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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
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.
All in all, it went rather well. We’d not done as much prep as I would have liked and Abbey isn’t as fit as she should be so to come home with 65.86% and 61.92% was quite an achievement!
The first test was Novice 24 and a warm-up class. As I didn’t want to tire Abbey out, I kept the warm-up very short – 10 mins. This seemed to suit her and something I am going to try again at our next competition.
The venue was running a little late for the next test and there were more horses in the warm-up arena. So we warmed-up, then walked and stretched (having realised that we’d a little wait) and then did a couple of transitions before going in. Abbey started to get a little crabby, tossing her head in the warm up and pulling faces when another horse got too close (in her opinion, nobody actually got too close!).
In this test she felt more tense than in the first. I think I was rushing her while also trying to steady her, which made her cross!