Won’t Ride, Will Horse

Back in 2018, when I was recovering from my hip replacement, I wrote a guide called “Can’t Ride, Can Horse” with some suggestions for things you can do relating to horses when you can’t ride.  Nearly 2 years later, we are ALL in a fairly similar situation.  The BHS have said

“We advise that it is not appropriate to put unnecessary pressure on the emergency services and everyone should make their own individual decision as whether riding is necessary at this time.”

Personally, as you’ll see from my March Madness post, I decided to stop riding a few weeks ago but I have found plenty of things to do instead and have lots of ideas that I haven’t got to yet.

Most of these assume you can still see your horse/go to the yard. Under current UK rules, you are still allowed to tend to your horses -as that is essential to their welfare – unless your yard owner says otherwise or you are ill/shielding/self isolating as long as you follow social distancing rules.  I am in no way encouraging anyone to travel unnecessarily.  Please use your own judgement as to which of these are suitable for you.

Exercise

With the health of your horse in mind, if you are not riding anymore and intend on roughing them off, you need to decrease their exercise slowly.  If you are hoping to continue to exercise your horse – while the government still permits it – these ideas work too.

  • Walking in hand – I am aware that this isn’t an option for everyone but if it is safe to do so, walking your horse in hand is exercise for both of you!  Make sure you use a bridle rather than a headcollar if you are actually going somewhere!
  • Lunging – Lunging is generally considered to be a pretty safe way of exercising your horse (as long as you wear gloves and a hat).  Just be careful not to do too much as going around in circles does put strain on your horse’s joints.
  • Groundwork/Liberty/Trick training – There are so many activities you can do with your horse on the ground to improve your bond and have fun!
  • Stretches – If you don’t already do this with your horse, now would certainly be the time to start!

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Help

  • Buddy up – With key workers working more than ever, parents having their children at home and travel being restricted it might be worth buddying up to help others with their yard jobs. At my yard we are spreading our visits through the day and sharing some of the jobs while there is no staff
  • Adopt/sponsor – Some equestrian businesses have lost nearly their entire income probably for the rest of the year but still need to feed and care for their animals.  Many – my yard included – have set up adoption or sponsorship schemes so if you have a few pounds to spare, this might be something you can get involved with.

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Spring clean

  • Grooming – Now is the time to help your horse to lose their winter coat and to get rid of that winter grime.  I’ve tried out a lot of shedding tools but my favourite is the SleekEZ.
  • Bathing – The weather has improved and now seems like a good time to be giving them a spring bath.  Even though we won’t be going out to any lessons or competitions, I can’t wait to get my Carr & Day & Martin Stain Removing Shampoo out to turn Pea’s brown legs white again and set her up for a cool summer rather than a sweaty, hairy one.
  • Brushes – If you’re going to get your horse clean, now would also be a great time to clean your brushes.  I have some much loved Eqclusive Haas brushes and I just hand-wash them in a bucket of warm, soapy water then hand them on the washing line to dry!
  • Leather – Give your tack and your boots a “birthday”.  If you’re not going to be using them for a while, it makes sense to give them a thorough clean and think about how to store them without the risk of them getting mouldy.  Carr & Day & Martin do a product called Ko-Cho-Line which has been produced for this very purpose.
  • Rugs – If you have got the skills and equipment, now would be a great time to mend and wash your rugs but at the very least you can sort them and store any that you won’t need for a while.
  • Washing – It is not just rugs that need washing.  If you are not riding, you’ll be free to wash all your numnahs so that they are squeaky clean for use on the other wise.
  • Trailer/Lorry – We won’t be using our horse lorries and trailers for a while so it is a good opportunity to tidy, clean and sort them out (if you are able to access them without breaking government rules).  It is also worth considering the security of your vehicles as, while there are less people out and about, there seems to be a rise in thefts.

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Other

  • Photos – As well as sorting out your own photos (getting some printed and backing them up) why not check out official competition photos from previous events and order yourself some.  I’m sure the photographers would appreciate it in these tough times.
  • Evaluate – There is little point in planning a competition schedule at the moment because we have no idea when we might be out and about again but it is a good time to look back at the last year/season and reflect on what went well and what you intend on doing differently next time around.

