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

A very equestrian day

Some days you get to play ponies all day and today was one of those days 😀

This morning I had a dressage lesson and this afternoon I went to the National Dressage Championships.

Even the rain couldn’t put a dampener on the lesson. Abbey is on top form at the moment – she feels stronger, more supple and is concentrating more than ever before (or maybe that’s me!). Together we’re making good progress.

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Product Review: National Dressage Championships

Today I went to day one of the National Dressage Championships. Despite the wet and very windy weather, it was a great day out.

I’ve been a few times now and nothing quite prepares you for being within a few feet of some of the best riders in the country doing their thing. And with wall to wall competition, it’s hard to find time to shop (and you’ve got to do some shopping!).

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Product Review: Cord UHF wireless system 2 channel (microphone/headphone for riding lessons)

Today’s lesson had an interesting twist; for the first time my RI gave me headphones and he wore a microphone. “It saves my voice”, he said. I could empathise as nothing but an professional opera singer would overcome the wind and rain that challenge today’s lesson.

The ear pieces looped over my ears, I tucked the wire down my coat (like one of the cool kids at school) and popped the control block in my pocket.

I’ve little ears and was a little worried about them falling off but they didn’t even in canter. I could hear my RI clearly despite the weather. It doesn’t say it’s waterproof but judging by the state of the horse treats in my pocket, I’m sure they got pretty wet!

The headphones were comfortable to wear and made me feel like Kylie!

 

Clever girlie

Abbey was on form and in the zone for our lesson today. 😁

We got off to a slow start but it allowed me to show Sam what I’ve been struggling with the last couple of rides. Namely, getting Abbey to ‘give’ and ‘let go’.

She’s such a clever pony that she’s learned that she can to hang on to the bit rather than relax her jaw and poll. The flexions we had been doing and were working, no longer seemed effective.

Yesterday I got round this by stepping it up a gear and using outside flexion as well as inside, to get her to ‘let go’.

Today, Sam gave me another tool. Slow the walk (my speed, not hers!) and, on a circle, do shoulder in, with flexion. It’s more demanding. It makes her think where she is putting her feet while also getting her to relinquish control and relax.

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The day that didn’t go as planned

Yesterday we went to Solihull Riding Club for an unaffiliated dressage competition.

I’d done my homework, learnt and practiced my tests, scrubbed Abbey to within a inch of her life and set off a little early. With less than a mile and a half to go, the horsebox starts making a funny noise and then the ‘stop’ and oil lights come on the dashboard.

Those regular readers will know that Abbey is a bit of a nervous traveler. She finds the process stressful and often trembles and sweats. I try to make her experiences in the box as relaxed as possible, I drive extremely carefully, pick routes that are as straight as possible and try to keep to a routine.

I pulled over to discover oil spewing out all over the floor. I tried not to panic (and failed!). Thankfully I had some oil in the van, so I lift the bonnet, pour half in, close the lid and jump back in. I was thinking that at least if we can get to the club then Abbey is in a safe place where she can get off the van.

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Novice 34 Practice

It’s been a while since Abbey and I took to the school to practice a test, but with a competition in just 2 days I thought we’d better do some.

Lately we’ve been focused on building Abbey’s strength and suppleness, particularly in her trot work. Looking back at the video, I can see it is paying off. She’s much more uphill and there’s more cadence.

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Product Review: Body Shop Lash Sport Waterproof Mascara

I’m not normally one for ‘girly’ things but I do wear a little make up and I do like to be presentable.

Over the years I have tried most brands of waterproof mascara, some good, some not so good. But this one has been so awesome that it deserved a review.

Ok, so it can be a little tricky to get off but even so, I have not had any runs or smears (even when I have rubbed my eyes).

It has withstood interval training, schooling and nights out and still looked good. It wasn’t expensive either.

And because it’s the body shop you know that it’s not been tested on animals and contains no nasties.

Wishing for Stable Stains. (A Product Review of HAAS/Eqclusive brushes)

Some people would call me cynical, I’d prefer to see it as a healthy level of suspicion. So when I saw posts on social media saying that the new Eqclusive brushes were as good as the company says I didn’t believe them. At all.

But I was curious. I really liked the idea of avoiding the cold water hose the morning of a competition.  Somehow I seem to transfer the poo from Abbey to me, and get drenched in the process. Which then means I turn up looking like I have been dragged through a ditch (wetter than a hedge) backwards, but at least I have a clean pony. It also means that I’ve wet sleeves for the whole day…in winter that really gets on my nerves!

I really like the idea of being able to half the baths, brushing off mud and stable stains and going out.

I don’t know how many times, I’ve clicked the link on the Facebook posts. I just couldn’t justify £80 for some horse brushes but then I spotted the money back guarantee…

When they arrived I couldn’t wait to try them out. But Abbey had other ideas….

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Thank goodness for the yard owner

Yard owners and managers often come in for some hefty criticism especially on the equestrian forums.

I don’t envy them; from managing the grazing and maintaining the yard, to resolving livery squabbles and caring foe our most precious equines, they have a tough job.

I’m sure that there are bad’uns out there but mine are great. The husband and wife team (and wider family that chip in) do everything they can to ensure the yard is a happy place for their liveries and their horses.

Twice this summer I’ve gone away and both times Abbey has required medical attention. The first time, she was bitten on her girly bits and, just like last time, she was very uncomfortable (who wouldn’t be!)

The YO tended to her bite, working out that aloe vera was more soothing for her than the sudocrem I’d been applying. Applying it couldn’t have been easy with Abbey dancing like she’s on hot coals, with added tail swishes.

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