Tried and Tested: Derby House Medium Rug

I’m a big fan of letting horses be horses but I’m also very much a believer that if we expect our four legged friends to be athletes and perform for us then we have to treat them accordingly. As you will know from In Too Deep, I clipped Pea in preparation for the Area Qualifiers and when a layer of natural rug comes off, a layer needs replacing. Luckily, my favourite rug brand Derby House had very kindly lined us up with a medium weight rug to replace Pea’s lightweight when the time came.

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I chose the Pro Frenchie Print Medium Combo Turnout Rug – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you can’t have cute patterned rugs when you’ve got a cute little pony, when can you?  They even have accessories to match!  If you’re not a dog fan, they also have Christmas designs, unicorn print, plain colours as well as black and frequently add new prints to their collection (you might have seen last year’s cow print that Pea had!)

Derby House say this rug is “crafted from a tough 250gr diamond weave print that is durable, waterproof and breathable and 200 gram of warm polyfill you can be sure that your horse will be warm, protected and dry no matter what the weather has in store” and Pea would certainly agree.  She has been wearing hers for over a month now; we have had periods of torrential rain, a night of snow and a whole heap of mud and she has stayed warm, dry and clean throughout.

Leaning over wire fences and being a generally mischievous little scamp has challenged the ripstop outer of the rug.  It is scratched but the waterproofness hasn’t been compromised yet though it will need mending at the end of the season.  The classic Derby House design has robust neck buckles and chest clips.  In all the Derby House rugs I have had, I’ve never had an issue with the hardware and this rug is no different.

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If you are in the market for a cosy, well-designed rug for your four-legged friend this winter I highly recommend you give Derby House’s website a visit.

A Guide To Shedding Tools!

It has come to the time of year when those of us who have unclipped horses are being punished for letting them grow their own rugs over winter.  Suddenly they are like bird nest machines, shedding hair everywhere and sometimes they need a little helping hand! Over the years I have used plenty of different gadgets to help Pea to shed her winter fluff so here’s a low down of our recommendations. All of these have been bought with my own money and my opinions are certainly my own and based on solid use.

The ‘Cheap and Cheerful All-Rounder’

These metal ‘shedding blades’ are pretty cheap (from £4) and effective at catching loose hairs and sweeping them away especially when you open them up like a scythe! I wouldn’t recommend using one of them on sensitive areas or legs but they do a decent enough job on the body and double up as an excellent tool to remove dry mud!

The ‘Sorry I’ve Found Better’

You know what it is like, you see a video on the internet of something looking amazing and you get sucked into buying it. That’s how my YO and I ended up ordering StripHairs from America a few years ago. When they arrived, although we were in slight shock that we’d spent so much money on what is essentially a rubber block, we thought they were great but they are hard work to use and have been far outclassed by more recent purchases! I know StripHair have changed the design of their blocks and I can’t comment on the new ones (they cost $39) but if I wanted a shedding specific tool I would certainly buy…

The ‘Best In Test’

I bought a SleekEZ two years ago with my Eqclusive brush pack (they cost £19.95 individually) and I haven’t looked back! It is so effective at taking out the hair that is ready to be shed and is so satisfying to use. The difference in all of our horses’ coats from the year before to the year we used these in the lead up to our riding school vet inspection was incredible. Because it is essentially a ridged metal blade coming from a wooden block, you have to be careful about pressure, particularly in more sensitive areas.

The ‘New Classic’

Although I use the SleekEZ on most of Pea’s body I turn to my Eqclusive curry comb (£7 each) particularly for her tummy and legs. It is the perfect reincarnation of a traditional rubber curry comb with a solid rubber structure but soft tips. In circular motions it teases all the ‘shed ready’ hair out of the coat, gets rid of any mud and provides a sort of massage for your horse.

Do you have any other shedding tools you could recommend?

Along For The Ride – There’s Snow Place Like Home

If you follow my socials you will know I’ve been hoping for a snow day and today, my dream came true by many inches!

At 3 in the morning (I must have known something was going on) I woke up to see the world was white and by 8 o’clock it was confirmed that work was closed.  Not that I was going to get there anyway!  My other half had taken our 4×4 to go to his job so I was twiddling my thumbs at home trying to work out how to get to the yard. If you know me, or have read Home Is Where The Horse Is, you’ll know that the yard is my favourite place.

My 3 o’clock in the morning plan had been to walk but it was very sensibly pointed out to me that it is a 4 mile drive, would be quite a bit further to walk, snow isn’t easy to walk in AND if I got into trouble no-one would be able to help me.  Let’s not forget the ceramic hip either!

