FLAIR® Strips Blog
Posted on Friday, April 26th, 2013 at 1:20 pm.
Being at my first BBR finals is very exciting and is redemption from being unable to compete last year. I wish everyone the best of luck and remember that being here is a blessing and regardless of what happens in the arena, it is better than being stuck at home.
Check in was smooth and after getting my girls all numbered we got them settled into stalls. The weather cooperated and my mom had a ball visiting with everyone. I can say after dragging everything to the tack stall, I may have benefited from a flair strip!!! I got to peek at all the vendors and I look forward to doing a little shopping for the horses and myself.
My mare, Kiss My Ashe has a packed week between the open and the futurity. For the first time, she will run twice in one day and with the stress of traveling and environment, she is fortunate to be protected by a Flair strip each and every run. I appreciate her speedy recovery and I also rest easy knowing she is protected from bleeding. One simple step in my run preparation, multitude of benefits. I would encourage everyone to stop by the booth, learn more, and see the difference yourself!
- Annie Hasselbalch, TEAM FLAIR Barrel Racer
Posted on Monday, March 18th, 2013 at 4:44 pm.
FLAIR had a successful weekend at the Barrel Bash race in Hutchinson, KS, this past weekend! Over 70 Strips were applied at the FLAIR booth, and many successful runs were made. There was one Bounty Bonus winner each day, and the fastest time of the day wearing a Strip received 5 FLAIR Strips, a FLAIR cap and a $50 VISA card.
FLAIR would like to congratulate the Bounty Bonus winners and thank everyone who signed up to participate. The winners of the Hutchinson Barrel Bash Bounty Bonus are:
Friday – Amy Prather
Saturday – Suzette Vandoren
Sunday – Amy Prather
Bounty Bonus Winner – Amy Prather
The next Bounty Bonus will be held April 11-14 at the Lincoln Bonus Race Finals in Lincoln, NE.
Follow Bounty Bonus updates on the FLAIR Facebook page for upcoming events and results!
Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2012 at 8:41 am.
As you will remember, there was much disappointment in the Griffiths Eventing Team camp when Sam wasn’t selected for the Games. However, no less than two weeks later, Sam was called by one of the selectors saying that one of the reserve horses had gone lame and would he and Happy come into the Olympic Training Camp as a replacement. Lucy wrote this piece for an article for her old school magazine so we thought we’d share this extract with you all:
“Despite still feeling a little cross with the selectors – being called in as a reserve was an opportunity not to miss. So at the beginning of July I waved Sam and Happy off for two weeks of intensive training with the other team members, only to expect them home again two weeks later when the training camp was over and the team left for Greenwich. Sure enough that day came and Sam and Happy arrived home, trained up, fit and ready to go but having waved the team off from the camp that morning. I had a very deflated husband on my hands and many hugs, cooking of his favourite meals and sayings such as ‘there’s more to life than the Olympics’ ‘it’s only a sport’ etc etc followed!! We went about our daily business and had just got back to life as normal when the phone rang at 5am on the Thursday morning – the day before the Olympic three day event was due to start – it was one of the selectors ringing to say one of the team members had gone lame and they were 99% sure Sam and Happy would be needed in the team but they would call back to confirm at 7am. Well, we tried to get back to sleep but that was hopeless, we sat up in bed, drinking tea and just longing for that phone to ring with good news. Sure enough, the phone rang at 7am and Sam was told he and Happy needed to get up to Greenwhich ASAP! I can’t begin to describe the excitement, panic, packing chaos, phone calls to Sam’s parents in Australia that followed! The girls in the yard got to work packing all Happy’s gear and Sam got his things together. I nipped out to the shops and got some champagne and croissants and we all had a quick Olympic send off breakfast together – a very special time and lovely to have all our hard working girls there to celebrate with us. Waving Sam, Happy and our headgirl off at just after 9am was a very emotional moment and one I will never forget.
