Holme Park Havana was born in 2001 he was the first colt to be born by Holme Park Krug out of the black mare Holme Park Holy Night.  He was backed as a 3 year old at the end of the summer 2004 and sold to Margaret Mitchell and went to his new home in November 2004.  Below are some of the e-mail communications I have had from Margaret since having Havana.

NB: Most recent e-mail at the top

From: Margaret Mitchell
Sent: 02 July 2012 09:46
To: Susan Attew
Subject: Photos of Havana

Hi Susan,

Hope the pix have now got thru.

A friend took them about a month ago .... just remember back to the last sunny Saturday ......  :  )

We went to Swallowfield yesterday to do a couple of prelims .... got a 1st and a 4th, with 69% and 67.8%.  A lovely day for us.  And it almost stayed dry.

Have a good week.

Love
Marg
xx

Havana
x


 

From: Margaret Mitchell
Sent: 09 June 2012 19:46
To: Susan Attew
Subject: Having trouble with sending emails .....

Hello Susan,

Hope everyone is good down there, and that youve not been overwhelmed by the rain. Our stable block has on occasions looked like

an Ark .... and the fields are very squelchy, tho because theyre on a bit of a hill theres plenty of grazing out of the soggy bits.

Have been busy as work has started to get going now and things are revving up for the next project which officially starts in mid July it has been so nice to be at home for this part of the year = even with the rain!

Went to the dressage comps at Allenshill and Swallowfield on a couple of consecutive weekends and Havana was really well behaved. Calm, attentive, and settled = and all this after 18 months since we were last out and about. Our marks have been 63 64% he needs to build up behind in order to be in better balance, but scored 8s for his walk and paces last weekend, which was such a pleasure to see on the sheets. Given his stop/start training due to the vagaries of my job, his lack of strength is understandable, but now with a slightly different regime Im hoping that when I do have to go away to work during the week, hell be kept ticking over by Arran, who helps us with our training. So hopefully we wont be back at square one and starting again when the job finishes in late Spring next year.

Having promised to send photos, a friend took some during a training session a week ago ... the last sunny day we had I think!! Im attaching a few so that you can see how lovely he is .... just like all your others.

Hope Pauls vegetable garden is burgeoning, and that the grandchildren are giving you all lots of pleasure.

Sending you love from Havana cos if he could he would xx

and from me too xx

PS  Im just back from a training session he went beautifully and starting to really use his body. Fab!!

 

From: Margaret Mitchell
Sent: 01 August 2011 18:49
To: Susan Attew
Subject: Monday hello

Hello Susan,

Ive been meaning to settle down and write to you for a long time ... its ages since my last email to you.

Im working at the moment up in Newcastle.  We started the job in May and it will be finished in mid November ... so a long project.

I get home alternate weekends so Havana sadly am missing out on a lot of summer fun with Havana.

He, however, doesnt feel hes missing out on anything.

I moved him to another yard about 6 weeks ago.  The guy I had the natural horsemanship lessons with at the end of last year, and continued working with him until I started the Newcastle job, encouraged me to do a 24/7 outdoor living arrangement with him.  Hes as happy as a proverbial pig.  Hes part of a herd of around 16 horses, and has secured his place quite high in the pecking order.  Those flashing toes and handy athletic leaps keep him out of harms way, and seem to impress the others to allow him to be in the ascendancy. 

Arran (natural horsemanship chappie) loves him ... of course he would ... hes clever .. learns quickly ... looks adorable ... Hes now 16:2, has filled out, is just the most beautiful horse Ive ever owned and feels a million dollars to ride.  Not many plans for competition ... I just dont ride enough, but at home we are able to do our school movements with ease, and softness and no resistance.  A total pleasure.  One day ... maybe at the end of the year or early next when Ive got some time off, Ill take him out just to see what the judges make of him, but that seems almost irrelevent as knowing what he is capable of at home and how much I enjoy riding him is enough for the moment.

Weve got fields to canter around, logs to jump, hills to race up .... Im a happy girl.

Marg

x

 

From: Margaret Mitchell
Sent: 21 July 2009 15:13
To: Susan Attew
Subject: Hot to trot Havana

Hi Susan, 

Just to let you know that we went over to Kingswood last weekend to do a Prelim and our first ever Novice.

Havana was showing off in the warm up area, and was feeling very flashy . Pinging off the floor (in a good way) and a couple of the spectators came over to say what a lovely horse he was, with evident talent.

When we went outside to do the tests he got into his whinnying-to-my-friend mode (who was in the trailer on the car park adjacent to the arena).  It made for an enthusiastic performance on his part, with his accompanying voice much of the time.  However, the judges managed to see past this and we achieved 65.91% in the Prelim, and 65.86% in the Novice.  So . Hey we got points now!!!!!!! 

Going to take him out another couple of times for a bit more experience can only imagine what he might turn in, if he gets his head and his body organised together at the same time.  But thoroughly enjoying him and he moves really well.  Love him to bits.

Hope everything is good with you, and that all your other horses are doing well.  It was great meeting the couple who now own Hidalgo.  I shall look forward with great interest to hear news of their exploits.  Also, it was really nice to read about Highspec.  Holy Nights offspring are doing OK.

With love from him and her.

Marg xx

e-mail 1st June 2009

Hi Susan,

Hope you all enjoyed the absolutely beautiful weekend.  Im working in Tewkesbury at the moment, and the drive down the M5 this morning, crossing over the River Severn, was gorgeous. 