Anyway, I had established that the buses were not running and just as I was contemplating hitch hiking (for the first time in my life) I got a call to say my boyfriend was coming home and the car was mine!

Five of us horsey people made it to the yard and mucked in with the yard owner to help to feed some of the horses.  I can definitely recommend bumping around on the back of a pickup to go up to a far away field and divide and conquer a herd of fluffy, fat gannets with buckets of grain as the best way to start a Friday.

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The others all decided to hack out but I really didn’t fancy it.  I’ve watched ‘The Horse Whisperer’ too many times and the image of that horse slipping and falling on the ice under the snow and sliding down the hill haunts me.  I know lots of people hack out in the snow but I just couldn’t get past that worry that something might happen.  I didn’t have a hip replacement so that I could end up in hospital again and I’d never forgive myself if something happened to Pea.

I spent a good couple of hours grooming Pea and trimming her feathers off.  I know the snow will probably be all gone before we know it but I don’t want her to have snow dreadlocks or cold wet feathers.

We then popped into the school so that we could get some kind of ride in.  Pea was slightly put off by the remnants of the snowman that had been made earlier but soon made friends with it..

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We plodded round and round the school, trying to churn up a centre line, long changes of rein and 20m circles.  I tried to work on having a forward medium walk and free walk as there wasn’t much else I could do! I hoped to break up the surface enough to school properly but we only managed a bit of trot as it was still just a bit too hard.

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I whiled away a few more hours at the yard before succumbing to the call of a warm house and the promise of a chippy tea!

Today’s ride was not a success in terms of working towards our goals (though we did work on our walk) but I had a really lovely day in the best place.  Sometimes pony time is more important than riding!

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Did you have a snow day?  What did you get up to?

Yoga For Horses

Before you read this, I’m not an equine physiotherapist, I’m just sharing what I’ve been shown over the years by various physios.  I try to do Pea’s stretches most times I ride and she’s pretty flexible (though she wasn’t when I first started doing them!)  Read on for my reasons for stretching Pea, my top tips and our routine accompanied by pictures from our soggy, sweaty stretching session after hacking and schooling on Saturday (please forgive the state of us!)

Reasons to stretch your horse:

  • Improve flexibility and range of movement
  • Reduce stiffness
  • Strengthen tissue/protect from injury
  • Warm up or cool down
  • A nice bit of bonding time!

Top tips:

  • Don’t tie your horse up – either get someone to hold them or do your stretches in an safe space like a stable or arena!
  • Start each stretch with your horse stood squarely (where possible!)
  • Repeat everything on both sides
  • Be gentle!
  • For the treat/carrot stretches, encourage your horse to mouth the treat/carrot before you give it to them, otherwise they won’t be holding the stretch long enough!
  • Don’t force your horse to do more than they are comfortable with
  • Don’t do anything that might aggravate an injury and if you’re unsure, ask your vet or physio before doing any stretches

1. I start with neck/back stretches.  For the first one, I use a carrot or treat to encourage Pea to bend her neck around as far back as she can.

Future-Poppy Edit – If your horse gets too ‘good’ at this and snatches around without stretching, make them reach wider.

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2. I then get her to stretch down to the outside of her front hoof.

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3. By far my favourite stretch is holding the treat between Pea’s legs, she really stretches down and backwards.

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4. The next stretch involves standing in front of Pea and holding a treat up high so that she stretches her neck up and out.  In theory she should stick her head out straight but we tend to often have a sideways tilt.. something to work on!

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5. I also get her to tuck her head right in to her chest.

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6. Recently I have introduced some leg/shoulder stretches into our routine.  Firstly I stretch her front legs forward.  It is really important to be gentle with this and support the leg rather than force it.

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7. I then hold her knee up in front of her.  This one is good when you have just put your saddle on as it gets any skin folds away from the girth!

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8. I also stretch her hind legs forward – this is where it is important to be in a safe space, have someone to help you or have full trust that your horse isn’t going to walk off!

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The next stretches to add to our routine are a backwards hind leg stretch and the tummy tickle which makes the horse lift their back (I’ve been trying to find the spot on Pea but haven’t perfected it yet!)

Do you have any stretches you do with your horse?

5 Things I’m Proud Of (2018)

I’ve decided to join Rhea Freeman’s ‘5 Things I’m Proud Of’ challenge and will be adding one more thing each day until the 31st December!

