Jockey Stories; Drew Holmes

Drew Holmes was part of the Lavenham AW15 Photoshoot, we interviewed Drew to find out he got into Horse Racing


(Drew Holmes pictured above wearing the Raydon Mens in Chocolate, available soon)
When was the first time you rode?
I grew up around horses, my mum and grandfather always had racehorses. I was so young I actually can’t remember what age I was the first time I sat on a horse, probably before I could walk! But I guess I started properly around the age of 10.
How did you get in to racing?
My Grandfather always had racehorses so I have grown up with it. I used to go to the races and visit the racing yards with grandfather and once my education ended I bought a racehorse. But I have always dipped in and out of riding racehorses since the age of 16. I love horses, they are fascinating creatures. I think when you have this connection with the animals it’s hard to remove it from your blood.


(Drew pictured above wearing the Raydon Mens in Shetland Wool Midnight, available soon)
What are your daily/weekly routines?
My racing season runs from October-end May, so during those months I get to the yard around 6 am. Feed, do the daily chores and ride if I have time. Then I head into work around 8.30, go to the gym after work then head back to the yard around 9pm to check horses and put a night time feed in.
How do you prepare on the lead up to a race?
For me routine is key. It’s more about preparing the horses than myself, they come first. Keeping them fit, healthy and happy is the priority.  I will keep myself fit doing the gym work and riding out. I work everything out on paper months in advance, follow a plan and try to stick to it. There are so many variables with this game so you have to be flexible; weather, horses get problems, work commitments etc. But I find a plan helps to at least meet target and goals. The first run is part of the preparation, after that you can build on the fitness and fine tune things.


(Drew pictured above in the stables wearing the Raydon Mens in Shetland Wool Midnight, available soon)
What have been your achievements in racing?
To ride and train winners. I do it as a hobby, it’s fun and most of my enjoyment comes from having friends and family around me, involved and seeing them enjoy race days gives me great satisfaction. Hopefully after all the hard work I put in, the results will follow. It’s very much the cliché with this sport, “the more you put in the more you get out.”
Are there any challenges you face?
The whole game is a challenge but that’s why I love it!
Any further comments you feel would be of interest?
I think anyone reading this that has an interest in country pursuits, racing or even just horses should visit a point to point race meeting. It’s the grass roots of the sport, where some of the future champions will emerge and old champions end their careers. It leads people and horses to the race course and a day at the races offers great family fun.
Drew Holmes

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015 at 9:09 am

Jockey Stories; Camilla Henderson


(Camilla pictured wearing the Lavenham Foxearth Ladies Wool from the AW15 Collection)
Camilla Henderson is an amateur jockey who was part of the Lavenham Autumn/Winter photoshoot, we interviewed Camilla to find out how she got into racing.
When was the first time you rode?
At around the age of two, I have two elder sisters so there were ponies always kicking around the place. We always had hairy little bullet proof ponies to ride. My mother had a ‘ get on and go’ with it approach when it came to riding ponies. Lots of bare back rides in the paddock with a collar a lead rope when no one was watching!
How did you get in to racing?
Through my family, Dad being a top National Hunt race horse trainer and an ex jockey, and my mother an ex jockey – I suppose it was in our blood, our destiny to ride horses in one way or another. We all enjoyed it and all went on hacks around the gallops as children, watching the race horses every morning.
What are your daily routines?
At the moment I am riding two lots out at Charlie Hills’ yard, a flat trainer locally in Lambourn. Then I head over and ride my retired racehorse for a hack. Then I get to my daily job – sport psychology consultancy. Working currently with Swindon Town FC, Cinderford RFC & Bristol RFU. Also work for Your Golf Travel. In the winter I race ride at point to point meetings ( Amateur meetings ). So every week we have lots of schooling sessions and work mornings in preperation for a race which are normally at weekends.


