~ Equestrian lifestyle blogger ~
~ Follow our journey ~


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

UK Blog Awards 2017 Nominee

At the start of this week, I was delighted to find out that Team Tunnah Eventing had made it through to the nominations within the Sport/Fitness & Lifestyle categories of the UK Blog Awards 2017!

I'm very proud to have been shortlisted for this as not only is it UK-wide, but there are some seriously impressive blogs also listed within not just my categories, but throughout. I now need to gather as many votes as a I can to help me reach the next stage in the process - the judging panel!

How to vote

Voting is really easy & takes less than 60 seconds to do! Simply click here to visit the website, and scroll to the bottom (enjoy a read of my nomination too if you have time!). At the bottom, you'll see Name, Email & Category - just fill it in. You can select either category, or both together.

Thank you very much for any support & we hope that you continue to enjoy following our journey!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

November Round Up

Well, November seems to have passed us by in a heart beat, but unfortunately we've not really been out and about anywhere.

The month started with a very annoying abscess, which didn't want to burst anytime soon. It had a go through the coronet band, once, but didn't eject itself completely.... After a week of box rest, I got back onboard at the weekend and turned Louie back out in the field with the sole intention to use the movement and adrenaline to push it through. Two days later, he was back lame, but even with 5 days of poulticing, I drew nothing!! Grrrrrrr!! However, the lameness went away, and to today he has been totally sound again.

Great, let's crack on! Unfortunately not. Louie had been coughing, which I'd just put down to being in more and the change of season. But when I got back riding, he was coughing hard throughout. After a visit to the vets, he did in fact have a cough and was given a week of ABs, which helped massively.

He's all sorted now, so hopefully things don't come in three's and we'll be back to it!

So where's the time gone?

A sad goodbye to a great concept... E-Dressage

Yesterday morning, I, along with any other members of E-Dressage, received the email with the sad news that E-Dressage was closing.

For those of you who don't know what E-Dressage is... It's basically the organiser of online competitions. Initially starting out as dressage classes, but rapidly expanding beyond into British Eventing classes, ROR, showing, RDA, & many more, E-Dressage was really simple to take part in.

E-Dressage - how to take part

Set up an arena of 20x40m anywhere, ride your chosen test & have someone film it with a half decent camera, enter online & upload your video! Classes were judged at the end of each month by BD qualified judges & your score was posted online with any prizes sent out to you. It was really that easy & great for anyone wanting to have a go but perhaps without transport.

Monday, 14 November 2016

From Sceptic to Confirmed Believer...

Last July I noticed two little "bites" on the top inside of Louie's near fore - they looked like two little fly bites that the heads had come off. After about a week, they disappeared...never to be seen again. Well, not quite.

About May this year, I spotted them again. This time they were dry and wart-like, with almost eczema in between, with flakey skin. It didn't take me long to work out that they were a type of sarcoid, but I wasn't overall concerned, as they actually looked better than the year before!

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

WINNER - Equestrian Blog of the Year 2016

Equestrian Blog of the Year 2016 - Haynet Blog Award

I am very proud, pleased, excited & honoured to have Team Tunnah Eventing named as Equestrian Blog of the Year 2016 in the recent Haynet Blog awards!

There were 12 finalists, all with different blogs, interests & angles on their equestrian lives & experiences. So just to be shortlisted without nomination or entry was an honour in itself. 

The award was decided upon in two criteria - votes & a judge from equestrian PR company, MirrorMePR.

Firstly, THANK YOU ALL for taking the time to read my blog & giving me a vote - it's great to know that you enjoy reading the content I post & that you keep coming back for more!

I have also been overwhelmed with the comments that I received from the judge, MD of MirrorMePR, Ashley Rossiter - & I'm pleased that Ashley got my sense of humour too!

"Sophie's regular posting with a variety of quality content coupled with her light hearted sense of humour comes across strongly and makes for a great read and engaging content...posts are presented with an honest and very personable tone of voice, which runs seamlessly throughout"

Take a read of the full Equine Blog Awards announcement.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

October Round-Up

Another busy month during October!

Showjumping coach Philippa started maternity leave at the beginning of October, so we were keen to keep up with our jumping in between, setting goals and objectives, just like we do in a lesson. So, we've been hiring arenas to make sure that we keep seeing different things and don't become stale at home.