Writing to you on two counts really.  Firstly to let you know that Havana is still a fab boy.  Hes still got a bit of rounding up to do on his topline, but hes adorable; and working well and happy to be out and about either hacking on our own over the hills or buckling down to flatwork.  I moved yards in the middle of March to a neighbours place which is 5 minutes cycle ride away from home, and now look after him myself.  I love it.  Its quieter, and the hacking is better.  Hes got another gelding for company, who he loves, and they both play and prance about together.  Just perfect for him.

Ive started having lessons with Emile Faurie, down in Oxford.  This has made big improvements in us both, and hes genuinely pleased with our progress.  Fingers crossed for when we get back out and start competing again.  I decided that having had good marks in the Spring this year,  Id get some help and work on the areas the judges were commenting on, and then go back out there again during the latter part of the summer, and see what they make of us then.  Weve qualified for Petplan at Kingswood in September (just the Prelim class) so that will be something to look forward to.  Hes going so much better now, so hopefully well have a good time, and put in a respectable performance.

Do hope all is well with your printing business.  The foals this year look gorgeous as ever.  I keep doing the lottery just in case ..!!!!!

Enjoy the sun, and catch up with you soon.

e-mail 9th April 2009

Hi Susan,

I've just had a quick trawl around the internet, and had a look at your website and seen the photos of Hidalgo.  Wow!!!!!  Oh that I had some spare cash .. it would be gone!

Hope all is well with everyone down there, and that you are well ready for the new arrivals.

Havana is great moved yards a couple of weeks ago, and hes now in my tender care, and Im loving every minute of it.  Hacking by the yard is excellent so hes doing lots of hill work to build him up, and hes really enjoying himself.  Total delight to be with. 

Going to take him out to compete again in a few weeks time (Swallowfield) would love to get him qualified for the Regionals this year.  I have read the reports from some of your other owners and it is inspiring.  Fingers crossed.   Comments from the Dressage Judges say that he just needs to get a bit more strength and then the good marks will come. 

Hope you all have a happy easter .. and that Hidalgo finds a lovely home.  I can well understand how you all got hooked on these lovely horses.

With love,
Margaret & H
X


e-mail 19/01/2009 Re:New Year Hello

Hello Susan,

Do hope you and the family had a good Christmas and New Year. 

Thought Id just drop you a quick message to let you know that Havana is happy and feeling really well in himself.  I cant believe hes 8 this year.  A blink of the eye!  Changing him to barefoot all round last summer has really helped, and so the problems of consistently losing shoes through exuberance in the fields and the subsequent punctured soles and all that that brings are now a thing of the past.  His feet seem to have hardened fairly quickly, though I invested in a pair of Old Mac boots for his front feet for when we go off piste up the hills (the tracks of which are a bit stoney).

Biggest change yet again his mind.  He has much more maturity, tho I suspect hes always going to be testing me out makes it all the more interesting.  Each year Ive thought this year well get out there and get started on the competing front  and something has conspired against us .. but now it feels like weve got all the boxes ticked and it really does have to be this year that he starts his competition career.  Hopefully, if the weather isnt too grim and doesnt sink our arena Ill take him out at the end of February/early March.  Ill let you know.

Love the look of the new girlie on the block, and what an unusual name Sirikit.  Does it mean anything?

Have a great end of winter/early Spring. 

Love,

Marg

X

e-mail 27/05/2008 Re:Whitsun Havana

Hello Susan,

How are you all ... and the lovely newborns? The website, as ever, is great to browse round, and the photos of the babes are gorgeous.

Well .......... finally ............... pix of Havana!!!!!!! We made the most of the sunshine on Saturday, and went off to the local woods for an exhilarating canter. Whilst I haven't got any action shots, I took some photos of him around the trailer at the end - just so you can see how much he's developed. I manage to ride him 4 or 5 days a week, and have really noticed changes yet again in him and his ability. I remember over the past few years since I had him, how every spring he's felt more developed. Several times you've said how much more he will improve, and whilst I couldn't imagine how different it would all be, there have been such noticeable changes in him. When I think back to the 'baby' I had at the end of his 3rd year, his development has been staggering. No one on our yard has any experience with this type of horse, and I know there were many doubting Thomas's about the predictions of the changes ahead. So now, as a 7 year old, those with concerns about whether he would grow taller, wider, more sensible etc., have thankfully melted away and now all I hear is how beautiful he moves; what a lovely person he is; and how lucky I am. Result!!!!!

Over the weekend, working in the school, I could feel how much substantial, easy and free-flowing the trot has become. We have moments of sheer magic, and then revert to our 'good' trot. The time in between the 'magic' moments is reducing - it's going to feel wonderful when that's all he offers. We're catching up a bit now on the lost time from last year's set-back, and truthfully, I suspect he's probably better for it. He's certainly more physically ready for it -and he's gaining his own confidence all the time.

But you will surely have heard all of this many times before from your other owners ...... it's just that when it's happening to you, it's absolutely fantastic ............ I'll shut up now!

Hope Paul's vegetables are doing well, and that Liz is enjoying life around the globe.

Happy horses!

With love from

Marg & Havana (snort) x

e-mail 14/04/2008 Re:Monday Hello

Hi Susan,

Have just checked out your website and read your very sad report on poor Sante Fe.  So sorry that you lost her and the foal.  Im sure with the number of horses and foals youve had over the years, you probably steel yourselves for such occasions, but knowing how much you love them all .. Im sure its still hard.

As I look out of my office at a blue sky-day, Im sitting here with a quiet smile on my face.  Havana and I went to a local riding centre yesterday, and took part in a Prelim and our first ever Novice Test.  I was going just for the experience, and to see how he would come out after the winter not having done anything for quite a while.  He was noticeably more mature, and was an absolute gem.  A lovely friend to be out with.  What a surprise then to come home with a score of 63.5% and a 3rd rosette.  Still need to strengthen his topline and get him sitting more but its all feeling much more achievable now.  Hes cheeky; adorable; and very clever.  Im hoping that well work together over the Spring/early summer and then get out there doing some affiliated Novice tests.  Exciting happy times ahead!