As a wife of an Olympic athlete, we do not get accreditation, but we do get tickets to each phase of the event. So the next evening I got on the train to Greenwhich ready for his dressage test the next morning. I managed to see Sam for about 10 minutes that evening before he had to get the shuttle bus to the Athlete’s Village. The next morning, I spoke to him on the phone to wish him luck for his dressage but it all felt very strange as I normally help him in the warm up etc and am much more ‘hands on’. Nevertheless, I was so incredibly proud when he trotted into that amazing Olympic arena and performed a test that took the lead. I couldn’t believe it – my husband, in the lead at the Olympics! I rushed around to the area where they leave the arena and I knew I could get a glimpse of them through the 8 foot wire fencing! Luckily Sam saw me and came over for a hug – everyone was thrilled and tearful! But no time for tears as he was whisked off for a press interview and a drug test! Later that day, Sam was able to come and meet me and we had time to discuss the test, the cross country course for the next day and how everything at home was. It was a brief interlude of normality!
Cross country day dawned and we knew it was a good course for Happy as he has proved himself over much bigger courses over the years. Of course, the atmosphere made it all incredibly nerve wracking but incredibly exciting too! I got into the park very early so as to beat the crowds but it seemed as though everyone had had the same idea and there were just hordes of people heading towards the ticket gates – my hear sank – had I allowed enough time to get in or was the nightmare scenario about to happen and I would be left standing in a queue whilst my husband was tackling the most important event of his career?! My worries were soon dissolved though as the incredibly efficient team of ‘Games Makers’ and the Royal Navy got everyone through security (which, yes, did involve no liquids, aerosols, taking jewellrey off etc) at a very good pace. Once in the park I met up with Sam’s Dad, who had jumped on a plane from Australia as soon as he heard the news, and together we decided where would be our best place to watch him warm up, where would be the best viewing point whilst Sam was on course and where we might just be able to congratulate him at the finish! I had a quick phone call with Sam, wished him luck, told him to go for it and that I knew he could do it. Soon enough, his time came around and off he set…..All was going brilliantly, we had watched him on one of the many big screens negotiating the tough fences and were waiting for him to come into the last section of the course when we heard the commentator say those words I will never forget “ Well, we can see Happy Times, but we can’t see Sam Griffiths on his back” Just ghastly….I started running to the area where I knew Sam was roughly, bashing many unsuspecting spectators out of my way as I went and then I saw Sam covered in grass stains, also trying to fight his way through the crowds to try and find Happy who had long since galloped back to the start box. I was just relieved to see he was in one piece but, as would be expected, Sam was seriously disappointed – they had slipped up on the flat between the fences – just the worst luck and something that could have happened to anyone at anytime but it had to happen to us at the Olympic games. I went with him back to the team area where one of the other riders lent me their accreditation so that I could be with Sam but nothing I, or anyone said, was going to console him at this stage. All those years of work had been thrown away by one slip on a turn – unbelievable. But then you just have to remind yourself that much worse things happen. Sam and the horse were both fine, he was going fantastically well and of course, he is and always will be an Olympian and how many people in the world can say that? At the moment, it all still seems quite ‘raw’ but time is the best healer for these things and having had a taster of that amazing Olympic atmosphere it has made Sam even more hungry to get to Rio and win a medal for his country.
We are back home in Dorset now and I think we are getting our lives back to some degree of normality. It was incredibly touching how many messages of support we had throughout the Games and this in itself is very heartening and motivating for the future. Despite things not quite going or way, it was an amazing and unforgettable experience which I feel so lucky to have been a part of . Yes, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions and yes, it’s really tough being the one picking up the pieces when things go wrong but I wouldn’t change it for anything and I just can’t wait to see Sam represent his country again. “
Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2012 at 8:38 am.
So, as you well know, our Olympics didn’t quite go to plan (!) but seeing as both Happy and Sam were unhurt from their slip on the flat and they had only done 7minutes of the course, we decided to re-route Happy to Burghley.
Following a quite couple of weeks after the excitements of the Olympics we got Happy back in work and began prepping him for Burghley. He was very fit and all those pre Olympic training sessions meant that his schooling was ‘tip top’. Arriving at Burghley is always special, it really is one of the best events in the world – not only is the setting stunning but also the atmosphere is so friendly and relaxed. Having got set up on Tuesday evening, Sam and Happy had a dressage session with Gareth Hughes on Wednesday morning and then had their first look around the course after the briefing. The only thing is that no matter how many times you do Burghley, the course never gets any easier and sure enough this year it lived up to it’s full expectations!
