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Monday, 31 December 2018

2018: A Year in Review

2018 has given us a year of everything... We've had weathers of all extremes, a hugely successful first year affiliated to British Dressage, a change of yards, a serious injury to treat, manage and rehab on both Louie & Andrew! We've become a brand ambassador for Boudica Equestrian, two category nomination for the UK Blog Awards, as well as having LOADS of fun along the way!

So here it is, our year in a month by month quick fire review. Sit back, enjoy...and maybe bring a cup of hot chocolate to enjoy along the way!

Saturday, 29 December 2018

My Favourite Nine Photos on Instagram in 2018

Yesterday, I shared my Top Nine photos of 2018 from our Instagram account. The list was based on the most liked photos that we've posted across the last 12 months.

But today, I'm going to share with you my FAVOURITE photos from across the year, because some of my absolute faves didn't always get enough likes to make the top nine! So without further ado, here's my own personal favourites from 2018.

Friday, 28 December 2018

My Top Nine Instagram Photos of 2018

If you haven't yet heard of the Instagram Top Nine, where have you been!?!? I'm pretty late to the party posting it on 28th December... For those who haven't, put simply, it is an app (or website) that you can quickly type in your Insta username & email, and within a few minutes, it will show you your best performing posts throughout 2018.

So, rather than just posting the nine best photos on our account, I thought I'd write a little about each...

Friday, 21 December 2018

Vote for Team Tunnah in the UK Blog Awards 2019!

I am MEGA proud to announce that we have been nominated in TWO categories for the 2019 UK Blog Awards!! 🎉😄

The last few months of blogging have been loads of fun for me, with lots of engagement, input and support from all of you who follow our journey. So to have a recognition within such a high-profile award is truly an honour for me 🙌

We've been nominated in the 'Sports & Fitness' category, as well as the 'Lifestyle' category, and now I really need your vote to help me move to the next stage and become shortlisted for an award!! I promise it will take just one minute of your time, and is literally the click of a button...

So, if you've enjoyed following our journey, please head over and 'click to vote'! 🖱

Thanks, as always, to each and every one of you for being a HUGE part of my blogging journey, showing all the support & love that you have over the years.

Much love,
Sophie ❤️

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Dressage Competition Report - 18.11.2018

As you'll have read, we've stepped up to Novice recently & my main aim before the end of the November was to achieve three 62%+ scores to make sure we have our 2019 PetPlan Area Festival qualification. We already had two scores from our dressage competition at Todburn the week before, so we needed one final score to be qualified. I'm SUPER pleased to say we got it, so why did we leave at the end of the day feeling a little glum?

As well as a competition report, this post will demonstrate how important it is to reflect, take the positives and use a not so good day to create a plan to produce good days!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Equestrian Christmas Stocking Fillers Guide 2018

It's that time of year again when we're all starting to think we should have started our Christmas shopping a few weeks ago. But panic not...there is still plenty of time to make sure you get that perfect gift for equestrian friends & family. Take a flick through my 2018 gift guide to find those perfect Christmas stocking fillers!

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Dressage Competition Report - 11.11.2018

After a good result at Alnwick Ford Equestrian on Wednesday, I changed my prelim entries at Todburn today to two Novices, setting myself the aim of achieving 62%+ to gain two test results towards PetPlan qualification. Enjoy a read through our latest competition report blog post to see how we got on!

On Friday evening, I took a look at the two tests for the first time... & started to question whether we were ready for the step up. The first test didn't have anything in it that we don't do as part of our training, except maybe a change of canter lead through trot, but the movements seemed to come up thick and fast! I usually enjoy a relaxed ride out the day before a dressage test, but instead on Saturday afternoon I spent 25 minutes in the arena just checking that a couple of our control 'buttons' were wired in correctly. I just ran out of light to enjoy a short ride out afterwards...

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Dressage Competition Report - 07.11.2018

If you've been following us along on social media, you'll know that the back half of October was a bit of downtime for both Louie & I, but heading into November we set ourselves the goal to achieve the remaining points at Prelim Silver that we needed to in order to qualify for the Winter Regionals.

On 1st November, as planned, Louie was fully clipped and started back in work. To be fair, he had only had just under three weeks off, so it wasn't too much to consider when bringing him back into work, and with a big green tick from both the vet and physio, we knew we were good to go! Before I'd even clipped Louie, I entered two long arena tests at Alnwick Ford Equestrian, with the only objective to achieve scores of 66%+ to gain some extra points for that qualification.