(Camilla pictured wearing the Raydon Ladies)
How do you prepare on the lead up to a race?
Most important thing is preparation which some jockeys may fall down on is to keep up good nutrition, eat clean and also keep hydrating up. So many jockeys fail to stay hydrated, especially when they are sweating and wasting to make a lighter weight – trying to shed a few pounds.
What have been your achievements?
I have ridden about 7 winners point to pointing over the last couple of years, I am an amateur jockey so this is not my main profession or career. Its more of a hobby and I’m lucky to just get given the rides that I’ve had so far!
Are there any particular races you are looking forward to this year?
I am riding in the Glorious Goodwood Magnolia Cup at the end of July alongside 12 others, – I cannot wait for this – have been training as much as I can and getting on the equisisor (mechanical horse) to get my legs used to the strenuous impact of a sprint race. Lots of squats and weighted lunges are required for this kind of work.
Camilla won the Magnolia Cup (Ladies Day)

Images for blog post

Camilla pictured wearing jackets from the AW15 Collection; Cropton Ladies Toggle (Top Left) Foxearth Ladies Wool (Top Right) Raydon Ladies (Bottom Left) Foxearth Ladies (Bottom Right)
All jackets featured will be available on our website soon

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 6th, 2015 at 9:48 am

Jenny George’s Lead-up to Badminton Horse Trials

We spoke with Lavenham sponsored Event Rider Jenny George to talk about how she is preparing in the lead up to Badminton Horse Trials. Jenny is returning to Badminton for the third time and will be riding Oscar a 13 year old, 16.3 Grey Gelding and competing in Class BE100.



How are preparations coming along for Badminton?


After a late start to the season we have finally got going! I had a good first outing at Gt Witchingham coming 9th, however our show jumping was a bit rusty and I had 2 down.  I have since done a bit of grid work with Oscar to sharpen him up over the fences. On Sunday I went to Keysoe and had a great dressage score of 23 (77%) and double clear to win the class by 8.5 marks so that was a great confidence boost.  He jumped really well cross country so I was thrilled with him. 


How will you be preparing over the next few weeks?


Last year Badminton did not go to plan so I have a few things that I would like to practice that will probably be on the course this year.  A good friend of mine has made a white house looking fence (which Oscar took an aversion too last year) they have had a white house on the course for the past two years so I think there is a strong possibility it will feature this year. I am planning on hiring a course that is quite local to me to put the house on undulating ground as per the one two years ago.  I will also ask some friends to meet me there and try to create a crowd like atmosphere next to the water and coffin fence which is usually where the crowds gathers. 


Badminton features a much larger crowd than the usual events that I compete in so I am not sure if this could have been a factor last year. I will also hire a show jumping course to jump a bit bigger, the course at Badminton is 10cms bigger than the usual 100 classes so it is a good idea to practice this away from home conditions.


When you arrive at Badminton how do you prepare?


I will arrive at Badminton the day before my dressage test. On arrival the vet will check over Oscar and look at his passport and check his microchip number is correct. I will then get his stable ready (they have lots of temporary stables that are all undercover) and take him there to settle him in.  After a few hours I will take him for a leg stretch and little ride as the journey will be about 4 hours.  After riding him I will let him have a few hours to relax and chill out.  There are scheduled cross country course walks with professionals if you wish to go on them.  This year Yogi Breisner is doing one which I am planning on attending, he is the Chef D’Equipe for Great Britain and is responsible for choosing and instructing the Olympic teams so that will be a very interesting course walk.  I usually walk the course 3 or 4 times so I know my exact routes that I am planning on taking or alternatives that I can take if things do not go to plan.  


Do you get nervous before you are about to compete and how to you settle your nerves?


I do not normally get nervous before I compete however as Badminton is such a prestigious championship I am bound to get slightly nervous before I go.  If I am later to go in the section (it is a drawn order) I will go and watch a fence if I am particularly worried about one or a difficult combination fence.  It is nice to see how other people are riding it and it usually settles my nerves to see other people jumping the fence well (or it can give me an idea of how not to jump it!) The last two years I have taken the dogs for a nice walk very early in the morning around the course, I like having a final walk on my own so that I am confident and can imagine exactly how I will ride every fence.


