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  1. When giving up is not an option...


    After losing my beloved rocky, closely followed by poor harry, I admit I was at rock bottom and couldn’t begin to think of having to go through that immense sorrow again, I sold virtually everything and closed the door. Or so I thought.


    The door was indeed closed, but every now and again there would be a knock at it, and for a while now I’ve put my hands over my ears and tried my absolute hardest to ignore it till it went away. This had worked for a few months, however although I work with horses daily and absolutely love what I do, I even began riding again, there was a huge part of my life missing. 


    My fantastic husband Dean has been an absolute rock and supported me in every way he could possibly think of, trying his best to make sure I was ok, but the truth was, he knew how much I missed my own horses. So we had a chat about the possibility of having another one. Something I wasn’t 100% certain about as I can still today feel the pain of losing them, but once you’ve had horses they are like a disease, they live in your blood and you can push them away but they will always find you!


    I didn’t rush into anything, in fact I tried to convince myself it was a very bad idea, we could now go on holidays, enjoy doing pretty much what we wanted, when we wanted with no physical or financial ties, but it was no good, the need was too strong.


    I tentatively had a look to see what was for sale, around the 16hh, 10 yr old, mark, but literally nothing appealed to me, so one afternoon while I was working in my shop, I thought “I wonder if Lynwen and Huw had anything, or know of anything”, these wonderful people are the same people who I got rocky from, and although I wasn’t looking for anything young they may have known of something older, so I messaged and waited.


    I got a response to say that they didn’t have anything for sale, but did have a colt who they wanted to keep as a breeding stallion later on, but low and behold would let me have him! To say I was stunned was an understatement, this was not what I expected! Then the thought process started: a colt, a yearling, untouched, why would I want to do this again?


    What I haven’t yet mentioned is that this young colt is also Rocky’s half brother!! Same mother but by a different dad. The thought process mulled around my head for some time, keeping me awake at night with the what ifs, questioning my own sanity at times, but Dean kept it real for me, not allowing the negative thoughts to eat away at me like they do. 


    We arranged to go and see him, all the way to West Wales, we did an overnight stay and made a weekend of it. It was so nice to actually visit Lynwen and Huw, it felt like finally we had met after years of knowing each other through Rocky! 


    Lynwen had sent me a couple of pictures and a clip of him moving in the field, but I was adamant this was still going to be a bad idea, until we arrived and I saw him, he was just lovely, feral, but lovely! He’d basically been handled a handful of times and lived with a Shetland colt, apart from that he was a blank canvas.


    We said our goodbyes and made the long drive home, the 4.5hrs seemed like a blur as the whole way I was still trying to say no, no we can’t have another, but I think you know what’s coming....


    Yesterday 5/8/18, we welcomed Cledlyn Jasper to the family! 


    After a couple of months waiting for this moment from when we visited, it’s felt like forever, I never said anything to anyone in fear of it all going wrong. 


    Lynwen and Huw transported Jasper down for us, for which I’m eternally grateful, he arrived happy and settled into his new stable straight away, clearly liking Hampshire hay! 


    The plan is to take each day step by step, when the times right he can go showing, but a future plan is not being made yet, his “job” will determine itself, if he’s a dressage diva then so be it, if he’s a show horse then that’s fine too, I feel like whatever plans I’ve made before they have blown up in my face, so this time we shall wait and see. 


    His pedigree is quite something: 



    Welcome to the family Jasper!

  2. Cross country training at Tweseldown.

    Last weekend (Saturday 7th April 18) saw a different coaching session, a XC session at Tweseldown.

    My rider is stepping up to BE this season for the first time, as is her fabulous horse who is pretty new to XC, when you watch the videos I think you may question this!

    Having had the first event cancelled due to the dire weather we have suffered, we used the opportunity to fine tune the XC section, and toddled off to Tweseldown for a run.

    Podge (cute name eh!) is a diamond of a horse, but can be a bit strong which has meant that his owner, Josie, who must be about 5stone wet through(!!) has been struggling to balance him after a gallop, losing time setting him up for fences, and has not been able to let the "handbrake" off totally meaning losing time and potential placings.

    We have spent some time training for the feel of the required pace XC, using a marked area and stop watch, the pace was originally a scary feel for Josie as she didn't want to let him go, but with lots of groundwork and a change of bit, we seem to have found a good combination.

    We used this session to work on keeping a good ground covering stride over undulating ground and ensuring the balance could be maintained, but without too much "setting up", trusting Podge to jump out of his stride, which he did with ease.

    Once confident to jump 90cm, we stepped up a notch, and by the end they were jumping the novice course, making it look easy!!

    The water at Tweseldown is quite deep, so we started with the small fences and allowing Podge to find his feet, again he showed his quality and jumped everything, even the largest drop in and the largest jump out. 

    We finished there, they both enjoyed the outing, gained so much confidence and can't wait to get out and compete now.

    Below are some clips from the afternoon, not loads, but enough to see what we were up to! 

    Building rhythm for time XC at Tweseldown from Sharon Johnson on Vimeo.

    Training XC at Tweseldown with a client from Sharon Johnson on Vimeo.

    XC training with client at Tweseldown. from Sharon Johnson on Vimeo.

    Water jump XC training at Tweseldown. from Sharon Johnson on Vimeo.

    Water jump training XC at Tweseldown. from Sharon Johnson on Vimeo.

    View from underneath XC jump! from Sharon Johnson on Vimeo.