Willow Farm Blog

Keep up to date with life at Willow Farm Stud. 

With many of our liveries competing on a regular basis on both a junior
and senior level we thought it would be great to be able to share their successes.


Well what a good weekend competing we had here at Willow. sorry for the lack of blog but i couldnt get on to it! we are now drawing breath before we head to the last out stayaway of the season at wales and west with about 20 horses and 10 riders, i will now try and keep you updated

23rd Sept Moreton Morrell Horse Trials- well what a result this was, Carl, Emma and Nikki Bradford made the long trip down the M40 at 5.30am this morning, and it was well worth the trip. Accent excelled himself, although not in the dressage but his excellent clear round showjumping (only 5 in his section) and fast cross country brought him up the field to WIN, well done Emma who was also having a first ride on Nikki Bradford's, Dutch Golden Lily they produced a smart dressage of 28, then had a couple down showjumping although there were only 6 clears in her section  but then  redeemed herself with a fast clear cross country to finish 5th. Well done Emma!!

23rd Sept Crofton Manor sj Rosie Hamilton and Brownson M trotted of to Crofton despite the weather and were placed 3rd in the British Novice and then a double clear in the 1m. Well done Rosie.

22nd Sept South of England Horse Trials Zoe Macqueen and Moon Sparrow ventured of in what was the 1st proper cold morning of the autumn and unfortunately after an excellant dressage and a clear round showjumping were given 20 penalties after a glance off at a skinny cross country, his 1st  cross country fault this season.

22nd Sept Crofton Manor sj Luke and Carl headed back down to the Solent today with the babies on board and after a interesting first round with Maltway, which saw Luke flyw through the air having been jumped clean out of the saddle, the day got slightly better. Hilary Major's Finn Maccool VII took 5th place in 1m and Carl's little baby Kimbatino taking 7th place. 

21st Sept Crofton Manor sj What a great day this was Willow horses, which took 1st-4th in the 1.05m at Crofton Manor. 1st place went to Meryl Kear's Marinello, 2nd place went to Jenny Thompson's Shannondale Ross, 3rd place went to Amy Luke riding her own homebred Pro Active III (and their first outing together) and 4th place went to Carl Belson's Zamunde M. Well done Luke and Amy


Featured Horse & Rider

Helena Hawkins & Bertha

Surrey Stud Equestrian Centre Horse Training
My husband is solely responsible for the events which led me coming to Willow Farm. He will protest otherwise of course. In May 2009 he text me and out of the blue said why didn’t I start riding again. In fact he said he would pay for the first lesson for me. I had ridden as a child and then again in my twenties, but had another considerable break due to work and moving. My husband had looked on the internet and found Willow Farm, so on a day off we visited the yard and I instantly signed up for five lessons and went to buy jodphurs and a hat in preparation. I think my husband felt trouble was brewing at this point……So I had my first lesson, spent the next day in considerable pain, but was soon back for my next, and next, and next………. Some new riding school horses arrived on the yard and my next lesson was on a 15.2h Normandy cob called Bertha. We set off for our lesson, and I quickly discovered she was just as ‘green’ as me. As we cantered off out of control round the woodchip school, I fell in love.  At home it was, Bertha this and Bertha that for weeks. Then one Sunday after a conversation with my husband we pulled into the yard, and I bought Bertha. I couldn’t believe it, and my husband still can’t. I met my ‘stable neighbour’ Sam the day I bought Bertha, and she happily helped me spend my well earned pennies making sure Bertha was suitably equipped. Since August 2009 my life has been totally transformed. I have gone from having lessons in the riding school, to owning a horse who is now BSJA registered and going away to shows. I attend BSJA training days, and although we are jumping 70-80cms, we are treated exactly the same way and given the same opportunities as those jumping much higher. Carl has coached and supported me over the past 18 months, and given me opportunities to take Bertha to places I would never have dreamed of. We have been to stay-away shows at Wales and West and Weston Lawns, as well as going to loads of one day shows. Carl has been there for every one of my shows.  I can, and do, spend hours at the yard (as my husband can testify). I have met lots of people who I am very pleased to be able to call my friends, and although we all take learning seriously, we also have lots of fun. There is always someone willing to help you out when needs be. I have never regretted a moment of owning a horse at Willow, and am proud of every achievement that both Bertha and myself have made.  I’m still waiting for my husband to pay for that first lesson though……………………

Competition Progress

Sunday 26th June - Rackham Intro


BE90 Section L

1stPlace - Luke Thompson & Accent

BE90 Section K

9th Place - Luke Thompson & Dutch Golden Lily

BE90 Section J

6th Place - Luke Thompson & Brownson M

Wednesday 22nd June - Olney Grounds E.C.


