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

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Equestrian

Happy New Year!

It’s been over a month since my last post which shows just how busy the holiday season has been. I hope yours has been as filled with fun, family and friends as mine.

That last post talked about how I was going to bring Abbey back into work after a short break, getting her back up to fitness so that we could continue our journey with dressage and jumping.

It hasn’t quite happened that way, we’ve not been as focused and dedicated as perhaps we should. Instead we’ve been big kids, having fun and not worrying too much as ‘progress’.

Instead we’ve enjoyed winter wobbles around the fields. In England it’s not been a winter wonderland, more of a muddy sploshy swamp.

As we approached the Christmas break our hacks took to the roads and became increasingly festive.

Every cloud has a silver lining; the rain did provide some cross country water opportunities.

Abbey enjoyed some time with her fieldmate’s owner who hacked her, schooled her and even popped her over a fence or two.


We squeezed in a little schooling but it was all very low key, The main focus was to focus on stretching over her topline and using that back end.

Today we welcomed the New Year with interval training. We shouldn’t really be cantering at this point but, hey, it’s still the holidays and there’s nothing quite like a good canter in an open space to blow the cobwebs (self induced with alcohol!) away!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the holidays as much as I have. Here’s to a fabulous 2019!

A wandering left seat bone

It’s been a while since I last posted because my time has temporarily reallocated to demolishing one kitchen and building a new one (boring!).

Abbey has been ticking over. The most exciting things have been our lessons with Sam. And there have been two since my last post.

In the first one we worked on keeping Abbey up and together in trot. He did this by establishing the trot on a circle – going forward and then asking her to slow the pace but keep the power – and then taking it large. We both tend to relax on the long sides of the school and as a result Abbey’s hind legs begin to trail, she starts to go flat and hollow and by the end of the 2nd long-side of the arena, other lovely outline has completely unravelled!

Sam also introduced us to renver in this lesson. It always amazes me how quickly Abbey gets the hang of new exercises, when I ask correctly.  The tricky bit is getting me to co-ordinate my body to do the asking.

Yesterday we worked solely on me with a biomechanics lesson.  As we were doing our warm up, Abbey was doing her usual drifting through the left shoulder. Sam asked ‘where is your left seat bone?’.  It was a hard question to answer. I knew where I thought my right one was but my left appeared to be absent.

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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.

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.

Continue reading “First attempt at half pass”

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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Some mini breakthroughs

Having had weeks of banging my head against a break wall what with the travelling, the ulcers and lack of work, we’ve finally had some mini breakthroughs.

For the second time we’ve been round the block and I’ve unloaded a dry horse. Today I think she even trembled a little less. After unloading she calmed down extremely quickly, allowing us to tack up and head to the school…

…where we had another breakthrough. I’ve been trying not to nag and demand a response to my leg, and today there was so much power I didn’t know what to do with it!

To celebrate we went for a little hack round the farm tracks to cool off. I must have been feeling brave as I was riding in a bareback pad!

I’m thrilled; they were just the little success to make me feel like all the effort is worthwhile and that we’re getting closer towards our goals!

Windy lesson part 1 – the bad

If I’d have known just how windy it was, the mood Abbey was in, or not needed to get to grips with 15m circles, I’d have cancelled my lesson.

Abbey is a little sensitive and hot at the best of times, but when the wind is up…..

Thankfully my RI understands Abbey, knows what she is like and is adaptable.  The object of my lesson was to practice my up coming test.  Before I’d even started warming up she said ‘we won’t try to do medium canter-working canter transitions today, I’ve a feeling Abbey isn’t in the mood and it’ll just wind her up!’.  She was right.  Abbey was argumentative from the get go.

Continue reading “Windy lesson part 1 – the bad”

New year and a new me!

We’re less than two weeks into 2018 and so far it’s going well.

Abbey is back in work and she’s remembered the vast majority of the novice work that we were doing last year. It’ll be a while before she’s fit enough and strong enough to move the work on but it’s a great start.

The fitness work is hacking only at the moment – a) it’s supposed to be the best way to start them off, and b) the fields are a swamp.

Continue reading “New year and a new me!”

Abbey’s bouncing back

It’s been a busy week for me and a good one for Abbey.

On Wednesday I went to Horse of the Year Show (see my report here). I got up early to see the Connemara class and was delighted to read later this week that Skaergaarden Delicious Love won the overall M&M championship (click here to find the showing tips I picked up).

Thursday was dressage schooling. I’m having to get used to Abbey’s new way of going. She’s so chilled that I’m having to generate energy and engage her hind end through exercises rather than containing the anxious energy that she’s been giving me for the last couple of months.

Determined to get more ‘ping’, Abbey and I headed to the school again on Friday evening and I’m please to report that there was a small improvement.

Continue reading “Abbey’s bouncing back”

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