Tam Thompson
I started riding at age 3 or 4, having worn my non-horsey parents down since starting to talk, and I am afraid that once horses are in your blood it’s for life!  I worked with horses for a few years, on a polo yard, but have generally had ‘proper’ jobs to pay for my increasingly expensive equestrian habit.  As a child and teenager I could not have been less interested in dressage – that being the thing you had to do so they’d let you ride cross-country - however, I had 15 years out of the saddle, and on coming back to horses discovered that dressage is actually really rewarding, even at the lower levels.  Me and Beau have been a team for almost 2 years now and have played at dressage, showing, jumping, sidesaddle, camps, RC training and quadrille and we love it all. 

The main thing for me, these days and in my youth, is to have fun.  Try everything.  Do your best and appreciate the small things.  I hope I can help readers see that even if you come last in every competition, the important thing is that you’re enjoying it and you’re making the world a better place for your horse
Tam x

Please visit: https://beaubayou.blogspot.co.uk/


February 2017 – You’ve got to have a dream… by Tam Thompson

Hello Haynet community!  To start, I’d like to introduce me and my little horse Beau.  I am average, at everything.  If you take one thing from following this blog please let it be that averageness shouldn’t stop you trying new things and giving it a go – it doesn’t stop me!  Beau is not average, he is an opinionated grumpy old thing, and a total legend.  I have thrown so much at him in the 18 months we’ve been a team, and he has gone along with it all.


In 2016 we played at dressage training, Team Quest, quadrille training and competition, sidesaddle, gymkhana games, a spot of jumping, Riding Club camps, Your Horse Live and lots of relaxed hacking.  Horses are my spiritual home, and always have been even though I’ve struggled with confidence and motivation quite a lot over the last few years.  Beau is my therapy.


There is not much to share on our activities this month.  All we’ve done is the first winter clip, and one sidesaddle lesson.  Beau and I are both pretty unfit, so that was hard work.  As I write it’s Wednesday, our lesson was on Saturday, and I can only just walk properly again.  Our next lesson will be a master class for those of us competing at the Sidesaddle Association Novice show in March.  That could be fun ;)


So now we have started work again after the Christmas break, I would like to begin the year with making some plans, setting out some targets.  All will be reasonable, some may not be attained, but you have to have something to aim for…


I am lucky enough to know some incredibly kind and talented trainers and so am hopeful that with mega coach Alison’s help I can make some progress and achieve ambition 1 – to achieve 70% at dressage.  It’s good and bad news that we cannot compete at Intro this year, so it will need to be at prelim or novice.  Mega instructor Tracy wants to compete Beau at Elementary this year, so that’s ambition 2.  


Ambition 3 is to qualify for the Veteran and Draught Horse BD championships again.  I let my nerves wreck our tests when we got there last year but it was such a thrill to even qualify!  Having coughed up for full BD membership for 2017, I am also aiming for regional festivals at novice – though I am not sure what’s involved in that yet – mega coach Alison will need to help me out there too.


Beau’s most favourite thing in the world is jumpies, but mine is sidesaddle, so ambition 4 is to compete at dressage riding wonky ☺ plus compete at the Sidesaddle Association novice show in March (i.e. not just turn up)


Finally, hopefully pleasepleaseplease we want to play at quadrille again this year – that’s ambition 5.  In 2016 we had so much fun, but came last, so the only way is up!  


The first competition I have in mind is the Sidesaddle Association Area 5 Novice Show.  I am aiming for the walk-trot class (I think) and then intend to watch the people who actually know what they're doing afterwards!  That's at the end of March, and I have a couple more training sessions planned before then.  My sidesaddle training class-mate is sooooo much better already so I won't be coming out with any ribbons, but it's going to be an ambition realised :)


This month's sidesaddle lesson was a challenge for me.  Before the lesson I managed to mostly clip him out, and finished the clip when we got home.  Ginny very politely remarked "what an interesting clip!"


When we arrived, my training buddy wanted to ride outside to get her horse used to going under sidesaddle in different places, and the very idea terrified me!  But when she said was that OK, I forced myself to say yes and off we went.  Beau was stronger than he is inside, but apart from that he was exactly the same so I am not sure what I was worried about!  We practised our individual shows for the competition we are both doing in March, and have lots to work on so we don't look too daft in public!


The following day we hacked out and he was an evil little ***!  He decided when we were turning for home and that was that!  Sardra and Tory came with us and Sardra wasn't much better. We only went out for an hour and only walked, but neither has been in proper work since October so I guess Beau at least was sore from the day before.  He did work hard bless him.   


Much love, and thanks for sticking with us, Tam and Beau x


If you would like to, you can keep in touch with us on Twitter: @BeauBayou


Maybe even start your own blog – and when you read back, you can see just how far you’ve come