Qualification for Stacie Tanswell

Congratulations to Stacie and Willow on their qualification yesterday.  They were competing in the Pony Club Dengie open winter league at West Wilts.  Stacie and Willow have been training with Team Liles Equestrian for the past couple of years. They were awarded 74.1% and came 2nd.  This qualifies Stacie for the finals in 2014.


Congratulations to Anna,Sophie & Lucy in their first British Dressage competition

Another amazing day for the students of Team Liles Equestrian. Congratulations to Anna Elford, Sophie Elford and Lucy Buckwell for their results in their first British Dressage competition.


Prelim 15
Anna Elford received 64.35% in the NQ and came 5th on Le Coer de Leon. Lucy Buckwell also received 64.35% and came 3rd in the qualifier on Glendelough III. Sophie Elford received 66.09% in the NQ and came 2nd on Buntings Baby.

Prelim 19
Sophie received 69.55% placed 3rd in the NQ. Anna received 70% and was placed 2nd in the same section. Lucy received 74.09% and was placed 1st in the qualifying section.

Congratulations to all of Team Liles at Bricky this weekend!

Well done Glendelough III (Sheldon) owned by Tracy and Lucy Buckwell, winning the BE 90 at Bricky in his 3rd Event. Lying second after dressage on his score of 30.5, he jumped a double clear to win on his dressage score, ridden by Ben Liles.

We would also like to congratulate all of Ben’s Students on great results. Megan Alecock finished 8th on Hamlin Ester in her first ever BE 90. Also in the BE90 Anna Elford finished 7th on Le Coeur de Leon and Sophie Elford finished just outside of the placings on Linsfort Jack. Dionne Slack finished 10th in the BE80. Sarah Eames and George Bolt competed in the BE100 Regional Final. George finished 5th on Asparagus with a dressage of 26, while Sarah finished just behind in 7th place with an amazing dressage score of 24.5

There was also success for 3 horses competing that were originally backed by Team Liles. Taylor II was placed 4th with his new owner Imogen Carter with a dressage of 28.5 in the junior section of the BE 100. Twilight II came 9th in the BE 100 regional final with Abigail Boynes – Butler. Chilly Boy was placed 14th in the BE100 with his owner Sarah Helfer.

A final congratulations goes to Kate Helfer, a former member of Team Liles, now working in Gloucester for Tom Rowland Eventing. She came 8th in the BE 80 on her stunning new horse Rosie Green. This was Rosie’s first ever event.


Tina’s first Grand Prix since the Olympics

I’ve had a busy week since the display at Donald Trumps last sunday. On Monday we took Calecto and Hindu for a long hack round the trails. Since then I’ve been working Kyra and Hindu most days and Tina has been schooling Calecto, ready for her competition today. Kyra has been really good this week and I feel I’ve achieved a lot on her, with help from Tina. She has really helped my riding since I’ve been out her and I’m really looking forward to taking my new knowledge back to my horses in England.

Me and Calecto

Hindu has also been great. Although I did have one close shave. Wile walking her around the property I thought I’d take a photo of the resident sand cranes for the website. Unfortunately as I was preparing to take the photos, something moved in the bushes. Hindu twitched, which spooked the sand cranes. Much like pheasants, they took off making quite a commotion as they flew away. This did spook Hindu. With reins in one hand and my phone in the other I was left holding on wile all four feet left the ground and she let out two big bucks. It would have been a shame to have spent all this time in America without have experienced some rodeo riding! I also spent wednesday afternoon shopping at the mall in West Palm Beach, where I joined the Ipad revolution and purchased an Ipad2.

Saturday – Tina did her first Grand Prix today since the Olympics. Its was at a show ground called White Fences in Wellington. She was using this as a warm up for the Masters, in a couple of weeks time. Calecto was a little ring rusty. That said he was a different class from all the other horses in the show. He won his class with over 71% and it was a valuable exercise in his preparation for the masters.

