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Chard BS

Posted: 5 Jan 2022 - Comments (0)

Our first outing of 2022 and it was a good one. Love Chard for jumping as big rings, nice courses albeit never small and great surfaces. It is a 2 hour drive but well worth it.

Today we jumped the 1.10 which was well within our comfort zone. She gave me a super round to come 2nd by .2 of a second. Looking at the video still need to ride forward through the turns more as can lose time adding strides. (You know me being fussy).

We then jumped the Foxhunter (1.20) and that seemed a pretty meaty track particularly some oxers towards the end. I certainly wasn't brave enough to test the clock but over the moon with an easy double clear.

Great start to the year and excited for what is ahead.

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Who am I?

Posted: 3 Jan 2022 - Comments (0)

Perhaps to start the year I thought it might be appropriate to say who I am and give a bit of background as I realise there are always new followers or people looking at Shoestring for the first time.

Key Stats

Name - Sarah-Jane Brown

Location - Launceston, Cornwall

Age - 47

Work - Environmental Health at Cornwall Council 

Current horses

Fliss (Dolmen Du Concorde) - Age 11, 15.2 Irish Sports Horse by Royal Concorde.

Quite a special mare I have had for over 4 years. Together we have progressed to jumping successfully 1.20 classes showjumping and had a good year at BE Novice. In 2022 we hope to do some Intermediates and some County shows show jumping. 










Sarnita - Age 22, 16hh KWPN

Retired ex Advanced eventer who helped me live many dreams, I had her at 5 and together we jumped clear round the advanced at Gatcombe, competed in Ireland, France, Holland and Portugal. She won over 90 points BE She retired at 15 and has since bred 3 foals.









Ellie (Rising Sun Lady) - Age 12 14.2 Irish Sports Pony

Ellie was a project pony that just stayed and stayed. She hugely helped me get over a confidence crisis, and together we had much fun including winning two BE100 classes and many show jumping classes to 1.10 level. Sadly she had a bone cyst in her pedal bone and despite an operation she has not immediately come sound. She is currently loaned to a friend to have a foal.









Vacancy - In 2022 I hope to find another ride 

I fit horses around a full time demanding job in Environmental Health. I currently manage a team that deals with nuisances such as noise, environmental crime and the dog warden service as well as lead on the COVID response to ensure we support businesses through the ever changing regulations and guidance. 

In 2021 we moved from the far West of Cornwall to the Devon / Cornwall border, whilst still geographically on a limb being that hour further up the County has shortened our travelling. We still have only 4 events within 2 hours of our location and geographically we are not best positioned.

I have no facilities at home and currently keep Fliss with a friend although will probably looking for a permanent base in 2022. I manage to fit all the care, riding and competitions around work and do everything myself with the support of Mum who also shares this mad hobby. In fact Mum rode when I was small so she can be blamed for me following her into this totally consuming hobby. Together we fund the care, competition fees and associated costs from the money we earn through work and now in Mum’s case retirement. All my horses are produced from scratch None have had eventing experience or often competition experience before I have bought them. I am proud to have produced Sarnie to Advanced and Pip to intermediate as well as won over 130 BE points.

I still very much enjoy the horses but by my very nature I am competitive and want to ride well and produce my horses up the levels from wherever they are It does worry me it is a young persons sport and that my age and old injuries will catch up with me. Perhaps it is worth mentioning I have never been that good at falling off, I have metal work in both collar bones, ankle and hip. This means I am not always the straightest in the saddle and I have to work hard at my fitness to ensure the injuries do not become too much of a handicap. (I am intending on doing a blog re my fitness regime in the future)

The mental side too has always been a struggle 4 years ago I totally lost my confidence to the extent I cried rather than cantered and although I am back happy in the saddle I still suffer the self doubt and not feeling good enough I know so many other do. At times this can be crippling and perhaps my biggest goal for the year should be to focus on fun rather than results. 

