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horseyculture

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

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nat412014

Returning to work after a mini-break

There are many books and articles about bringing your horse back into work after months off due to illness, injury or a change of circumstances. They talk about building fitness slowly, building muscle and aerobic fitness. But what about a short holiday? How fit is a horse after a week or two off? And how quickly can you return to full work?

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Jumping on an angle

Abbey and I haven’t done much jumping on an angle. Well, not on purpose anyway!

Today’s lesson had Abbey and I tackling two fences set on a steep angle.

My RI kept the fences low so if we screwed it up Abbey could trot over them without much effort and without scaring herself.

Like dressage, it’s a step by step approach. My RI makes sure that we’re confident at each level before moving onto the next.

Our first attempt was in trot and was good. Abbey was, I must admit, slightly confused about where we were going, but responded to my aids and kept going.

This is a huge change from our first year of jumping which involved lots of stops whenever the question (or the look of a fence changed).

By the end we were popping over the two jumps confidently with only one stride between them.

Why I choose an equine podiatrist (rather than a farrier)

I first learnt about about barefoot when my first horse, Harley was diagnosed with multiple issues in his feet (navicular).

Extensive research into his issues had brought up Rockley Farm – a rehabilitation centre that has successfully helped horses with similar issues return to sound, useful lives.

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A wandering left seat bone

It’s been a while since I last posted because my time has temporarily reallocated to demolishing one kitchen and building a new one (boring!).

Abbey has been ticking over. The most exciting things have been our lessons with Sam. And there have been two since my last post.

In the first one we worked on keeping Abbey up and together in trot. He did this by establishing the trot on a circle – going forward and then asking her to slow the pace but keep the power – and then taking it large. We both tend to relax on the long sides of the school and as a result Abbey’s hind legs begin to trail, she starts to go flat and hollow and by the end of the 2nd long-side of the arena, other lovely outline has completely unravelled!

Sam also introduced us to renver in this lesson. It always amazes me how quickly Abbey gets the hang of new exercises, when I ask correctly.  The tricky bit is getting me to co-ordinate my body to do the asking.

Yesterday we worked solely on me with a biomechanics lesson.  As we were doing our warm up, Abbey was doing her usual drifting through the left shoulder. Sam asked ‘where is your left seat bone?’.  It was a hard question to answer. I knew where I thought my right one was but my left appeared to be absent.

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Abbey gets a new stable door

For ages now I’ve been aware that Abbey has tight muscles in her shoulders and neck.

My barefoot trimmer always mentions it, every physio observes and treats it, and I know from how she is about being touched there.

It’s been one of those niggles that has been on the to-do after her ulcers and the tightness in her back and left hamstring.

With those biggies sorted (ulcers with diet and stress management, back with treeless saddle and improved dressage training), it was time to tackle Abbey’s tight shoulders and neck.

I’ve figured that at least part of the problem is the height of the stable door. It’s too tall and Abbey has to lift her head up and over.

Our wonderful yard owner made all the stable doors and has been (very understandably) reluctant to take a saw to one. So I’ve purchased a Shires stall guard.

At first Abbey was suspicious, but after just a few days, I think she rather likes it.

Time will tell whether it helps relieve some her sore muscles.

PS I wouldn’t recommend this for a horse that leans into pressure or enjoys making escapes! Atm I park a wheelbarrow outside Abbey’s stable to dissuade her from trying to get underneath.

Feeling like a failure – Saturday’s dressage test

I’ve delayed writing this post because I wasn’t sure what to say. On Saturday we went to the local venue to do dressage and WE DID RUBBISH.

It wasn’t dramatic, there were no tantrums, but as soon as we entered the arena Abbey hollowed. From then on she point blank refused to let go and work in an outline.

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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!

 

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