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02Oct 15

Good luck to Nicky Turriff and Lux O'Neill at HOYS

I shall never forget the Cornish crowd when Nicky Turriff managed to jump clear in the Working Hunters at the Royal Cornwall Show in 2013. Neither the expression of sheer shock on Nicky's face as her chestnut gelding Lux O'Neill was jogging out of the arena in a most relaxed manner. We still had an agonizing wait for the judge to make the final decision, as Lux could be quite fussy about who was on his back. However the decision was positive and secured for Nicky and Lux a place in the Working Hunter class at HOYS that year.
This gave us, Nicky, Mel Farnworth and me, an enormous amount of homework as Lux had never been to anything that big and neither had Nicky. If ever anybody thought that Lux was an easy ride, then I can assure you this was far from the case. Yes, he loves jumping and is capable of clearing a fence in the most extraordinary manner, but he can be 'sticky', whether it is about entering a strange environment, or a piece of wood in one of the fences not quite to his liking. If he doesn't like the judge he may decide to back off the leg, or give the complete wrong bend through a corner, let alone shy.
This is why Nicky galloped into the big HOYS arena at the rate of knots two years ago, which got Lux through his insecure moment and, although his eyes were on stalks, he proceeded to jump a most exciting round with only one pole down. I believe they ended up 13th out of some thirty-odd combinations, which was more than respectable. Nicky rides as a hobby, whereas this class is full of professional riders.
This year I didn't see much of Nicky, as Mel Farnworth is the very most important trainer for both Lux and his rider. Well, she has done an outstanding job as yet again Nicky and Lux have qualified, this time at the Melplash Show in Dorset. And again on the base of the only clear round. 
Nicky is not shy of getting help in order to improve, she has enormous dedication and of course phenomenal back-up from her family, with her husband Simon being her emotional stabiliser, when occasionally it all gets a bit much between training, children and work.
Years ago I was a great fan of Swiss international dressage rider Christine Stueckelberger on her huge bay horse. I read an interview with her once.
She told that she only competed the horse and rode it only occasionally before the competitions. Together with her trainer, who mainly rode the horse but did not like to compete, they made a perfect team. 
 
 
Nicky rides Lux mainly herself but is the first one to admit that she needs her team in order to make it work. But at the end of the day it has to come together under huge pressure in that arena and that is what she is unbelievably good at.
Next week she will yet again gallop into that big arena at HOYS and I wish her lots of luck!
 
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Top picture: Nicky with Lux at Melplash in Dorset
 
Bottom: on their way to be qualified yet again! 

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Dressage Training

Dressage training needs variety, including pole work

About Liz Barclay

Her love for horses together with her dedication made her into the trainer and dressage rider she is, today. She is versatile and inventive and likes a challenge; whether it is a technical training question, a confidence issue or a problem involving the management of the horse or pony.

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