Author Archives: liz1w

Starting our first winter – The Amazing Gift Horse

Its our First Winter together and as we only have a school that isn’t really a school (part of the field that is fenced off), our winter involves hacking, which isn’t really my favourite part of riding.

I’ve suffered with confidence when riding issues for so long that I’ve never really enjoyed it although I’m hoping that eventually that will change?

Anyway, with the dark nights, my riding time was also limited to my day off and every other weekend – weather permitting. So with this ismind, I cut riding back, but in hindsight I really should have hacked out more when we had the good weather!

With the rubbish weather and riding days being few and far between, I eventually did get out, but it didn’t really go to plan!
Silver started to piaffe and then backed himself into a tree, which then resulted in both of us shutting down and me getting off and walking next to him for a while. This let us both calm down and after a bit of a way, I got back on and rode back to the yard.

To try and get a positive experience, Zoe booked for us to use a local school but it was a short hack away and this simply was too much for me and I had a complete melt down about hacking. I couldn’t not go use the school as it it would be a waste, so we walked there together.

Once we got there, with my legs quaking, I got myself on and Silver was simply brilliant! We rode for about an hour and even had a bit of a canter (not too much as Silver isn’t that fit!). Getting off to go home wasn’t an option and I rode a very well behaved Silver home.


Theconfidence loss is me, I’ve lost confidence in myself and I find reasons not to ride, but with the help of Zoe (and Sofie who also has a horse at Zoes’), I have ridden twice recently in a neighbours school andslowlystarting to have a little more faith in myself and my boy.

Lets hope this is the start of ‘Onwards and Upwards!’

Karen & Silver (The Amazing Gift Horse)

Nobby is Back!

Nobby the Shetland has returned.

A valuable part of the Culvercroft Equestrian Team as a supporter of all things fun. Nobby is quite a character who likes to keep you informed of what is going on at the ‘funny farm’

More of Nobby to come soon, keep watching this space, also Silver the Amazing Gift horse will be back this weekend with an update



Amazing Gift Horse First Polework/Gridwork clinic

Its me again, I’m so delighted to tell you about our first gridwork and pole work clinic. The clinic was held at one of Zoe’s regular venues where the lovely Sue Adamson and her liveries are wonderful hosts, letting us take over her yard and school, whilst we attempt to have a quiet nervous break down in the anticipation of doing ‘poles!’

The morning came, we loaded up, no drama, which I know isn’t the case for everyone so I’m very grateful! Then headed up to Bull Lane Livery at Tiptree, where there were lots of poles and blocks to set up, helping distract my nerves! A row of trotting poles with blocks on either side of them to make up a grid were set up and we let Zoe’s first clinic get going, whilst we went back and unloaded Silver and Mog (Mog is owned by Sofie and travelled with us). We got them settled with their hyaenas and then had some time to watch some of the people taking part before our ‘time slot’. It was great to see how Zoe gets people and their horses to settle so easily!

It then was our turn, we had Sofie with Mog and Celia had bought Libby to work in hand and we all warmed up, then I started working Silver over the poles that had been set up as a square in the middle, it was going well in walk so we progressed to trot and even after a while managed to get nice straight  lines whilst keeping our working trot! As it was going well, Zoe got us to go over the poles in a row with a cross pole at the end. I didn’t even feel nervous!

By this time I felt like Silver and I were working together and he was looking after me, so I didn’t feel nervous and trusted Silver to go over with no trouble, which he did. I’m so proud, he looked after me, so much so I went over the cross pole 3 times! It was such an achievement and just to prove it, I’ve got a little clip to show you below. So pleased with what we’ve achieved today.

Karen and Silver, the Amazing Gift Horse

Amazing Gift Horse – Before the First Show (Guest Blog)

So its only a few months now since I was given Silver, the amazing gift horse and we’ve had our ups and downs, with an amazing time at camp, where we did so much out of our comfort zone and have started building our, what is going to be fantastic partnership.

