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



Highs and lows of a show


Clever pony came home with a 3rd and a 4th from today’s show. Weird, but the frillies don’t have much bearing on how I feel about the day.

The highs and the lows stemmed from all the other bits.  Abbey’s impeccable behaviour in the ring made me enormously proud but the frustration of not being able to tie her up got me very frustrated.

Abbey continues to be calmer about traveling and, for the first time, I left her on the van while I did my entries. A fellow competitor who kept an eye on her said that she was just fine :D.

However (you knew that there was a ‘but’ coming!) when I uploaded Abbey she spied something either in the hedge or the other side of the hedge, I don’t know which. I do know that she spent the next half hour snorting at said hedge. Twice (when I went in the horsebox to get into my show attire) she decided it was all too much and made a run for it. She snapped the twine she was attached to and, I am sure, would have run home had she not been distracted by the lush long grass within 6ft of the horsebox.

This meant I was stuck holding the end of Abbey’s leadrope. I couldn’t reach her tack, nor anything else I needed to get ready. I had to call for reinforcements. The OH dutifully arrived and held piglet while I ran round (now late!) getting us both ready.

Our frustration levels were not helped by the lack of breakfast…

….anyway that is enough of the ‘lows’, which less face it, aren’t really that bad.

When it mattered, Abbey was a superstar. She was attentive and responsive throughout the ridden class. Unlike our last show she stayed ‘with me’ throughout the group walk, trot and canter, even when a competitor over took us in canter.


Continue reading “Highs and lows of a show”


(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!


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.

Continue reading “HOYs’17 – a review”

HOYs’17 – the Connemara Class, showing tips and observations

For me, HOYs is just down the road and it’s a good job – the Conneamara class is among the first of the show.

This year I got a small lie in as they’d adjusted the timetable. The Connies were the 4th not 1st class of the day, which meant I’d a bacon butty in one hand a cup of coffee in the other when the class started.

I’d like to do some showing with Abbey so I watched this class with the objective of understanding the format and how to present a pony. I don’t have the knowledge or expertise to comment on the ‘judging’ or the ponies.

39 ponies came forward and after the walk/trot/canter round, the class was split into two.  One half went off to be stripped and conformation judged while the other did their individual shows.



It always surprises me how short the individual show is.  Competitors come out from the line, halt in front of the judge and when asked, start their show.

They walk away from the judge for a few strides and turn to the track to give themselves a little extra room.  Within 5/6 strides they picked up trot and then right canter – all within half a 20m circle.  They trotted somewhere along the diagnol and picked up left canter on the other half.  They all galloped the long side but quickly came back to canter, trot, walk and a halt with salute, parallel (side on) to the judge on the short side.

When I went to a showing clinic the individual shows we practiced were a little longer (see this post ).  I guess that there are just that many ponies to see and so many classes, that they really have to keep it all very concise.

The winning pony was Skaergardens Delicious Love, congratulations to the owners, breeders and rider, a beautiful pony.




Don’t think we’ll be going to that show on Sunday….

….because of Abbeys new “hair cut”. I intending on just tidying up and taking off half an inch or so but it all went horribly horribly wrong.

Even considered turning her out in a snuggy hood so that the other horses don’t laugh at her. 

Holidays, Olympia, Physios and EquiPilates

Since my last post it’s, quite frankly, all gone to pot!

I’m not too ashamed to say that the cold dark nights have dampened my enthusiasm to ride of an evening. I’ve been struggling for motivation for a month or two and our training has become a little sporadic.

As a result Abbey’s fitness has gradually decreased and then last week I caught a cold. So  I have declared us on holiday! I think it will do us good.

Continue reading “Holidays, Olympia, Physios and EquiPilates”

Success at Kenilworth Show

It’s been a busy week for Abbey and I, culminating with our first proper show.

On Thursday we had a jumping lesson where we did some ‘athletic jumping’.  Our instructor set up a series of poles that were a little short for Abbey.  The aim of the exercise was to reinforce that ‘bounce’ is more important than ‘speed’.

Abbey got the idea straight away, and having trotted through the line of poles on the floor a couple of times we cantered through.  Abbey gave me a lovely short bouncy canter.  Bit by bit our instructor added jumps, until there where three.  Two small fences and a 90cm upright with ‘A’ rails at the end.  Although we only jumped for half an hour Abbey had been so good that we called it a day.

On Saturday we did our first proper show. We learnt lots….

Continue reading “Success at Kenilworth Show”

A day of ups and downs!

Feeling a bit guilty about turning Abbey around- it’s been snowing today and it’s forecast to go down to -2C tonight! As I turned her out this evening in the snow/hail storm I felt like a bad person especially when she’s been rather good today at a showing clinic.

She traveled well (- didn’t get sweaty on the van at all!) and we did some really good work.

I wasn’t sure how it would go. When I was getting ready I realised that a)that Abbey has come into season and was a bit irritable pulling faces at the two horses next door, and b) was really tired having spent the night in the field eating.

I brought her this morning and put her in her stable, went off for breakfast and when I returned she was asleep!

Continue reading “A day of ups and downs!”

Abbey’s heritage!

I’ve been doing a bit of googling on Abbey’s pedigree.

Abbey pedigree

I’ve found a YouTube video and quite a few pictures of Abbey’s sire:

Continue reading “Abbey’s heritage!”

Blog at

Up ↑