Louie is becoming more and more keen when jumping, so on our own, we've decided to keep the jumps really small and work on keeping him together, in a consistent rhythm with a nice technique. We booked a local arena after a British Showjumping show, lowered the course and had a play - much more rhythmical and controllable in front of the fences.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

5 Top Picks That Keep Me Warm

So, the dreaded day for every equestrian - the clocks going back! For anyone else working 9-5, this means you pretty much don't see your horse in daylight, let alone think about riding while it's light!

Winter can feel like a long time and like a lot of hard work, so I've taken time to look across all of my horsey things to pull out my top five practical items to help me keep warm & safe as the temperature starts to fall...

Monday, 24 October 2016

Two Years Ago Today...

Today, I look back to my time with Thomas, wearing a big smile, & while very sad that I lost Thomas, I'm able to filter out to the happy memories that we had together.

I wrote a piece about losing Thomas last year one year on, so this year, I thought I'd look back at our happy times through photos of us together....

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Equestrian Blog of the Year 2016 - Vote for me!

I'm very honoured & very excited to be a shortlisted finalist in the Haynet Equestrian Blog of the Year 2016, sponsored by Mirror Me PR!!

I really hope that you've enjoyed reading my blog over the past few years, and if you have, please vote for mehttps://surveyplanet.com/57fbbe270fd7773010cf4632

Voting is really simple & will take less than 30 seconds!
  1. Go to the link above, or here: https://surveyplanet.com/57fbbe270fd7773010cf4632
  2. Enter your email
  3. Just tick the box next to 'Sophie Tunnah - Team Tunnah Eventing'
My blog was born when I started Eventing as a way for me to track how we were doing, setting aims, objectives and training targets in between to help with structure and motivation. Today, it keeps that at the core of its content, but also expands into the highs & lows of training a young horse, as well as some handy product reviews. I'm very proud that it has been recognised through this shortlisting and is a good kick start to only improve the blog further!

Thanks very much for voting and for continuing to read my blog!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Dressage Competition

This Sunday gone was our first competitive outing since our first one day event. I decided just to enter a local dressage competition, and while still low key, quiet and good for a still fairly green horse, it had plenty to look at. Nice bright shiny boards, flowers and plants in raised planters in each corner. It also had a shed at C for the judges. All good for Louie's ring/arena experience & getting him to see more, do more and relax in new environments.

I was actually really pleased with how well Louie coped when we entered outside the arena. Yes, his trot became very elevated and he grew several inches, but he gave everything a go! The Louie of last year would have been terrified at everything going on around the arena.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

easibed - does exactly what it says on the tin!

Since day one Louie has been a very wet horse, relieving himself every single time he goes in his stable or goes on the horsebox! He even takes a few pitstops during a hack...!

Firstly, I'm not concerned in the slightest - the behaviour hasn't changed since day one and is just one of his "Louieisms"!

However, after spending a full winter doing a full muck out nearly every single day, I decided it was time to try something new. I tried a variety of things to see if I could make his bed more absorbant, including:
  • Giving a baselayer of haylage to his bed for better absorption. This didn't really work, and made it back breaking to lift out the dirty each day!
  • A layer of everyday shavings underneath the straw. This was much better from an absorption point of view, but not from a time spent mucking out, and it almost increased it - separating the straw from the shavings then lifting the wet shavings!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

EQU Streamz

EQU Streamz primarily promote their product as a natural pain relief, however they caught my attention (through some persistent Facebook advertising!) as a magnetic therapy for horses' legs, something I'm a firm believer in.

Louie doesn't have any issues with his legs, joints or soft tissues, however to support young, growing legs and to help me keep them healthy, I've always used my existing Veredus Magnetik stable boots while Louie was stabled for long periods, but not overnight, and for travelling.

So why did I choose EQU Streamz for overnight?

Monday, 26 September 2016

Super showjumping lesson!

This weekend, we headed up to our instructor's facility to have our last lesson for a while - she is due to go on maternity until the end of November. We were really looking forward to it as we hadn't jumped properly in a good few weeks and were still beaming from our progress at the One Day Event earlier in September.
Louie warmed up, very tense and very excited!! Starting with some canter poles on the ground, and making a four stride distance in three easy strides!!! :-/
So we spent a little bit of time getting back the rhythm, consistency and fluidity to the canter before starting to jump.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

August & September Round Up

So, it's been a busy few months, with a hectic summer work schedule, lots going on outside of work, as well as lots of fun with Louie!! So much, we've missed out updating our blog...

