Toomer Farm

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Toomer Farm completes successful Pony Club Camp season

Valerie Singleton capped Toomer Farm’s successful Pony Club Camp season by making the presentations at the conclusion of the Blackmore & Sparkford Vale (B&SV) five-day camp held at the Henstridge venue last week. The Sherborne-based former Blue Peter presenter handed out achievement badges to the many young riders who had passed efficiency tests during the five days.
“Valerie has always been keen to encourage youngsters and was here supporting Harry Gregory, the son of her next-door neighbours”, said Sophia Orttewell, the event organiser. “Everyone was delighted when she agreed to do the honours. It took an hour and a half to hand out all of the awards”.

Toomer Farm’s Peter Doggrell says: “We’re always delighted to host the Pony Club Camps like the B&SV, the Hursley and the South Dorset. The children are always unfailingly polite, pleasant and helpful, but above all they enjoy themselves. They do a range of equestrian activities such as cross country and show jumping, while the B&SV camp included a talk by a representative of the British Racing School and a visit to Colin Tizzard’s National Hunt yard, where they saw top-class racehorses like dual-Cheltenham Festival winner, Cue Card. It’s also good to see them in the evenings playing rounders and jumping over the dog agility fences on foot. Everyone is always perfectly turned out and the full-dress parades and exhibitions in the arena on the final afternoon are an impressive sight”.

Toomer Farm now turn their attention to the Autumn season which includes Hunter Trial days on 1st September (the last 2013 Hunter Trial to include a “Pick Your Own Fence” class), 29th September and 26th October, while Quarr-based Olympian Sam Griffiths will host a September two-day pre-hunting clinic where emphasis is placed on encouraging riders to approach fences steadily and in a balanced way, and teaching horses to think for themselves.

For full details contact Peter or Sheena Doggrell on 01963 250237 or 07773 280803, via email toomerfarm@hotmail.co.uk


 

Toomer Farm looks forward to a busy season...  

Toomer Farm looks forward to a busy season...

The Toomer Farm season is in full swing after the staging of two successful Hunter Trials at the Henstridge cross-country course, which is set within a 375-acre working organic farm on the Somerset-Dorset border.

Toomer Farm’s Peter Doggrell says: “Approximately 400 competitors took part in our April and May trials. The seven classes range from 1’6” to 1’9” Minimus Opens to a 2’9” to 3’ Intermediate and include our version of the half-moon fence, one of the London 2012 Olympic Games’ iconic images, which always attracts favourable comment. Our “Pick Your Own Fence” classes are proving especially popular on the day. Basically, competitors decide which fence to jump, although they must take them in the correct order and combination fences must be completed at the same height. I think quite a few competitors see the class as a bridge between schooling and competition”.

The course is open for schooling virtually every day during the season and Peter is rightly proud that top international riders William Fox-Pitt, Sam Griffiths and Chris Burton were all spotted in action on the same day last season. He says: “They were all here on the day we unveiled the moon fence although the course is open to anyone and attracts competitors from all the equestrian fields. For instance, top National Hunt trainer Colin Tizzard, who trains a couple of miles away at Milborne Port, has used it to prepare horses for Cheltenham’s cross-country races”.

Toomer Farm now looks forward to the rest of the 2013 season. Quarr-based Olympian Sam Griffiths will hold two one-day cross-country clinics and a two-day pre-hunting clinic where emphasis is placed not only on encouraging riders to approach fences steadily and in a balanced way, but also on teaching horses to think for themselves. “A thinking horse will look after you if you make a mistake on a cross-country course”, points out Sam. The farm will again be the venue for Riding Club and Pony Club rallies and camps, where activities usually include flat work and show jumping in the arena, instruction on the cross-country course and an organised competition or display on the final day. Three further Hunter Trial days are scheduled for 1st September, 29th September and 26th October.

For full details contact Peter or Sheena Doggrell on 01963 250237 or 07773 280803, via email toomerfarm@hotmail.co.uk


 

Planet jumps the moon at Toomer Farm ...

Toomer Farm unveiled their own version of the famous half-moon fence, one of the London 2012 Olympic Games’ most iconic images, at their Henstridge cross-country course on Saturday. Set alongside the Royal Observatory, the Greenwich Park fence had provided a breathtaking spectacle as the London 2012 Three-Day Event competitors took the obstacle against the backcloth of the London skyline.

