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horseyculture

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

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nat412014

Abbey’s sound and we’re back in action!

We never got to the bottom of Abbey’s lameness back in January. The heat in her front foot, became heat that came and went in both which lead me to wonder whether it was laminitis.

Nothing about treating Abbey as having laminitis would have done her harm. She was overweight, a weightloss programme was overdue anyway.

Continue reading “Abbey’s sound and we’re back in action!”

Ut oh! Abbey’s got an abscess brewing

Typically it’s the day when the physio comes that Abbey has a hot hoof.

Must admit it wasn’t me that spotted it. The yard brought Abbey in and picked out her feet this morning. I’d been running a little late so just flicked a brush over her before the physio arrived.

To cut a long story short the physio recoiled when she touched her near fore. She was right, it was hot to the touch.

First thought was laminitis. Abbey’s primed for it…despite my best efforts she is overweight and her grazing isn’t ideal. I’ve been walking the tightrope between ensuring she’s enough forage to prevent excess stomach acid causing ulcers and keeping her weight down. I’m exercising her as much as I can. Her field doesn’t contain much grass but it’s short and therefore stressed meaning it’ll produce more sugar. As we’re now in a cold snap, the grass will be producing even more sugar as an antifreeze. Altogether…it is a recipe for laminitis.

Continue reading “Ut oh! Abbey’s got an abscess brewing”

First impressions of the Equilab app

I’ve had the Equilab app for just over a week and used it a couple of times to track our rides. I’d like to use it to see how Abbey’s fitness is improving over the coming season. Previously I have used Map My Run…which did the job….kinda.

Equilab logo
The Equilab app is available to download for free from your app store.

The first time that I’d used a new app we had a rather exciting hack round the ‘big block’ as it is known on the yard.

Continue reading “First impressions of the Equilab app”

Happy New Year!

It’s been over a month since my last post which shows just how busy the holiday season has been. I hope yours has been as filled with fun, family and friends as mine.

That last post talked about how I was going to bring Abbey back into work after a short break, getting her back up to fitness so that we could continue our journey with dressage and jumping.

It hasn’t quite happened that way, we’ve not been as focused and dedicated as perhaps we should. Instead we’ve been big kids, having fun and not worrying too much as ‘progress’.

Instead we’ve enjoyed winter wobbles around the fields. In England it’s not been a winter wonderland, more of a muddy sploshy swamp.

As we approached the Christmas break our hacks took to the roads and became increasingly festive.

Every cloud has a silver lining; the rain did provide some cross country water opportunities.

Abbey enjoyed some time with her fieldmate’s owner who hacked her, schooled her and even popped her over a fence or two.


We squeezed in a little schooling but it was all very low key, The main focus was to focus on stretching over her topline and using that back end.

Today we welcomed the New Year with interval training. We shouldn’t really be cantering at this point but, hey, it’s still the holidays and there’s nothing quite like a good canter in an open space to blow the cobwebs (self induced with alcohol!) away!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the holidays as much as I have. Here’s to a fabulous 2019!

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?

Continue reading “Returning to work after a mini-break”

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.

Continue reading “Why I choose an equine podiatrist (rather than a farrier)”

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.

Continue reading “A wandering left seat bone”

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.

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