1.15m Members Cup Qualifier

5th Place - Luke Thompson & Summit W

Discovery - Katherine James Qualifier

1st Place - Luke Thompson & Shannondale Ross

British Novice

1st Place - Luke Thompson & Accent


2nd Place - Luke Thompson & Adile M

Sunday 19th June - Vicarage Farm


1.10m Amateurs

3rd Place - Luke Thompson & Summit W

1.05m Adventurer Qualifier

2th Place - Luke Thompson & Big Ben III

Discovery - Katherine James Qualifier

Double Clear - Luke Thompson & Brownson M


Double Clear - Luke Thompson & Accent

90cm Amateurs

Double Clear - Luke Thompson & Adile M


Double Clear - Luke Thompson & Shannondale Ross Cracking result for his first show since injury last August

Sunday 12th June - Solihull Riding Club Unaffiliated One Day Event - Great results for their first event!


BE80 - Section A

4th Place - Luke Thompson & Brownson M


8th Place - Luke Thompson & Accent

BE80 - Section B

4th Place - Luke Thompson & Cappagh Uno

BE80 - Section C

6th Place - Kirsti Gordon & Assembly Point

Sunday 12th June - Pony Affiliated Show Pycombe


1.15m Members Cup

1st Place - Sam Holmes & Sea Breeze


2nd Place - Isabelle Berger & Hall Lad


Double clear for Isabelle Berger & Hall Lad

Sunday 12th June - Unaffiliated Jumping Vicarage Farm


2'9 / 85cm Intermediate

2nd Place - Jessie Judd & Max in a Million

2'6 / 76cm Novice

1st Place - Jessie Judd & Max ina Million

Friday 10th-Sunday 12th June 2011 - Dorset showground Church Farm Senior Show


11th June

British Novice  9th Place - Sam Flitton & Milchelm Wonder
  Helena Hawkins & Bertha jumped a lovely clear round practice but had 8 faults in the 2'6 due to a very strong cob and very wet weather!

Wednesday 8th June 2011 - British Showjumping Seniors Crofton Manor


1.05m Open

2nd Place - Luke Thompson & Big Ben III


3rdPlace - Luke Thompson & Summit W

Monday 6th June 2011 - BSJA Senior Showjumping Snowball Farm


British Novice

8th Place - Luke Thompson & Brownson M

Friday 27th-Sunday 29th May 2011 - Affiliated Showjumping SWSJC (Chard)

Rider Commentary: Corina Holmes.


Issi Berger and Sam Holmes were flying the Willow Farm Stud flag at Chard this weekend with some great riding and some great results. Sam got off to a flying start on the Friday with a double clear British Novice and 7th place for Honey at her first stayaway show. A great result given she hadn’t been too keen on the temporary stables with the flapping tarpaulins when we arrived on a cold and wet Thursday afternoon and had had to rope in a few strong men to help us persuade her to go in! He then went on to place 2nd in the 1.10 open on Sea Breeze, or Roger as he is known to many, with a great double clear.

Saturday morning was an early start with Sam jumping the 1.10 in Ring 1 on Roger to another 2nd place. Having set a cracking jump off time 4 seconds faster than anyone else he was beaten by the last to go by 1/100th of a second! He then went straight into the 1.15 Members Cup, drawn first to go, where another good round saw him finish in 3rd place.  Then it was off to Ring 3 to jump Honey - all tacked up by Issi and ready to go in her first class of the day.  So off to the 80 open we all went, which Sam hadn’t been able to walk, and he went straight in and Honey jumped a lovely double clear and then straight onto the British Novice, where again Honey jumped double clear to finish in 7th place. 

With Sam’s ponies put away it was the turn of Issi, so off to Ring 2 we went. With a great clear in the first round of the 90 open Issi and Hall Lad, lovingly known as Fred, set off to a flying pace, first to go in the jump off, and set the time for everyone else to chase. No-one could beat her and they won the class!  They then carried onto the 1m open, where Fred, fired up from his jump off went just a little too quick and had a pole, but overall a fantastic day for the Willow team.

Sunday morning was then upon us and Sam and Issi were jumping the Discovery/90 open in Ring 3 as the first class of the day. This was to be Honey’s first Discovery and with no warm up class first and a few scary fillers we were a little apprehensive.  Yet Honey did it again, jumped round without touching a pole, sadly let down by her pilot who decided to ‘take the course that made most sense’ and crossed his tracks, thus denying Honey the chance of a jump off! Then it was Issi and Fred’s turn and once again a faultless double clear got them 2nd place. A win would no doubt have been achievable but Issi followed advice not to gallop flat out in order to preserve her pony for the following class. So straight onto the newcomers, where an unlucky pole dashed her chances of qualifying for the progressive championship at Scope.

