It’s all go with Team Fredericks — and as one season ends, Lucinda has another to plan for

By: Horse Deals

It’s all go with Team Fredericks — and as one season ends, Lucinda has another to plan for
Lucinda is hoping that Headley Britannia will still be on top form for London 2012

As usual, life with Team Fredericks means clocking up the air miles. Clayton is teaching in Hong Kong as I write this column, then we’re on a merry-go-round of competing and teaching that takes in Holland and Stuttgart before our Christmas break in Australia.

Add various other diary commitments such as people coming from Poland to look at horses for sale and the time we need to devote to our six-year-old daughter, Ellie — who is the number one priority — and you can see why we need to be organised. Christmas will be a much needed chance to recharge our batteries, but we’re already planning next season’s campaigns.

A lot of people have asked what my plans are for Headley Britannia and seem to think that her career will be winding down. In fact, the opposite is true. She’s never felt better and we’ll be aiming at four or five of the big CICs, then the World Equestrian Games.

I honestly believe Brit will be a contender for the London Olympics in 2012. She’s 16 now, but people forget she has a relatively low mileage. I really look after her soundness and in terms of her limbs, body and brain she’s a 12-year-old!
She’s only done 50 events at intermediate level or above in her life, which is not a lot. Going for quality rather than quantity has definitely paid off because she’s jumped clear in all but nine of her show jumping rounds.

My main aim is to have her peaking at the right time. When she’s fresh, she’s a real handful — I deliberately took her slowly round Tweseldown at the end of the British season and found it hard to hold her. We were second after the dressage and finished ninth with double clears, so it all went exactly to plan.
Over the next year, we’ll take a couple more embryos from Brit between events. Her first embryo transfer babies, Britannia’s Mail and Little Britannia, are fulfilling all their hoped for promise as they grow and we’re looking forward to Brit increasing her family.

I admit I’ve got another dream for Brit and that’s that she’s still going in 10 years’ time so that Ellie can ride her in a junior regional novice competition. OK, it’s a long way off, but who knows?

Ellie’s already ridden her, obviously under my close supervision and in safe surroundings. It’s amazing how Brit adapts to her — when I get on the mare afterwards she feels really short-striding. But there’s certainly no risk that Clayton and I are going to be pushy parents when it comes to Ellie’s riding: she loves it, but only wants to canter and jump.

Because it’s so important that she enjoys her riding and isn’t put under pressure, I’ve come up with a clever way of getting her to think about her flatwork. If I ask her to give me a demonstration of how to do it, she’ll think about putting her heels down and sitting nicely. She knows how to do rising trot on the correct diagonal and it’s really funny to see her looking to check that Toffee, her pony, is on the right leg in canter.

I’m Looking forward to getting Prada (Hattie) back on the circuit. She’s rising six and has had time off with a sacroiliac problem, which is now sorted.

I’ve got her out jumping at the moment. Riding Brit is like driving a souped-up Mini and riding Hattie is like driving a Ferrari. Nothing could persuade me to part with Brit and Hattie’s not for sale, either. I’ve got great hopes for her.
We’ve also got a super little Australian horse on the yard called Brookton, whom Clayton started off this year. If he doesn’t get sold, I’m looking forward to taking over because he’s shown a lot of potential.
People sometimes ask why we sell potential four-star horses: the name that always comes up is Springalong, who’s done great things with Daisy Dick. The answer is, simply, that we have to live and selling horses is inevitably part of that. You put a good price on a horse and if people want to try it, you let them.

So with plenty to do, plenty to look back on and plenty to look forward to, it’s all systems go for Team Fredericks. We’d like to wish you a happy Christmas and look forward to catching up with you in 2010.