Horse holidays and housekeeping

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The horses are off for a rest, but it’s time for cleaning, sorting … and perhaps some jumping, says three-day eventer Toots Bartlett

With the event season behind us, we begin a brief period of quietness throughout the yard. Most of the horses at Team Fox-Pitt have already gone on their winter holidays. My own team of horses is due to go home to my parents’ house near Castle Cary in the next few weeks to have their own break. It’s time for each of them to rest, relax, put some weight on and enjoy just being a horse!
But while the horses get to go on holiday, my human team and I get to sort through everything on the yard: every draw needs re-labelling, sorting out and finding anything that is broken or isn’t in a pair. All the tack gets a deep clean, taken apart and thoroughly checked over. We will sort through the lorry, removing any competition gear that doesn’t need to stay there over winter. We’ll also reorganise the lorry and give it a thorough clean. As it was new to us mid-season, it’s a vital job to get it properly set up for how we want it, ready for next year. The stables are also being washed out, all the mats re-glued down and the stable doors will get a fresh lick of paint.

On to showjumping
We are pleased to welcome a new member of staff to Team TB – local girl Erin has joined us, and only a few weeks into the job I can already say she is a massive asset, working well alongside Eve and me.
Now the event season has finished, I will turn my attention to showjumping for the winter. I am lucky enough to have the ride on Carlos 55, my sister’s horse, and he is an incredible showjumper. I’m really looking forward to getting out and about on him – and being brave enough to do those tight turns. We will also spend a lot of the winter months doing strength and condition work, on both the horses and myself! Lots of core and back end work to strengthen the muscles and top line. This will be done through pole work, schooling and in-hand exercises.
I am also looking for a couple of young horses to produce next season, so if you know of anything showing promise or talent do contact me (tb@tootsbartletteventing.com). We are also able to take in horses over the winter for schooling – it’s a good time to re-educate whilst the pressure of competition is off.

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