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Year End

Posted: 31 Dec 2021 - Comments (0)

Firstly can I wish a Happy New Year to everyone that reads my blogs and follows Shoestring, thank you for the support.

It has certainly been an up and down year with some real highlights and equally some really very depressing parts. 

Ellie never recovered soundness from the operation to mend the bone cyst in her foot, we hope with time she may make a full recovery so she is loaned to my friend Mel Hennah where she is in foal to her lovely stallion. We will assess her again at the end of next year.

My high hopes for Kensa my only homebred has been the deepest disappointment when veterinary issues meant she was put to sleep at 5. (See blog 27 November) This still seems so unfair particularly to Kensa who was such a lovely person.

Fliss has certainly been the highlight progressing on all fronts established and winning at 1.20 level show jumping and finishing the season with 15 Novice points and feeling ready to step up to Intermediate in 2022.

I will be looking for another ride in 2022, sadly with what has happened to Ellie and Kensa I am not sure my budget will get a 3 legged horse leave alone a nice something to produce so I may be looking at other options, maybe to ride or produce for someone in some form or another.

I have done a review in pictures on Facebook (link here


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2021 Cross Country rounds

Posted: 26 Dec 2021 - Comments (0)

It is fun that generally we are able to purchase a video of our XC rounds and I thought it would be nice to put them in one place. I bought 4 this year and actually all the ones where something wasn't perfect to see if I could learn from any errors.

Pontispool (May) - This was widely seen as the toughest novice track of the season and she actually coped really well she just never locked onto a roll top early on for 20 penalties.

Hartpury (August) - Our first 2 star together, she just didn't read the water early on which was a big test and then disappointed to make a mistake at the double of corners.

Cornbury (Sept) - A full up XC track she made feel very easy to finish clear in the time.

Weston (Oct) - Our final run of the season, a clear inside the time (UNTIL) I found out I jumped the wrong fence when blinded by the low sun


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Mandy Frost Lesson 2

Posted: 19 Dec 2021 - Comments (0)

Last training before Christmas and a really enjoyable session with Mandy Frost.

Working on the quality of the canter as well as my balance and effectiveness. A few things physically to work on, Mandy feels my right side is quite week and I am not the most symmetrical.  However, what a difference just sitting up and riding her immediately after a fence rather than half a circle later can make.

The video should give an idea of the progression of the exercises. The simple starting point of 2 poles on a circle I had coincidentally practiced at home this week where we had spend a session actually trying to improve the quality of a circle!

A really valuable session.

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Mandy Frost lesson

Posted: 10 Dec 2021 - Comments (0)

The fact that Fliss is such a talented jumper has meant that perhaps I haven't focused on my show jumping training like I should have done. With the likelihood of a progression to Intermediate next year and that I want to jump some bigger SJ tracks some training is much needed.  I am lucky to have Mandy Frost in the area and have managed to secure some semi regular slots with her over the winter. Yesterday was the first lesson which took place at Bicton in the rain! I was rather pleased that my new Super X Country jacket as well as being smart was totally waterproof too as it poured!

Had a great lesson, Mandy asked what our aims were and what areas we needed to work on. I explained that Fliss's canter can be a bit pretty rather than forward enough for the bigger tracks and therefore the striding could be a little short. The exercise she had up was great for us. We started with 2 poles down a decent distance (8 strides ish) and at the half way point you turned and rode into a small circle lined with poles approx 12-13 meters. It was all about keeping the quality of the canter and the power within the circle. It quickly showed up any straightness issues and really helped me stop killing the canter. The video clip shows the exercise having progressed to a jump then a circle and jump out, you will get the idea.



No more videos as the rain kept coming but we finished by jumping a bigger course and practicing keeping that forward canter. Really good session and felt it did Fliss and I the world of good.

Lovely to see Nick and Jane, shame they didn't get to meet new greyhound Marty who ending up spending the day at the vets having been cut his leg open the night before. Thanks to Nick for the pictures. 

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