Welcome to Dassett Eventing
In the end of July I moved up to Kate Rocher’s farm Dassett Fields to be a part of Dassett Eventing for the rest of my time here in England. Lucia and I met Kate through Richard Sheane, and since our horse-shopping trip in the end of June,
I’ve kept in touch with her. Kate is based out of her parent’s farm, which is located about 5 minutes from the town of Banbury and about 15 minutes from Aston Le Walls. The farm is gorgeous and always bustling with activity because it is the base of Kate’s business, Dassett Eventing, which currently includes over 20 event horses. The yard has two barns, one of which houses the ten or so horses that Kate rides and competes, while the other holds the rest of the horses that are ridden and competed by Dassett’s two riders, Haley Wright and Craig Barr. It seems like it would be an organizational nightmare, but somehow everything runs smoothly! My first night the entire Dassett Eventing team went out to dinner to celebrate my arrival and I attempted to learn everyone’s name and role. The whole group is so welcoming and I’m so thankful and excited for this new chapter of my UK adventure!
Week 1 at Dassett Eventing
Wow – the first week at Dassett Eventing has been a whirlwind! Day 1 consisted of moving in and getting Jess settled into her new home. She is such an easygoing mare and I’ve found that if you give her food, she is happy. My second day I hopped in the lorry and went to Carlton Horse Trials to watch a couple of Kate’s horses compete in the Burghley Young Event Horse 4 and 5 year old class. I’ve been curious about the Burghley Young Event Horse series because it seems very similar to the US’s YEH series and because Fi (“Petit Filou II”) competed in the class when she was a 5 year old and was the top mare and placed in the top ten! The competition consists of a dressage test with scores out of 30, a show jumping round with scores out of 40, and a confirmation and overall type portion with scores out of 20. Then, the top 10 are brought back into the ring and shown to a new judge who ranks the horses from “most potential” to “least”, the top horses gets 10 points added to their cumulative score, the second place horse gets 9 points added etc. The goal is to have the highest cumulative score, and then to make things a bit more complicated, only the top 10% of the class qualify for the championships at Burghley, regardless of the scoring. As with the US’s YEH series, there are pros and cons to the system… for example: the event can be an educational show for a youngster, but the scoring is very subjective and some times doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Kate takes her 4 and 5 year olds to the classes in order to get them out to a new place and have an educational combined test, if they do well, great! If they don’t, it doesn’t matter… It was a fun day and I got to watch Kate ride “Minnie” and Craig ride “Calvin” and “Lilly”. Minnie and Calvin are normally ridden by Hayley, but she was off competing 2 horses in a CIC** so Kate and Craig got the extra ride (I’m starting to figure out who rides who, there are a lot of horses!).
The following Monday, I took Jess over to Aston Le Walls with a group of Dassett horses to do a bit of show jumping and cross country schooling. This was the first time I’d schooled any XC with Jess since the little bit I did when I tried her so I was a bit anxious and very excited. Jess was a superstar and even jumped a prelim triple brush skinny (my nemesis)! I’m so so excited about building a partnership with this little mare. After XC schooling we did a quick horse swap at the yard and then the lorry was off again with a different set of horses to go for a gallop. Kate asked if I was interested in galloping one and I jumped at the opportunity! The gallop they use is only 10 minutes down the road and it is the typical England gallop that seemingly all US eventers are jealous of: an all weather footing strip that is on a gently rising hill that ends with a steep incline. I got to ride Freaky Flower, “Fleur”, who’s a 14-year-old 15.3 hand Westfalian mare that is ridden and competed by Alice Midmar who is another member of the Dassett Team. Alice has a full-time job, but manages to find time to ride and compete Fleur at the Intermediate level. They made the big move up to Advanced in the end of June and are aimed at the CCI** at Blair Castle in the end of August. Fleur is a complete businesswoman and showed me the ropes, I really just had to hold on and point her in the right direction. She has a huge gallop and really loves to run so needless to say I had a great time galloping her and I’m really looking forward to galloping more horses!