Hope Legend is going well in training, and that all your 2008 off spring arrive safe and sound. 

Will look forward to seeing the fruits of Pauls labour in the vegetable patch.  Is this another brand name? Holme Grown vegetables.

Happy days.

Marg xxx

&

H

e-mail 18/02/2008 Re:Havana

Hi Susan,

Having been dormant for a while, I thought Id send you a quick missive just to let you know that everything is fine with Havana.

He has changed again these past four months.  It must have been about late October last year when he seemed to finally grow into his ears.  Theyve always looked too big for him, but it seemed to happen overnight, and he went from looking like a youngster one week, into looking more like an adult the next.

Hes been on tickover during January, and for the past three weeks has been trailered to a local wooded area at the weekend, with some lovely long sandy tracks.  Weve had the most beautiful, exhilarating rides thru there, making the most of the fabulous weather weve been having perfect cantering conditions and hes loved it.  All in a snaffle, and just a sheer pleasure to ride.  This weekend, he actually appeared to be standing more up thru his neck and shoulder his whole presence has improved. 

And with this lovely weather, I eagerly look forward to riding him after work.  I will take some pix of him soon and send them to you.  He still gets mistaken for a mare as hes sooooo pretty but theres nothing girlie about him hes a real lad and has moved up the pecking order now in the field he shares with about 5 other geldings.

Do hope all is well with you and your family.  Youll no doubt be starting to feel the anticipation of this years impending arrivals.  Hope it all goes well, and look forward to reading about the births on the website.

Love Marg

x

e-mail 15/10/2007 Re: Hello from Havana

Hi Susan,
 
Thrilling news and pix about Legend.  You all must be so pleased and proud with his achievements so far this year.
 
Havana has now overcome his saddle issues and is working well again.  He's been ridden since the beginning of September and all of the problems of earlier in the year seem to have disappeared.  We went on a pleasure ride the other Sunday to get him out for the first time since April ... and he really was exceptionally good.  Apart from doing work in hand during the summer, he'd only been out for a swift 1/2 hr hack the week previous, so it was asking a lot.  But he rose to the occasion, and was brilliant.  Very bold, as always and it was a very enjoyable day out.
 
Yesterday, we went along to a local venue to do our first ever test.  Unaff. Prelim 12, and he achieved 64.5%.  Given that he only started work again 5 weeks ago, I was really pleased with him.  He was focussed, and attentive.  And I've seen the video and think he looks just gorgeous.
He was given an 8 for his paces with some lovely comments from the judge.  Once he's regained his muscle strength, the marks will improve - where he lost points was all very fixable.  So I'm thrilled to bits, and very excited about our next outing.  I'm going to continue the work with him for another four weeks, and then head out for another 'go'.  So much of the enjoyment of all this is seeing him develop and change.  He has grown up so much in himself these past 4 months, both physically and mentally.  Just looking forward now to our future together.
 
Hope you have continued success with all your other off-spring.  Hope to hear from you soon.
 
Best wishes.
 
Marg & a very grown-up Havana.

***

e-mail 06/03/2007 Re: Ho there Havana

Hi Susan,

What beautiful pix of Legend doing his uphill-canter.  Looks lovely.

Had a lesson at the weekend with 'H' ... all is very fine with him, but not so with his rider.  I'm having to re-learn how to do sitting-trot all over again.

I cannot get over just how different it is.  It's like being on a trampoline, and I haven't quite perfected the movement yet.  So horse is excelling and rider needs to catch up at the moment.

Sam, who I have lessons with, rode him for the last 10 minutes of Saturday's session and kept praising him, saying 'what a transformation'.  He feels like he's finding a real engine now (and I'm sure that's only part of what he's got to offer).  His metronome trot (when done rising) is a dream, and he's become really steady in the outside contact.

But like I said .... sitting trot .... well .... I'm sure I'll get there in the end!

Thought Liz looked great on 'Pearl' - again, lovely pix. of her.

Sunshiney-day today (thank goodness after all the soaks we've had lately). 

Good luck to Legend ..... and to Merlin.  Look forward to seeing news on the website.

Much love

from him and her xxxxx

e-mail 30/01/2007 Re: Hello from Havana

Hi Susan,
 
Noticed from the website that the first babes are due in two-and-a-bit months.  The sands of time .....!!!!!!!
 
Hope everything is well with you and the family.  Things have been trucking along quietly but well with Havana.  He had some rest time leading up to Christmas (left me able to go and shop and party, so it worked well).  We're now having lessons most weeks and I can really feel the improvements in him.  It's still just as much him understanding what he's expected to do, as the different feel he gives me as he gets stronger.  He's still got a way to go to be fully grown, so 3/4 hr. is about as much as he can take (plus the travelling back & forth).  But he's a darling, and a favourite cuddling point on our yard.
 
The master plan is to keep putting the work in, maybe (if all is well) get out and do a prelim in the late Spring (this is my own reticence as I feel proud of my little horse and only want him seen out when we've got our act together) ... back to Mary's again at the end of May for another 'fix' and then who-knows-where.  What's nice, is that it all feels right, and he feels ready for it all.  He's grown up a lot this last year.
 
Hope you are able to get some riding in yourself.  Roll on the Spring.
 
