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/


Later in April 2017 - Flopjogs and Jumpies by Tam Thompson

Beau Bayou Blog - Later in April 2017
Flopjogs, jumpies, Easter Eggs and finally graduating from 'Terminally Terrified'

Combined Training Qualifier
This has to have been Beau's favourite month with me so far!  We've been jump training with Alison to try and get my head round the whole jumping thing ready for the combined training qualifier on 9th April.  My issue has never been with the actual jumping, but for some reason cantering round a course of jumps was filling me with terror.  So we went right back to basics and used trot/canter poles, and small jumps at trot.  We then graduated to jumps fro trot with no poles, and finally hired a small course at Glebe Farm in Northants to attempt jumping more than one fence.  

Beau loves his jumping.  Lots.  In fact he loves it so much he once finished an arena eventing course after his jockey fell off at fence 3!  He is also very soft in the mouth, but strong, so bitting has been a challenge.  He came with a Waterford pelham which works well, but he does tend to back off it after a while.  I found his solution in the form of a myler combination bit.  I use it with two reins, so ride from the snaffle, but have emergency brakes from the bottom rein if required!  It means he has the confidence to go forward, and I have the confidence that I can pull him up if need be. 

So with the change of headgear, the training and practise, tears, snot and sheer determination to stop being so daft, I pronounced myself ready to attempt the Combined Training qualifier for Cherwell valley RC.

When we got there i was surprisingly relaxed.  We were in plenty of time, I had sort of read the dressage test and Tory was lined up to read for me.  All the gear was laid out in the lorry and by 9am I had walked the showjumping course half a dozen times.


Read more: https://beaubayou.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/later-in-april-2017-flopjogs-and-jumpies.html

April 2017 - In which people and ponies become models - Simon gets new underpants - and I hook up with an artist

by Tam Thompson

Brand Ambassador

I am very proud to be able to say that I am now a brand ambassador for Laura Mary Art.  Laura very kindly sent me this gorgeous print of a hare to say thank you.

I have been in touch with a couple of other brands but the lines of communication are slow so hopefully more news next month!

You may have noticed, that Neue Schule Bits are running a competition for their next sponsored rider.  Since Beau prefers their bits it would be inconsiderate of me not to try and go for it!  I have been tweeting like mad #nsnexttopjockey and @nsbits!  I want to join the team badly, of course, but this is too good an opportunity to miss, so get entering!  It’s for any standard or level of rider and all you have to do is keep using the hashtag.

In other news, Simon has been having great fun with Derriere Equestrian - #DerriereEQ.  He won a pair of riding underwear via #Dressagehour on Twitter, and has done his best ever since to tell the world how comfy they are!

The poor man just needs some breeches now!


Read more of Tam's March news HERE

Beau Bayou Blog March 2017 all about sidesaddle - and my first podcast is coming!

by Tam Thompson

Wonky day 12/2/17

On 12th February I attended a sidesaddle unmounted rally at Pittern Hill Stables by kind invitation of Roger Philpott and Ginny Oakley - who are the masters of all things sidesaddle!  The morning was spent in the (freezing cold) school, watching riders and horses of varying experience jumping a small grid.  We saw a lady who is new to jumping wonky but not new to wonky and her amazing horse.  Then 3 ladies (one of whom was partially sighted and who never moved in the saddle - perfect balance) who are intermediates jumping wonky though experts at sidesaddle.  Finally we were given a demo by a rider who has won sidesaddle rider of the year SIX times jumping a racehorse fairly new off the track.


 A-maze-ing dahhhling, and in equal parts thrilling and fascinating to watch.  Lean your left shoulder towards your horse's right bit ring seems to be the key to not falling off!  And kick on because a long flat jump is much easier to sit than a showjumping style bounce upwards. By default Beau takes a stride out so maaaaybe we will get to actually doing this.  In the afternoon we had a lecture on sidesaddle turnout and keeping your hippo clean for shows from a lady who has won just about everything sidesaddle and looks the dream in all her photos - beautiful.  There are way too many turnout rules for my tiny brain though, I can tell you.  The day was mostly about meeting other sidesaddle obsessives and chatting.  I made a lovely new friend, rekindled an old friendship with a lady who is also in CVRC, and learned that at the novice show in March there will be 3 of us riding in homemade habits :D (if we don't bail before then!!)


Habit construction

Step 1 - buy a cutaway jacket from eBay for £15.  I know that's cheating, but I work full time and there is a limit to my skill, time and  patience.  Besides, making a jacket would probably have cost me more than buying a brand new one by the time i'd replaced the fabric six times to correct my errors.


Step 2 - find a pattern in an old book on the bookshelf.  Looks easy enough...and whilst searching for said book I came across one written by my now good friend Ginny, but which I bought before I knew her!

