Happy New Year to you all – round is a good shape isn’t it? This is where Gromit and I are at present, following an indulgent Christmas.
Firstly, I would like to introduce myself I am Susan Chappelhow-Lacey, I have three wonderful children aged one, three and four and Gareth my pretty special husband, although he dislikes horses, typical farmer! We are based in the South of Scotland near Gretna.
I was first bitten by the eventing bug in 2002. Before this I had mainly ridden homebred horses at my mum, Anne and sister Clare’s stud – The Crackenthorpe stud. In 2015 my mum happened to be in the supermarket where she bumped into an old friend, Sophie Beaumont. Sophie told her about this little Highland she bought which was proving to be a cheeky chap. After this conversation mum and Sophie decided that I should meet Glenmore of Roisbheinn or Gromit to his friends.
Sophie, unfortunately, has been diagnosed with cancer, so we felt it was only right to try and get the Gromit going to give her something to look forward to. The first time I went to see him I put him on the lunge and next thing we knew, Gromit was vanishing over the hill. Once I’d retrieved him, I took the plunge and got on. His head went between his knees and he tried to bronk. I have to say, I did laugh! He wasn’t quite as sharp as the thoroughbreds or the warmbloods but cheeky none the less! So I gave him an almighty kick and he decided to try and take off but we soon put a stop to that. Although I was in the early stages of my second pregnancy and my first child only six months old, I agreed to take on the ride.
During our first two years together, we mainly did Horse of the Year (HOYS) flat classes due to my pregnancy, but he did me proud and consistently placed within the top ten. The eventing started as a bit of a joke when I asked if we could have a go. His first event was in the second half of 2017 at Northallerton where we placed second due to a pole in the BE90. This season was cut short, yes, you’ve guessed it, I was expecting our third child.
2018 started off quite rocky, as Georgia, my third baby ended up in intensive care in Glasgow, leaving Gromit stood in the field like a huge mud monster, which I’m sure he loved.
Our first event back was in the April. I was rather concerned our fitness was not up to standard, but I thought we’d give it a go. This season turned out to be an incredible one and we came on leaps and bounds, finishing in the top ten at the majority of our events. I decided I would do my first Mitsubishi Motors Cup Regional Final at Skipton taking part in the BE90, which I entered with no expectations of qualifying as Gromit doesn’t like long hills – how wrong was I? We gained an 18.3 dressage score, one pole in the show jumping, as this is our weakest element and finished clear inside the time on 22.3 allowing us to qualify for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup. BE Skipton must be my lucky place as this is where, in past years, I have gained three Regional Final placings.
As well as our Mitsubishi Motors Cup qualification, we qualified for HOYS 143 Mountain and Moorland Working Hunter Pony, unfortunately Gromit knocked a pole with his tail, the joys of having a thick tail. We have also qualified for the 2019 BE90 Championships held at Blair Castle. Although this season was like no other, it came to an abrupt end when I was diagnosed with a bulging disc. This knocked us out from the British Dressage Native Championships, hence why we are both rather round and well insulated.
This won’t stop us though! My plan is to get out at either BE Epworth or BE Oasby, depending on how the fitness levels are and begin our preparations for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup.