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


Dressage and flatwork

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”

Flatwork and travel update

Abbey and I are continuing to practice many of the movements that come up in Novice tests. Rather than describe in detail our schooling sessions, here’s a video.

Generally I am very happy with how we’re progressing. I think the medium trot is coming on, albeit very slowly. The canter-trot-canter transitions are definitely improving as are leg yields and shoulder-ins.

While the canter-trot-canter movements aren’t in the test we’re doing on Saturday, they are in a test we’re doing in a couple of weeks and it is good to mix up the exercises we do in our schooling sessions; it keeps Abbey enthusiastic about flatwork.

Next time we’re in the school (Friday or Saturday), I’m going to practice walk-canter and counter canter.  It’s not something we’ve done for a while and will help improve Abbey’s balance and engage her hind-end.

I was really pleased that we overcame the spooky corner (unlike in my windy lesson!) and managed to get some sensible work done in the bottom end of the school, even if it did take a little while to get there. As you can see, taking the time to go slowly round the corner, a moment of chill (with a free walk on a long rein), can be enough to calm and settle her.

In other news, I’ve started taking Abbey out in the horsebox daily. With the van floor secure (see here for how we replaced the floor) So far we’ve done two trips and she sweated significantly less on the second one.  Fingers crossed, this is the beginning of Abbey getting used to traveling again.


(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!


Today’s lesson: improving the hind leg and suppleness

It’s always interesting having a lesson with someone new; they often see different things to your regular trainer. Today’s was no exception.

Having explained our back story and our aims (novice – improving medium trot, canter-trot-canter transitions), we warmed up.

New RI observed that I am nagging to keep Abbey forward particularly with my left leg.  Which means she’s in danger of switching off to my leg aids. It also means that I’ve nothing left to ask for medium trot.

Continue reading “Today’s lesson: improving the hind leg and suppleness”

Windy lesson part 2 – the good: practicing a test in an odd sized arena

Practicing dressage in an odd sized arena isn’t ideal. Ours is 25m wide (not 20m) and 40m long (my test is in a long arena which is 60m).

Letters A and C don’t line up properly and M/H/F/K are very close to the corners.  B and E are roughly where they should be but remaining letters (S/V/P/R) are far too close together.

Day-to-day it doesn’t bother me, in fact I am normally grateful that our YO put in the biggest school they could. It means more of us can comfortably work in there at the same time, and there’s more room for showjumping courses.

However, when it comes to test-riding it can lead to brain pickle!

The first thing we do, is put out poles to bring in the width – 2.5m on each side. For a short arena test, I just ignore the ‘middle’ letters (V/S/P/R).

But if it’s a long test…..then it starts to get complicated….

Continue reading “Windy lesson part 2 – the good: practicing a test in an odd sized arena”

Windy lesson part 1 – the bad

If I’d have known just how windy it was, the mood Abbey was in, or not needed to get to grips with 15m circles, I’d have cancelled my lesson.

Abbey is a little sensitive and hot at the best of times, but when the wind is up…..

Thankfully my RI understands Abbey, knows what she is like and is adaptable.  The object of my lesson was to practice my up coming test.  Before I’d even started warming up she said ‘we won’t try to do medium canter-working canter transitions today, I’ve a feeling Abbey isn’t in the mood and it’ll just wind her up!’.  She was right.  Abbey was argumentative from the get go.

Continue reading “Windy lesson part 1 – the bad”

Novice 23, dressage test practice

This week: variety is the spice of life

Over this week Abbey has been to the gallops, hacked around the big block, and been doing some pole work.  While I always try and keep her work varied, this week has been exceptional.

I’ve always wanted to go to the gallops and it certainly lived up to expectations.  With the fields being so soggy it was a great way of blowing off some cobwebs and starting to build Abbey’s staminia.

We were very sensible and interval trained, waiting until the end to have a proper gallop. Unfortunately I couldn’t hold a phone and gallops, so here’s a clip of one of our more sensible laps:


On the way home, the horsebox seemed to be not liking first or second and sadly the garage have confirmed that the gearbox is broken so we won’t be going to our dressage tomorrow.

Continue reading “This week: variety is the spice of life”

Last lesson and Novice 30 Practice

Just a short update on our schooling. Lately we’ve been focusing on the bits of our next test which we’re a little weak on.  And I pleased to report that we’re making good progress.

Continue reading “Last lesson and Novice 30 Practice”

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