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

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!

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Continue reading “From Ab Fab to Crabby Abbey”

XC schooling – easy, peasy :)


In less than a week Abbey and I will be doing her 2nd (my 3rd) one day event.  XC is probably our weakest phase as we don’t get to do much practice. Two days ago I had a day off, put my brave pants on and headed to a local yard which has a selection of little fences.

Abbey was a little excited when we got there but soon settled and got down to work. She’s come on so far – all the grid work and show jumping practice has paid off. She now maintains a lovely rhythm going into a fence and after, listens to where we’re going next and has the confidence to jump new fences without hesitation.

Continue reading “XC schooling – easy, peasy :)”

Straightness, suppleness, counter canter and medium trot

In preparation for moving up to novice level, we’re working on a number of elements of our flatwork: some basics that we’ve let slip (straightness and suppleness) and some new movements (medium trot and now, counter canter).

We’re using a small number of exercises to build the suppleness, which in turn makes it easier to get the straightness.



Concentrating on bend with very clear aids to change bend on both reins.  We also add in 10m circles to vary the exercise and keep Abbey listening.

Continue reading “Straightness, suppleness, counter canter and medium trot”

More than just a fun ride

Sundays weather was glorious – highly usual for the UK especially on a bank holiday and we made the most of it with the local fun ride.

The 10 mile ride took us through some beautiful countryside with freshly cut stubble fields, bridges, streams, pastures, picturesque country lanes, woodland and some gallops.

The ride was well organised with stewards every mile or so. They were on hand to point the way and deal with any emergencies.
My friends pony has recently had some time off and his fitness levels meant we needed to take it slower than we normally would. 

That meant it was a great training exercise for Abbey – sometimes we go out and mainly walk. It’s not always exciting. 

Where we did trot and canter, it was very controlled. Abbey had to go behind to discourage any racing (which she did with manners). 

We also saw other horses cantering just in front of us and had trains passing within 100m.

These events are much more than a ‘fun ride’ they are a fabulous training exercise in a safe and controlled environment. 

Hacking solo

Going out on our own is rarely chilled. Abbey is always on the look out for monsters and while she doesn’t ‘do’ anything, sitting on an unexploded bomb doesn’t make for a relaxing walk through the English countryside.

When I first had Abbey flight mode was too easily engaged. If something rustled, moved or was different to the last time we were out, Abbey’s bottom would hit the floor and scoot forward in trot or canter.

Abbey is getting better and now, given a little time, she will think before taking to flight mode.

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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 “

The night before the first novice test

So it’s the night before our first novice dressage test and I’ve my tack & boots ready for cleaning and dressage diagrams to hand (for revision during the ad breaks!)

Practice at home has gone well.

The loops in novice 24 area lot bigger than the ones we’d been been using as a suppleness exercise but I am pleased to say that we’re getting the hang of them. The medium paces have a long way to go!



LPT: fly spray

The flies are still going strong here in the UK and they seem as vicious and tenacious as ever!

There’s a massive range of fly repellents on the market but at over £8 a bottle it’s a bit pricey, especially when it’s easy to make your own.

Here’s my recipe:

  • white vinegar and water for the base
  • Avon skin so soft
  • citronella oil
  • lavender oil
  • eucalyptus oil

I also had garlic to Abbey’s feed during the summer months.

LPT: money saving tips

@horsebloggers recently suggested us bloggers share our best money saving tips, so after nearly a decade of horse ownership, here are my pearls of wisdom:

1) Buy quality

Cheap is often a false economy. There are some things that it’s just worth spending more on in the first instance. Rugs are a great example. Having bought lots of rugs over the years I’ve found Rambo are the best. They fit well with plenty of room round the shoulders and last for decades.

Buying quality doesn’t always mean buying the most expensive though…my Dublin Pinnacle boots have done 2 years whereas the more expensive brand disintegrated in just one. (It does say not to muck out in them, but who has the time to do 3 footwear changes in one yard visit?!)

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