Lockdown News


 Lockdown News for all the latest news stories and developments in Barnes Equestrian!


LOCKDOWN NEWS BREAKING: Chuckle Brothers reboot finds new stars!

Lockdown News
Clyde & Ziggy Chuckle


BREAKING: Meet Clyde and Ziggy Chuckle. They are Ireland’s new Chuckle Brothers.

Later this year they will star in a new adaptation of the Chuckle Brothers, bringing that subtle Chuckle comedy we all know and love to a whole new generation.

Ain’t that cute?!

Lockdown News
Two lovebirds

Love blossoms on the yard under lockdown as two occupants are seen getting close in the field.

An eye witness reported “ignorant ****ers. With all this social distancing and Coronavirus stuff going around and they just stand there eating the face off each other in public! ****ing perverts!”

Lockdown News has since confirmed the pair live across the road from each other and shouldn’t be socialising at all under Ireland’s lockdown rules.

Community Aerobics Class

A new Aerobics class for all ages has opened in the site of Barnes Equestrian today. First day attendance was low but the two attendees put on an impressive display of agility, balance and suppleness.

Lockdown News
Aerobics at Barnes Equestrian

The class is going ahead daily for the foreseeable future and with spring in the air, who knows what will happen in an arena?

Worlds Happiest Horse is Happy…ish

Lockdown News
The Worlds Happiest Horse

Barnes Equestrian record holder, Lady, famous for being the most cuddly happy horse ever to have lived is confirmed to be showing more of the same on lockdown. Whodathunkit?

Lockdown blues aren’t getting this lady down, not at all!

When questioned how she remains so happy in these uncertain times, she replied “**** off and go bother someone else ya Scottish twat!”

Lady clearly has a dark and dry sense of humour.

Very smooth, Smooth Criminal

The resident of Barnes Equestrian known as Clyde, aka Smooth Criminal, lived up to his name this morning while being tied up with a hay net.

Upon arriving back from the muck heap, this is what was found.

Lockdown News

Has Clyde lost weight?

“I thought his recent diet had done wonders at first” the anonymous yard owner says.

Upon closer inspection, the yard owner was stunned to see that the diet wasn’t working as well as he first thought. “Uh looked doon the middle ae the yard an there he wiz, eating er’yone elses wasted hay!”

Lockdown News
Caught in the act

Clyde was then captured and later released on bail.


The yards first Lady, wanted it known that she did indeed poop today! Lockdown News has obtained photographic proof of Lady doing the deed in public.

 Passers by quoted Lady as saying,

 “Sure, it has to be done! Tis just natures way, y’know? Now go get a shovel before I dance in it. Get to work ye b*****d!!”

Lockdown News
The dirty divil

Has the worlds happiest horse no shame? Is this the beginning of her fall from grace? Only time will tell…

In Other News: Worlds Moustache Conference

The Worlds Moustache Conference met today as the start of a daily event for the next 2 weeks.

Clyde, 5 and Ziggy, 8 planned the conference to celebrate all things moustache.

Lockdown News got an exclusive interview with them both.

LN: What inspires you to keep your moustaches looking so well in these trying times?

Ziggy: “A moustache is a symbol of elegance. I firmly believe that having an exquisite moustache as i and my dear friend Clyde do, shows the world that one can have that classic Poirot look while maintaining everything that makes a man a man in the year two-thousand and twenty!”

LN: Clyde, tell us a little about what inspires you.

Clyde: “Hay. I love hay. Oh my god it’s sooooooooo nice!! I lo-“

LN: I meant about your moustache, what inspires you to put the work into maintaining it?


Clyde: “A moustache is a way of life like, innit? It’s like hay, without hay I’d be sad. Hay is my life. A life without hay is a life not worth living, and if I can’t have hay, well I don’t wanna be part of this hay conference!”

LN: Ziggy, what brought you both together?

Lockdown News

Ziggy: “We both went to the same moustache barber for years and we bonded over some exhilarating moustache treatments and balms. Those were our younger days, weren’t they chap? Back when you were athletic and fit, not eeehhhhh…”

Clyde: (laughs) “Oh yes! I remember that alright. Joe, the moustache barber, once invited me around to his place for tea. He made a lovely meal. Equerry and some Natural mix for the main and a dessert of some deliciously tasty hay!”