Having sailed through the trot up on Wednesday evening, Sam had another session with Gareth on Thursday where they ran through the test and ‘put the polish’ on. Then dressage day dawned and thank goodness this year we had a good draw – you may remember last year we were drawn first to go! So there was much relief when we got a Friday afternoon dressage slot! Following a little loosening up session in the morning, all was set for Sam and Happy to do their stuff! Which indeed they did – scoring a very good mark of 42 and leaving them 9th after dressage – so well in touch.
Onto cross country day and this is when being drawn late in the field suddenly doesn’t seem so appealing as the waiting around for your time is just agonising! You just want to get out there and get on with it. Anyway, Sam is used to this and funnily enough manages to sleep through some of the time! The rest of the time is spent walking the course early in the morning before the crowds build up, giving Happy a little leg stretch and then watching a few on the closed circuit to see how everything is riding. This year, the big issue as well as the enormous jumps was the going – it seemed much more draining than anyone had thought when they had walked it. However, we knew how fit Happy was and he is so light on his feet that we realised this could work in our favour. After what seemed like an eternity it was finally time for Sam to get on board and warm Happy up – this year Happy knew exactly where he was and was very over excited indeed in the warm up and we could hardly get his grease on his legs – he knew what was coming and couldn’t be bothered with all these unneccesary interruptions!! Anyway, greased up and everyone still in one piece we made it up to the start box and off they set. From a supporter’s point of view, the next 11mins 30secs is agony as you frantically watch the screens in the rider’s tent, desperate to see how they are getting on – your heart is racing, you can’t talk to anyone and you are just relieved to see the back of each question as they come thick and fast. However, nobody need have worried as Sam and Happy made it look like clockwork – it really was the most fantastic round and they showed everyone what a class combination they are. Sam came back on an absolute high (as did Happy!) and said he had probably had the best round of his career! Very fitting indeed after the disappointment of London. Happy looked a treat that evening so we had no worries for the next day and we could all get some rest.
As expected, Happy flew through the trot up so we now just had another long wait for the show jumping. There’s always a lot to do on this last day what with packing up etc so the time passed quickly and with some great help from Clayton Fredericks in the always tense show jumping warm up arena it was time for their round. They started off beautifully – Happy was giving the fences a lot of height and staying ‘in his box’. He even cleared the bogey fence – the Royal Mail upright that everyone was having! However, Happy then ‘did a Happy’ and grabbed the bit and rushed through the next three fences clipping each one behind as he went. Gutting! But actually, the show jumping had caused so much trouble that day that those rails weren’t quite as expensive as we thought and they still finished 9th – another top ten finish at what really is the world’s biggest four star! That’s certainly a cause for celebration and makes all our ups and downs of this season melt away. Happy in the meantime, is enjoying the Autumn sun on his back out in the fields. He’ll have a nice long rest and come back into work around December time.
In the meantime, all other business in the Griffiths Eventing Team has to go on and what with the cancellations and the Olympics, there have been a lot of horses eagerly awaiting their turn to get out and party. So life’s been very busy here, we’ve rushing around the one day circuit with the novice horses, trying to get some much need runs and qualifications under their belts and we’ve also been to France to Haras du Pin with three horses. We took Favorit Z to do the CIC** and Real Dancer and Paulank Brockagh to do the CIC*** World Cup. They all went well as this is always a big track with a big atmosphere – Favorit Z, who is still very green, really rose to the challenge of the beefed up two star cross country course and showed he is definitely on course for being a yard star. Then Paulank Brockagh and Real Dancer finished 10th and 14th in the World Cup. A good weekend and always a fun event – this will be a great venue for the World Champs in 2014, not to mention the fact that we always seem to return home with a lorry load of Camembert and Calvados!