Did we do it? Read on to find out...

Sunday, 4 November 2018

October Round Up

If you're a regular reader, you'll have seen that October was dominated by Blogtober - a challenge undertaken by bloggers of all types all over the world. It challenges you to creating and publishing a blog post a day throughout the whole of October - a total of 31 posts each with a different topic. For me it was quite a big challenge and one that I'm actually really proud that I was able to maintain throughout the duration. Finding dedicated time to a blog post every single day for a whole month is difficult, especially when it is around topics that I wouldn't normally choose to write about. Couple that with ensuring that I add a personal and relatable tone to each post, as well as my usual care and attention that goes into each post, Blogtober took up a lot of my spare time. If you missed any of the my posts, you can catch up on all of my equestrian blogtober posts in one place!

However, it wasn't all that happened during October.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 31: Equestrian Blogtober Round Up

WOW! Here I am at the end of the equestrian blogging challenge of Blogtober…& for me, it really has been a challenge! As with most of the equestrian bloggers that I follow, blogging is hobby, secondary to my hobby of riding, training & competing with Louie, which is second to my professional job. When life gets busy, you can often see that the number of blog posts I push out, falls off. So to have been able to deliver a blog post every single day for 31 consecutive days, on a variety of topics that are mostly new areas for me to blog around, is a real achievement.

What have I learnt while taking part in Blogtober?

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 30: Share an Old Horsey Photo & Tell Us About It

Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of my early years of riding, but this photo is of the first time I saw the canny little mare that would get me back into riding and back into a total addiction.

This is Grace, of as I nicknamed her, Gracie Moo. She was a 15.1h 12 year old mare who was owned by a girl who had relocated with her husband in the army. The girl’s Mum was now looking for someone to come and help out with Grace and enjoy her. 

Monday, 29 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 29: What Equestrian Discipline Would You Like To Try?

I realised that there are A LOT of equestrian disciplines out there when I was watching WEG (World Equestrian Games) and there are many that I didn’t realise also had a competitive side on the world stage. Our sport doesn’t often make mainstream media reporting, but in recent years Team GBR have certainly helped to put some of the disciplines into the eyes of the non-equestrian world. When I say I do dressage, I now often get a response of “so you do the one like the dancing horse” comparing me to Valegro and the Olympic success of Charlotte. I’m quick to put it in context…

Sunday, 28 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 28: My First Horse Experience

I’ve always loved animals – I have many memories of being very young and being obsessed with all sort of pets. Wanting a hamster one day, to a rabbit the next, spending hours staring into the large fish tank my Mum & Dad had in the living room (very 80’s!), to teasing the border collie that had the house to himself before I popped along… I loved dogs beyond anything, so much so that when I was around 18 months old, I walked up to a gate with a German shepherd behind it, and I left with a decent bite mark on my cheek. Nowadays, I’m a bit more cautious when I approach any dogs…

Back to horses… 

Saturday, 27 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 27: Things You Might Not Know About Me

Hopefully, there's not too many equestrian based things on this list and I'm doing a good job of share our every day stories with you all. But here's a quick list of a few things that you may not know about me...

Friday, 26 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 26: Advice for New Horse Owners

To start this post, I wanted to flip it around... What do I wish I had known when I was first a horse owner? So, in today’s Blogtober post I’m going to bring you my top three tips when buying a horse for the first time!

  1. Don’t let excitement over rule being sensible

Thursday, 25 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 25: Throwback Thursday

Recently, if you're a frequent reader, you'll have seen that we had a VERY successful day competing at the PetPlan Area Festival Finals. In the week leading up to the finals, I took time out to watch Louie & mine's first ever dressage test together - it was the first time Louie had ever been in a dressage arena. We'd only been together 3-4 weeks, he was my first ever baby horse, and was a very wobbly and excited 3 year old... I actually wrote a blog about our first dressage party together.

I cannot believe the difference...and not just in how much whiter he has become or how much he has grown!!

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 24: What Did I Do Today

After a few days being slightly immobile due to a problem with my back, today I headed back to the office. I found it quite difficult as I am super stiff in my back and unable to bend forward or bend to sit down properly, but I managed and now sitting typing this up, I feel much better for having a more mobile day...even if it was a little painful at times!