Toomer Farm’s Peter Doggrell said: “It’s totally appropriate that the first riders to jump our half-moon fence are attending a cross-country clinic run by [Quarr-based] Sam Griffiths, who competed for Australia at London 2012. They’re all thrilled with the fence and say that it has jumped beautifully”.

Sam was eliminated from the Olympic Three-Day Event competition when his mount Happy Times slipped up on the Flat near the end of the cross-country phase. “We’d done the hard part of the course, including the half-moon fence, but just had no luck. That’s sport”, said Sam philosophically. “The Olympics was a real experience, especially being part of the village and attending the closing ceremony”.

One of the world’s top 50 riders, Sam uses a few simple principles during his clinics. He explained: “Firstly, we introduce the horse slowly to the session to ensure they understand what we want. We put the speed back in later on. Secondly, I encourage the rider to approach the fences steadily and in a balanced way. Finally, I try to put emphasis on teaching the horse to think for itself. A thinking horse will look after you if you make a mistake on a cross-country course”.

Sam’s method certainly worked for Halstock rider Eona Powell and her mount Zebedee. “I’ve been getting ahead of Zebedee when he jumps and have been in danger of falling over his head”, admitted Eona. “Sam immediately identified that I was gripping too hard with my knees and was pivoting forwards. I then had the remaining two hours of the clinic to practise doing it right. It was a simple thing really, but that’s the beauty of getting tuition from an expert”.

Sam’s next Toomer Farm clinic, a two-day pre-hunting clinic run in conjunction with Dan Jocelyn, takes place on 25 and 26 September. Details can be obtained by contacting Peter or Sheena Doggrell on 01963 250237, via email toomerfarm@hotmail.co.uk

We are sorry Alice in unable to run the clinic, but Sam Griffiths is replacing her and Dan Jocelyn who helped Alice last year will again be helping Sam

  Leading Australian Event Rider, Sam Griffiths


 

Top International Riders and new innovations for 2011 at Toomer

Farming has always been the No 1 activity at 375-acre Toomer Farm at Henstridge on the Somerset-Dorset border, but it's the cross-country course, set within 12 acres of the farm and established for over 30 years, that attracts top international riders like William Fox-Pitt, Sam Griffiths and Lucinda Fredericks.

Toomer Farm's Peter Doggrell says: "William and Sam both live locally and use the course for schooling – William particularly likes our water jump. Lucinda travelled from Devizes to take part in our November hunter trials with her seven-year-old daughter Ellie, who absolutely flew round the 2ft 3in course like a professional. The course is open to anyone for schooling, although you must book in advance, and it attracts competitors from all equestrian fields. Colin Tizzard, who trains a couple of miles away at Milborne Port, schooled Joe Lively here as part of the horse's preparation for Cheltenham's November Cross Country Chase.

"William and his wife, Alice, have been a great help to us over the years", continues Peter. "William hosted a fascinating course walk for the public in July. Alice – Channel 4's Racing Presenter, Alice Plunkett – has held an adult camp and two pre-hunting clinics here".

The world's leading riders will be back in action again as Toomer Farm looks forward to their 2011 season. Alice will repeat her two-day camp in June, and will run her pre-hunting clinic towards the end of September. Sam Griffiths will hold a clinic in June and international trainer Shena Kozuba-Kozubska will run dressage clinics beginning in May.

Toomer will again be the venue for Riding Club and Pony Club rallies and camps, where activities often include flat work and show jumping in the arena, instruction on the cross-country course and an organised competition or display on the final day. Some Clubs incorporate outside visits into their schedule – William Fox-Pitt's Hinton St Mary stables, the Blackmore & Sparkford Vale kennels at nearby Charlton Horethorne, and Champion National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls' Ditcheat yard are wonderful venues.

The ever-popular Hunter Trials – 230 entries took part on 7th November – return with the Blackmore & Sparkford Vale Pony Club event on 10th April, followed by trials on 1st May, 30th October, and a date to be confirmed in September – "probably the first weekend, but we're looking for a date that doesn't clash with my stepdaughter's wedding, as the reception is here", says Peter.

Contact details: 01963 250237 or via email toomerfarm@hotmail.co.uk.

 

Tel. 01963 250237 Email: toomerfarm@hotmail.co.uk
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