…and some show jumping at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club

The Mar a Lago Club

The show jump arena









Sunday. Today I went with Tina to the Mar A Lago club, Palm beach owned by Donald Trump for the Trump invitational show jump Grand Prix. Tina was doing a dressage demonstration between the first round and the jump off of the $100,000 show jump competition.

That’s how close we were to the water

We arrived at Mar A Lago with Calecto at 12.30. We parked next to the show jump warm up arena. Mar A Lago is set on an island on the Atlantic coast of Florida. The marquees were set up over looking the show jump arena and the water. The arena was tight even for the show jumpers. For a dressage rider attempting to do a display around the jumps there was very little space.

Tina and Calecto getting ready to perform









Donald Trump arrived in on his helicopter and walked past us to take his place at his table in the marquee. The seats in the marquee were $12,000 per person.

Me and Calecto

I watched the first round with the riders on bench seats beside the arena. As the session was drawing to a close I went round to get Calecto ready and help Tina get on. She warmed up with the jumpers in the warm up arena. Something that most dressage horses wouldn’t have coped with, but for Calecto this was no problem. The last jumper left the arena and Tina made her entrance. I stood on the water side of the arena directly opposite Donald Trump to video Tina’s display. It was a massive success. The atmosphere was electric and Calecto was amazing. Tina as ever, the performer. Improvising an amazing display in the limited space around the jumps.

After his performance, we got Calecto untacked. Got his ice boots on and walked him over to the wash off area. Even this was next to the tennis courts over looking the water. After his wash I walked around the warm up area and marquee to dry off. He was a true celebrity. He really does know how amazing he is and spent a lot of time posing for photos with his fans

From Dressage to race horses!

Thursday. I had an easy day at the barn. I warmed Hindu up then Tina had a little ride on her. She was very good and went really nicely for Tina. It was good to see her work with someone else as this was the first time I had seen anyone else ride her.

Kyra was also a good girl. I gave her her normal work out. Practising my changes and canter pirouettes. Tina watched and gave me some help which was also useful. Her owner then also did 20 mins on her, which I helped with.

Friday was my first day down at the track with Roger. The alarm went off at 4am and we left at 4.45. I drove the horse trailer to Paceson for Roger as he wanted to leave it there for travelling his horses.

The first thing we needed to do was go round the barn, checking all the horses legs. Then the first set went out. I wasn’t riding in this one. I didn’t mind this at all as it was still dark and pretty misty at this point which meant visibility was almost nothing.

The racing barn

I had my first horse to ride in the second set. Her name was kissable. She is one of Rogers better horses but she had just been on holiday and was only just coming back into work. I trotted her for a mile (one circuit of the track) the took her on an easy gallop for half a mile. Just coming back into work she was a little fresh and really thought she should be doing more than this. Especially when faster horses came past.

In the third set I took out Miss Cato. This time we went out onto the turf track. She is also one of Rogers better horses, but also coming back from holiday. She did a mile and a half trot and half a mile of easy galloping. She was really nice. Fortunately it was until I got back that Roger told me she was worth well over $1,000000.

The forth set was my hardest workout. I took Chakonni a 2yo that had only raced a couple of times out to the turf again. She went once round in trot. Then galloped twice round. By this time the burn in my shoulders and calf muscles was pretty intense. I consider myself to be a pretty fit rider but this is a whole different ball game. With my stirrups much shorter than I’d go xc in and in a racing saddle, I was using totally different muscles to normal and these horses are strong!!!

Miss Cato








My last horse at the track was a baby that had only just arrived in. This one was only walking and jogging around the barn. She was a very sweet chestnut filly that was just rising two.

Chuck with Perfect Shirl









Having survived my morning at the track I returned to Tina’s barn to work Hindu. She then had her first pair of fronts on. Which as with everything else, she was perfect for.

My last horse of the day was kyra. I gave Dana a little lesson on her. Before giving her a bit of a work out myself. Its now 10pm and I’m going back to the track with Roger in the morning as he’s a couple of riders down. Not looking forward to that 4am alarm!!!

