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

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grey pony

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!

Returning to work after a mini-break

There are many books and articles about bringing your horse back into work after months off due to illness, injury or a change of circumstances. They talk about building fitness slowly, building muscle and aerobic fitness. But what about a short holiday? How fit is a horse after a week or two off? And how quickly can you return to full work?

Continue reading “Returning to work after a mini-break”

Jumping on an angle

Abbey and I haven’t done much jumping on an angle. Well, not on purpose anyway!

Today’s lesson had Abbey and I tackling two fences set on a steep angle.

My RI kept the fences low so if we screwed it up Abbey could trot over them without much effort and without scaring herself.

Like dressage, it’s a step by step approach. My RI makes sure that we’re confident at each level before moving onto the next.

Our first attempt was in trot and was good. Abbey was, I must admit, slightly confused about where we were going, but responded to my aids and kept going.

This is a huge change from our first year of jumping which involved lots of stops whenever the question (or the look of a fence changed).

By the end we were popping over the two jumps confidently with only one stride between them.

Why I choose an equine podiatrist (rather than a farrier)

I first learnt about about barefoot when my first horse, Harley was diagnosed with multiple issues in his feet (navicular).

Extensive research into his issues had brought up Rockley Farm – a rehabilitation centre that has successfully helped horses with similar issues return to sound, useful lives.

Continue reading “Why I choose an equine podiatrist (rather than a farrier)”

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.

Continue reading “The day that didn’t go as planned”

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)”

Time flies!

Can’t believe it’s been a whole month since my last post!  From lessons and competitions, to hacking and interval training, Abbey has been a busy girl.

She’s starting to loose a little weight. Abbey is now doing at least an hour of work 5 times a week, including interval training. We’re up to 5 miles of trot/canter work and she’s finally burning more calories than she’s consuming.

Continue reading “Time flies!”

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