The period between Christmas and spring always feels like the longest three or four months of the year when you are working with horses. It’s certainly the hardest time of the year, whilst we are waiting for things to change, looking forward to getting into the fields, with fewer rugs and less work.

Spring is a welcome new beginning, planning for the year ahead and hopefully a time when all the hard slog of winter, the dark mornings and muddy boots will have paid off. First of all, we will be looking forward to the stud work and to the two foals that are due this year – always exciting.  One is by our stallion SHW CanCan, who will be standing at stud again this year, and the other out of one of his offspring by another stallion, Ecclestone Z, bringing new bloodlines into the herd.

The breeding side of our business is hard work and requires a lot of planning and out-of-hours effort, but it is hugely rewarding, especially when passing on a homebred to an appreciative rider. With the show season about to start, many of our riders will be looking forward to getting competition fit and working towards training for your and your horse’s ambitions in the show world. Although not all of my lessons are for riders who compete, it is always very rewarding when I see you achieving and improving with your horses, and getting a rosette is a bonus.

Sadly some things change, and this year means going into 2024 without our beloved Riverwood – or Vernon to those who knew him.  He had reached the good age of 29, and having had him from an unbroken three-year-old, we found he was one of the most genuine, kindest and generous horses we have had, and one of those who encouraged us to where we are today.  Having worked with so many horses over the years, and having to make the best out of them, you appreciate the ones that really try to help.  He became Grade A at show jumping and always put in as much effort as he could, a real quality to look for in a horse. He was bought before there was this great emphasis on bloodlines, technique and extravagant movement, but his temperament is what made him one of the best.

It’s always sad when we lose a horse but he was happy and healthy to the end. So let’s carry on with making the most of what we have, and I look forward to seeing you all succeed in your particular goals this summer.

Robert Booth is an equine trainer for Rodgebrook Horses.  Visit their website at or call 01983 521870