LN: Do you have any concerns during this current Coronavirus pandemic?

Ziggy: “Yes of course. It’s a serious thing and I simply wish people would treat it as such. More needs to be done to push just how serious this is for all human-kind.”

Clyde: “I eh, agree. And like, what if the farmer stopped selling hay. I heard that it could happen and then what?? WHAT HAPPENS THEN?! WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THERES NO MORE FARMERS FOR MORE HAY???”

Ziggy: “…Grass?”

Clyde: “Mmmmm, grass 🤤“

The interview was halted there after Clyde wandered off and raided the conferences hay shed. He was dragged off by yard police after causing a disturbance and fighting with security. Tune in next time to find out what happens to Clyde next and for all the latest on Lockdown News only at Barnes Equestrian.

 If you spend enough of your life around horses you’ll see it all. Life being brought into the world and those magical first steps. You’ll see the trials and tribulations of horses in their ridden careers; their progression and them reaching the peak of their mountain. You’ll see the same in your peers. You’ll see those who stumble along the way and come back with a vengeance to overcome their own issues. Riding a half-tonne animal with a mind of its own is bravery. You really do see it all.

 If you spend enough of your life around horses you’ll see some truly amazing things. 

 There’s also, however, the other side of the coin. Yes you’ll see some amazing things but if you spend enough of your life around horses, you’ll also see the sad things. 

A sad goodbye

 A week ago today, Barnes Equestrian said goodbye to one of our most cherished members of the yard family. Poor Jelle was put to sleep after a short illness. 

When I started Barnes Equestrian I did so under the belief that when I get a horse in to look after, that horse will be looked after as though it’s my own. With Jelle that was no exception.

 Jelle wasn’t my own horse but through working with him daily and getting to know his personality and gain his trust, he felt like one of my own. In times where his owner couldn’t make it to visit him, I’d do bits with him. I’d groom him or I’d get some of the other people on the yard to do bits. Jelle was so sweet and gentle that even at his young age he gave confidence to others. I was always looking for ways to keep Jelle entertained such as giving him some horse-toys to roll around the stable and even put up multiple licks around the stable for when he was in. 

If you spend enough of your life around horses..., Jelle

 Everybody loved Jelle and everybody was devastated to learn the news of his passing. 

“It’s hard to not get attached

 Doing what I do, it’s hard to not get attached. I’m looking after these wonderful animals day after day. Learning about them, their quirks, their habits and you grow to know their unique personalities. I miss when they’re no longer there with their head over the stable door – whether or not they’ve simply moved yard or… you know…

 Admittedly I took the news of Jelles passing harder than some horses I’ve owned. I don’t think I’ve felt that way since losing my first ever horse who a rescue horse a decade ago. I’ve been through it before and I know that time heals. 

 There’s only so much you can do in the end. What matters most to me is that I’m there for the animal when they need me most; that I’ve helped make them happy and that they know they’re loved and appreciated right to the end. 

 If you spend enough of your time around horses, you do indeed see it all. The good far outweighs the bad despite the bad being prominent for longer. Horses are like therapy, they do a lot for us mentally as well as physically. 

If you spend enough of your life around horses...
Jelle looking over a stunning sunset

The good and the bad

 Despite the hard times and the bad times; despite the emotional turmoil they can put us through, we’re always thankful to have these animals in our lives. Sure it is heartbreaking to see them go but eventually I always remember that their passing leaves a horse shaped hole to fill. Their passing means another horse can feel that love and comfort we have to give. 

 Thank you Jelle for the fond memories in your time here. 

If you spend enough of your life around horses..., Jelle

 If you spend enough of your life around horses, it’s hard to imagine it any other way. 

This post was written by Scott Barnes of Barnes Equestrian. If you don’t already, please feel free to follow us on our Facebook page!

 Disclaimer: I’m not a qualified dressage judge but the Dressage Judges Gala was open to both judges and Dressage enthusiasts.

Event Summary

 I was fortunate enough to attend the Dressage Judges Gala at Spruce Lodge Training Facility In county Wicklow. The galas focus was around judging freestyle to music. I must say it was a fascinating experience to gain insight from a rather unique perspective.