What is your schedule of events for Badminton?


The order for Badminton is usually a drawn order, there are 88 qualified combinations that have entered my section.  I will find out closer to the event which day my dressage is on. I seem to always get drawn in the first half of a class so I am expecting my dressage to be on Tuesday 5th May (there will probably be around 60 combinations doing the dressage on the Tuesday and remaining on Wednesday morning) this will be followed by show jumping and then by the cross country on the Wednesday.  I get tickets to the main international event which takes place Wednesday afternoon through to Sunday. I will probably stay for the Thursday and Friday dressage and walk the International course on Thursday evening and then come  home Friday afternoon to watch the cross country on TV on Saturday!


Thank you Jenny and Good Luck!


Badminton Horse Trials takes place on Tuesday 5th May – Sunday 10th May, we will post updates of Jenny’s progress in the competition.



This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Event Rider Jenny George – Round up on the first event of the season


Saturday was my first event of the season and Oscar and I were looking forward to getting started!

It was our first competition since September when we qualified for the Badminton Grassroots that is held in May.  Oscar was very relaxed in the warm up considering it has been a while since he has been in that environment and continued to behave well in the arena to score a very pleasing 30 penalty points (70%)and was in 2nd place after the dressage.

Show jumping is usually our strongest phase however it was our weakest on Saturday, I felt a little rusty in the ring and had a very unfortunate 2 poles down which incurred us 8 penalty points to be added to our score. I was very pleased with how he jumped, and was looking forward to going cross country.

Oscar was his usual excited self as soon as I made my way up to the start box it was difficult to hold on the starter’s countdown! He flew out the box and settled into a good rhythm across country and felt very confident around the course. I had planned on a slightly longer alternative route to one of the fences however as I had 2 fences down in the show jumping, I decided to go direct for the bigger question and he really took the bigger fence on so I was pleased.  I anticipating a few time faults as it was our first outing of the season however we came home dead on the optimum time of 4minutes 37 seconds.  I was pleased as did not have to push him for the time so shows his fitness levels were good.

I was delighted to find out that I came 9th, which was very good considering his 6 month holiday from competitions.

I am now looking forward to our next competition which will probably be an unaffiliated ODE at Keysoe in a couple of weeks – Only 5 weeks to go to Badminton


Event Rider – Jenny George

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 1:49 pm

Guest Blogger – The Fashion Ache


Pictured above the Rougham Ladies

We all know the British weather can be a little unreliable, but even so when it comes to rain jackets, I’m not usually one to don them. I’d rather take the risk and get blown about with an umbrella in the wind. However, when it comes to Lavenham Jackets, the English quality clothing brand (since 1969) appears to have been kicking up a storm – and providing stylish, weather-proof jackets to brace it in – and I’m ready to run into the rain in one.

Lured in by this bright little Rougham Ladies number, at £245 the price is a little steep – but totally worth it. This isn’t a throw-away rain coat, far from it. It’s a jacket for life. Flaunting glorious quilted stitching, a light-weight canvas, an adorable handy hood, gunmetal zipper and dropped hemline, it’s a classic jacket that will stand you in good stead – especially when it comes to the changing trends. With its sports luxe draw-string hood, it’s a great piece to pair with your casual, laid-back wardrobe. Think luxe, slogan tees, the new season’s faded, ripped jeans and your favourite battered sandals or kicks. And, a pair of sunglasses of course – for when the sun finally decides to shine.

Showcasing a line heavy in luxurious quilted styles, with the occasional faux fur or corduroy collar (and in delectable pastel shades for spring/summer), Lavenham Jackets don’t fail to wet your sartorial appetite for something a little more laid-back. It’s a brand that not only offers superior quality country clothing, from horse-rugs to jackets and accessories, but a brand that offers this quality in style. Every stage of the products’ production is meticulously overseen to ensure the fluency and consistency of their design, using British materials to face the very British weather in. This is tradition with a contemporary twist at its best.


2By The Fashion Ache

This entry was posted on Monday, March 23rd, 2015 at 11:01 am