Winter Survival Tips

Some of these are equestrian specific.. others count for everyone!

Be Prepared

It is a bit late for this now and I’m regretting it. Must do better next year!

Have your rugs clean and planned out (I failed on this front. I haven’t got a no fill rug with a neck and that’s what I want now!)

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Establish A Routine

This has been a godsend for me.

Come rain or shine, Monday nights and Friday nights have been my concrete riding nights (bar one or two where I was poorly or had other commitments) and then weekend riding fits around everything else.  Three/four rides a week isn’t as good as I want but it is as much as I can manage.

Wrap Up

It is an obvious one but so important.  Cold and wet weather has always and will always affect my leg so I’ve become a bit of an expert on this.

Footwear – My neoprene Le Chameau changed my life last winter.  They are warm, comfy and the mud doesn’t seem to clump on the bottoms.

Thermals – I’ve got some old Helly Hansen thermal leggings which are so helpful in the winter.

Waterproof trousers – I have Mark Todd waterproofs for proper cold weather which are like wearing duvets on your legs – my top recommendation for snow!  I have thin Horseware ones and Ornella Prosperi for normal days!

Coats – This winter I am rocking my Mark Todd coat, with a fleecy inside and a high collar it has been keeping me properly toasty.  If I’m hacking out though I wear my high vis.

Headgear – I have bobble hats and headbands galore but this winter I think I might have to invest in some earwarmers for my hat.

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Go Alternative

If your outdoor activity is restricted, try something else – yoga for example, reading a good book (I’ll be reviewing Charlotte Dujardin’s ‘The Girl On The Dancing Horse’ soon) or check out Can’t Ride, Can Horse for more ideas.

Accept

Accept the mud, accept the darkness, bide your time because it will be over and before we know it we will be complaining about the heat and the flies!

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!

Burghley Horse Trials 2018

Yesterday I had my first trip to Burghley Horse Trials (at nearly 11 weeks post hip replacement) and had a fantastic day.  I will never event but I have a whole heap of respect for the sport and love watching it.

The Journey

My non-horsey boyfriend was completely up for going to Burghley (having enjoyed Badminton 2017) until he realised it was going to be at least a 2 hour drive.  We left at 7.30 and arrived at 10.30 after having to cope with the Moreton Show traffic, a coffee and diesel stop and his own little detour to avoid some of the Burghley queue (which worked quite well!)  Our trip home was much quicker!

The Shops

We decided to walk around all the shops first as the horses hadn’t actually started when we arrived and I thought I’d get the lions share of walking out of the way.  It is my birthday in November so I looked at more possible present ideas for me rather than Pea (as she pretty much has everything she could possibly need and more!)  I found some of the shops (particularly Fairfax & Favor and Dubarry) just too busy for someone who is worried about being knocked or jostled but I managed to snap a few of my favourite things and shops.

  • I love the little pouches you can personalise from Will Bees Bespoke and since they originate from Salcombe (ten minutes from where I grew up) I feel even more of an affinity with them!
  • I saw this Mark Todd Deluxe Padded Coat on the internet recently and I love it.  I’ve never had a padded coat before and I’m not sure when I would wear it but I know that I like it!
  • I am a big Joules fan – I don’t need a new handbag but I do really like this tan purse though sadly now can’t find it online!
  • This Powder Blue Woof Wear Numnah is on my wish list for Pea – I love the look of my Le Mieux numnah but it isn’t very soft and I’m wondering if the Woof Wear one will be more so.
  • I really like this Official Burghley 2018 T-Shirt but I think if I were to get one I’d have to get it a few sizes too big as I don’t like t-shirts tight!
  • You can’t not love the gorgeous equine jewellery at Hiho Silver.
  • I had to visit Sophie Allport‘s lovely stand – my Stag Bag which was a present last Christmas is so nice and useful.
  • We visited the Brocklehursts shop which I described as ‘the shop that keeps on giving’ – having seen these Barbour coats with furry hoods I now want a furry hood for my Barbour but they don’t seem to exist on their own!
  • My boyfriend’s favourite part of horse shows is the lorries and trailers – the Equi-Treks are a particular favourite.

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Being only just back at work part time and in a job that isn’t giving me much pocket money, I did more window shopping than actual shopping.  I did pick up a shirt from Rydale which I almost bought at Badminton and will be suitable for work.

The Food

We opted to grab something to eat before we settled down to watch the horses.  I had some chips and my BF had a pork roll.  I feel we certainly didn’t take enough advantage of the ‘Food Walk’ which we saw later and looked amazing however my legs were tired, I was feeling a bit wobbly and so we just went for the closest food vans!  We did top up with an ice cream later.

The Action

We tried out a few different vantage points to sit and watch – Discovery Valley, the main arena, Lambert’s Sofa, the Lion Bridge as well as walking via a few other fences.  Highlights for me were Ben Hobday who I have been a fan of since I first saw him at Your Horse Live in 2015 and Pippa Funnell who was my idol when I was a little girl and only allowed to watch eventing on TV from the back of our rocking horse!  I was looking forward to seeing Ben Way as he is a customer where I work but unfortunately he retired before he got to where I was.  We didn’t walk the full course as I didn’t think I was quite up to that but from what I did see, a lot of it seemed massive and/or very technical – there was a lot of breath holding and squeaking from me as a spectator particularly at Capability’s Cutting where even if the horse managed to negotiate the banks down and up, some of the riders almost got taken out by the low hanging branches!

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The Setting

Like I said, I’ve never been to Burghley before.  I didn’t find it as easy to navigate as Badminton but the whole place is beautiful from the Lion Bridge to the House itself and I would love to go again with a bit more mileage capacity for my new hip!

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