Love
 
Marg & 'H' xxxx

 

e-mail 30/11/2006 Re: Quick Catch up

Hi Susan,
 
Congratulations on the successful gradings, and the new mare - who looks beautiful.
It was lovely to see the pix of Tanja's wedding on the website.  Everyone looked very glamorous. 
And isn't Liz doing well with Blin.  Highlights all round!
 
Havana is fit and well.  He's bulking out at the moment and feels quite a different horse.  I had a lesson on him at the weekend and found a special 'on' button in canter which made him feel 17 hands.  Amazing feeling. 
He's now 16.1+ which is astonishing as it was predicted 15.3, 16 hands max. at his vetting.  But you always said he'd be about 16.1!!!  Don't you know your horses!
 
Havana's inclusion in the Horse & Rider 'T for Trakehner' breed feature has been spotted by several of my friends, so he is enjoying celebrity status locally.  They used a pic from the XC training session we did in September where he flew over some uphill rails.  Great fun - and me very proud.
 
Good luck for all the competitions coming up in December.  Will look forward to following everyone's exploits.
 
Do hope you, Paul and the family are happy and well.  It's been a brilliant year for you all at the stud, and with the prospect of Legend achieving his stallion grading, 2007 looks set to be another one of the same.
 
Speak to you soon. 
 
Love and snorts from Me and Havana  xxxxx
This is the photo published in Horse & Rider

email 18/09/2006 Re: H

Hi Susan,
Just back from my second session with Mary.  Brilliant weekend.  I got one of the girls to run a bit of video of him yesterday, and I was thrilled when I saw it.  Will add that to the bits from the previous course for you to have a peep at. 
 
This weekend is the XC training session at Ledbury. So he's being bombarded with a variety of experiences.  It was great to see that on his first time away from home on his own, he was impeccably behaved.  Just keen to get on with it all.  Have decided that at the end of the year he will have a month's break from everything to chill out and just eat grass.
 
Hope all is well with you, Paul, Liz and everyone down there.
 Love,
 Margaret xx

e-mail 4/09/2006  Re: Total Pleasure

Hi Susan,
 Quick note to let you know that Havana went on his first pleasure ride yesterday and we came home with our first rosette!!  12 miles of lovely off-road tracks thru the Wyre Forest.  I forgot I was on a youngster as he was just so well-behaved.  Lots of cantering on perfect going.  Brilliant day.
Doing another ride next Sunday; following weekend 2-days down with Mary again; and then a 2 hrs. XC training session at the end of the month. 
Looking forward to it all.
 
Hope all is well with you.  Fingers crossed for the stallion grading.  Do hope Legend does the biz.
 
Love and happiness,
 Marg xxx

e-mail 21/08/2006 Re: Monday Smiles

Hi Susan,
Hope everyone is well down there.  This cooler weather is far better for riding, but personally I was prepared to suffer a little longer!!
 
Just wanted to let you know that 'H' and I went down to Mary's for our first course at the weekend.  We arrived on Friday afternoon and squeezed in an hours hack around some lovely tracks and fields, and then had three sessions across the two days.  He was quite superb and surpassed my hopes of how he would behave.  As ever, very confident out on the hack.  Startled pheasants flying up 10 feet away from him didn't bother him.  He is just so good out and about.
 
I had been prepared to deal with almost anything he might throw at me on the ridden sessions as this was his first time away from home, in totally alien surroundings, but I shouldn't have wasted the brain time.  'Duck' and 'Water' spring to mind.  He was obviously inquisitive about everything, and whinnied at his travelling companion a fair bit on the first day, but other than that, he was utterly wonderful.  In the second session on Saturday, he was ridden with 1/2 dozen new horses milling around him - totally chilled and prepared to focus.  On Sunday he came out (as did I) relaxed and prepared to do the job.  I've got the video, and he is looking fab.  Mary was really pleased with how he coped, and we're looking forward to going down again in Spring next year. 
 
So lot's of ticks in the boxes.  And I'm wearing a huge smile every time I think about him.  He is such a lovely lad.
When I have time this week I'll run off a few snippets of the sessions on VHS for you to see how he's grown up.  I hope you'll be pleased.
 
So from me .... and him ... send you lots of love.
 
Margaret

e-mail 20/07/2006

Hi Susan,
 
Looking forward to the Open Day DVD.  It was such a lovely day.  I frequently get the previous ones out to have a look at how some of the youngsters develop.  It was quite a surprise to see Devaux at the Open Day - she looked so changed and grown up. I was remembering the other day about how coincidences work .. I'm sure I told you the curiosity that years ago when I started dreaming about having a trakehner I phoned you up and you sent me a video tape of your previous Open Day.  My idea had been that in 3 or 4 years time maybe life would have changed a little with work, and I would be able to give myself a rather special birthday present.  When I watched that tape I was utterly confused by choice, and had thought that I when the time came I would never be able to make a judgement over 'which one' would be right for me.  The only thing I had registered was that you had a lovely mare (Holy Night) and that I loved her way of going. She was my favourite.  And guess who was tripping around her feet .... looking cute!
I find that so funny.  There was little 'H' and I didn't have a clue then that he was going to be IT, and that my dream would materialise.
  
Enjoy the day!
 
Marg xx

e-mail 03/02/2006  Re: Pix....At Last!

Didn't get the digital camera for Xmas after all, but my friend took her camera out recently and attached are a few pix of the boy himself.  It was a bit early on a Sunday morning for me, so not quite looking my best - but hey-ho, it's the boy you'll be interested in.
 
All's fine with him.  Hacking out alone, and jumping the log in the spinney with great ease!  I love him to bits!!!!!
 
Will try and take the camera to the XC training course next time we go. 
 
Hope all is well with you.  Another six weeks and your first foal should be on your doorstep.   Exciting time of year.
 