Your Horse Live 2019

This year’s Your Horse Live was my fourth consecutive year!  It has me going back each year to see the demos and peruse the extensive shopping stands.  This year I was lucky enough to get a complimentary ticket but Alex was keen to come (can you believe it!?) so I paid for him to come along too.

I was highly restrained when it came to the shopping (especially compared to Badminton) and although there were lots of beautiful things, I only came away with a trailer-tie bungee and a new competition whip.  I would have liked to walk away with the ponies from the Rescue Village too but that wasn’t to be!

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Alex was particularly keen on the 3.5 horseboxes and the Ifor Williams trailers but made do with a pork roll instead!

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Charlotte’s demo was what I really wanted to see.  It was interesting to see her coaching one of her riders.  She kept telling her to go more forward and really go for it, it was somewhat reminiscent of my lessons!  It was also a good reminder of the importance of transitions – I get too lazy when it comes to that but if Charlotte says I should.. I should!

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At the end she brought Valegro around for everyone to pat – is it sad for me to say it was amazing to be so close to him and to touch him?  I’m sure for a lot of people he is just a horse but I’d rather meet him than any A list celebrity!  The way she jumped on him bareback while the jumps were being set up and the arena was being harrowed just highlighted what a special guy he is.

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We stayed with the demos to watch a bit of Jonty Evans jumping with Padraig McCarthy.  Jonty’s big fall was just before my hip replacement and I’m in awe of how he spent 6 weeks in a coma, suffered a brain injury and is now back eventing.  What is really incredible is how effortless his riding looks considering how the injury has affected his thought process and speech.

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We left that demo early to go to Charlotte’s signing; I had taken my copy of “The Girl On The Dancing Horse” to get her to sign but unfortunately the queue was shut off just as we arrived.

We managed to catch some of Sharon Hunt’s cross country demo with Karla (from Muddy Mayhem) riding.  If you don’t already follow her, she is hilarious and the way she pinged round the tiny arena with tight skinnies was so brave!

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Our last watch was Ben Atkinson’s behind the scenes demo.  Last year we watched his proper demo – I was totally in awe of what they did then so it was really interesting to get more of an insight into how they train their horses to do that.  You clearly have to be very calm, brave and confident to do the kind of liberty work they do.  I would love to give it a go but I think I would need to do a course or something first.

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I had a thoroughly enjoyable and educational day (and Alex enjoyed his pork roll!)  I can’t wait to see the line up for next year – I’m already thinking about who I hope will be on their demo line up!

Olivia Towers Dressage Open Day

I’ve been watching Olivia Towers’ vlogs for a while now. It is really rare to be able to get an insight into the riding and competing of someone who trains to Grand Prix let alone to visit their yard and watch them ride their young horses.. but that’s what I did yesterday!

To start off, her home/yard is what dreams are made of: post and rail paddocks along the drive and in front of the house; a barn with stables, wash area and solarium; a big horse walker; a beautiful indoor school and gardens/grounds with a literal lake in them.  It actual felt a bit intrusive to be able to wander freely around the yard (it must be really strange for her parents) but I guess that is all part of being an all-sharing influencer and I really appreciated the opportunity.

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Olivia rode four horses through the day.  She started with Barbie, the massive (much bigger in real life than you can tell on vlogs) palomino four year old.  She was pretty majestic and Olivia showed the straightforward schooling routine she does with her twice a week (alongside one hack and one lunging session).

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Next up was five year old Joey; my new favourite!  Olivia and her mum explained that although he looks like a chunky mini Valegro, actually he is not strong and is behind their other five YO.  They said that he isn’t particularly forward or keen on schooling.  I sat there wondering what you do with a horse like this when you have Grand Prix ambitions and he’s not bothered – is there a point at which you say, regardless of breeding, maybe this isn’t for him?  Or do you change your plan to get him more interested and just accept that it will take longer to get there?  When I asked, Libby (Olivia’s mum) confirmed that they need their horses to get to Grand Prix and that he will get there.  It was amazing to see him transform after warming up and even my untrained eye could see that although he starts off in first gear, he is going to be spectacular!  His schooling is not dissimilar to what Olivia does with Barbie but with higher expectations.