And finally, with Fred and Honey back in their stables it was Rogers turn again. Back up to Ring 1 for the 1.10 open.  Watching the course be built was a bit daunting as we saw that the last jump on the course was a treble, something Sam hadn’t yet seen in competition, but as he had been jumping grids all week it should have been OK! Unfortunately running too fast down to it from a big oxer, Roger somehow managed to take down the first pole with his belly!! However, it was to be the undoing of many combinations that day, and with only one double clear in the competition, Sam and Sea Breeze finished in 4th with the fastest 4 faults.

So Sam and Issi returned home with a 1st, three 2nds, a 3rd a 4th and two 7ths and a lot of prize money!! What a result for Willow Farm stud juniors and thanks to Carl for the excellent coaching that got them this success!  As for me and Meryl, the Mums, I would like to say that we were just hanging out drinking wine in the sunshine, but it wasn’t quite like that!!!

29th May

1.10m Open 4th Place - Sam Holmes & Sea Breeze
90cm Open 2nd Place - Isabelle Berger & Hall Lad

28th May

1.15m Members Cup  3rd Place - Sam Holmes & Sea Breeze
1.10m Open 2nd Place - Sam Holmes & Sea Breeze.  Just pipped by the last to go by 1/100th of a second!
90cm Open 1st Place - Isabelle Berger & Hall Lad

27th May

1.10m Open

2nd Place - Sam Holmes & Sea Breeze

Sunday 15th May 2011 - Affiliated Showjumping Patchetts Equestrian Centre

British Novice

Luke Thompson and Brownson M, aka Elvis, get their first win!


6th Place - Becca Davies & Ronnie


8th Place - Georgia Vann & Fidji


2nd Place - Sam Flitton & Milchelm Wonder


6th Place - Luke Thompson & Brownson M


7th Place - Luke Thompson & Adile M

 Saturday 7th May 2011 - Affiliated Seniors & Ponies Vicarage Farm


1m Open

4th Place - Sam Holmes & Sea Breeze

70cm Open

4th Place - Sam Holmes & Honey

Sunday 1st May 2011 - BS Ponies Crofton Manor

Isabelle Berger - "Recently at Crofton I won the 80cm, four seconds faster than the leading time! Then I jumped the 90cm and amazingly won again! Not so good on Saturday (14th May) at Pycombe, 4 faults in the 90cm & 1m jump off...good days & bad days, well that's show jumping!"


British Novice   

Sam Holmes & Honey just missed a placing, lovely double clear and finished 7th but the class was only placed to 6th

90cm Open  

1st Place - Isabelle Berger & Hall Lad

80cm Open

1st Place - Isabelle Berger & Hall Lad


Jessie Judd & Max in a Million also had a great double clear but missed out on a placing.

Friday 8th-Sunday 10th April 2011 - Affiliated Showjumping Wales & the West


10th April

1.10m Open

1st Place - Sam Holmes & Sea Breeze  

80cm Novice

1st Place - Jessie Judd & Max in a Million

9th April

1.05m Open

4th Place - Sam Holmes & Sea Breeze

75cm Open

1st Place - Jessie Judd & Max in a Million

8th April

90cm Open

1st Place - Sam Holmes & Sea Breeze

75cm Open

1st Place - Jessie Judd & Max in a Million

Sunday 3rd April 2011 - BS Ponies Crofton Manor

Newcomers / 1m Open

2nd Place - Sam Holmes & Sea Breeze



Terms & Conditions.

Terms and conditions 

  • Payment must be made in full at the time of booking for all lessons.
  • Refunds are not given
  • VISA, Master card, Switch, delta, Electron, and solo cards are all accepted over the telephone or over the counter.
  • Cheques are not accepted.
  • Bookings may be transferred to an alternative date, N.B. a booking may not be transferred more than once.
  • 48 hours notice is required for all transfers/ cancellations, or all lessons will be charged at the full amount.
  • Bookings for weekend lessons close at 3pm Fridays. We will endeavour to contact those on a waiting list should any cancellations occur.
  • We reserve the right to change an instructor if necessary. In every circumstance we will endeavour to notify clients of such changes.
  • Intro offers are available but must be used within eight weeks and normal terms and conditions apply
  • Willow farm stud reserve the right to refuse any customer the right to enter the premises if it is deemed their behaviour is unacceptable. Please remember to be polite and courteous to Willow farm stud staff at all times.
  • It is always the aim for groups to run at between six and eight. If the group only has two or three bookings Willow Farm Stud Coaches can exercise the right to shorten or transfer the lesson.
  • Whilst we provide riding hats we do recommend you purchase your own.