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


Shopping & product reviews

HOYs’17 – a review

Horse of the Year Show is, for many, the pinnacle of the showing calendar.  It started yesterday and I went along to do some shopping and watch the Mountain and Moorland Connemara class.

It’s my fifth visit and I was delighted that the organisers have changed the timetable for the Mountain and Moorlands on the Wednesday morning. The Fells & Dales are the first in the ring, and the New Forest Pony and the Connemara Pony classes have been split.  The upshot is that I get an extra half hour in bed 🙂

It was a shame to see only 10 New Forest ponies come forward – they are an iconic breed, versatile and suitable for adults and children alike.  In comparison, 39 Connemara’s competed in their respective class.

I’m no expert on showing nor on the Connemara breed, so I won’t comment on the entries, however, as an enthusiastic amateur keen to show my on Connie, it was very interesting to see how the professionals do it (more on that here).

Considering how early it was, there were lots of spectators and a great atmosphere .


The tradestands open at 9am, so after watching these showing classes we headed to the shopping.

There were noticeably fewer shops this year, and as usual, there were quite alot of non-horsey stands (from makeup and nails, to massagers and exercise machines). I’m not saying this is bad – the massage machines were very good, and welcome after a long day – just an observation.

In the main, the majority of the equestrian stands were good quality and I spotted some new, innovative products as well as some bargins.

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Product review: Heiniger progress clippers & Wolseley Skylark trimmers

I got these clippers three years ago and I really rate them.

They are quiet and make quick work of clipping a rather grubby (greasy and muddy) connie.  They don’t get hot and have proven to be reliable.

I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to clipping yet these helped me get a finish that is acceptable for public appearances!


To finish off the fiddly bits I use the Wolsley’s Skylark trimmers.


I’ve these clippers throughout of the summer to tidy Abbey’s lady beard and to cut a patch in her mane where her browband sits.  They really are very quiet and have proven robust, trimming Abbey’s already thick fur on her face.




Storage solutions; Robinsons tack locker review

At livery yards there’s often a problem of storage, especially when there’s no tack room, you’re on a budget and you’ve lots of expensive kit you want to keep clean, accessible and secure.

My tack locker is the only storage item I have paid for (see blog post Storage solutions; free and cheap).  Having bought two expensive saddles I wanted something that I could easily put them in and out of without scratching the leather, was lockable, breathable and mice proof.  This tack locker is one of the cheapest on the market at around £200.

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What a difference a saddle makes!

Since getting Abbey I’ve had a relatively cheap saddle that’s done the job while she’s been developing and maturing.  She’s 7 now and after a 16 months of consistent work her muscles are developing well; the time has come to invest in a good one.

I’ve looked at quite a few and really liked the Ideal Impala but a friend, who’s also got a Connie, discovered AH (Andrea Hicks) saddles. She was really struggling to something that would fit her 4 year old who’s high withers. But she had Steph Bloom from AH Saddles out and was really impressed with the range, the holistic approach and the level of service she has received.

When I sat on her pony for a fitting I fell in love with the saddles too.

So Steph came out and I tried all her saddles (or near enough!) First up the flatwork saddles – I tried two dressage (the Phoenix Classic, left, and the Heathland, top right) and the working hunter (bottom right).

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English Bridles, the best tack in town

English Bridles isn’t one of those brands that many equestrians recognise.

It’s a small company based in Warwickshire that makes really good quality tack from soft supple English leather.

I first came across them 5 years ago when I had Harley and I bought a breastplate from them at Your Horse Live.  Since then I’ve bought two bridles, one for Harley and one for Abbey.

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Videos, shopping and cleaning

I was about to write that I haven’t done much this week.  The weather hasn’t played ball and I caught a cold but in writing this blog entry it seems I’ve done rather a lot!

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Less hat hair with the Gatehouse Chelsea Air Flow Pro

I confess; I have a sweaty head and with fine thin hair to boot, I have really struggled to find a hat that fits, looks good and doesn’t give me extreme hat hair.

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Product Review: Mark Todd Thinsulate Winter Gloves

I’ve had these gloves for over two winters and they are definitely worthy of a glowing review!

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Saddles – arrrgggh!!

I hate saddle shopping.  When I got my first horse I was sooooo excited about buying my first saddle but it was a bitter experience.
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