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She showed far more lateral work with Moley, the other five year old, who (although taller and more babyish in looks) they said was far stronger.

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After lunch and some free time to explore Olivia did a demo on Eagle.  Her “top of the string” horse Wilf was out with a sting to the face but Eagle is competing at Inter 1 so he is pretty impressive too. Both Libby and Olivia both made it clear that Eagle and Wilf are less naturally able than the younger horses so that, combined with the fact that they are the first ones she has taken through the levels, means that the younger ones should be more successful than the older ones.  Regardless, seeing Eagle’s pirouettes and the beginning of his piaffe and passage was pretty special.

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So my points to take away from the day

  • Warming up properly is so important – get that right and you’re setting yourself up for a good session.  Joey’s demo showed exactly that.
  • Transitions, transitions, transitions.  I know everyone says this but I was certainly reminded today.
  • Every horse has it’s own journey – I think when you’re a one horse owner it is easy to forget this but all Olivia’s horses are so different, even the ones who are the same age as each other.
  • A horse doesn’t have to have natural talent to progress – though it helps.
  • Every rider struggles – if you follow Olivia on social media you will know that she is very realistic and when she did her demo on Eagle she checked in with her mum regularly and was very honest about the fact that they are very much learning the Grand Prix “tricks” together, it isn’t easy.
  • I REALLY want to ride in a beautiful carpet fibre, indoor arena!

 

 

Mid Year Goal Review

We have passed the halfway point of the year – can you actually believe it!?  I thought it was about time I reviewed my 2019 Goals and set myself some new ones to carry me through the rest of the year.

Old Goals

1. Get Strong

This is still somewhat of a work in progress – I’m far stronger than I was and the effect of having two legs that work has certainly had an impact on my riding!  There’s still plenty of room for improvement but the intention is all there with my exercise plan (which in practice is a bit hit and miss).  The problem I am finding is that I so often wipe myself out by doing too much and then don’t do enough the next day.. and the cycle continues!

2. Compete

I managed this one pretty well!  We’ve got two “away” competitions under our belts and two of the summer shows at home done.  There is one more summer show at home coming up and then I’ll need to start going further afield again!

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3. Move On

This was the not so subtle intention for us to buy our first house and as you may already know, we viewed four houses on the 4th January, did a second viewing on the 7th, after some toing and froing had an offer accepted on the 9th and got our keys on the 5th March.  Our house has space for the guinea pigs and is near to Pea; this goal is well and truly ticked off.

A more unexpected part of “moving on” was that I have just got myself a new job!  There isn’t much moving to do as it is in the same school as I have been working in since the end of October but it is a new role – back to full time teaching!

New Goals

1. Reduce

I’ve made a start on this goal but I think it is worth sharing.  Over the last few months I’ve become increasingly interested in becoming a bit more environmentally friendly.  My sister in law has grabbed this bull by it’s horns (in a kind, animal friendly way) and if you want to go all in, her Instagram is worth checking out.  If you’re a horsey being you should also check out Honest Riders and their “riders on a mission” hashtag.  On a personal level, I have swapped to solid shampoo, conditioner and soap from Lush, bought (and am using) a glass water bottle and am trying to make smarter shopping choices eg. buying a big pack of biscuits and splitting them rather than buying individually wrapped biscuit bars for packed lunches.

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So there we go!  I’m going to continue to try to get stronger and more fit, keep getting out and competing (despite having some real giving up thoughts around the June and most recent competitions), get stuck into my new job and continue my journey towards being more environmentally friendly.

If anyone has any environmentally friendly recommendations they would be much appreciated (particularly clothing brands!)

Things I Didn’t Know Then But I Know Now (One Year)

There are a lot of things that I have realised since my op that either no one told me or I didn’t realise before.  Obviously not all of them would be relevant to everyone’s THR recovery but they were certainly relevant to me!  Obviously I’m not a medical professional either but this was my experience!  I started writing this post just after my hip replacement and there has been plenty to add to it since.

The Hospital Stage

  • A general anaesthetic can make you puke.  Lots.  I should have known this but when it happened I was completely mentally unprepared.  Since I’ve spent the last 10+ years successfully avoiding being sick, it wasn’t great.
  • I had to have an oxygen tube to start with. This surprised me!
  • The whole puking thing also meant I didn’t want to eat because I knew it wouldn’t stay down long.