Saturday. 4am was definitely harder on the second morning and my muscles were pretty sore. Thankfully I had a good soak in the hot tub last night which I’m sure helped.

My first horse today was Miss Cato. She trotted the first mile then galloped 5/8 of a mile on the all weather surface. She was definitely ready to start doing more now, after her holiday. She was a little bouncy walking back after her work.

I took Kissable out on the third set. I did exactly the same with her as Miss Cato. I felt better on her today and had the confidence to let her flow a little more. If I thought Miss Cato was bouncy on the way back Kissable had a few really good moves that she tried on.

For the fourth set I rode the baby (Sidneys Spirit) again. Having walked and jogged her in the lines, I took her out around the barns and lake. Then into a paddock for a trot and canter. She’s a real confident chestnut filly and although she was a little bouncy in the canter, I really enjoyed working her. Then Chuck Fipke arrived. He owns the horse that Roger won the Breeders Cup with last year (Perfect Shirl). I met him for the first time at the Olympics. He also owns Hindu. We went up to the track for him to watch Perfect Shirl work and I filled him in on Hindu’s progress. Before heading back to the barn for a quick beer.

I made it to Tina’s barn just before 1pm. Just in time to ride Kyra. Tina gave me some help with her wile her owner watched. The body was feeling a little battered by this time. Only one thing could help me now. Food and a margarita!

New Year

Friday day 35. I schooled Hindu out on the grass again today. She’s such a good girl. Her canter is getting much stronger. I’ve started doing a little canter leg yield with her now. We did have one moment of excitement when Tina appeared on Calecto with the dogs. Always good to keep me on my toes. Just checking that I can still hold on when I need to.

Had a good ride on Kyra as well. Practised my canter serpentine with changes and canter pirouettes. Then did some more piaffe / passage work with Tina and Leo. This time tina rode and I helped from the floor. He’s picking it up so quickly. Tina makes the training of this look so easy.

Saturday. We were predicted storms today. It was pretty humid this morning. After getting the stables done. I rode Hindu. We had a fun day today. Just had a walk, trot and canter hack around the property, which she really enjoyed. Tina gave Calecto a good work out. Then gave Leo a bit of a schooling hack around the property. After washing the horses off I got finished pretty early and after all that the predicted storm never arrived.

Monday was a very exciting day. Not only was it new years eve but it was also my first day with help at the stables. Dana has arrived down from New Jersey. She is Tina’s new working student, I spent the day showing her the ropes. Tina and I took Calecto and Hindu for a great trial ride. Half way round, we were riding past the local elementary school, which is currently closed for the holidays. They had the perfect schooling area, on the grass in front of the school. So we stopped for a half hour schooling session on the horses. Hindu was perfect! It was also great practice for Calecto as he is doing a demonstration at Donald Trumps place in West Palm beach on grass this coming sunday.

Tina and Calecto

We arrived back at the stables. Kyra’s owner had been waiting for me. So I did a quick swap on to Kyra. I had a good session schooling her and although she was a little spooky, her owner enjoyed her lesson.

Its amazing how much easier the barn is with a second set of hand. Although we didn’t finish any earlier than normal as we had to wait for the farrier to finish shoeing Calecto and Kyra.

I had a really good evening on new year. Not only did I get to skype Fliss at midnight in england and got to say happy new year to the entire ‘Black Swan’ via skype, from behind the bar, but then I went to famous racehorse trainers, Phil and Vicky Oliver’s house for new year in Florida. Two midnights in one night. I did well!!!

Tuesday. New years day. Ouch. I think I consumed a little too much champagne last night. Fortunately the horses all had the day off so I only needed to give the horses turn out and help Dana with the barn. I spent the rest of the day floating about in the pool and watching movies.

Wednesday. Tina was teaching a young rider clinic in Wellington this morning. I had a late start. Dana did the barn. I got in to help her lunge Hindu, as she will need to be able to take over from me when I return to England.

Chilling with Roger in the hot tub

I had another good session schooling Kyra and gave her owner another short lesson on her. Then helped Dana lunge Leo. Tina returned to the stables in the afternoon to ride Calecto. Dana finished the barn wile I went out for a quick beer with Roger.