We had a great start to getting back to it after I came back from holiday at the end of July, and this continued into August. We started the month with a great showjumping lesson - getting back into the rhythm and jumping round a course. It was a great lesson, and Louie loved to be back working and doing some jumping again! After the lesson, we headed home to enjoy watching the first day of the Olympics & the Eventing Dressage...

Monday, 12 September 2016

Our First One Day Event

We took the plunge, and even though we felt a little unprepared, we entered our first ODE! Louie took it all in his stride, and behaved impeccably, even wanting to do more when we'd finished!

We hadn't done a dressage since the beginning of July so Louie was a little excited and tense in the warm up. But he soon settled and worked nicely before heading into his test.

Monday, 1 August 2016

July Round Up

With a holiday booked mid-July, I've done quite a bit with Louie in the last few week of June, but heading into July, we did a local dressage test. Louie was a bit tense, but took the rein forward and down much better - it's all work in progress. We came home with a 5th with 62.92% so I was pleased.

Louie was then on holiday. I went on holiday for a couple of weeks a week later and at the end of July, I brought him back into work. After almost a month of doing nothing, Louie was clearly ready to do some work. He's come back into work relaxed & refreshed, and really willing to get cracking!

After a getting back onboard in the school a couple of days before, we decided to have our first EVER go at cross country - I've done low level eventing with Thomas, but Louie has never done any XC!!

See how we go on in our cross country blog post.

Due to holidays, we also didn't have any lessons during July, but we're planning to get some in during August, both on the flat and showjumping. We've got a couple of competitions coming up that we are thinking about too, so hopefully we will have lots to update on by the end of the month.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Louie's first EVER cross country

After taking Louie in the school twice after coming home from Spain, I decided it was time to start Louie's cross country training - he's never been cross country at all or seen solid rustic fences.

With a horse just in from a holiday, I wasn't sure how well things would - Louie's freshness can result in him becoming very suspicious of new things, so I went with the aim of very simply waking through the water, going up & down a bank, and jumping a ditch.

Friday, 1 July 2016

June Round Up

Following a bit of a green and tense two tests at a local dressage competition at the end of May, I'd planned to spend June getting Louie to relax again (& me!!), and ask him to take the contact down more. I also made the decision to do as much as a I possibly could so that Louie was used to going into new places and in the white boards... He's never taken much of a look at them, and I'm sure his energy is seeded from me as he seems to look to me for direction more at competitions, but he just felt a bit green when we went down the centre line last time...

So...The next weekend we were entered for another local dressage at a different venue, doing two Prelims. It was a beautifully sunny day, and was unusually quiet for this venue, perhaps because it was the same day as a local BE event. Anyhow, Louie warmed up lovely, was really relaxed, but the test was indoors, which is quite dark when you first go in. He did take it all in his stride, and he has been once before, but a while ago.

I could feel Louie was quite tense, which made me tense (one of my worst habits) & I rode a bit rigidly, not showing Louie off for a score of 63.45%, which was placed far down the class. I was determined to show my horse off better in the next class and have him much more relaxed. We did, although the score was fairly similar (63.75%) but we were placed 5th. Still a way to go, but much better together.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Bramham International Horse Trials

My favourite event of the year, across any discipline... I LOVE IT!!

I try to go to Bramham horse trials every year & am pleased to say I haven't missed a year for about the last five. I usually go for the Friday dressage & Saturday's cross country. If you haven't been and you enjoy equestrian events, it is one I'd recommend!

Countdown to Bramham Horse Trial 2017!


So, why do I love this event so much?

Well, in a nutshell, I grew up living close by to Bramham Park, and keeping my ponies at a livery yard just a stone throw away from the main event gateway. I've many happy memories of hacking through various parts of Bramham - jumping some logs, enjoying adventures in the woodlands, and some great spaces to have a canter!

But if you've not got that on your side...you'll still love it!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

May Round Up

As usual, it's been a busy month!! In May we've spent time hiring arenas to do more jumping away from home outside of our lessons, we've brought more lunging work back into our routine, had some super showjumping and dressage lessons, entered an E-Dressage, and been to a local unaffiliated dressage competition!!

So, let's kick off!