With love from me and him xxxxx

e-mail 23/01/2006

Hi Susan,
Hope you enjoyed the weekend's weather and managed to get out and do a bit of riding yourself.  I know Spring's a long way off yet, but it's so nice to get an early glimpse of it.
Havana had a new experience at the weekend.  We finally got ourselves over to Lincomb Farm (the local XC schooling venue) to go round the roads and tracks, and get him into the water.  He was fab!  So well behaved around the trailer, and on the tracks where he happily led the way in both trot and canter.  When we got to the water it took all of a minute to get him to follow my friend's horse in, and once in it was hard to motivate him to get out - he pawed the water, and just played.  I've ,mentioned before his insistence on smelling puddles and that we've frequently returned from hacks with him having a muddy nose, well this time he buried his head up to his eyes in the water.  I've never seen anything like it.  I was worried he would breathe in and shock himself, so pulled his head up a bit smartish, but he was just loving it.  I let him enjoy himself, and by the end we were happily trotting thru the water complex without a lead.
It was so easy with him, so I took advantage and we popped up and down some small steps; jumped a small ditch; popped a log and a small rail.  He never once gave me an 'Ooops' moment and was so confident and happy. I'm trying to keep it all like playtime, and we follow first and then do it on our own going towards a 'parked' lead horse.  I tell you Susan, he's amazing!  So chuffed.
 
Don't want to overtax him as he still feels babyish, but will try and get back to Lincomb once a month, just to keep his hand in.  Other than that, hacking everywhere, and still keeping the schooling down to once a week at the moment.
 
Roll on the Spring!  Have taken some pix of him, so will send them to you later in the week.
 
Happy days! 
Love  Margaret and the water baby xx

e-mail 03/01/2006

Happy New Year!  Hope you all had a wonderful time in Cuba and have enjoyed a good Christmas break.
 
Havana and I had a great Christmas.  We did all the things we planned.  Have been out with lots of other horses over the break and he has displayed exemplary behaviour.  Canters at the front, middle or behind and doesn't get above himself at all. A joy to be out with.
 
Over the next three months the plan is to introduce a little more schooling, start doing some pole work again and take him out to a cross country course to introduce him to the fun of it all.
 
Really looking forward to this year with him and watching him develop. 
 
Hope you all have a very successful 2006. 
 
Love Margaret & 'H'  xxx

e-mail  13/12/2005

Hi Susan,
 
Got your beautiful Xmas card the other day .... how do you get the horses to stand so well, and not move! 
 
Havana all ready for Christmas, and facing a chance of going out on a 'Xmas Ride' from the yard with about twelve other horses ... his first en masse experience ... via the local pub for a wee dram and mince pies. 
 
In the last couple of weeks he's been feeling more 'grown up' somehow, and so decided to give him a bit of a blast up the hills.  We've been just doing walking/trotting and gentle short canter, but on Sunday went on our off-piste route, up a fairly steep slope and then (following a friend) hit canter for about 400 metres.  Blimey, he shifts!  The ground was a little uneven, but he never once felt like he was running out of steam.  A little bit inconsistent in his rhythm understandably, but SO exhilarating.  Making the time on a XC course is not going to be an issue!  He's fantastic ... and he loved it.
 
Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year's celebrations.  I'm hoping to get a digital camera for Christmas so I can send you some pix of this handsome chappie.
 
All the very best.
 
With love,   Margaret and Havana.

 

e-mail 08/11/2005

Re: Havana Goes Off-piste

Hi Susan,
 
What a wet weekend ....  seized the opportunity tho to get Havana used to mud and having his feet in water.
 
Took him over the hills locally, taking in some 'wilder' countryside and he loved it.  Ears pricked; keen both up and down the tracks, negotiating the steps along the way almost without noticing they were there.  His balance has improved so much these last couple of months.  He still needs to smell water prior to putting his feet in, so he came back with a bit of a muddy nose - but he's happy!
 
Will try and get some photos of him to send you for your rogues gallery.
 
Enjoy your riding. 
 
Love to all,
 
Margaret

e-mail 24/10/05

Hi Susan,
 
How lovely to see all this coverage about your stud in H & H.  What a fantastic year.
 
Everything's good with Havana.  This weekend he was a bit special and grown-up, as we went out for our first Hack on our own.  He was brilliant.  Did a bit of walking backwards when we got to the gate to the lane, as unfortunately we encountered a couple of friends returning from their ride and understandably he questioned whether I truly knew what I was asking him to do!  But once he knew that we weren't about to turn around and go home, he strode out up the lane, thru the spinney and home without incident.  On Sunday as he'd been so good we ventured out further, and went up a reasonably busy road onto another bridle track.  Fantastic.  I feel I could take him anywhere now. 
 
The schooling is coming along well, and I can see a real change in him.  Physically he's got deeper in the girth, and is much more balanced.  Having him is so exciting.  It's like having a Christmas present that's still in the wrapper, and whilst I'm so enjoying seeing him grow and change, I can't wait to see what he'll be like when he's full in himself.
 
Hope things are a little quieter for you now, and that your ankle is fully recovered.
Enjoy this gorgeous Autumn.
 
Margaret and 'H'  xxxx

 

e-mail 30/08/05

Hi Susan,
Re: Holiday Havana 
Gorgeous weather.  Hope you've all enjoyed the Bank Holiday.
 