23rd – All the horses had the day off today. I did the barn this morning and gave the horses a couple of hours turn out. Brought them in, gave them a bath then I hit the mall. Two days before christmas. It was crazy but I got what I needed to and after a quick stop in at the house. I headed back to finish the barn. Finishing off only takes 45mins, so it wasn’t long before I returned to the house for a cold beer. All that christmas shopping is thirsty work.

Christmas Eve. We took Calecto and Hindu out for a nice ride round the trails. When we arrived back at the barn Kyra’s owner had arrived so I turned Hindu out and got Kyra tacked up. Schooled her a little then gave her owner a lesson on her.

Christmas day was a none riding day. So I got the horses done early then went back to the house. Got changed, opened presents and after skypiing my family back in england. We headed out to the marina where Rogers boat is kept and took the boat out. It was such a beautiful day. It was great to be out on the water. 















We arrived home. I went back to the barn to put the horses to bed and Tina got our christmas dinner ready. There were 8 of us in total. The food was great and the drink was plentiful. Just how christmas should be.

The horses were back in action on boxing day but Leo had pulled a shoe in the field and got himself the day off. All the rest of them except Calecto lunged. Tina gave Calecto a loosening schooling session and after the farrier came to put Leo’s shoe back on, we got the stables finished early.

Thursday. All the horses were back in action today. I got the stables done early then we headed to downtown Stuart for breakfast. I got back to the stables just before 11am. Rode Kyra. Schooled Hindu on the grass for the first time. She was a little wobbly at first but soon got the idea.

Tina came over in the afternoon and gave me some help with Leo in the school. Then we did some piaffe and passage work with me riding and she was helping from the floor. Then she gave me a lesson on Calecto. After warming him up in walk, trot and Canter. She helped me ride a couple of canter pirouettes. Its not everyday you get to work on movements on an Olympic horse. Very lucky!!!

Saturday – day 29

Thursday and friday were both good days. On thursday I lunged Hindu and Leo and I schooled Kyra then gave her owner a bit of a lesson on her.

On friday I rode Hindu. Tina watched and was very pleased with the progress that had been made since the last time she saw me a school her. In the afternoon Tina gave me lesson on Kyra. My changes are improving. I’m beginning to keep her straighter and I’m moving less in the change.


Today (Saturday). It turned pretty cold last night and I had to scrape ice off of my car’s windscreen this morning. Fortunately without a cloud in the sky it didn’t take long to warm up.







I schooled Hindu again. This time Tina was also riding Calecto in the arena at the same time. She was a really good girl. Then Kyra’s owner arrived so I schooled her again with a little help from Tina, as she was riding Leo at the same time. Then I gave Kyra’s owner some help with her again.

Gulfstream Races

I got the stables done this morning and rode Kyra. After getting the horses in and giving them lunch, I headed back to the house.

I was heading down to the Gulfstream race track with Roger. He had 2 fillies running in the 5th race. Unfortunately they had a bad draw in the outside stalls. 11 and 12. In 11 was a feisty chestnut filly in here first race and in 12 was a dark bay filly. She had raced once before but hadn’t shown that much. Both were going to find it difficult with the outside draw. We left just after lunch, for the hour and a half drive down to Gulfstream in Miami. On arrival we valet parked the car and headed to the bar for a quick cocktail. Then we headed to the stalls. To saddle up the two fillies. Both were looking good. In the parade ring, Roger introduced me to the two jockeys before giving them some last minute instructions and legging them up.

We headed to the grandstand to watch the race. The Chestnut filly in 11 showed well, finishing in 3rd which was a great result from the outside draw. The bay filly didn’t finish so well. But on the whole Roger was happy with his horses performances.

After a quick bit to eat, we hit the road for the journey home. Roger had drank a few cocktails by this time so with red bull in hand, I took the wheel of Rogers Lexus for the drive home. Unfortunately so did the rest of Florida and the hour and a half journey took much, much longer.