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

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Shopping & product reviews

A very equestrian day

Some days you get to play ponies all day and today was one of those days ūüėÄ

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!

 

Product Review: Body Shop Lash Sport Waterproof Mascara

I’m not normally one for ‘girly’ things but I do wear a little make up and I do like to be presentable.

Over the years I have tried most brands of waterproof mascara, some good, some not so good. But this one has been so awesome that it deserved a review.

Ok, so it can be a little tricky to get off but even so, I have not had any runs or smears (even when I have rubbed my eyes).

It has withstood interval training, schooling and nights out and still looked good. It wasn’t expensive either.

And because it’s the body shop you know that it’s not been tested on animals and contains no nasties.

Wishing for Stable Stains. (A Product Review of HAAS/Eqclusive brushes)

Some people would call me cynical, I’d prefer to see it as a healthy level of suspicion. So when I saw posts on social media saying that the new Eqclusive brushes were as good as the company says I didn’t believe them. At all.

But I was curious. I really liked the idea of avoiding the cold water hose the morning of a competition.¬† Somehow I seem to transfer the poo from Abbey to me, and get drenched in the process. Which then means I turn up looking like I have been dragged through a ditch (wetter than a hedge) backwards, but at least I have a clean pony. It also means that I’ve wet sleeves for the whole day…in winter that really gets on my nerves!

I really like the idea of being able to half the baths, brushing off mud and stable stains and going out.

I don’t know how many times, I’ve clicked the link on the Facebook posts. I just couldn’t justify ¬£80 for some horse brushes but then I spotted the money back guarantee…

When they arrived I couldn’t wait to try them out. But Abbey had other ideas….

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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 ūüôā

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!

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

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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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