1 – The Confidence To Make A Change

This started in 2017 when I made the big decision to leave my permanent contract teaching job and follow my dream to a live in job at boarding school stables, but this year (2018) I have made some more major changes.

Firstly, I decided to leave that job in order to return to the Cotswolds for my operation (with no future job lined up!)  Three months into my recovery and feeling much better, I then made the decision to take a HLTA job (rather than try for a full time teaching one) alongside my self employed tutoring.

Both of these big changes have paid off for me so far but I am hoping I don’t have such big decisions to make in 2019!

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2 – Getting Out And About

It has certainly been a year of confidence growth!  With a trailer and the commitment of my travelling head lad (boyfriend..) 2018 was meant to be a year for getting out and about with Pea.  The hip replacement put a fairly big brake on this but we still managed to go out for lessons to two different places (in three different arenas).  Riding in different arenas has been great for my confidence, we have now experienced an arena with no fence and been in an indoor arena for the first time ever!

Each time we go out the stress gets less as we establish our routines and roles. I am still nervous about travelling Pea (even though she travels fine) but the more we do it, the more settled I feel. I’m proud of us all for breaking out of our comfort zone.

The intention was to get out to competitions this year too but that wasn’t meant to be.. hopefully we will have more success in 2019!

3 – My Recovery Journey

If you have ever visited my blog before you will know that in June I had a hip replacement.  Quite aside from being proud that I actually did it in the first place (though I made that decision at the end of 2017), I’m proud of how I’ve made it out the other side. 

I’m proud of myself for following the rules of my rehab, for doing my physio exercises, for getting back on my pony and ‘living my life’. 

I’m proud that I am now able to walk tall and (fairly) straight. 

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4 – Pea

As you can see in Pea’s Year it has been a big year for Pea. After settling in to life in Malvern she went through the upheaval of moving back to Bourton with no stress or complaints.

After running away from my crutches before my operation, once my hip was done she couldn’t have been more gentle and tolerant of me or the fact that she was being ridden by various tourists!

She responded to each stage of progress with interest and was almost unsure the day I led her out of the stable to get on! She has been pretty much impeccably behaved since, testing me only when I have been ready!

I’m proud of the willingness she has shown when my instructor has ridden her and I’m proud that we are finishing 2018 in a better position than we were at the beginning!

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5 – My Blog

If you had asked me at the beginning of 2018 what I would be proud of by the end, the changes, the trailer travel, the operation and Pea would have all been very much on my list, I could never have predicted the fifth thing I’m proud of.

I started my blog with very little expectation or intention but I feel like I have achieved something with it!

  • I am proud to have received messages and comments from people who have appreciated me sharing my story (some of whom live in a completely different country!)
  • I’m proud to have been shortlisted and given an award in the Equestrian Blogger of the Year competition.
  • I’m also proud to be writing again for a purpose other than work!

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Christmas Gift Guide 2018

Christmas is a time for friends, family and a bit of time off work HOWEVER it can also be a good excuse to give and receive some presents!  I have put together my top 8 picks for equestrians, equines and even non-horsey support teams.  I have chosen mostly small, British businesses – remember, when you buy from a small business, a real person does a little happy dance!

Click on each heading to be taken straight to the item.

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Gallop Guru – ‘Palomo’ Leather Saddle Handbag £175

I was lucky enough to receive one of these for my birthday several years ago.  It is great quality and totally eye catching – I have had lots of pointing, looking and ‘where did you get that?’ when I have worn it.  It is the perfect gift for the equestrian who isn’t afraid to express their passion for horses even when dressed up!  It is well worth checking all the other gorgeous items Gallop Guru have to offer.

Eqclusive – Brush Pack – £80-102

Christmas is a time to treat yourself and your four legged friends.  I have an Eqclusive brush pack and use at least some of the brushes on Pea every time I ride.  They were so worth the money.  If you’re after more of a stocking filler, my top picks would be the Schimmel brush and the New Generation Curry Comb.

Derby House – Pro Snowman Medium Combo Turnout Rug £54.99

I’m a big fan of Derby House rugs, they are good quality and they always have fun prints.  Pea has had a varied wardrobe of checks, spots and fair isle in the past and she has written to Father Christmas to ask if she can be bedecked with snowmen this Christmas.

Olivia Towers – Zip Jumper £46.99

I’m an avid follower of Olivia Towers’ vlogs and social media.  Her riding and mindset skills are inspirational.  I’ve ordered myself a ‘Believe it’s possible’ jumper which I know will both remind me to get my head in the game and will be great to ride in.  Do check out her other slogans and pieces.