Late afternoon, we had Louie's physio booked. Ironic timing being it is me that needs a physio right now... We use Lee Clark, and for those of you who have followed us for a while, you may remember his visit last September when we underwent an equine physio and rider balance session. Today was just to assess Louie...

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 23: Tip Tuesday

It's Tip Tuesday!! And this week's tip is all about how to keep warm when you're out and about hacking throughout autumn and winter... As you saw in day 13, my ideal horsey winter is an early morning hack out in the cold, crisp sunshine, so I thought I'd let you know some of my top tips that help to keep me snug as a bug.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Keep Mud Fever Away with Natual Products from Botanica

With winter fast approaching, wet, cold weather, long, dark nights and mud above your ankles are just around the corner. And unfortunately, where there’s mud, there’s often mud fever.

#Blogtober Day 22: My Favourite Motivational Quote

It didn't take me long to come to the conclusion as to which was my favourite motivational quote, but in doing so, I realised it actually spun a story of many more inspiring quote. You can find a collection of my favourite horse related inspiration quotes from our blog, or also check out my Pinterest board dedicated to it!

But which exactly is my favourite?

Sunday, 21 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 21: Favourite Autumn Hacking Routes

Well, I haven't been at my current yard yet over autumn or winter, but there are LOADS of lovely long off road routes that surround us, so I'm sure even when the worst of the weather hits, we'll always have somewhere to head out. PLUS we are right next to the beach, so with the salt sea air, the frosty and icy mornings shouldn't affect us as much as they did previously. There's also the beach to enjoy riding along or schooling on... 👌

Saturday, 20 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 20: Autumn & Winter Horse Shows

As I write today's Blogtober post, I've got no plans to attend any high level horse shows this autumn or winter. Instead I thought I write about the ones I would really like to go to maybe next year or in the coming years.

Burghley Horse Trials

Based in Lincolnshire, it's actually not too far for me to travel to watch this event live, and almost every year I sit and say "I'm definitely going next year"... I've yet to head down and experience it. Maybe 2019 will be the year we'll go!

Friday, 19 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 19: What Do You Want To Achieve This Winter

While the winter months can feel long and certainly cold, I quite like them as they really make me get organised and structured with my approach to training. I enjoy coming up with a plan for what we will work on over the coming few weeks and the stepping stones I need to take in each schooling session to get there. I tend to get a bit distracted by long evening hacking in the summer...

What do I want to achieve in our dressage?

Thursday, 18 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 18: Horse Themed Pumpkin Carving 🎃

Being that I struggle carving a basic smile out of the side of a pumpkin, I'm not about to share a collection of amazingly carved pumpkins, all in a horse theme, ready to be admired. In fact, I'd say I even struggle to carve and scoop out the centre of a pumpkin... So now I've established I definitely don't have the required skills for basic pumpkins carving, how will I tackle today's Blogtober topic?

Simple. I'm going to bring you the best horse themed pumpkin carving from across the web, OK, well mostly from Pinterest!! So here's my 6 picks!

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 17: My Favourite Equestrian Bloggers

There are a few equestrian bloggers that I thoroughly enjoy following and reading their latest posts. Usually it is blogger with a very personable tone and style to their posts, as well as being relatable and telling their own unique story.

Five of my faves

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 16: Tip Tuesday

Tuesday's certainly come around fast when you've to create a tip for them each week! 🙈

So, for today's tip I'm going to go down the route that will inevitably mean that I'll be putting it into practice... 🙄

Get your equestrian first aid kit stocked up for hoof abscesses

Hopefully, they are few and far between, but right now is prime time for hoof abscesses to show their very ugly and unwelcome face. As the ground conditions, go from hard and dry to soft & moist, our horses hooves become more absorbent and physically softer for things like sharp stones to make a puncture in the soles.

Monday, 15 October 2018

PetPlan Area Festival Final at Morris Equestrian Centre

WOW!! What a weekend...! 👌

After qualifying for the Finals at Northallerton in August, I'd been looking forward to this weekend for what felt like AGES!! Not only an exciting competition, but a night away with Louie being stabled and Andrew & I checking into a rather nice local hotel...

