Equestrian Plus Review of Our Astrid Bolton Masterclass
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The weather was definitely against any events taking place on the evening of 22nd June. Endless rain and gale force winds were wreaking havoc across the North West and even the Olympic Torch Relay Concert, which was due to take place in Blackpool that same evening had to be cancelled following an amber weather warning! However, ‘the weather will not stop us – swim here and you will be dry’ was the Facebook comment on the Furst Kiss page. Swim wasn’t far from wrong either as enthusiasts made their way to Merecourt Stud in Blackpool to see Astrid Bolton, Hayley Colwell and their team in action.
The evening, sponsored by Day Son & Hewitt, was billed as an informational evening on how to select, start and produce your horse for dressage, showjumping, eventing and showing. There was a great turnout of around 200 people and, after a slow start due to a slightly flooded yet full car park, spectators got into the spirit in the warm and dry indoor arena with the promise of hog roast at halftime. Sue Taylor national sales manager for Day, Son & Hewitt made a brief welcome speech and introduced Astrid.
First into the arena was a beautiful Furst Kiss Colt who was just two weeks
old, quickly followed by a Furst Kiss filly who was three and a half weeks old. Astrid ran through the importance of responsible breeding, selecting a stallion and what to look for in a foal. The youngsters happily took the whole event in their stride, not seeming to notice the crowd’s ‘oooohs and ahhhhs’ as they trotted by.
Following the foals was the two and three year olds. With the help of the horses, Astrid discussed conformation and what you should be looking for, as well as I some great tips on feeding to support your horse’s needs, pointing out that prevention is better than cure.
The crowd looked on as one of the three year olds was lunged quietly after just having had a saddle on for the first time the day previous. Next in the ring was a lovely four year old, and Astrid gave some great insight into loose jumping, explaining how you should set out the fences and also having the correct help when loose jumping.
The wind and rain battered on as the time came for a break and refreshments, which were much appreciated by all. Representatives from Day, Son & Hewitt were on hand at this point to discuss any feeding queries with the audience and products were available for purchase.
First up after the break was a five year old mare who was to belong reined. After running through the basics it was decided that a helper from the audience would get the chance to try out long reining for themselves. Alex Topham was chosen and she realised that it was not as easy as Astrid had made it look, but after some direction she soon had it in hand.
The crowd were then treated to some jumping with Astrid on a lovely seven year old, and a member of Astrid’s team, Jen, accompanying her in the ring on her own horse Max. Then came the time that many had been waiting for, the grand entrance of Furst Kiss, ridden by Hayley Colwell. The crowd sat in silence as the handsome boy showed off some his paces including an intro to piaffe.
Not even the rain, which was drumming the roof distracted him from his job. The evening wrapped up after a question and answer session with Astrid – it had been a great evening and massive thanks should go to all involved, for ensuring that the evening went ahead but secondly for providing such an interesting and informative evening.