All's well with the lovely Havana.  Had a lesson with him on Saturday.  He's going really well and learning to use his body in a good way. 
Hacked out Sunday and Monday and have started letting him go distances on his own before re-joining companion horses.  He's still a little anxious and whinnies when we go off ahead, but he's prepared to be obedient too - if not a little keener when we catch sight of them again.  I'm really pleased with his progress.
On the Hacking front we can happily negotiate fields of sheep milling about us;  we can do gates; canter up bridle tracks; be unsurprised by things that seem to surprise my friend's horses.  Fields of cattle still make him stare in an unbelieving way (his expression is so funny when he does this).  And his party piece is trotting in hand alongside me in the field, and we both jump logs together side by side.  Even if he breaks into canter it's all in a very soft and aware-of-me-way.  He's so gorgeous.
Tend to ride him two days then give him a day off.  Our hacks now are up to 1 hr. plus.  Mainly walking up hills (of which there are many around our yard) to strengthen him in a gentle way. 
Have been really interested reading other owner's reports on the website.  It gives me a bit of a guide as to how he will develop and whether I'm on the right track with my expectations.
Hope your ankle is now fully recovered and that you're able to enjoy the sunshine.  I'll keep you posted on our progress. 
By the way, good luck at the Show in September.  I wanted to come down and see it - particularly as Peter Storr is riding Prokofiev - but sadly it clashes with Milton Keynes 3-day and I had already volunteered to groom for a friend.  Ho-hum.
 
With love
M & H  xxxxx

e-mail 05/08/05

Hi Susan,
 
Just had to tell you this one, as it made me smile ... last night I went for a hack with a couple of friends, along a busy road, and then round some local lanes.  Lots going on; wheelie bins, plastic bags, traffic etc. etc.  Both companion horses had a few wobbles, but guess who didn't.  He overtook the lead horse a couple of times who was refusing to go past a couple of 'scary' things.  Both friends laughed saying it was just as well they had the calming influence of Havana around.  What a star!
  
Have a good weekend.  Marg xx


e-mail 03/08/05

Still happily hacking, and am having a very low-key lesson now every couple of weeks with a Mary Wanless disciple - just walking him around an arena, and working on gaining speed control.  He responds really well, and it's something we can practice out hacking.  So he's now stepping up much more thru his shoulder ... and his little ears are flicked back listening to my body talk. Bless him!  He's so cute.
 
I can hardly believe how quickly this year has gone.  It's almost 12 month's ago that I checked out your website to see what you had for sale and started getting excited at the prospect that this dream of mine might come true.  Being only an amateur I still wonder about my ability to 'do' something with Havana, and question my expertise, but he seems so willing and with some very good help around me, it seems possible.  When I watched your DVD of the Open Day and the lovely ridden work, I got quite excited that one day we might be able to do something similar - in a very modest way. 
 
Well, I'd better get back to work ...   Keep well.
 
Margaret x

e-mail 25/07/05

Hi Susan,
 
Received the DVD on Saturday morning and have enjoyed watching the day again at closer quarters.  You must be so proud of all your horses.  Watching the ridden displays was inspiring and made me feel excited at how much Havana will develop over the next few years.  Gosh, I'd better get fitter if I'm going to be a match for that forward power!
 
By the way ... Havana can now open gates.  He was so sweet at the weekend.  We came back from a Hack and he didn't quite 'get' that he could walk towards the gate, and go as far as putting his chest to it, with his head over the other side.  My friends horse sidled up beside him and showed him what I wanted, so he obliged, and then was so calm as I flicked the metal catch over the gate and pushed it open and close, (just to make sure it wasn't a fluke we went back thru the gate again).   He was intrigued by the whole process.  He always looks like he's really studying what's going on and then absorbs the information so that the next time he comes across the same situation, it's a learnt process.  I bet they all do this, but I'm very proud of my clever little horse.
 
Hope your leg is feeling a little better and that you're able to get around a bit easier.
 
Love from the Happy Hackers
 
M & H xxx

 

e-mail 20/07/05

Dear Susan,
 
Just to let you know ......   I love my horse.  We've been out round the local lanes, bumping into combine harvesters, sheep, cattle slooshing thru streams, men in shorts on bikes, and much more.  He's led from the front all the way, and just needs the odd bit of encouragement now and again from a squeeze of the leg when he's just a wee bit uncertain. 
 
I'm not lunging him now before riding, just trailering him to some lovely lanes and enjoying the evening sun.  He's really bold and obviously loves all this, so we're going to keep having fun and learning together.
 
Hope all went well with your editing process and that you're pleased with the result.
 
All the very best.
 
Margaret x

e-mail 23/6/05

Hi Susan,
 
What weather .... fab!
 
Another tick in the box for Havana.  Took him out for a hack around the village for the first time on Tuesday evening.  Busy roads - but he was good.
 
Decided to go out again last night to enjoy the evening and build on Tuesday's experience, but took a different route.  Out for just over an hour, passing busy pub's, loads of traffic including vans with bits of piping etc., strapped to roofs and he didn't once do a thing wrong.  He was totally relaxed, finding what was up people's drives interesting, and not once looking at all the wheelie bins left out for collection.  He's totally amazing.  Drain covers, road signs - nothing!  If I'm being absolutely pickie he's likely to do a small banana when he passes a parked car - but I'm talking really pickie now.  My friends are so impressed with him, so there's lots of plans now to carry on with these 'grown-up' rides which is great for me and for him.
 
I'm on holiday for a week next week, so he's going to go out in the trailer a few times.  Hoping to get to a local XC course to hack round their roads and tracks and play in their water.  Then of course it's your open day.  So I'll see you there, and bring the video with me.
 
Hope the preparations are going well, and that the youngstock you were preparing for their photo shoot behaved impeccably.
 
Noticed on the website that Havana's brother has been sold.  Congratulations - he does look a bit of a stunner.
 