So, here's a round up of our weekend. Sit back & enjoy - it's a long one! ☕️

#Blogtober Day 15: A photo diary of your week last week


 Monday we headed to The Pegasus Centre for our monthly training session with Cathy Burrell. We worked on putting elasticity into my arms to give a better overall elastic contact to help the inconsistency we feel with dipping behind the contact & pulling it forward.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 14: What did I do today?

So, I’ve cheated a little bit with this post… From the title, I should be writing it at the end of the day to let you all know what I’ve been up to. Well, I’ve been to Morris Equestrian in Kilmarnock for our Area Festival Final so this is a pre-written post, but I’m sure we’ll do a full competition report as soon as we are back!

Saturday, 13 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 13: What is my ideal autumn or winter horsey day?

One of my favourite topics of Blogtober & one of the easiest for me to write as it is simply getting up early on a cold, clear, crisp morning and heading out on a ride as the sun is just rising 💞

Friday, 12 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 12: Autumn & Winter Routines

Does your routine change much as the seaosn do? As autumn moves into winter, many of us will begin to make changes to our horse's routine - some smaller and some bigger. Whether it is simply a change to their turnout, or a different working regime, we all make changes.

So what's my autumn & winter turnout routines?

Thursday, 11 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 11: Your Horse's Autumn Wardrobe

It won't come as any great surprise that today's Blogtober post is going to contain multiple references to Premier Equine & demostrate even more that Louie is definitely better dressed that I am!

So, if we look at his autumn collection, what's included?

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 10: Autumn Wardrobe Staples

Well, today's a short one, I have two things - one horsey, one not!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 9: Tip Tuesday

Every Tuesday during Blogtober is a tip. Our second one in the challenge is getting your stable ready for longer time spent in it!

Invest in stable mats

Monday, 8 October 2018

Dressage Competition Report - 07.10.2018

On the first cold morning that we've really had this autumn, we set off to Todburn Equestrian Center to enjoy a couple of prelim British Dressage tests. I decided last week that with just 8 weeks left of the winter qualification period, I'd aim to gather enough points at this level to qualify for Regionals.

What's needed to qualify? I now need to gather 20 points at this level and only points scored in tests with 66% or above will count towards these 20. So, that's my aim with 6 already in the bag from a test in July. After that, regardless of qualification, we're going to go back to pushing on at Novice level.

#Blogtober Day 8: Autumn & Winter Feeds

I've always been a believer in simple feeding and that if you find a combination of products that work, stick to it. The feed that I give to Louie doesn't change all year round, only increase in the winter or decrease in the summer.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 7: Top 10 Things I Love About Autumn

Here's my top 10 things that I really love about Autumn!

  1. Cold, crisp and clear mornings & that feeling it gives in the air

Saturday, 6 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 6: Handling the Seasonal Change

Moving from summer to autumn and then into winter used to really bother me, but over the last couple of years it hasn't really bothered me. So what do I put that down to? Well that's exactly what today's #Blogtober is all about... my top tips for moving into the autumn season.

  1. Get organised & be prepared
    Just like my tip Tuesday post for day 2, make sure you make those harder months a bit easier on yourself - have everything sorted out and to hand & eliminate the stress of what you're not ready for.

Friday, 5 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 5: Autumn Essentials for Your Horse

Yesterday's Blogtober post was all about layering up the jockey with my essential being baselayers. Today's is the horse version - rug liners.

I find it SO frustrating in the UK with our varying temperatures - every day can be massively different. So a few years ago, I took the plunge and invested in a full stable and turnout wardrobe for Louie with Premier Equine's rug liners.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 4: Autumn Essentials for You

If you're like me, you'll have enjoyed the last 5 months in short sleeves, perhaps only adding a soft shell gilet when it's a bit cooler. However, as the season begins to change, my essential item to have in your wardrobe is BASELAYERS!

I'm all about the layering 👌

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 3: A Day in the Life of...

I often end up apologising for my lack of activity on my blog and it's usually a good way to tell how busy all the other parts to my life are. So in true nature of today's topic, here's the average day in the life of me!

6am: Alarm goes off 😴
If I'm good, there will be no snoozing either! I put my phone on the far side of the bathroom door so it's more effort to go back to bed than into the shower. In between checking my social media, blow drying my hair and trying to not look like Frankenstein by putting some make up on, I aim to be dressed and read to leave around 6.50am. However, 9/10 it's 7am or later...

