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horseyculture

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

The day that didn’t go as planned

Yesterday we went to Solihull Riding Club for an unaffiliated dressage competition.

I’d done my homework, learnt and practiced my tests, scrubbed Abbey to within a inch of her life and set off a little early. With less than a mile and a half to go, the horsebox starts making a funny noise and then the ‘stop’ and oil lights come on the dashboard.

Those regular readers will know that Abbey is a bit of a nervous traveler. She finds the process stressful and often trembles and sweats. I try to make her experiences in the box as relaxed as possible, I drive extremely carefully, pick routes that are as straight as possible and try to keep to a routine.

I pulled over to discover oil spewing out all over the floor. I tried not to panic (and failed!). Thankfully I had some oil in the van, so I lift the bonnet, pour half in, close the lid and jump back in. I was thinking that at least if we can get to the club then Abbey is in a safe place where she can get off the van.

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Novice 34 Practice

It’s been a while since Abbey and I took to the school to practice a test, but with a competition in just 2 days I thought we’d better do some.

Lately we’ve been focused on building Abbey’s strength and suppleness, particularly in her trot work. Looking back at the video, I can see it is paying off. She’s much more uphill and there’s more cadence.

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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….

Continue reading “Wishing for Stable Stains. (A Product Review of HAAS/Eqclusive brushes)”

Thank goodness for the yard owner

Yard owners and managers often come in for some hefty criticism especially on the equestrian forums.

I don’t envy them; from managing the grazing and maintaining the yard, to resolving livery squabbles and caring foe our most precious equines, they have a tough job.

I’m sure that there are bad’uns out there but mine are great. The husband and wife team (and wider family that chip in) do everything they can to ensure the yard is a happy place for their liveries and their horses.

Twice this summer I’ve gone away and both times Abbey has required medical attention. The first time, she was bitten on her girly bits and, just like last time, she was very uncomfortable (who wouldn’t be!)

The YO tended to her bite, working out that aloe vera was more soothing for her than the sudocrem I’d been applying. Applying it couldn’t have been easy with Abbey dancing like she’s on hot coals, with added tail swishes.

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Little Sh*tbag

Today’s lesson did not go to plan. Abbey will be affectionately know forthwith as little sh*tbag.

Out of an hours lesson we had 10mins of good quality work. The other 50 minutes consisted of looking and spooking, resisting and arguing.

I don’t know what was up with her. There’s wasn’t anything obviously scary outside of the arena and she was perfectly chilled yesterday. Maybe she’s coming into season.

They say every cloud has a silver lining and today’s was getting Sam‘s advice on how to do some damage limitation and get Abbey back to work quickly.

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First attempt at half pass

Lessons with Sam Twyman are continuing to go well and on Tuesday we attempted half pass for the first time!

Sam has had me flexing Abbey a lot, to build suppleness and encourage her to lift her withers.

We’ve also introduced outside flexion – in the stretch work and when we’re working in a more developed frame.

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Yoga; a perfect practice for horse riding

At first glance yoga isn’t an obvious complimentary fitness activity to horse riding. But as I’ve discovered over the last two months, it’s a perfect way to build strength, physically and mentally, and develop awareness (and therefore control) of your body.

Every pose and sequence in yoga requires core strength. From the moment you hit the mat you’re asked to engage the same muscles that are critical to securing a good dressage position.

Many poses increase flexibility, particularly in the hips. They also stretch your hamstrings. If like me you’ve struggled to open your hips, bring your legs back or lengthen them, check out the appropriately named, “hip opener” poses.

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5 reasons why boats are like horses

Apart from the massage course, horses have taken a backseat while I’ve been spending my ‘holiday’ helping the OH look after his boat.

While I was sat varnishing, it occurred to me how similar the two hobbies are. Here’s why:

1) New stuff – whether its a new matchy matchy outfit or a navigation system there are always items on the wish list.

2) A problem – like a horse, a boat is never perfect. From the electronics to the rigging, there’s always something that’s not quite right.

3) Opinions – trying to mend something? Thinking about going sailing? Looking at a new bit of kit? Everyone has an opinion and are willing to share it.

4) Tea and biscuits (or beer) – the most popular person at the marina/yard, is the person with drinks and snacks.

5) The chat – it’s not just the amount of chatting that takes place (and the severity with which it is defended!) but the subject of it: how are you? How’s your horse/boat? Have you taken your horse/boat out? Where did you go? The patterns of conversation are exactly the same.

*edit: the OH just added the 6th and probably most obvious: expensive!!

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