Feeling a bit guilty about turning Abbey around- it’s been snowing today and it’s forecast to go down to -2C tonight! As I turned her out this evening in the snow/hail storm I felt like a bad person especially when she’s been rather good today at a showing clinic.

She traveled well (- didn’t get sweaty on the van at all!) and we did some really good work.

I wasn’t sure how it would go. When I was getting ready I realised that a)that Abbey has come into season and was a bit irritable pulling faces at the two horses next door, and b) was really tired having spent the night in the field eating.

I brought her this morning and put her in her stable, went off for breakfast and when I returned she was asleep!

As I was grooming her I noticed that she was getting quite cross with the gelding next door, who was paying particular attention to her and then…..he started curling his lip.  When I washed her tail, my suspicions were confirmed….she is in season and is more than a little irritable.

She loaded ok but best of all when we arrived at the club she wasn’t sweaty at all!  She got off the van calmly and was so settled, she just started eating her hay.

It wasn’t to last though! And I should know better and warmed her up. The frustrating thing was that I’d thought about it and tacked up early to do it but everyone else stood in a queue and I’m too darn British to not join a queue!

Abbey was argumentative from the moment I got in the saddle and the light coming through the wooden slats at they end of the school were definitely to be avoided! She had a really hard time relaxing.

When she did  relax she really performed.  The judge was really complimentary about the good bits. I got a lovely ‘show’ trot out of her and the canter extensions were definitely her forte!

The judge did comment at how much better my right rein is than my left….that was my weak side, I’ve obviously over practiced and now need to focus a little more on the other.

The judge talked us through a couple of ‘individual shows’ and we each performed one.  For mine:

  1. Come out from the line and walk round to stand in front of the judge
  2. Halt
  3. Walk way for a few strides veering into the space by the line, then trot
  4. Half circle in trot, change the rein across the diagonal
  5. At the end of the diagonal canter half circle
  6. Change the diagonal (returning to trot)
  7. Pick up canter
  8. Half circle in canter
  9. Trot, walk, halt and salute long the long side


For the in-hand part, you walk to the judge, halt and then walk away but curve at the end, turn and trot back straight towards the judge.


I picked up some tricks of the trade too – in hand you don’t want them to stand 100% square, you present them to the judge with the hoof closest to the them slightly in front of the other.  When the judge goes around the other side, move the horse forwards or backwards so that again, the hoof close to the judge is in front of the other. Encourage the horse to flex it’s neck while the judge is looking too with a treat. Just like Abbey’s grandad is here:


In the ridden section, start preparing for the individual show by turning a circle in the line up and use all the room by doing a ‘u’turn before heading towards the judge and halting.

Heading home Abbey did take a couple of minutes to load but once on, was calmer than has been and again she didn’t get sweaty. The little and often, seems to be working.  I’ve also really slowed down my driving, imagining that there is a cup of water in the back that I mustn’t spill.

To get a slip of paper in the goodie bag at the end saying I’d been ‘spotted for the medium group of ‘The Showing Register Training Pathway‘ was the icing on the cake….although I don’t really know what it means so I’m off to do some googling!