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Horseshoe Hearts – Original Horseshoe Heart Good Luck Charm £23-6

I discovered this wonderful business on Instagram and if I could, I would fill my house with everything they sell!  I think that a heart would be a particularly nice present especially as you can personalise them.  Get your order in quickly as they close their order book on the 10th December!

Willberry Wonder Pony – Berry Pony – £20

Christmas is a time for charity and this charity is so worth supporting.  To keep the memory of Hannah Francis alive, I think every rider should have their own ‘Berry’ pony.  ‘Peaberry’ certainly helped me to put my life in perspective when I was in hospital.  All the proceeds go towards bone cancer research and granting equine wishes to seriously ill people.

Emily Cole – 2019 Calendar £7.99-9.99

If you’re a regular blog reader you will already know that I love Emily Cole’s work.  Her calendar is a 12 images in 1 present whammy but I would highly recommend having a search around her website at the prints and other items as there are pieces to match each rider and horse’s personalities and interests!

Daniel Skinner AKA Skint Dressage Daddy – From Nags To Numbnuts £6.99

If you’re not familiar with Skint Dressage Daddy, he’s the ultimate reluctant pony-parent (and writes a blog). His book makes the perfect present for other long suffering non-horsey partners and family members who will be able to laugh and cry (and swear) with Daniel through his guide while us equestrians try to defend ourselves!

What’s on your Christmas list this year?

Home Is Where The Horse Is

Thinking about my return to the Cotswolds whilst writing What Comes After Twenty Six?, having a nice evening at the yard and learning of the passing of the founder of the original riding centre which became Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre got me thinking the other night, what makes my yard so good?

(If you need a reminder of how I came to be at Bourton Vale, check out Riding – How It All Started)

Facilities

There is no getting away from the fact that the facilities have a massive impact on the compatibility between you and a yard. I now school 75% of the times I ride so having an arena is crucial.

Since I work 6 days a week having lights in the arena is so helpful.. we are up to 3 lights and counting! We also have 3 mirrors.. we used to have 4 but that’s another story!

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As much as I’d love to be at a yard with an indoor school, gateless hacking etc etc there is so much more to consider..

Activities

As my yard is a hacking centre and riding school (of sorts.. not your typical one) there are always hacks to join and the possibility of using the school.  The option of working livery meant that Pea was ridden throughout the summer when I was unable to do so. Not to mention the hacking is beautiful. There are dressage competitions held there in the summer which gives us some opportunities to compete without the hassle of going anywhere. Although I would quite like to have more of those, if there were more I would probably never get as far as going away to compete. The activities available suit my needs.

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Community

I think the wonder of the horse community is that it throws together very different people who generally have just one thing in common – their love of horses. This is certainly the case at my yard but everyone there (and who has left but has remained part of the family) is part of our little supportive community and we muddle through together.

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Opportunity

It is so important that your yard gives you the opportunity to care for your horse/ride in the way you want to. It really suits me that the Bourton Vale horses live in groups and are turned out 24/7 (unless they need to stay in for some reason) as Pea is happy living like that.  This was especially important when I was off having my operation!

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Support

I had only been riding for a few months when I first went to the yard and had never even caught a horse from a field. The support and education I received there (along with the fantastic lease scheme) allowed me to learn enough to own my own pony and later move away for a while with her. Even nearly 5 years after I started riding there and with a Horse Care Diploma under my belt, having a supremely knowledgeable and generous yard manager makes life so much less stressful!

Structure

As it is a training yard, there are rules and standards in place. Everyone singing from the same hymn sheet (and being pulled up on it if they are not) makes for a smoothly running yard.

A little something special!

At Bourton Vale there is a LOT of special to shout about;

– the menagerie of other animals and their offspring (if you haven’t seen this video featuring them.. why not?)

 

– the range of horses from a Shetland to a shire and everything in between (including young ones and a race horse)

– the unique stories: most of the horses there were unwanted elsewhere and have found possibly the one place they can thrive with us

– the ‘do gooding’ in the form of a free Pony Club, a funded pony racing scheme and much much more

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I may be slightly bias as I can’t see anyone finding a yard better than mine.. (if you are ever in the Cotswolds it is well worth a visit) however, if it has the facilities you need, activities that suit you, a welcoming community, the opportunity to ride and keep your horse in the way you want and an appropriate level of support for your needs, it sounds pretty good to me!

What is good about your yard?

What Comes After Twenty Six?