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  • I got painted in red antiseptic which made me wake up and think I had something wrong with me.
  • I was really swollen near the incision.
  • Regardless of what I was told before my op, I still had to wait two weeks to shower.
  • The car journey home felt like the worst rollercoaster I’d ever been on!

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The Early Stages

  • Anti-embolism socks made my heels sore.  I used cotton pads on my heels which helped (although it is not medically recommended).  Someone moisturising my feet helped even more!
  • I completely lost my appetite.
  • Whatever I was told before my operation, regardless of having a raised toilet seat, I could find NO way to go to the toilet without breaking my 90 degree bend restriction.  Sorry.
  • I got SO tired.  Doing basically nothing.  But I couldn’t necessarily sleep at night because it was just so uncomfortable lying flat on my back.

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  • As well as being tired, my brain was generally very fuzzy (probably the painkillers).
  • When I went out in the sun I had a fair few faint moments (woops!)
  • My scar pulled the skin around it tight, making a bit of a crater in my flesh!  This happened a little bit with my original scar from my childhood operations but it has been far more significant with my hip replacement scar.

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  • I had to repeatedly explain why I had had a hip replacement!

The “Crutch Free” Stage

  • Post op. walking was not walking.  It was a funny cross between shuffling and marching.

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  • When I was still on bending restrictions but with the crutches and socks gone, everyone else thought that I was fully recovered.
  • Or rather, most people thought I was fully recovered APART from the people who saw me carrying around a pillow so that I could sit down without breaking the aforementioned restrictions.

The Later Stages

  • Little things reminded me that I had a false hip but everyone else had forgotten it even happened.
  • I started to want to do things that I never planned to do!  The perfect example being my decision to run again.
  • I keep discovering things which are a hundred times less painful than they were before I had my new hip – no stirrups riding anyone?

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Ode To A Non Horsey Boyfriend

Thank you quietly becoming resigned to the presence of mud and hay in your life and our home!

Thank you for making wellies one of your most worn pairs of shoes.

Thank you for the many miles driven and putting up with my constant sharp reminders to be ‘gentle’!

Thank you for all the times you’ve had to ‘hold my horse’.

Thank you for cleaning my tack or doing my stable (because you know it will get us home sooner).

Thank you for the many many dinners you cook and the cleaning you do while I’m at the yard with my other best friend!

Thank you for not moaning (too much) when I forgo a weekend lie in in favour of riding.

Thank you for standing out in excess heat, rain, hail and snow to be our support.

Thank you for the hundreds (and hundreds) of carefully angled photographs with forward ears and square legs.

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Snow

I could write for days about the inconveniences and issues associated with snow, particularly for equestrians but it has all been said before.  Yes, it is a pain, but unless you want to move to a different country, it is something we are just going to have to get used to, particularly with increasingly erratic weather patterns (don’t get me to get my A level geography out!)  Therefore I’m encouraging you to try to be positive about the white stuff.

School’s Out!

Particularly if you are lucky enough to be in education or work in education, but also in other jobs, you may well get yourself a day off.  What is better than an extra day at the yard?

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Taking Stock

If, like me, you’re currently focused on progress (maybe working towards a competition or confidence goal) the snow is likely to put the brakes on your plans.  I think this is a great opportunity to take a step back, reflect on what you have achieved so far and what you are doing next, take the pressure off and do something different (even if that is just working on your walk rather than your canter).

Cleanliness

The snow freezes up the mud, covers it over and leaves us with squeaky clean ponies (and wellies!)  Nice soft, dry coats and pristine hooves in the winter?  Yes please!  And for those of you frowning at me because your shod horse’s hooves fill with snowballs.. I direct you towards the wonder that is Vaseline.

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Fun

Sorry but no matter how old you are, the snow can be fun.  Whether your fun is galloping through a snowy field, making a snow horse or sledging behind your pony, there is no shame in being a bit childish and playing in the snow.