Feeling euphoric from the camp experience, I agreed to do my first every ridden show! I don’t know quite what came over me, but somehow I agreed to do 2 classes that were the Concours d’elegance and a dressage test, Intro C if that means anything to anyone?

I think that I can safely say that I was slightly nervous and because this is public I can’t really express it in the terms that I’m sure you will understand!

The event was on a Saturday so when the Friday evening came, I was feeling more than slightly sick, I was going to do something that I’d never done before and with my lovely Silver (who I didn’t know how he would react or behave?) and being that sensible person I decided to try out my concours skirt just to be prepared for the next day and when I got on he never ever twitched a  muscle! I love my boy!!

Show day came and I felt so sick with nerves! Thankfully Zoe kept me busy looking after the horses as we prepared and travelled to the show, Silver travelled well but we found out that tying up to the lorry wasn’t his choice! Supervision required before classes! But my friend Leigh hopped on and had a little trot about making him really calm and everything up to then went to plan!!

It was finally time for my test! I remember having Zoe’s voice in ear and Nik calling for me, we got through with no major drama and as Terri would say ‘nobody died!’ in fact it was fantastic, we did so well and the score of 56% was much more than I expected, let alone the 3rd place and a rosette!

All in all we had a fantastic day – Silver and I, with my fantastic coach, mentor and transporter, Zoe, who gave me the belief that I can achieve things I never thought I could do. My next step is to get a little more confidence in both me and Silver so we can get out and do some more stuff (and hopefully write a little more to update you on our progress!)

Karen Bliss and her partner, Silver (the Amazing Gift Horse).

Events coming up

Finally we’ve managed to pin Zoe down to what she is planning to do and when for Culvercroft Equestrian and the Culvercroft Events including clinics, shows and dressage, theres even some jumping in there too! This isn’t the final list and if you want to add something then contact Zoe directly.

Entries will shortly be available online, in all cases payment must be made before your place can be confirmed.

You will need to pay via paypal (friends and family) or pay the additional charge to pay as a service/product or alternatively pay via BACS/online banking or cash directly to Zoe or one of the Culvercroft Team prior to the event. Your place is not booked until you have confirmation from either Zoe or in the case of Culvercroft Team Quest – Jennie.

June 24th @Bull Lane in Tiptree – Poles to Gridwork Clinic (Places still available)

July 1st – Zoe is Instructing for Essex Farmers Pony Club Rally (not organised by Culvercroft)

July 8th – Zoe is Instructing for Essex Farmers Pony Club Rally (not organised by Culvercroft)

July 9th @Harolds Park Farm – Team Quest British Dressage

July 14th 6.30pm @Reading Rooms, Roxwell –  Lecture on Bits And Bitting and bitless… discussing what fits mouth conformation and why.
£10 ticket, refreshments included…

July 16th @Lightfoots Livery Yard, Roxwell – Culvercroft Show and Dressage Event

July 22nd @Bull Lane in Tiptree – Poles to Gridwork Clinic (Places available)

July 24th- 26th @ Essex Union South PC Junior Camp Instructor

July 30th @Durrants Farm  – Team Questers Clinic (for those who compete at Team Quest with Culvercroft)

August 13th @Harolds Park Farm – Team Quest British Dressage

August 20th @Lightfoots Livery Yard, Roxwell – Culvercroft Show and Dressage Event

August 26th @Bull Lane in Tiptree – Gymnastic Grid work (pole work for those who don’t want to jump)

September 9th @EHPPS Showing Show – Zoe is Judging

September 10th @Limbrook Stables – By invitation only.

September 16th @Bull Lane in Tiptree – Clinic (focus of clinic to be confirmed)

September 24th @Lightfoots Livery Yard, Roxwell – Culvercroft Show and Dressage Event

October 15th @Bull Lane in Tiptree – Clinic (focus of clinic to be confirmed)

October 23rd @Shopland Hall Equestrian Centre – Dressage Judging by Zoe

November 18th @Bull Lane in Tiptree – Clinic (focus of clinic to be confirmed)

December 10th @Bull Lane in Tiptree – Clinic (focus of clinic to be confirmed)


If you require any information about the events that are not Team Quest then please contact Zoe, if your enquiry is relating to Team Quest, please contact Zoe who will put you in touch with Jennie who arranges the Questers.

