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



Today’s test: Novice 23


To be honest I’m a bit disappointed with today’s result. It’s ok, the highs wouldn’t be as high if we always had a great result and came home with red frillies. It’s was a learning experience.

Continue reading “Today’s test: Novice 23”


(Photo courtesy of: Poppy K Photography)

It’s been just over 3 years since I met and sat on this ponio for the first time. In that time she’s taught me so much.

We’ve had lots of adventures and faced some scary moments.  Here, as they say, are our best bits (in photos):


And of course I couldn’t let today pass without mentioning this little monster!


Novice 23, dressage test practice

Inspiration and motivation; surviving the winter months

My last three posts have talked about how demotivating the winter months are, how we’re getting back into training and how seeing my progress has inspired me to maintain training.

They’ve been popular and it got me thinking – why have I suddenly become more motivated to ‘kick on’ and achieve my aims?  The weather hasn’t changed much – it’s still very cold, grey, wet and muddy but I’ve a renewed enthusiasm.  It stuck me that I’ve recently heard a couple of little gems that have stuck in my mind. I thought I’d share them in the hope that they might inspire you too.

#1 – It’s ok to be rubbish at first.

Just as you reward your horse/dog for trying during the first steps of training, I’ve been rewarding myself and taking pride in trying/making the first step towards a goal.  Yes my attempts at medium trot/shoulder-in/leg-yield are a bit pants, but I’m doing it and that’s what counts; each time I try I get a little step closer to my goal.

Continue reading “Inspiration and motivation; surviving the winter months”

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.


Continue reading “Two fourths and a great schooling session”

From Ab Fab to Crabby Abbey

Today was Abbey second one day event. It didn’t go as planned.  In fact, I’d go as far to say it was probably our worst outing, ever.

The picture above doesn’t tell the full story…the collage below is more accurate!

DSC03148 (2)

Continue reading “From Ab Fab to Crabby Abbey”

Abbey second in her first novice 

Today we stepped up and did our first novice dressage test.  I couldn’t be more delighted with Abbey, the girl really tried and came home with a blue rosette for our efforts.

We warmed up with a prelim test – scoring 69.80% including an error of course (yes, I had a reader and still managed to go wrong!).  Interestingly the judge noted a lack of suppleness on the right rein as well as the left, as well as lack of suppleness through the transitions.

Continue reading “Abbey second in her first novice “

Result at the first showjumping of the year

Last Tuesday we competed in the 70cm and 80cm evening showjumping at Solihull Riding Club.

I’m delighted to report that Abbey was an angel.  She was cool and calm travelling, quickly relaxed at the horsebox and put up with a rather busy warm up.

The first round was good – we jumped clear.  I dropped my left hand on one turn which let Abbey drift out and cost us some time but other than that it was a good round.  Abbey took me to all the fences, which is a big change from the beginning of last year when every new fence was a potential dragon.

In the 80cm,we had one fence down.  We got a bit close to the fences in the 70cm so I let her run on to the second fence but she clipped it.  After that I returned to getting the more powerful canter that I’d asked for in the first round.


A good’un and a bad’un

Overall we’ve had a good day out and I couldn’t expect any more from Abbey.

She loaded and traveled well and was very calm and responsive in the warm up until someone turned out a huge horse and his miniature friend.

The pair galloped up their field which is adjacent to the warm up and Abbey (who was on a long rein) went from E -B in a nano second, turning 180 degrees in the process. After that Abbey was a lost cause; in between snorting and gawping at the minature we had piaffe and passage on the diagonal.  All my usual tricks (changes of rein, transitions, bending and flexing) to get her attention and clam her down had little effect.

Perhaps if I’d more time we could have got it together but only 10 minutes later we were heading into the arena to do our test (looking at everything on the way).

Somehow we managed to keep it together well enough to score 68.94% and came 6th.

The test itself was alright. At home practicing last week I was thinking about keeping her forwarding through the transitions, maintaining impulsion and correct bend (on the left rein).  Today  I was mainly trying to keep Abbey between hand and leg,and ‘catching’ spooks before the affected the test too much.  She shyed at the viewing gallery, at the judge and at my OH who was filming.

We’d 45mins in between the two tests and Abbey really calmed down.  The second felt much better, although she did start to feel a little tired.


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