Beauty

There can be no denying that the snow is beautiful.  I love the clean whiteness of it and the sparkle when the sun comes out.  When you are done having fun (and battling the snow challenges that we are not talking about) take in the view.

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What do you LIKE about the snow?

Along For The Ride – Being Braver

On paper yesterday was just another day.  I missed Monday’s ride due to adult commitments (!) so I decided to try to sneak one in on a Thursday.

I swung by the yard after work to get Pea in, then went tutoring and came back an hour and a half later to ride.  It was dark, freezing (literally), I was still mostly in my work clothes and Pea was positively wild.  She hadn’t eaten any of her hay, she had trampled poo everywhere and was circling and stamping around like a bull.

At this point, I could have easily given up on the whole idea of riding and turned her out.  Although I didn’t really want to turn her out either as I knew I would have to go through the shire gelding’s paddock (who has been on box rest for months) and I was worried I might end up panicking and ending up in the mud.

I didn’t give up on the idea.  I gentled the wild beast with the support of some carrot stretches, tacked her up and attempted to face the next hurdle.  When Pea is in a mood she is not a fan of standing still at the mounting block – not great when you’ve got a higher risk of hip dislocation than your average person.  Luckily, she was hoof perfect.

We then got in the school where there were some dodgy distance trotting poles across the track at B – potentially problematic however I decided to use the obstacle to our advantage and practise some five metre loops.  Bend and suppleness are what we need to work on so along with that we did lots of circles and figures of eight.

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Pea actually felt amazing.  Maybe it was because I couldn’t see what we really looked like or because I was expecting lots of tension but reminded myself to chill.  I wasn’t the only thing chilling, by the end of our schooling the arena was starting to feel a bit crunchy and I could see the puddles on the yard were already icing over.  My fingers had that burning cold feel and our cool down was more of a freeze down.

When I clicked finish on equilab (the riding tracking app I have recently been using and loving) I realised I had managed nearly 40 minutes of riding without any real struggle with pain (only in my cold fingers). I then had to cope with the sweaty hairy situation that was Pea – she had worked hard!  She had a boxer style rub down with a towel and then I did her stretches again.

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I was torn between sticking her cooler on and leaving her in or accepting that I had done the best drying I could, chucking her turn out on and turning her out.  The decision was essentially having a grumpy pony all night vs getting past the shire.

I am proud to say I opted for the later!  Roo, the shire, is a very kind soul but I am embarrassingly nervous of him.  I was very much on crutches when he arrived with us and I think the memory of feeling so vunerable next to him has carried through.  I had been pre warned that he had cantered up behind the last mare to be turned out through his field HOWEVER I managed to get through (without letting him through either gate despite his attempts) and off Pea went to find her friends.

Doing my stable was slightly compromised by the fact I had a wrestle with a bucket of water and lost. Not ideal on an already icy night!

Positives

– I didn’t wimp out of any of the things I was worried about.. and I need not have been worried in the first place! The difference in my confidence compared to previous years is unbelievable – fingers crossed it stays that way!

Learning Points

– Thermals.

– Don’t get Pea stressed out thinking she is staying in all night if she’s not!

– Must get stronger! I should be in charge of buckets, buckets shouldn’t be in charge of me!

– Communication with home would have been better than letting this happen..

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Top Barn Challenge 2019

You know me, I’m a sucker for a challenge so from today, for the next 12 weeks, I will be taking part in the Top Barn Challenge.

Top Barn is a centre in the Cotswolds and each year they set this challenge on Facebook for horse people to commit to dedicating a certain number of hours a week to working with their horses.  The idea is to form a supportive community to help each other to stay motivated.

There are four levels which each have a specification of how many hours a week and how many challenges you need to do to complete it. Bronze is 3 hours a week with no compulsory mini challenges, Silver is 5 hours with 2 mini challenges etc.

I will be aiming for the Bronze challenge (3 hours a week of riding or groundwork) but will also try to do some of the mini challenges from the dressage, hacking and groundwork lists (though they are not part of the Bronze challenge).

I’m going to use this post to keep track of how I’m doing towards the challenge.

Week 1

7.1.19 – 40 minutes total to kick off the challenge, made up of riding, stretching and trying to teach Pea to smile and bow!