An Amazing Gift – Guest Blog

How did my Amazing Gift Horse happen?

On the 5th of February 2017, I went on a road trip with my trainer Zoe Cain-Tyler, who had messaged me saying that she had found a horse during the week and wanted to go and get it. (I was looking for a loan horse and had no idea of the amazing gift that I was going to get?). So with the trailer hitched, off we went with me thinking that this was an opportunity to have a horse to loan.

Amazing gift horse Silver

We got to the yard and I was shown a 15’2″ grey by the name of ‘Silver”, which once loaded up on to     the trailer, Zoe and I then set off to go back home, but just as we were about to set off home, Zoe threw the passport at me saying I needed to sort out putting Silver in my name as Zoe had found him, to be my very first ever horse! I was a horse owner!! Silver was my Amazing Gift!

Now four months on with only a couple of set backs, we are forming a great bond and my biggest achievement was going to the camp with Zoe and a lovely group of girls where I rode in open field and did my first judged dressage test scoring a very respectable 59%, then going on a hack which included going through water!

I would never have achieved this without Zoe’s help, guidance and belief in me as a rider. I’m now ready to start taking Silver out to shows and doing lots more of the clinics that Zoe runs which have enabled me to meet riders of all sorts of levels, I’m also going to compete as part of the Culvercroft teams – in the British Dressage Team Quest Competitions.

I’m going to try and keep a track of what I achieve and update Culvercroft followers of my partnership with Silver and how we get on with coping with going out and doing things, plus competing for the very first time and much much more. I’m hopeful that I can share with you how I’m overcoming my doubts and fears to enjoy what I do with “MY HORSE!”

Most of all, I love my gift horse and Zoe Cain-Tyler, a great friend, mentor and Coach, who made my Amazing Gift horse happen!

Karen Bliss, Owner of Silver.


And because I love him so much already, heres a few more pictures!!

Culvercroft Camp May 2017

Fantastic camp at Popular Park, Suffolk.


Report from Zoe

“Amazing weekend camp at Poplar. Chillaxed atmosphere as only Culvercroft can do… Bit of flat, poles, grids and free use of the XC at the level riders felt able….. Meditation on the Friday eve, followed by a talk on how horses select medicinal herbs as they need them on the Saturday, and an informal dressage competition with judge feedback on the Sunday. I learnt loads to take forward and make the next camp even more epic…. And for me? I got to take my little cob along to act as my taxi – her first outing ever, and what with work I hadn’t been able to ride her much beforehand, but she didn’t let me down and enabled me as the host to enjoy some fabulous ‘me and my horse’ time alongside enabling others to get outside their comfort zones with their own horses. Plus we had cake….!
Already planning the next camping adventure……


Next camp details to follow very soon!

Website launch


The new Culvercroft website is live! But there is loads to do as you would expect with a new website, but the best news is, when its finished you’ll be able to book clinics and training online plus buy your Culvercroft ‘gear’ which is proving extremely popular particularly for the teams as the soft shell jackets mean you can look really smart without having to get all dressed up for ‘stressage!’

Culvercroft teams have been running now since the end of 2016 and with 6 teams formed and 3 regularly competing its been a busy but exciting time for Culvercroft Equestrian as all the teams are supported by regular clinics, being hosted across Essex including Bull Lane Livery at Tiptree and others. Our members range from the experienced rider that has ridden many tests but not done it for a while through to the junior who has never ridden a test and wants to get started! Then we’ve even had horses out that have never competed and are very late starters and not even seen company!

The clinics have enabled many that don’t or can’t usually get out, to get involved and even if they aren’t wanting to go out and compete, but the results so far are fabulous and much, much greater than expected, however for us, its about getting on and enjoying how it all goes, not about ribbons!!  But they are happening anyway!!