Today, internet friends, is my 27th Birthday!  Which has had me thinking about the massive year that had just passed.  This blog is for life documentation so if you want to revisit the last year with me, come on in.

I have often said that when I turned 26 I had a bit of a ‘mid twenties crisis’.  I was suddenly really conscious of the future and how much I wanted to achieve but didn’t really feel like I was.

26 has been a rollercoaster, it started with the revelation in December that I was going to have a hip replacement within the next year.  This was followed by the happy occasion of moving in with my boyfriend along with a wonderful few Christmas celebrations with each of our families (and the animal ones).

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Passing my towing test (after one failed attempt..) and my Level 2 UKCC in Equestrian Coaching made me feel like I was getting better at my job and starting to become worthy of it but in February I made the difficult decision that I would have to leave it in order to have a guilt free, successful hip replacement recovery back where I had lived before.

At the end of March, we (humans and pets) made the big move back to the Cotswolds.

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In April I finally managed to reconnect with my family – I went to visit my brother and his little family and my parents.  I started tutoring, I started my new job at the shop, I started blogging AND of course I got my operation date through.  I also created this video – which was essentially an expression of the wonder of being back at my yard.

If you’re a long time reader of mine you know the story from here, Pea and I got out to lessons and I felt like I was just getting somewhere towards my goals, I even managed a fun ride when it all stopped in June for my hip replacement.

June and July were spent like this..

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And this..

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Cut to the end of August (if you want to relive the gory details of my recovery it is all linked in My Hip Story) and the big event was my return to the saddle.

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In September I entered my first online dressage competition and by October I felt ‘better’. I got myself a new job, in a school again and experienced the absolute wonder of getting a blogging award (My Blogging Journey).  There was also loss in our household as we said a sad goodbye to Percy the guinea pig though we then welcomed Patrick to keep Peter company.

In what little of November we have had, Pea and I have got back out for a lesson and she feels better than she has ever felt before (in my completely unprofessional opinion!)  Your Horse Live finished off my year of horsey education trips which included Badminton, Burghley, Blenheim, British Dressage Championships and HOYS.

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This may seem like more of a ‘new year’ style post but all my thoughts around my birthday revolve around how massive this year has been and although on paper it looks like a bit of a mess, I’ve learnt, I’ve achieved and, if I’m honest, I actually feel so much more confident about the future now.  Bring on 27!

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My amazing cake was made by MUCK Cakes by Hannah

Falling In And Out Of Love

Time for a confessional to address a slightly taboo subject – falling in and out of love with riding.

Before I start, just to clarify, not a day has gone by where I haven’t loved Pea.  Even in the early days when sometimes I couldn’t catch her for love nor treats.  Even when her tankiness caused me to have plastered fingers for weeks.  Even when she reared whilst being held by my ‘horses are dangerous’ boyfriend! I’ve never fallen out of love with Pea or horses.

There has also never been a point where I haven’t wanted to WANT to ride.. Just the achieving the wanting has been hard.. Have you got that?

ANYWAY, I have had my fair share of roller-coasters when it comes to how I have felt about riding (even having only started five years ago) and in the interests of honesty I thought I’d share my experiences and tips.

The Lows

Unhappy Hacker –

If you’ve read Riding – How It All Started you will know that I had a major confidence wobble right at the beginning.  There was a time when I didn’t want to leave the yard.  I even walked miles and miles leading a horse when I was too scared to ride it after half a hack!  And cantering our? Forget it!

There have been plenty of days when I have opted not to ride because I had no-one to hack out with.  If I do go out alone, I never go far.  I’m too worried about what might happen if something went wrong.

Confidence/Nerves –

The confidence issues continued.  Prime example being the time I managed to enter a hunter trial but turned into a complete nervous wreck/stranger and ended up falling off due to losing all control over my own limbs/ability to do anything!

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A special mention also goes to the preparation and occasion of my Level 2 Diploma riding assessment – there were a LOT of tears.  The utter fear of assessment is something that really affects me.

Pain –

If you are reading this you are probably aware of my hip situation (if not, you’ve got a lot to catch up on.. My Hip Story).  There have been many many occasions when I have forgone riding because I couldn’t face the pain and the after effects on my hip of having ridden.

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The Highs

The Summer Of Jumping –

There was a time when I did weekly clear round (small) jumping, jumped a yard horse 1m 15 in a ‘Chase Me Charlie’ and was happy to go to a friend’s house and jump their horse!