Step 3 - transfer the pattern to paper.  This bit was distressing (i had to measure myself) and took for EVER!  But I did it.  


Step 4 - Make apron from old sheet to practise.  Lucky I did this because I couldn't follow the pattern instructions without getting muddled, and the apron would not quite have covered my breeches!  Also there was not enough allowance for the hemming.  I am not blaming the pattern, I am 100% sure that my transferring (ambitious) measurements to brown paper was responsible.


Step 5 - 19th Feb - make apron in real fabric.  Try to avoid assistance from the cat:

I was lucky enough to find a near perfect fabric match to my cutaway by buying samples off eBay for fabrics that looked similar.  All I need to do is try not to waste too much of it!  Evening 1 was completed early when I realised I'd added darts backwards in my lining fabric and fell out with my sewing machine. Tomorrow will be spent unpicking said darts...  

I only have a month to do this!  I hope I can complete it and end up with something wearable for our wonky showing debut on 26th March.  Day two was spent unpicking darts and re-sewing.  By day 3 I discovered that I had unpicked the WRONG darts and when I came to sew on the buttons (feeling very smug to have got so far) I realised I'd made the entire apron backwards!  If anyone reading this needs an offside apron you can have it if you collect/pay postage.  It's lovely heavy navy teflon coated polyester fabric and would be such a shame to just throw out :( contact me via twitter @beaubayou


Apparently this is a common mistake for first-time apron makers.  That is not a consolation!  So I started again, bought a PROPER pattern from Penny Housden, Sidesaddle lady (thank you!) and have started again.  This one is far more complex but has actual written instructions so with luck and a following wind I may end up with a usable apron this time


I squeezed in a sidesaddle lesson before the Cherwell Valley RC Dressage competition (I was stewarding) and was chuffed with how Grumps went but less pleased with how much my core hurt!  My buddy Beverley was visiting from cheshire so she hopped on and finished the lesson in my place.  She’s a natural!  Megatrainer Ginny declared I had not done enough – my muscles disagreed ;)



We've started!  We have a theme and have started coming up with ideas for the costumes.  We have a team change this year with Tory stepping down due to work pressures and instead supporting from the ground, and Mrs Whipcracker stepping in!  I can hardly wait to start writing the test and getting the music sorted (I bought the right CD from Amazon for 19p which was a very pleasing price.  And it turned up!).  Megatrainer Alison will be drilling us so we ought to be hoof perfect by October.  This year's theme is very dramatic :D

Combined training

Last year, as my regular readers will know, I made beau walk the jumping phase of the combined training.  I still melted down but I was embarrassed afterwards!  This year I have entered again (oops) and THIS time I plan to do it properly.  It's in April so I have weeks to wind myself up about it

Bad pony

Beau had a bad school report in Feb.  Megatrainer Tracy was riding him and leading Spotty Sardra, and he decided not to bother and tried to turn for home!  Luckily Sardra just stood and waited until Tracy had convinced him otherwise.  They then proceeded through about six sets of temporary traffic lights through roadworks, so clearly he wasn't THAT bothered!



This is my 15 minutes of fame!  The lovely Amy from Horse hour has recorded a podcast of me wittering on about all the fun me, Tory, Simon and Mrs Whipcracker have with our horses.  Please have a listen and if you find even a tiny bit of it helpful or inspiring I will be overjoyed.  I am terminally terrified and completely neurotic but I don't let it stop me - and I almost always have lots of fun once I'm in the saddle!  The podcast will be aired at 8pm on Monday 13th March on Twitter at @HorseHour and later via http://www.horsehour.co.uk/  


No updates this time.  We've had lots of family stuff to sort out so riding opportunities have been practically zero, though I have 2 good friends keeping Grumps ticking over a couple of times a week for me so it won't be such a shock for him when I flop back into the saddle for two days of sidesaddle and dressage training coming next weekend 25-26 February!


Dressage:  The main focus is STILL to get 70% in a prelim test unaffiliated!


Posh dressage: Tracy to compete with Beau at Elementary – am looking for classes…


Dressage again:  Having discovered that BD are allowing Team Quest members to compete affiliated at prelim – AND having coughed up for full membership for 2017, I am now aiming for regional festivals at novice – though I am not sure what’s involved in that yet.  Mainly I'd like to end up at the Veteran and Draught Championships again


Side saddle: An intro dressage test ridden wonky  plus the Sidesaddle Association Novice Show in March


Quadrille: Lots of theme ideas already bubbling away for 2017, though unless clubs are allowed two teams this year we may not even be going

An extra one - Jumping: A bit more bimbling about over tidgy XC fences and through water, over banks etc.  Beau is a legend at jumpies but loves it a bit tooooooo much for me!  I have booked in some training before the competition so let’s see how that goes.  I should have started this Sunday (the last weekend in feb) but Storm Edwin put the dampeners on that.


Please visit Tam at: 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