 Dressage Ireland were hosting the gala and at the podium to share her valuable experience was Jo Graham, BD List 1 and an FEI 4* dressage judge.

 The day itself was split into two halves – The morning and the afternoon.

The Morning

 In the morning a large crowd gathered for a presentation alongside some examples of freestyle tests to music. We got to look at the technical and creative sides of the freestyle tests.

 The examples were to express to us how much music can affect the pace being ridden. When you choose the correct music, it adds so much more to the overall expression of the test whereas with the wrong music you may find it hinders the performance of the horse.

 To delve further into this for now, we were shown several clips of various levels. In these clips, horses varied from expressive movement with lots of cadence to more flat movement with little in the way of expressiveness. What we were shown was that when using the correct music, even the flat mover can appear to be more expressive. Likewise with the wrong music, the flashy mover may suffer in the overall picture.

 The right music in freestyle tests is vital!

 The Afternoon

 In the afternoon section, we were treated to 3 volunteers who I believe were from Spruce Lodge – Sean, Joanne, and Belinda.

 Sean and his horse (Fig) were demonstrating a freestyle test at Novice level with some spectacular Phil Collins music. Joanne rode her horse (Cashmirs Hadina) to a more serious tone at Elementary with some impressive music that demanded all eyes in the building. Her choice in music put me in mind of something you’d see Totillas ride to. Finally Belinda stepped up to ride an Advanced Medium test on her horse (Galaxy Moone) to some very jazzy and fun music.

 As each rider rode their tests, we got to look at their required movements and judge their creativity. The rider was given the chance to take feedback on board and receive a valuable perspective from Jo herself as she explored our thoughts and voiced her own – alongside justification for all points of course! When judging dressage, it’s vital to be able to justify why you give the marks you do.

 The day was interesting. I was thankful for the opportunity to have attended it. Dressage judging is something I’ve been curious about but I haven’t actually taken any steps on a journey towards qualifications. It allowed me some great insight into how judges work and what they look for – Especially in a freestyle where both creative and technical marks are applied.

 So, now that my experience is done with, let’s get onto the tips! I’ve taken loads from the day and some of my favourite bits are as follows!


 In the following section, I’ll share with you some tips I learned from the day and I hope you’ll find them as interesting as I did!

Use Your Arena

 When designing the choreography for your test, consider symmetry. Are you leg yielding on the left rein across the whole arena and only doing it across half of the arena on the right rein? Change it. Are you doing 3 canters on the left rein and only 1 on the right? Change it. Your test needs to be balanced and symmetrical. It’s a common mistake that many people tend to not reflect both reins but judges notice symmetry.

 Use the whole arena. Don’t fall into the trap of only using bits of it. It’s a huge space so use it all! Balance curving lines such as loops and semi-circles with the straight lines such as long diagonals.

 In your choreography, remember to make it interesting. Transitions between and within paces go a long way to keep the attention of the judge.

 Finally, make every line you ride mean something. It’s a freestyle, use it to show off your strengths! Don’t aimlessly display a working canter from A, up the long side to C. Transition within the canter to a medium canter up the long side and transition back to working before the corner. Use the lines to show off!

Find One Pace Easy? Don’t Overuse It!

 If your horse has an effortless uphill canter, don’t feature it in the majority of your test. When it comes to choreography, it’s important to be able to show off the parts you’re good at but keeping them as features. Those parts should be a highlight and not used so much that the judge is left bored watching the test.

Link Your Movements Creatively and ride them clearly

 Riding movements clearly means that if you’re riding an extended trot, try to make it an obvious case of extended trot. You need some extended steps! It’s the same no matter what movement you ride, try to make it clear what it is.

 When you link movements creatively, this links back to your choreography. Keep it interesting. Don’t go for an extension into collection if your horse struggles with it but don’t shy away from stringing together moves that show off what you’re capable of. Creativity looks at what you ride, where you ride it, how you ride it and the degree of difficulty. Sometimes taking a chance can pay off.

Consider the degree of difficulty

 Calculated risk. This particular tip involves you to assess your horses ability alongside your own to pull off weaker moves. If you’re riding a horse who struggles with extension for example, you might not want to put much extension in your test as poor extension could bring your mark down.

