Our World

A Letter From Our Equestrian Competition Winner

In our Autumn/ Winter 2010 equestrian catalogue, we ran an exclusive competition to win a money-can’t-buy riding prize including £500 of Musto clothing, a lesson with Musto ambassador William Fox-Pitt and dinner and a night at Lucknam Park for two plus the winner’s horse.

We love hearing from customers and readers so we were delighted to receive the following email from excited winner Jessica Gill:

‘During the past couple of months I have been staring intermittently at page 25 of the Autumn Winter Musto catalogue.  I just kept thinking ‘I don’t believe it!’.  I had won the most amazing prize I have ever heard of and could ever imagine.  The prize consisted of £500 of Musto clothing, a lesson with William Fox Pitt in your chosen discipline, an overnight stay at Lucknam Park Spa with dinner and breakfast for you, your partner and your horse.

I chose the items of clothing I wanted from the website and was sent a big exciting package full of gorgeous Musto riding clothes.  Everything is so lovely, the ZP176 Microfleece, above, is a really smart and practical item.  It made of a is a thin, soft fleece material that fits wonderfully under my riding jacket and is really warm.  I think my favourite thing is the absolutely gorgeous Competition Jacket, below.  I would never have been able to afford this item with my own cash, so to have such a beautiful show jacket that I will probably have forever, is just marvellous.

Although the clothes had arrived I still could not quite believe that I still had the most astounding part of the prize to come.  But, on 17 February 2011, mum and me were off to Lucknam Park to have a lesson with William Fox-Pitt.  My horse Lord Darcy, a 16.2hh Polish Warmblood, travelled really well, we got there on time and the sun was shining over the beautiful grounds of Lucknam Park.  It was the setting for the perfect day.

We were met by a lovely girl called Louise and we settled my horse into his massive stable in the gorgeous American barn.  We then went across to the hotel and met Julia Camp, Sales and Marketing Advisor for Lucknam and settled into our room with a view of the sunny grounds.

A couple of hours later William arrived, looking very tall and rather handsome.  I thought I’d have turned into a giggling mess, meeting one of my greatest idols and the best rider in the country.  But in fact, I was rather calm and relaxed, he just seemed like such a jolly nice chap.  We had a little chat about me and Darcy and our abilities and then it was time to get on.  William, Julia and went off for a drive round the XC course to have a look at some appropriate jumps.

William, Darcy and Jessica

As I was warming Darcy up, I thought he felt rather stiff, but he always does, he’s just one of those horses.  So I continued to work him in and he just didn’t seem to loosen up to his lovely supple self.  William arrived and he watched me warm up, making some comments here and there to help me get Darcy moving a bit more.  Then we started doing some work over poles and Darcy’s stiffness didn’t seem to pass.  He didn’t feel lame or uneven, he just felt short in his stride.  The shortness and stiffness didn’t appear in walk or trot, only in canter.

William put up a tiny jump and I popped Darcy over it, but he just wasn’t happy and working in a nice rhythm as he usually does.  I have had him for three years now and know exactly how he feels to ride.

We decided to abandon the jumping and try a bit of flat work.  But Darcy wasn’t up to this either, it was so disappointing, but that’s horses for you.  They can be great one day and lame the next.  William was very sympathetic and hung around to have a chat and I picked up some really valuable tips.  So although we didn’t manage to get out to the lovely XC jumps, we made the best of what had happened.

In the evening, mum and I enjoyed the exceptional spa facilities at the hotel.  We spent far too long in the hydrotherapy pool.  Sitting in the pool in the steamy air allowed us to relax and talk about what had happened during the day.  Before dinner, I took advantage of having Darcy a one minute walk away from me and tucked him up for the night.  Then we went for dinner at the buzzing Brasserie Restaurant, the food was absolutely delicious and the staff were really friendly, professional and interested in what had happened with William.

In the morning I took a quick trip to the stables (I had a shower) and then we went for breakfast at The Park.  After some yummy food, I took Darcy for a steady walk around the grounds to loosen him up before the drive home.  The XC course was amazing, the jumps looked ideal and the ground was superb.  I will definitely make it my aim to come back one day and use the amazing facilities.

Now it has all happened, I can finally believe that I won the prize.  I love all my Musto gear and happily, mum took loads of photos so that I can remember the stay at Lucknam vividly.  The hotel was astonishing and I would recommend it to anyone, anywhere.  It was a real shame that we didn’t get to have the full cross country lesson, but I can’t really complain.  We had a truly wonderful stay at the hotel and I still got to have half a lesson and meet a truly great British sportsperson.

Thank you to Musto, Lucknam and William for an entirely unforgettable and incredible experience.

PS. Darcy is now recovering well from a neck/back strain.’


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