During the winter months, I incorporate 2-3 lunge sessions per week to break up Louie's work and avoid just riding around the arena when the dark (& cold!) nights close in. However, once spring kicks in, I always seem to stop, with being able to hack out on an evening, doing lessons during the week and enjoying the sunshine much more! But really, I shouldn't. The benefits that I can see in Louie's strength, balance, topline and overall way of going from lunging is fantastic, so I decided to bring it back in at least once a week to continue to help Louie develop as he should.
I've got a really great lunging aid, one I'd never heard of until last year, which doesn't fix them into a false outline (like side reins), puts no poll pressure on (like a lungee bungee), and doesn't need to hold the back end in (like a pessoa)... Mine simply attaches to the bit, runs through the legs and out over the back of the withers. It's designed to help encourage long & low work, using muscles from the bottom of the hamstring, over the quarters, over the back and through the top line, down into the contact. Louie goes super in it!

Monday, 30 May 2016

Dressage Day Out

It's been a while since Louie and I went out to a competition - the last dressage competition was in March!! We've been so busy with training, lessons and enjoy evening & weekend long hacks, that we'd not really given competitions a second thought!

However, recently we've been hiring a local venue's arenas to do some more jumping away from home - we don't have the best choice of fillers at home so getting Louie over more is crucial.

We noticed that this venue had a small dressage summer series taking place - with a beautiful indoor and even better outdoor, we thought we'd give it a go! I was very wrong with a small series, as all Intro and Prelim classes were cut into two sections. I thought it would be really busy, but there was plenty of space to park, and the wagon park was quiet, with lots of people just enjoying the sunshine!!

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Floors Castle Horse Trials

My last event was in July 2014, what seems like a lifetime ago!! Although I thoroughly enjoyed all the eventing I did with Thomas, I haven't missed it too much, only really at the start of the season when friends are talking about getting fit again & counting down the weeks to their first event...

However, Floors Castle has always been my favourite event - I love pretty much everything about it from the setting to the style of the cross country course! I always find that volunteers, organisers and everyone involved is also very friendly & helpful.

Even though Louie & I aren't yet out eventing, last year and this year, I've been up to the event to watch and support others who have been taking part. And why wouldn't you, with a view like this!?

Sunday, 1 May 2016

April Round Up

So, what's been happening in April?

As usual, we've been very busy!!

I was very lucky to take a (non-horsey) trip to Copenhagen and Oslo with work at the start of the month. Sadly, I didn't get much of a chance to explore either of these great cities as I travelled onboard our ship between. Despite feeling a tad sea sick on the way home, even with a pond-like crossing I still couldn't fully find my sea legs, the trip was fantastic and made for some beautiful photos!!

A photo posted by Sophie Tunnah (@sophiehoult) on

A photo posted by Sophie Tunnah (@sophiehoult) on

Food, drink, entertainment and comfort onboard are all top notch, so I'd definitely recommend it!! :)

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Likit Bordom Busting!

So, Louie hates being in his stable... Which makes duvet days in the winter difficult!!

At first, I thought his frustration was solely due to lack of turnout, so I exercised him more and gave him longer turn out in the arena when it was available. However, nothing really improved. So, I thought about the exercise I was doing with him... Rather than doing flatwork or lunging during the week, I gave him lots to think about, including doing some ground work exercises.

I noticed a difference in how settled Louie was in the stable after learning something new, and having a lot to think about. This could be anything from leg yield from the ground, to almost circuit training over poles and blocks to navigate around. There's a whole heap of different things to do everyday to keep their mind active, which is very handy when you have a horse like Louie that learns new things after just a handful of tries!!

I still noticed that during the day he would be frustrated and unhappy in his stable until his work on the evening. So I bought the basic Likit to give him something to 'play' with but that was a challenge.

Louie loved the carrot and apple flavours in the Likit holder - any other flavour and he wasn't so interested! However, Louie also soon realised that he could get his jaw open wide enough to be able to chew the holder and crack the Likits inside - we went through a fair few Likits in a short space of time as Louie could finish one in the space of a few hours!!

Friday, 15 April 2016


Today is Louie's birthday... So just for a bit of fun...

Friday, 1 April 2016

March Round Up

A lot seems to have happened in March - it's been a busy month!

After getting back onboard following my broken ankle, I was keen to get back into our usual working routine. Louie's very relaxed and feels refreshed, enjoying his work, showing a positive attitude and a real willingness to please.

Over the last two or three months, Louie has begun developing much more, filling out a little more and really beginning to develop his topline. This unfortunately meant that my saddle from Thomas became too curved for Louie's back...& meant we needed a new one. We found the Amerigo Pinerolo fit Louie like a glove, and was open & flat how I like, so we went with it (& haven't looked back!)

Louie enjoying a very successful day out at the dressage!