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

#Blogtober Day 2: Tip Tuesday

It's day two of Blogtober & today's topic is providing an Autumn related tip. For me, taking time out during Autumn, it is a great use of time to get prepared for those winter months that are just around the corner. Make life easy for you and get everything ready from your tack room to your horsebox, to your clothing to everything that your horse needs.

Monday, 1 October 2018

#BLOGTOBER Day 1: An Introduction to Blogtober

As summer closes, and the evenings darken & temperatures begin to fall, equestrians all over start to capture the beauty of autumn, particularly October, with the tones in the countryside around us changing to oranges, yellows and browns. Blogtober enables us all to celebrate this gorgeous seasonal change...

What is #Blogtober?

In a nutshell, it is a bloggers challenge to embrace the season change during October, both for equestrian bloggers and non-horse bloggers worldwide. Everyday throughout the month, I will be posting a blog, and showcasing it on social media, so make sure you check back, or are following us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter to keep up to date on all the topics 🗓

Here's all the posts we've included in Blogtober!

Equestrian Blogtober 2018 - Are You Following?

Equestrian Bloggers worldwide take up the challenge of Blogtober! 

Blogtober is a challenge to bloggers of all shapes, sizes and niches worldwide to create content every day throughout October. It's a tough challenge for those of us who blog as a hobby - creatively thinking and bringing to life a post every single day. Many equestrian bloggers have joined into this concept in 2018, varying from publishing a blog post every day to snippets of content posted only on social media. All of the content can be brought together through the #EquestrianBlogtober hashtag, as well as those of us choosing to publishing a blog post also joining the blogtober blog hop below!

Sunday, 30 September 2018

September Round Up

Well, this is how Louie started September... 🙈

Over September we've been up to everything we possibly could. We've been out & about exploring the countryside - on our own, with Andrew cycling along, and with old friends who came to visit. We've had flatwork training sessions, dressage competitions and showjumping training sessions, as well as increasing our showjumping homework, both at home and hiring venues local to us.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

An ode to a non-riding hubby...

I actually nearly titled this post ‘...to a non-horsey husband’ but I think that wouldn’t really have reflected Andrew and just how much a part of our team he is!

If you know us, you’ll know how much Andrew is involved with my horsing around, from training & competing to mucking out & making sure we’re topped up on feed, he throws himself into it all!

Maybe I should promote him to Team Manager...?

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Winter grazing & electric fencing

When most of us think of electric fencing, we thinking about controlling our grazing during the summer months. Whether it’s to create a small area of our fields that can be grazed right down for our weight prone four-legged friends, or strip grazing to reduce the calorie & sugar intake for those with nutritional conditions, we always seem to think of electric fencing…

But what about the winter months? There’s plenty of uses for electric fencing in the wetter and cooler months of the years.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Brand Ambassador for Boudica Equestrian

I’m super proud to announce that we have recently confirmed a collaboration with Boudica Equestrian, becoming their latest Brand Ambassador alongside Wiola Grabowska (Aspire Equestrian).

‘I am very excited to be working with Boudica Equestrian, working to raise the profile of their brand and the ranges that they stock as well as collaborating with their existing Ambassador. I am thrilled that Laura and Wiola recognised the authenticity to our blog through adapting to reach our goal and ambitions. Boudica Equestrian’s fantastic range of products will enable me to discover new lines of clothing for everyday yard wear as well as at competitions, and all without breaking the bank. Plus, it gives me a chance to have a wardrobe as good as Louie’s for a change!’

Boudica Equestrian launched earlier in 2018 by founder, Laura Williams. With her passion for fashion & love of equestrian, Laura launched her own online clothing store to bring stylish equestrian & leisure wear while being affordable too. As a Mum on the go herself, Laura aims to bring clothing ranges that are perfect for around the yard or on the school run or supermarket sweep.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Dressage Competition Report - 15.09.2018

We headed to West Park Arena to enjoy a couple of dressage tests, our first party since the Area Festivals mid-August, and although we had a dressage training session recently, we've not spent a lot of the time flat schooling since then.

It was a great day on paper - 3rd in our prelim with 64.42% & 4th in our novice with 65.89% - & since the last time we were there (January 2018), I can see Louie has really come on, developed and grown in confidence. However, I came away feeling a bit flat...

So here's how the day went.
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