11.1.19 – I’ve achieved a mini challenge! After not riding for 3 days, I hacked out alone for 30 minutes. I hate hacking out alone so this was a real success for me.

12.1.19 – 35 minutes schooling session before work this morning. The best way to start the day!

13.1.19 – 50 minutes of riding at a dressage competition today. Back at the yard I did 10 minutes of massage and 15 minutes of stretching with Pea. The desire to reach my 3 hours certainly helped me to spend more quality time out of the saddle today.

Week 1 Summary – 3 hours

Week 2

17.1.19 – 40 minutes schooling and 10 minutes of carrot stretches in baltic weather conditions!

18.1.19 – 30 minutes schooling including some uncomfortable canter.

19.1.19 – 60 minutes in the saddle for a lesson with my instructor.  Had a really productive session today, I had no idea how much it was possible to sweat on such a cold day!

20.1.19 – 65 minutes worth of relaxing hacking today, perfect for a Sunday.

Week 2 Summary – 3 hours 25 minutes

Week 3

25.1.19 – 30 minute schooling session working on becoming more connected, followed by 10 minutes in hand.

26.1.19 – 60 minutes of hacking, 30 minutes schooling, 10 minutes in hand followed by 10 minutes of stretching!  This was a major success for me considering before my hip replacement riding for that long was majorly painful and since my hip replacement I have been slowly building up from ten minutes to an hour max!

27.1.19 – 30 minutes of solo hacking

Week 3 Summary – 3 hours

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Week 4

28.1.19 – 45 minute schooling session with two of the kids from the yard.  Pea is so much more forward schooling in company and produced a lovely flashy trot AND we did some canter.  Then I walked her off in hand for 10 minutes.

31.1.19 – 40 minutes of schooling (was actually in the saddle for more like an hour but spent a bit too long chatting to my yard owner!)

1.2.19 – 30 minutes plodding round and round the school trying to churn up the snow to make the arena more rideable for Saturday lessons!

3.2.19 – 35 minutes of plodding around the school AGAIN!  The snow had mostly melted in the arena but some of the school was still quite icey so I only did a few flashed of trot but did quite a lot of work on connection in walk and used some poles to get Pea moving!  I finished the session by walking her in hand for 10 minutes and then doing her stretching routine for another 10.

Week 4 Summary – 3 hours

Week 5

4.2.19 – 30 minutes plodding hack on my own into the village and back. I actually found it more therapeutic than worrying which was wonderful!

8.2.19 – 25 minutes of soggy schooling followed by a 10 minute walk cooling off.

9.2.19 – 40 minutes hacking into the village with my boyfriend walking with us. We had a proper paddle in the river to clean off her legs.

10.2.19 – 90 minutes hacking with the kids from the yard on what is known as the ‘cheese ride’ (because it goes past a dairy farm). We had to deal with cows, sheep, tractors and quads along the way but it was good to go somewhere I haven’t been for a while. We also did 5 minutes of stretching.

Week 5 Summary – 3 hours 20 minutes

Week 6

11.2.19 – 40 minutes of plodding around the village and playing in the river.  A solo ride!

15.2.19 – 25 minutes of the best schooling Pea has ever done!  Then 10 minutes of me trudging round in the dark walking her off!

16.2.19 – 40 minutes of plodding around the village.. on my own.. again!

17.2.19 – 70 minutes of bravely venturing around both villages and splashing in the river followed by 5 minutes of stretching.

Week 6 Summary – 3 hours 10 minutes

Week 7

18.2.19 – 40 minutes of schooling followed by 10 minutes of walking off.

20.2.19 – 60 minutes hacking on my own.

21.2.19 – 70 minutes of hacking on my own in the beautiful sunshine!

22.2.19 – 70 minutes of hacking on my own in the beautiful sunshine AGAIN!  I can’t believe how much I have been riding out on my own recently without any lack of confidence or nerves.

Week 7 Summary – 4 hours 10 minutes

Week 8

25.2.19 – 60 minutes of hacking with another girl from the yard and the horse she rides.

1.3.19 – 45 minutes of fairly dodgy schooling followed by a 10 minute cool down hacking down the track and back.