First up was a lesson with Cathy Burrell, our flatwork trainer. I really love these lessons as Cathy is such a fantastic coaching, pushing horse and rider to their potential, but also keep it very real and level headed. Although Louie came out of the box with a bit of a swollen eye (!!!), likely to be a hay seed stuck in it or where he had rubbed it, Cathy was really impressed with how settled he was and how much he had grown up since our last lesson, way back in December!!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

How was your bank holiday?

What did you get up to?

We took full advantage of four days break away from work to enjoy the long weekend.

Showjumping lesson!! These have been going so well recently - Louie is jumping around with a big smile on is face, loving life and taking on the challenges...even getting a little cocky at times!!

Since getting back onborad, we've gone back to basics. I've lost more fitness than I thought, so I've been given lots of homework to work on my jumping position while just riding out. We've also been continuing to make sure that Louie has a consistent & rhythmical approach to fences, and jumps with good technique.

This week, we practised tighter turns, dog legs and one stride doubles, as well as the usual oxers, uprights and fillers.

We've been keeping is small to avoid having more to think about, but it's clear Louie needs more to jump over to improve, so I'm really excited about our next lesson!!

Monday, 21 March 2016

A Successful Day at the Dressage!

After being back onboard for just over a month, I decided to get Louie back out & about, and entered a local dressage competition. Louie has been coming on really well lately, especially in his canterwork! So I decided to have a go at our first ever prelim, along with an Intro to warm up to!

The day before we went on a lovely two hour hack with another livery - a great way to take his mind away from schooling & relax together. When we got back I knew I'd got all my cleaning to do!! However, Louie really has grown up, standing like a soldier to have his legs & tail washed, and falling asleep while I plaited and bandaged him! He wasn't too impressed when he had to have his lycra hood on though...I was worried he'd have shaken all his plaits out by morning!

Next morning, I was pleased to find all my plaits in place and no green stable stains - the day had started well! After a quick brush, we were ready to go!

Louie's plaits all still neatly in a row!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Fantastic Dressage Lesson!

The last time Louie & I had a dressage lesson was the first week of December... That seems A LONG time ago!!

So this Monday gone (7th March), I was really looking forward to getting back on track with our training, with a dressage lesson with Cathy Burrell. Louie has felt really strong, supple & is really enjoying his work since I've started riding after my ankle, so I was looking forward to taking that and developing forward.

Monday, 29 February 2016

February Round Up

So, it's been a few months since I last did a round up - a lot has happened!

A quick wind up of December - moving house meant we had a quiet front half of the month, but being off work from 18th December, meant I had lots of time to spend with Louie, enjoying cramming in a couple of showjumping lessons. We won Nueue Schule's Christmas photo competition on Instagram, and our prize was a Turtle Top loose ring, so we introduced this bit over Christmas. Louie goes much better in it, so I'm really pleased - thanks very much Neue Schule! (I also got a delicious box of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat as the prize too!!)

Our winning photo from Neue Schule's Winter photo competition on Instagram!

Unfortunately...on 28th December, my foot managed to get stuck in the stirrup as Louie took a spook. I didn't feel it, and I came clean off. I jumped back on, carried on in my showjumping lesson, went home, turned out, mucked out, with what I thought was a stiff ankle. It didn't ease, and after three hours, I took myself to A&E, where I discovered I'd broken my ankle!! Thankfully the consultants diagnosis wasn't as bad as doctors first thought - I had a break and not a break with a ripped off ligament!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Back onboard

Finally, after almost 7 long weeks unable to ride due to my ankle, I'm back onboard!!

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Where have we been??

No posts for such a long time!!

Unfortunately, 3 days after Christmas I broke my ankle from jarring my foot in the stirrup. It's been a straight forward break thankfully, despite me walking (& riding) around on it for several hours thinking it was just stiff!

Initial A&E diagnosis was a detached ligament, bringing the bone with it. But a visit by the consultant the next morning and a full CT scan confirmed the break & thankfully no soft tissue damage. 

It did mean at least 6 weeks rest & elevate in a boot brace though!! Gutted. 

I've stuck to doctors' (& physio's) orders right through, and I'm pleased that after a couple of days out of the boot, I'm able to drive again! I was going crazy in the house everyday, even while I was working!!!

Of course, if I could drive, I could try riding... Which I've now done! Hooray! 

Fingers crossed everything will keep going to plan, & we will back to it again in no time!!
Copyright @ Team Tunnah Equestrian. Blog Design by KotrynaBassDesign