Can’t believe it’s been a whole month since my last post!  From lessons and competitions, to hacking and interval training, Abbey has been a busy girl.

She’s starting to loose a little weight. Abbey is now doing at least an hour of work 5 times a week, including interval training. We’re up to 5 miles of trot/canter work and she’s finally burning more calories than she’s consuming.

I know it’s backwards for a pony to loose weight in summer and put it on in winter but Abbey is prone to getting ulcers which means she needs constant access to forage and forage contains calories. In winter I struggle to find the daylight and ground conditions needed to burn those calories and the weight goes on.

Training-wise we’re once again making fast progress.  We’ve had to take some steps back but its paying off. Over the last 3 weeks, thanks to Sam Twyman, we’ve be working on my position and Abbey’s suppleness and engagement. I’ve also had a lesson with Ken Sudsbury…see here for the ‘gems’ I picked up.

Between Ken’s pearls of wisdom and Sam helping me to plug-in my left seatbone (which has been on sabbatical for some considerable time!) Abbey is rarely falling in and out through her left shoulder.

Sam is working with us to get Abbey properly connected and working over her back. We’ve been using a lot of supplying exercises to help Abbey open up in front of the wither and come up through her shoulders.

My fitness is improving too. I’m back to running and, I have discovered yoga. I’ve found a great instructor (Lucy Holtom, Living Your Yoga) and am thoroughly enjoying building some serious core strength while finding some inner peace.

This was particularly useful at a recent dressage competition where Abbey warmed up beautifully, only to loose the plot walking to the arena – doh! The resulting test was awful. Abbey fought me from start to finish and every moment in between! We came last by over 10%…

 

…But being able to breath deeply to calm and center myself, really helped me to bring Abbey back down to earth. Our next test was much better. So much so that we came 2nd 🙂  She was still a little tense in the canter but we’d not practiced cantering in her ‘new’ outline (over her back and up through the shoulders).

 

Do you do yoga too? How has it helped your riding? A few of us have formed a group on Facebook and you’re very welcome to join us Horse-riding Yogis to swap yoga/riding stories, tips and anything else yoga related.