This weekend we’ve got a busy time at Gatcombe – some of the novices doing their first CIC* (including Angelo IV – normally Lucy’s ride but Lucy is now 5 months pregnant so has had to temporarily, yes, Sam, temporarily, hand over the reins to Sam….he thinks his owners give him a hard time – wait until he has the wife to answer too! ) and Favorit Z with whom we are trying to qualify for Le Lion D’Angers 7 year old Championships.
Although we are coming to the end of the season, there’s no ‘tailing off’ for us as we still have several one day’s to do and probably Boekelo and Le Lion. We’ll all be in need of a good rest in November! Although nursery painting could well be on the cards for Sam!
To learn more about Sam Griffiths, please visit his website: http://www.samgriffithseventing.co.uk/
Posted on Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 at 7:37 am.
Sadly we packed Sara Schmitt on the truck heading her towards home this morning. After an unfortunate accident, Sara decided not to proceed to the World Champs. She and her horse are fine, but are on their way back to the US.
We have been here, thanks to generous contributions from many on this list, competing and training. Our first show was the international show at Beekbergen in the Netherlands. Lesson learned: while some horses might do well going straight to a show from the airport, it did not suit Ulano and I. The test was well below our normal standard and marathon was week. The new carriages from Glinkowski were very good, and my friend Scott Adcox did an excellent job of flying in and helping. Cones was good, no balls down but a little slow. We finished in the top ten in cones and around 16th (out of 42) overall)
Our next show was Beesd, a national show in holland. Dressage back to normal, with a 41, just one point in second. It was a two day show, and cones was immediately after. Another lessoned learned: make sure I have someone to set cones in warmup. Our speed was good, but too many balls down. Donna Crookston and Sara Schmitt were also at that show, Sara had some resistance in dressage and cones, while Donna posted a double clear.
Marathon was good, I ended up moving up to fourth place overall, and two points behind leader in marathon. Thanks to Mikey Quinten for his help there!
We came directly to USEF driving Coach Michael Freund’s in Dreieich, Germany and have been training here since then. We were joined by Leslie Berndl last weekend in time for the mandatory training exercise in Verhnheim. Our dressage was a little flat, but cones with a borrowed carriage was still good, and marathon was very smooth, correct, and the best of the group. After a couple of days of rest, Ulano is back in top form and ready for Portugal! We leave Germany on Thurs AM and take three days to complete the 2400 km trip to Lezerias. Thank you all for your support and interest!
very best regards,
Posted on Monday, August 20th, 2012 at 12:46 pm.
Posted on Saturday, July 14th, 2012 at 9:49 am.
Read Kelsey’s second blog entry from the road!
“Well the week is continuing to be good to me! Fab and I won third at the goat tying jackpot last night and my young horse caught the third barrel to win fourth in the barrels! He is really coming along this week! We are up in the breakaway tonight! Need to go be a mid 2 to make it back so hopefully we can draw a little better tonight! UP in the barrels and goats in the am! This week has been fun but looking forward to rock springs next week!!!”
Posted on Friday, June 29th, 2012 at 4:21 am.
OH WELL….LET’S GO AND WIN BURGHLEY INSTEAD….!!
Well, as I write this, I would be telling a lie if I didn’t say I am still totally gutted not to have made the Aussie team for London. It all started going wrong when Badminton was cancelled as that really would have ‘sorted the men from the boys’ and Happy has had incredible form at this event. I know our rails at Bramham did more harm than good but I still firmly believe that Happy Times is a medal winning horse and he is more experienced and has better ‘results on the card’ over the years than ANY of the horses they have selected. I, among others, believe the selectors have made some very rash decisions and already there have been three protests against their choices. Anyway, I’m not going to dwell on it, I’m very happy for my friends, Chris Burton and The Fredericks for their selection and wish them every success. In the meantime, I have now got my sights firmly fixed on Burghley with Happy Times and possibly Pau with Paulank Brockagh. It is actually a relief to be able to choose the right path for the horses instead of feeling huge pressure to run them at events that I would not normally do with them. So Happy and Brocks are enjoying a well earned break in the field – they’re up to their hocks in grass – with all this rain we can’t keep up with it! It is particularly nice for Happy as he has been at peak fitness for months now. They’ll come back into work in a couple of weeks and probably just have a few OI runs to ease them back into it gently.
