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horseyculture

My journey with Abbey & other horsey bits 'n' bobs

Saddles and teeth

ATM I am not convinced either of Abbey’s two saddles (dressage and GP) fit. Really I ought to get the saddle fitter out but it’s only been a couple of months since she last came and it’s getting rather expensive.

I’m going to have a look at treeless saddles, they are supposed to be a bit more forgiving for horses that change shape regularly and I rather like the idea of Abbey having something soft on her back.

In the meantime though, we’ve not stopped schooling or hacking around the farm. I’ve put my brave pants on and started riding on a bareback pad. I’ve surprised myself and seem to have pretty good balance even without stirrups!

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Some mini breakthroughs

Having had weeks of banging my head against a break wall what with the travelling, the ulcers and lack of work, we’ve finally had some mini breakthroughs.

For the second time we’ve been round the block and I’ve unloaded a dry horse. Today I think she even trembled a little less. After unloading she calmed down extremely quickly, allowing us to tack up and head to the school…

…where we had another breakthrough. I’ve been trying not to nag and demand a response to my leg, and today there was so much power I didn’t know what to do with it!

To celebrate we went for a little hack round the farm tracks to cool off. I must have been feeling brave as I was riding in a bareback pad!

I’m thrilled; they were just the little success to make me feel like all the effort is worthwhile and that we’re getting closer towards our goals!

March: quite a month

(Featured imaged by Karen Chaplin photography)

Between the snow, the return of Abbey’s ulcer symptoms and her first season of the year, we’ve had we’ve had quite a month!

While I have kept her ticking over fitness wise, it’s all been rather low-key with no lessons and no outings.

This week, however, we’ve started to pick things up again with two flatwork lessons and a pole clinic at Swallowfields.

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Weeks summary: cold with snow

I love snow. There I’ve said it. While everyone else is moaning about the white stuff I, not-so-secretly, find it magical.

Yes I am a horse owner, yes it presents its challenges, but the waking up in Narnia fills me with excitement not dread.

Perhaps it’s the novelty; we don’t get proper snow very often (one year in three, maybe) and even then it rarely lasts for more than a day or two.

Or perhaps it’s because I’ve a pony that copes well…an extra rug and haynet as it’s pretty much business as usual (Ab Fab carries her own haynets down to her field too!).

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To I certain extent I do understand the snow-related grumbles. In the UK we’re not well equipped to deal with it.

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Today’s test: Novice 23

 

To be honest I’m a bit disappointed with today’s result. It’s ok, the highs wouldn’t be as high if we always had a great result and came home with red frillies. It’s was a learning experience.

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Flatwork and travel update

Abbey and I are continuing to practice many of the movements that come up in Novice tests. Rather than describe in detail our schooling sessions, here’s a video.

Generally I am very happy with how we’re progressing. I think the medium trot is coming on, albeit very slowly. The canter-trot-canter transitions are definitely improving as are leg yields and shoulder-ins.

While the canter-trot-canter movements aren’t in the test we’re doing on Saturday, they are in a test we’re doing in a couple of weeks and it is good to mix up the exercises we do in our schooling sessions; it keeps Abbey enthusiastic about flatwork.

Next time we’re in the school (Friday or Saturday), I’m going to practice walk-canter and counter canter.  It’s not something we’ve done for a while and will help improve Abbey’s balance and engage her hind-end.

I was really pleased that we overcame the spooky corner (unlike in my windy lesson!) and managed to get some sensible work done in the bottom end of the school, even if it did take a little while to get there. As you can see, taking the time to go slowly round the corner, a moment of chill (with a free walk on a long rein), can be enough to calm and settle her.

In other news, I’ve started taking Abbey out in the horsebox daily. With the van floor secure (see here for how we replaced the floor) So far we’ve done two trips and she sweated significantly less on the second one.  Fingers crossed, this is the beginning of Abbey getting used to traveling again.

#LoveYourPetDay

(Photo courtesy of: Poppy K Photography)

It’s been just over 3 years since I met and sat on this ponio for the first time. In that time she’s taught me so much.

We’ve had lots of adventures and faced some scary moments.  Here, as they say, are our best bits (in photos):

 

And of course I couldn’t let today pass without mentioning this little monster!

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Replacing the floor of a horsebox (van conversion)

My personal mission this last week has been to replace the wooden floor in my horsebox.  I’ve known it’s been rather squidgy for a little while now but with the metal base of the van being intact I’ve not worried about it too much.

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A number of factors came together recently meaning that this horrid job rose to the top of my to-do list:

  1. Abbey still isn’t travelling well and I’m sure that the stress of it caused her ulcers. Is it because she doesn’t like the floor? It’s another thing to eliminate before I restart the travel training (loading and short journeys daily).
  2. Urine-soaked wood will eventually start to compromise the van’s metal floor and that is going to be a lot harder and more expensive to fix
  3. I’ve got some time to do it (and the OH took a week’s holiday….I can’t think of a better way of spending Valentines than lifting horse wee soaked rotted wood….can you?!)

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Today’s lesson: improving the hind leg and suppleness

It’s always interesting having a lesson with someone new; they often see different things to your regular trainer. Today’s was no exception.

Having explained our back story and our aims (novice – improving medium trot, canter-trot-canter transitions), we warmed up.

New RI observed that I am nagging to keep Abbey forward particularly with my left leg.  Which means she’s in danger of switching off to my leg aids. It also means that I’ve nothing left to ask for medium trot.

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