 However, if you’re riding a freestyle test and can ride a harder move more than adequately, you may be able to bring up marks through repetition of the harder move. Reputation of harder moves, different lines and combining different moves (for example an extended trot to a halt) can bring up a score impressively if you’re able to pull them off. If you struggle to do so, avoid showcasing your combinations weaknesses.

 Fun fact! Everyone knows you get higher marks for riding difficult movements with one hand; But did you know you can only do this a maximum of 4 times in one test?

Music that enhances the image

 This years Dressage Judges Gala was focused particularly on freestyle to music. I’ve seen people attempt to compile a freestyle test and use one song or piece of music for the entirety of the test. No matter what their pace may have been, that song and it’s beat played throughout the walk, trot and canter phases. Think about the pace and even the pace within the pace. If you’re doing free walk on a long rein, make that music reflect that. Medium walk music should reflect the change in pace too.

 Also consider the overall picture. The choice of music should suit the horse and rider combination. What supports the picture and story you’re telling throughout your test? For example, the Steptoe and Son theme song music suits a cob more than it does Totilas.

 Remember, music can help the overall image of what you present in a test. The right music can enhance the weak movements and wrong music can hinder the strong movements. Consider this when choosing music.

More notes on music

 Music in your freestyle test should enhance the movements being ridden but not distract from them. Your music should enhance the movement being ridden. Changes in pace should be reflected in the music with a smooth, unjarring transition from one piece of music to another.

 Vocals may be used but if you have a choice between a vocal piece or an instrumental piece, consider whether or not one enhances your test over the other.

 It’s important to note as well, that your technical mark in a freestyle test may be adjusted if your transitions aren’t ridden in line with the music. If you’re still cantering when your trot music hits, you will see this reflected in the end scores.

Music pro-tip

 In a freestyle you have some flexibility in what you’re riding. If you’ve ridden slightly quicker or slower than the music and don’t want to be caught off guard for your transition; You may add a slight audio cue to remind you of where a transition is coming up.

 This could be bells, a chime of some sort or whatever you think fits. I’d recommend making it fit in with the style and tone of your music. If you struggle to remember transitional spots or have timed the pace to the music poorly, this may be a life saver.

Interesting points to note

 Question: What happens if the music fails to start?

 Answer: The judge has to use their own discretion in these events. If a rider signals for the music to begin and there appears to be a technical error, the judge has the right to use their discretion to determine whether a restart is acceptable or not. A delay of 5 or even 10 seconds may still not trigger a restart. The judge will consider the rider in the situation and also the horse. The judge should know that expecting a horse to stand waiting isn’t fair to the horse nor the rider.

 On the day of the gala, Jo Graham said riders should have a backup plan so that they aren’t standing there with their horse halted for too long. Ultimately there is no answer on this one really. It’s entirely up to the judges discretion. We as riders just have to be prepared and look after the horse we are on.

 Question: What happens if the music stops playing during my test?

 Answer: The judge will likely stop the test. All movements marked up to the point of the technical failure will be kept. After the judge stops the test and the failure is resolved, you will then be asked to ride the test from the beginning. This is mainly because it may be hard to find the exact place the music left off. It’s also allowing you and your horse a chance to get back into the swing of things.

 Once you reach the stage where your music stopped, the judging commences. By the end you will have ridden a complete test and have been scored fairly as though no interruption took place.


 I’m sure you can probably tell that I feel I learned a lot at the Dressage Judges Gala. I did. It gave me valuable insight into how dressage tests are judged and what the judges really look for. In freestyle, it’s easy to get caught up in wanting exciting music that we feel fits our story. One of the most important lessons I learned at the gala was to look at the bigger picture and to consider the image others see.

 Dressage isn’t like most equestrian sports. Dressage is an art. There is interpretation of our work. There’s technicality and creativity. There is freedom from the rider to be able to express themselves through the test – but it’s when you bring it altogether as one masterpiece that the magic happens. That magic is on show for others to interpret; to relate to and especially with freestyle, to form an emotional bond to.

 The Dressage Judges Gala was a great experience to view the sport of Dressage in a new light. I’ll definitely consider attending again next year.


 The Dressage Judges Gala was written by Scott Barnes of Barnes Equestrian.