In the meantime, Real Dancer certainly kept my spirits up at Houghton with a fantastic win in the highly competitive CIC***. He scored an amazing 36 in the dressage and then jumped a lovely clear round in the show jumping – in the past this has been his weakest phase, so I have been working hard on this, taking him to endless jumping competitions and it paid off. With the influential show jumping under our belts I new I had to keep my foot down on the cross country to hold my lead….Real Dancer aka Albert, really gave it everything for me and, despite a couple of time, no one could catch us! The victory was doubly sweet as it was my 40th Birthday that day, so actually reaching the age of 40 didn’t seem so bad! Lucy also had a fun week at Houghton…somehow or other, she had managed to sneak Mumbo Jumbo off me for the week and went brilliantly. They did a great test and then stormed round the xc, inside the time, despite being watched every step of the way as Ali Butler drove me round the course on her quad as Lucy was going – luckily Lucy was so ‘in the zone’ she had no idea she had a critical eye on her every move until she finished! They then jumped a lovely clear round to finish on their dressage score of 49 which landed them 14th place out of 100 competitors. I might struggle to wrench Mumbo back from her now…! However, not every aspect of the week went entirely smoothly – without me knowing, Lucy had smuggled my birthday present into the lorry before leaving and then on the second day I came back from schooling one of the horses to find a huge white gazebo standing proud outside our lorry! Well, with good weather but a cold wind, we thoroughly enjoyed sitting in it that evening but the next morning – disaster – my birthday present had gone ‘A’ over ‘T’ and was lying in a crumpled heap several metres away from the lorry….! So that was a rather short lived present, however, my owner, Dinah Posford, certainly cheered us all up that evening when she arrived with fresh lobsters for us all – so we just put on our biggest coats and tucked in to delicious Norfolk Lobbies around our rather exposed table and, needless to say, nobody mentioned the word ‘gazebo’….
However, my Birthday celebrations did not grind to a halt then, as last week a group of friends joined us on the Isle of Wight for more lobsters! I expect many of you remember the picture in H&H of me with a lobster on my head…I’m not going to be allowed to draw a veil over that one! Anyway, we returned to the scene of the crime, Steephill Cove, and had a wonderful long lunch at this stunning beachside restaurant. By some miracle, the weather was incredibly kind to us and we all basked in warm, yes, warm, sunshine until late in the day. However, as we took everyone back to the ferry in our little horsebox (way cheaper and more fun than a taxi!) the weather turned and as you’ll see in the pic below, by the time we stopped for ice creams, the weather was returning to it’s usual form. We all had a great time though and made such a welcome change from our daily routine.
Back at the more local events, the young horses have been going well. I’m very excited about my new ride, Favorit Z, aka Frodo – he has been showing great form at our first few events together and I would really like to aim him for Le Lion later in the year. We had a great time at Nunney last weekend – this new event replaces Longleat in the calendar and the organisers had done an amazing job. The courses, the layout, the ground were all spot on and despite some horribly blustery conditions they ran a really happy and professional event. It certainly went well for Team Griffiths with Lucy coming 2nd on Angelo, then myself 3rd, 4th and 5th on Frodo, Kite (Penton Kite) and Angus (Opposition Apollo)…..Yes, the wife beat me again…I think I should start giving her duff information!
Well, I had time to sit down and write this as yet another event – this time Salperton – has fallen foul of this horrenous British summer. I can’t believe we’re nearly in July and this is still continuing. Fingers crossed it cheers up for beautiful Barbury this coming weekend. Then maybe we’ll get some better weather when we head to Germany for Aachen with Real Dancer – such an exciting event!
One final thing, I would really like to thank all my owners, sponsors and fantastic team for all the support they have given me in my bid for the Olympics – I couldn’t have even given myself and Happy a chance without their back up and I am more determined than ever to give them the results they deserve at Burghley, Pau and on to the next championships. Thank you everyone.