Love   Marg   x

e-mail 15/6/05

Dear Susan,
 
Just a quick one - Havana fantastic at XC course on Sunday.  Stood quietly.
Horses galloping around.  He was fascinated.  Lots of attention from friends who have heard about him, but not met him yet.  He has a fan club!
 
All good things. 
 
See you soon -
 
Margaret

e-mail 6/06/2005

Dear Susan,
 
Hope you are all well, and enjoying this slightly better weather.
 
Havana and I went to Swallowfield on Saturday as planned, to accompany my friend's horse and to give him some experience of life outside Belbroughton. 
 
He loaded really easily and behaved like a very experienced horse.  We ended up parked adjacent to the car park entrance, so had lots of cars/trailers and horseboxes driving around us, plus all the horses, baby buggies, children, dogs and normal paraphernalia of the day.  He stood very calmly tied to the trailer, even while I put on his exercise bandages, and I just needed to reassure him (for my sake probably than for his) a couple of times when we first got there.  He got a bit uncertain when an umbrella with legs scurried by, as we stood in the rain (understandable), but was the perfect gentleman around the trailer.
 
Jo Swain at Swallowfield kindly allowed me to lunge him in a separate area, and he went gorgeously, so with confidence I climbed aboard and took him into their warm up arena.  For a first time out, he was very good.  There were white plastic lightweight rails around the arena, which he was OK with, plus several horses cantering/trotting around.  In unfamiliar surroundings he took it all pretty much in his stride.  A couple of 'moments' but all in all a very pleasing first day out.    Jo wanted to know about his breeding as she thought he was wonderful, and loved his elevated paces.  She's offered to let me go over there whenever there's a quiet dressage day on for further experience, which I'm planning to do.
 
With my friend warming up, and me and him standing a little sodden in the rain, I decided to grasp the nettle, held him by the lead rope, dropped down the back of the trailer while he stood by me, and then led him up, where he stood on his own munching his hay, glad to be out of the rain, and quite content to be alone. 
 
Our next excursion is a very small local XC course which is holding a clear round day on Sunday.  He'll go along for the ride, and then I'll hack around their bridle tracks (avoiding galloping horses this time I think!) 
 
Oh, and the other thing - he's slightly over 16 hands now, and is really filling out and looking like his dad.  He is bursting with life and energy, and we all make jokes about how pink I am when I get off him, and how he doesn't sweat .... until last Sunday, when I managed to get him damp under his neck!
 
Having fun and enjoying it all.  Looking forward to seeing you and all the new babes in July.
 
Love,  Margaret and 'H' xxxx

 

e-mail 25/05/2005

Hi Susan,
 
I am so proud of Havana.  Have been challenging him in the last couple of weeks which has reaped great results.
 
Have been doing varied schooling over scattered poles on ground; doing rapid canter/trot/canter transitions on the lunge - which he loves doing, you can see the smile on his face and he just wants to offer this all the time!  And we can now leg yield in walk.
 
What has prompted me to write was a brilliant ride last night when he excelled himself.
I lunged him first for 10 minutes, then set off with a friend on our normal small hack to the Spinney.  That log I told you about a few emails ago - well we jumped it a couple of times, then went off and found another and popped that.  (That's our first time properly off the ground together). He feels fantastic.  Having now got up a head of steam, we then diverted from our normal route and went out on a real road for the first time.  He had cars and a camper van overtake him, and he didn't do a thing wrong.  A bit hesitatant occasionally, but I had far worse off my old Eventer. 
We then found some water to paddle through - he has been a bit suspicious of water - but after some encouragement and him being so gorgeous wanting to paw the water and smell it, he finally went in and then happily followed my friends horse in and out of it.
 
A big beaming smile which is still with me this morning.  He is giving me so much pleasure and is so sweet natured.  Loving every minute of time with him.
 
I have set my goals now on being able to trot all round the large field which I hack to, by the end of next week, with a bit of canter thrown in too.  He is going to a Dressage Event to accompany a friend on the 4th June at Swallowfield.  I saw the Lady who runs the Centre at the weekend and asked if I could bring him along for the experience and lunge him somewhere quiet and then if all's well get on and ride him in the warm up arena.   I'll let you know how it all goes.  Generally he's going to go out in the Trailer as often as possible to get experience of events.  I'll just be lunging him and leading him around for the first few times, but he seems to eat up experiences.  I am only now beginning to fully appreciate just how intelligent he is.
 
Saw the pix of the new Arena.  Wow!  That is so lovely.  What a difference it will make to your work.
  
Love from us Both.
 
Margaret

e-mail 29/03/2005

Re: Half Term Report

So ..... a Havana up-date:
 
Can now walk, trot and canter with me ON him.  First Canter experience on Saturday - very exciting for me, and just one of those things for him. 
 
Lunged him over a 3' fence on Sunday.  Piece of cake.  Clears it with tremendous ease.  Didn't get fizzy at all.  Can't wait to do that together!!
 
Has acclimatised to the hosepipe for washing down legs, neck and body. Perfectly done.
 
Has learned where I keep the sweet treats, and knows how to snuffle around to find them.  Bless!
 
He's a model pupil, and makes my riding look good. What more could a girl ask for .....
 
Now the nights are lighter, am planning to go out for a few small hacks in the evenings with friends to keep everything varied for him.  Total pleasure.
 
Good luck with the next foaling.  Look forward to seeing the pix on the website.
 
Love   Margaret x

 

e-mail 24/03/2005

Hi Susan,

Congratulations on the new arrivals.  They look gorgeous.

Havana still fine and growing.  He's now just a tad under 16 hands.  (Oh me of little faith ........!)

Enjoying riding him so much, and everyone loves him. 