2.3.19 – 60 minutes of hacking including a canter!  Throughout this challenge my hacking confidence has improved so much and cantering out (on my own) for the first time since my hip replacement was another big step.

3.3.19 – 65 minutes of hacking around the local villages in some serious wind and rain!

Week 8 Summary – 4 hours

Week 9

4.3.19 – 40 minutes of pretty poor schooling split into two 20 minute sessions with a sit and chat in the middle!

8.3.19 – 45 minutes of schooling followed by 10 minutes of in hand cooling off. Some proper cantering today!

9.3.19 – 30 minutes of plodding into the village – a sneaky hack before work.

10.3.19 – 60 minutes of the most terrifying hack ever! I had got up at 5am to hack before a big day of moving house.  The wind was absolutely ridiculous and I honestly thought I was going to either be blown off Pea or fall off when she spooked.  I thought I was going to die!  In previous times I would have turned around and gone home but this time I pushed on which just shows how much my confident has grown.

Week 9 Summary – 3 hours 5 minutes

Week 10

11.3.19 – 10 minutes of stretching for Pea today – I got so involved in a Pony Club rally at the yard that I bailed on riding and spent my time grooming Pea and getting rid of some of her winter fluff instead.

15.3.19 -40 minutes of a truly awful schooling session where nothing seemed to be going right followed by 10 minutes cooling down.

16.3.19 – 60 minutes in the saddle for my lesson.  Pea was working so much better into the contact in trot so we worked on her canter (which didn’t go so well) and her square halts.

17.3.19 – 40 minutes of hacking followed by 15 minutes in the school to practise our square halts and 10 minutes of cooling down.

Week 10 Summary – 3 hours 5 minutes

Week 11

18.3.19 – 40 minutes of schooling.

22.3.19 – 30 minutes of schooling.  I also had a go at picking out Pea’s feet from one side – no problem!

23.3.19 – 60 minutes of hacking in the beautiful spring sunshine!

24.3.19 – 60 minutes of hacking through the villages.

Week 11 Summary – 3 hours 10 minutes

Week 12

28.3.19 – 60 minutes of eventful hacking!  The village that we always hack through was being turned into the set of a film so there were lots of people, unusual objects and noisy tools to hack past then we came across a four horse carriage!

30.3.19 – 60 minutes of hacking – we went back through the village to see how the film set was progressing and there has been lots of turf added to cover the double yellow lines on the road.

31.3.19 – 60 minutes of hacking around the normal route, past all the road closed signs and through the film set for the last time before they keep us well away next week!

Week 12 Summary – 3 hours

19 for 2019 (Facts About Us)

It is a new year and I think it is a good opportunity to introduce myself, Pea and our blog to followers old and new. Here are 19 key pieces of information to get you up to speed!

  1. My name is Poppy!
  2. I am 27 years old
  3. I live in the Cotswolds with my boyfriend and two guinea pigs Peter and Patrick
  4. I work in primary education
  5. I have UKCC equestrian coaching qualifications (which I don’t currently use) and a horse care diploma (which helps me to look after my precious pony!)
  6. I started properly riding 5 years ago after childhood hip problems (Perthes Disease) restricted my activity options when I was younger
  7. I now have a ceramic left hip (as of June 2018)33a757f8-1f48-446a-9e89-5dc267ac27e9
  8. My pony’s normal name is Pea but her posh name is Scarlet Sweetpea
  9. She is 14hh
  10. She is passported as a Welsh Cob but has gypsy origins!
  11. She is 13 according to her passport but could be several years either side of that
  12. She is barefoot (and always has been so it is not something I have changed)
  13. I started riding her at my yard (Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre) 4 and a half years ago and then bought her 3 years ago
  14. She lives at the same yard that I bought her from (although we did move for a while) and lives out 24/7
  15. My chosen discipline is dressage and we hope to do more of it this year 42867B0F-2D8B-48B1-9806-399F9DEB9C27.jpeg
  16. I started my blog to share my experience of having a hip replacement at 26 and returning to riding afterwards
  17. I put out a new blog every weekend
  18. I have an Instagram, Facebook page and Twitter feed linked to my blog if you want to see more photos and tales
  19. Most of the video footage and photos of both of us were taken by our top supporter, my non horsey boyfriend
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