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Happy Hacking –

Also, in what feels like a past life, I was hacking out three a day!  Kilbeggan Blade/Brian (an ex National horse) and Bobby (a 4 year old driving pony just starting ridden work who I also competed at Intro dressage) alongside Pea.

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Horse Confident –

As I’ve said, in the past I was jumping onto different horses left right and centre, even riding the yard’s most infamous team chaser AND I went to try horses and ponies for the yard owner.

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Finding My Goal –

The catalyst to writing this post was that right now, with a new hip and a dressage ambition – I am SO in love with riding. I have a very long way to go before I get to where I want to be but I’m happy I’m on the right track.

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What I’ve Learnt

– Identify the problem. Be honest with yourself. What is the reason you’re leaving your riding kit at home or using other avoidance tactics?

– Find what you enjoy and stick with it. If you don’t want to jump, don’t. If you never want to ride in an arena, don’t. If you don’t want to hack alone, don’t!

– If you want to make a change, don’t be an island – allow someone to help you. If you need to build your confidence, book a lesson. If you need a hacking buddy, find one! If you’re struggling with your horse, get someone else to ride it and see if they can help.

– Measure your success against yourself and be realistic with your expectations. Albert Einstein wrote ‘if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid’. If yesterday you wouldn’t walk over a coloured pole, don’t expect to be eventing any time soon.

– Celebrate your successes! Walking over that coloured pole may have been a massive achievement over your confidence issues! Celebrate that!

– Be aware of the Olivia Towers ‘stretch zone’ theory (read about it in Tips from HOYS). You’ve got to branch out of your comfort zone a bit but don’t tip yourself over the edge.

– If you don’t like something – change it. Are you avoiding going for lessons because you’re not keen on your instructor? Find a new one.

– Go with the flow. Accept that sometimes you will feel better than at other times. If you’re feeling good, roll with it.

There are some loves worth fighting for!

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Your Horse Live 2018

Today was my third visit to Your Horse Live. It has become somewhat of a birthday tradition (as it always falls the weekend before my birthday). Last time my boyfriend enjoyed it so much I decided to take him this year as HIS birthday treat!

We kicked the day off by watching a jumping demo from Emily and Mary King. While I have no plans to jump possibly ever again, seeing Mary King takes me back to being a little girl with a bad leg who dreamed of riding while watching the big events on TV. At the end Mary brought out Hovis – if you’re not familiar with him, his blogs on Horse and Hound document his own medical issues – he has had worse luck than me!

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The next thing was the Grand Horse Parade with Arko III, Barber Shop, Big Star, Neptune Collonges and Zion. This was followed by the display of Melody Hame’s ‘War Horse’ clipped horse and the observance of the two minutes silence to mark Remembrance Sunday.

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We then hit the shops! There is no denying that Your Horse Live has an impressive number of shops though you tend to see the same coats and boots in about ten places! By the time you’ve had a little walk around, you know exactly what you want.

After that, we popped to the rescue village. It is awful to read about some of the horrible things that people do to ponies but lovely to see a stable block full of recovered ones (even if some of them do look a bit like they really don’t want to be there!)  I wanted to take most of them home!

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We also managed to catch a bit of Sir Lee Pearson’s interview in the Equine Learning Zone. I just feel like I can make NO complaints about my situation when I think about the challenges he faces!

Watching Ben Atkinson Action Horses was entertaining for both of us. The confidence and skill involved in training and riding the trick and stunt horses is immense. One of his horses decided it didn’t want to do what it was meant to at the end.. ie. leave the arena. It just shows that even if you can ride your horse through dressage movements tackless in a big arena it doesn’t mean it will always listen to you!  I have seen them before and each time I do, I go away wishing I was braver!

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We also caught Florian Bacher’s dressage demo of which the most interesting part was him pointing a stick at a horse’s back leg and it responding by doing a piaffe. AMAZING! I’m not sure Pea is quite ready for that!

At the end of the day we did a little bit of spending, I was treated to a new yard coat (Mark Todd) as an early birthday/Christmas present and I bought myself a base layer from Black Heart Equestrian. I had seen it earlier in the day and thought it would go well with my blush Le Mieux numnah but I wasn’t sure if I could justify getting myself a present! When I had decided I could, we went back and had a lovely chat with Erin (whose business it is) and her mum. Looking at what she has achieved at only 21 makes me feel really old!

47519122-0C72-43B9-9A52-71899FCDAD49All in all, a good day AND after all that walking, my bionic leg feels fine! As for the boyfriend.. he enjoyed a pork roll and a coffee!

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