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

Two fourths and a great schooling session

Last Thursday Abbey and I ventured out in 40mph gusts to do Novice 24 and 34.  Despite the wind we came home with just over 63% and 65% and two green rosettes.

Abbey settled much more quickly in the warm up this time and in comparison with our last outing, was slightly less tense and spooky (though I still could have kissed her ears many times during the test!).  I thought she was fairly fit but I guess she’d used up most of her energy being anxious and her engine died for the second test.  This did mean, however, that she got the the relaxation.


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Connies I love

Here’s a small collection of Connemara Ponies that I adore.  I’ll add to this page as I fall in love with yet more ponies.  Feel free to suggest others that might be added to my ‘Hall of Fame’ in the comments!


Abbey’s dad is such a handsome pony!




Discover his journey here.


Glencarrig Marble

He has even got his own Facebook page!


Winner of the National Pony Society M&M Baileys Horse Feeds champion of the Year at Horse of the Year Show 2017.


Here’s a video of her as a 4yo:



Clipping and Rugging

There’s been a lot of talk recently about rugging; a vets released a table showing temperatures and appropriate rug rates.  It prompted The Scottish Rider to write this blog post too.

I whole heartily agree with her statements and as I am going to clip Abbey I thought I’d draft a post to add to the discussion.

While other liveries have clipped their ponies, I’ve held off for nearly a month.  Why? Because Abbey didn’t need to be clipped.

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Abbey’s bouncing back

It’s been a busy week for me and a good one for Abbey.

On Wednesday I went to Horse of the Year Show (see my report here). I got up early to see the Connemara class and was delighted to read later this week that Skaergaarden Delicious Love won the overall M&M championship (click here to find the showing tips I picked up).

Thursday was dressage schooling. I’m having to get used to Abbey’s new way of going. She’s so chilled that I’m having to generate energy and engage her hind end through exercises rather than containing the anxious energy that she’s been giving me for the last couple of months.

Determined to get more ‘ping’, Abbey and I headed to the school again on Friday evening and I’m please to report that there was a small improvement.

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HOYs’17 – a review

Horse of the Year Show is, for many, the pinnacle of the showing calendar.  It started yesterday and I went along to do some shopping and watch the Mountain and Moorland Connemara class.

It’s my fifth visit and I was delighted that the organisers have changed the timetable for the Mountain and Moorlands on the Wednesday morning. The Fells & Dales are the first in the ring, and the New Forest Pony and the Connemara Pony classes have been split.  The upshot is that I get an extra half hour in bed 🙂

It was a shame to see only 10 New Forest ponies come forward – they are an iconic breed, versatile and suitable for adults and children alike.  In comparison, 39 Connemara’s competed in their respective class.

I’m no expert on showing nor on the Connemara breed, so I won’t comment on the entries, however, as an enthusiastic amateur keen to show my on Connie, it was very interesting to see how the professionals do it (more on that here).

Considering how early it was, there were lots of spectators and a great atmosphere .


The tradestands open at 9am, so after watching these showing classes we headed to the shopping.

There were noticeably fewer shops this year, and as usual, there were quite alot of non-horsey stands (from makeup and nails, to massagers and exercise machines). I’m not saying this is bad – the massage machines were very good, and welcome after a long day – just an observation.

In the main, the majority of the equestrian stands were good quality and I spotted some new, innovative products as well as some bargins.

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HOYs’17 – the Connemara Class, showing tips and observations

For me, HOYs is just down the road and it’s a good job – the Conneamara class is among the first of the show.

This year I got a small lie in as they’d adjusted the timetable. The Connies were the 4th not 1st class of the day, which meant I’d a bacon butty in one hand a cup of coffee in the other when the class started.

I’d like to do some showing with Abbey so I watched this class with the objective of understanding the format and how to present a pony. I don’t have the knowledge or expertise to comment on the ‘judging’ or the ponies.

39 ponies came forward and after the walk/trot/canter round, the class was split into two.  One half went off to be stripped and conformation judged while the other did their individual shows.



It always surprises me how short the individual show is.  Competitors come out from the line, halt in front of the judge and when asked, start their show.

They walk away from the judge for a few strides and turn to the track to give themselves a little extra room.  Within 5/6 strides they picked up trot and then right canter – all within half a 20m circle.  They trotted somewhere along the diagnol and picked up left canter on the other half.  They all galloped the long side but quickly came back to canter, trot, walk and a halt with salute, parallel (side on) to the judge on the short side.

When I went to a showing clinic the individual shows we practiced were a little longer (see this post ).  I guess that there are just that many ponies to see and so many classes, that they really have to keep it all very concise.

The winning pony was Skaergardens Delicious Love, congratulations to the owners, breeders and rider, a beautiful pony.




Lesson with Ken Sudsbury (shoulder-in, medium trot, canter on a named lead)

On Sunday I had a lesson with Ken Sudsbury.  He teaches ‘fusion dressage’ (a mix of traditional classical riding and modern training sometimes called ‘neo classical’).

It was fascinating. I picked up some real ‘gems’ (of knowledge) and some great exercises that I’ll be building into our schooling. Abbey was a superstar too – considering she’d only been on antacids for four days, she was focused and willing throughout – feels like my ol’ponio is back 🙂

Ken first looked at Abbey’s walk.  He really liked it and gave me strict instructions not to ‘fuss’ with it.  All I am permitted to do is close my hands and shoulders to ask for a slightly more collected walk, and ask for a little more extension by opening my fingers on the reins and giving Abbey a small nudge with the legs.  He explained that with a small horse, the extended walk is not going to be huge. If I shorten my reins too much and push with my seat, I will flatten the walk – this is forbidden!

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Blogger Recognition Award (Thankyou to The Scottish Rider for the nomination!)

A massive thank you to The Scottish Rider for my nomination. I love your honesty (your reports of the lows as well as the highs), that you challenge convention (like your rugging post) and how you mix it up with different points of view (Diary of a moody mare).

Why I started this blog

Selfishly, I started this blog for myself!

Continue reading “Blogger Recognition Award (Thankyou to The Scottish Rider for the nomination!)”

Abbey was crabby for very good reason

After the ODE, Abbey’s attitude didn’t get better, in fact it got worse.  I’ve wondered for a while whether she’s ulcers – many of her ‘quirks’ are classic symptoms and it’s estimated that one in three horses suffer from them.

So to cut a long story short, I had her scoped on Wednesday.  She’s grade 2 ulcers (they are graded on a scale of 1-4) and is now being treated with a course of Peptizole.

The vet has also recommended I swap her chaff for Alfa-A, adding up to 200ml of linseed oil to her feed daily and giving her a bowl of chaff about half hour before riding.

Continue reading “Abbey was crabby for very good reason”

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