Love   Margaret x

 

e-mail 28/2/2005

This weekend, tho very chilly, found us venturing out on a hack for the first time.  My friend Beth (you met her the first time we came down and encountered the rather playful 3 yr. olds!) took the lead on her 'old-hand' and we did the route I took the other weekend when we went out long-reining.  This was only the second time he'd ever been out of the yard. 
 
Copy book performance, yet again.  Thru the woods (avoiding the fallen log, but eyeing it up for other hacks to come later in the Spring), we followed two-thirds of the way round, and then assumed the lead on the way back.  All in walk. 
 
Nothing seems to phase him.  He is so chilled out.  In fact it was my friend's horse who played up.  'H' took no notice and just sached along.
 
Yesterday, a bit more schooling, with me feeling oh so proud, as a few other friends from the yard came round for a look.  That they tell me how beautiful he moves, with such expression, even at this tender age,  just makes the smile on my face broader. 
 
The weather this week looks set to hamper my schooling plans, but I'm sure a couple of quieter days will do him no harm at all.
 
Hope your ankle is much better and that you are into physio now.  Hope it's not too icy by you.

***

e-mail 21/2/2005

Monday Smiles.....

Havana and I can now trot - in unison - and rather beautifully. 
 
As my friends said on Saturday, having ridden him off the lunge at speed (trot!!) it's all a bit boring.  Everything happens without incident.  There've been no 'exciting' bucks or running off (thank goodness) and the spectacle a few of my mates thought they were going to enjoy of me being tossed around a bit on top, was a non-event.  I had the biggest smile on my face, as he just feels so easy, light and natural.
 
I can see it's going to be an addictive feeling.  I got up at 5.30 a.m. yesterday morning to make a coffee as I woke up early and then started thinking about him, and decided whilst I was waiting for the water to boil I could look at the video recording of Saturday's 'event' and enjoy it all again.  Whether I wanted a coffee first or wanted to see the tape - well I'd have to dig deep into my soul to check that one out. 
 
But he is SO gorgeous.  I couldn't have hoped for more. So the little horse with the white eye, who my friends and I had decided was most definitely the one I really shouldn't seriously consider when I first visited you, having watched the tape of him enthusiastically expressing himself at your open day,  is everything I've ever wanted. 
 
I'm rationing my ridden time to three times a week, 15 minutes.  And I'll be good at keeping to that for the next month or so, then gradually increase it. 
 
Will be in touch with an up-dated missive shortly. 
 
Hope all is well with you and your team.  Will be bringing a little party of friends with me for your Open Day this year, as everyone is smitten with him, and want to find out more about these wonderful horses.
 

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e-mail 14/2/2005

Just have to tell you .....

The weekend brought untold joys .....

Long reined Havana off the yard and down the very quiet lane on Saturday, as a friend rode in front.  She led on the way out - up to the woods, round and thru, and WE led on the way back.  Then he stood like a darlin' at the gate, as she continued on her way, and we carried on up the track back to the yard.

AND .......

I lunged him on Sunday, and SAT ON HIM for the first time.  Only at walk, on a lunge and only for about 10 minutes.  But it was uneventful as I had expected, and he feels gorgeous.  I've had the biggest smile on my face since.

The plan is to ride him again tomorrow and Thursday, and then off into trot (and the sunset) on Saturday.

Hope the leg is improving.  Foaling time must be almost upon you.

Much love,

Margaret & 'H'

***

e-mail 9/2/2005

He's Grown...

Got the stick out on Havana at the weekend and he stands a proud 15.3 + 1/8.  He's looking leggy again, so I guess he'll start filling out before the next upward burst. 
 
Continued with the long reining last week. He's starting to look big from behind, and also to show a bit of definition in his muscles. It's great.
 
Sheep are not his favourite animal - discovered during a long reining session around our fields when we encountered a small flock in an adjacent field.  He did a lovely passage!!!!!
 
All's well.  Hoping to get on him maybe this weekend, if not definitely the week after.  Can't wait. 
 

***

e-mail 1/12/2005

Just thought of you all down there, and felt the urge to send you a quick missive.

 
Havana can now do all manner of things if you wiggle a rope at him, Pat Parelli style.
This includes, walking backwards, going round me in circles while I stand still in the middle.  (This one gets a bit exciting now and again, as he discovered an escape route and ran off with the rope trailing in the mud a couple of times, but we're getting there ....). and he can turn on his forehand and hindquarters when asked (and if concentrating).  All great fun.  Lots of bonding.  And the greatest pleasure was him and the two buddies he shares the field with, cantering across to greet me on Sunday morning. 
 
He is settled, relaxed and munching well.
 
Happy days.  Be in touch soon.

***

e-mail 16/11/2005

Happy, happy days!  Havana is munching quietly, and probably has much amusement at the antics of the humans around him.
 
I visit him each morning to check him at about 7.30, and have started just doing some Richard Maxwell stuff with him to do a bit-a-bonding.  He'll now follow me around on the end of a long line and stands still when he's softly rubbed on his forehead.  You said he'd learn quickly!!!
 
The field he's in has a lane that runs alongside it, and it's one of those rat-run ones, so it's great to give him some experience of traffic. 
 
I seemed to spend Sunday going to and from the field to rendezvous with friends for a peep.  By mid afternoon with the last of the friends standing gooey-eyed, Havana was sitting curled up in the field, sleeping.  I didn't know horses dreamt, but he was.  Rapid eye movement and his legs were twitching as he leant his head on his nose and drifted in the afternoon sun, resting his head against my leg.  Bliss!
  
Lovely to get your note, and I promise I'll keep in touch with you.
 
All the very best, and many thanks again.
 
Love   Marg S

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