looking forward to going to SA where it’ll be the other extreme, sweaty horses, being able to ride in T shirts and complaining about the heat, tee hee!!  I’ll post lots of photos on my web site and on Facebook.

Matt has a list as long as your arm of instructions, ranging from what to do with Polly (the Parrot fish) to canary care.  I’m afraid he’s ended up with two canaries; as Elvis’ best friend Bertie is coming to stay for two weeks! He fortunately doesn’t have Mr Pickles to look after, as Emily has very kindly offered him a home. He’s now nearly doubled in size – he weighed 390 grams when we found him, he now weighs 614 grams.  he is by far the dirtiest hedgehog we’ve had so far, all I can say is its a very good job that the Sunday times comes with lots of supplements! I’ve packed his suitcase (including the Sunday times) and Emily’s dad is collecting beer boxes, which I’m sure has been a real hardship!

Harry and Pedro are both doing well, Harry continues to behave. I had a super training session with Stephen Clarke, unfortunately I had to cancel Steph as the school has been frozen.  We had a bit of a saga with poor Teddy’s rug, the delivery company brought us a 6’3 rug and with the best will in the world, it was always going to swamp him but Helen saved the day and in terrible driving conditions, managed to get one for him, so he’s nice and snug in his posh, new rug!

I hope you all bought a copy of Your Horse Magazine, the very photogenic Tom, made front cover.  I had a five page article ‘Wipe the Slate Clean’ about building strong training foundations for future success.  There were some fabulous photos of Mandy and Lindsay with their gorgeous horses, look out for future articles in the spring.

That’s all for now, hopefully my next blog will be from SA, God willing and weather permitting!  Look out for photos and the latest news……..Vikki