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Monday, 25 November 2019

Showjumping Training - 24.11.19

After missing our showjumping training earlier this month due to a frozen arena, I was so excited to be going to another on Saturday. Sadly, the weather gods weren’t on our side AGAIN, bringing pouring rain to the northeast throughout the whole of Saturday. Literally, it didn’t even so much as turn to light rain from the moment I woke up until when I went to bed… Not much fun for outdoor showjumping!

Fortunately, I was able to find a space on a showjumping clinic the very next day at the same venue, but with a coach I’d not been to before. That’s always a little nerve-wracking as for the last four years, we’ve only been coached by Philippa, who knows us both inside out, and knows exactly how to get the best from us. Anyway, this coach was recommended by Philippa and I knew I was in safe hands by that alone.

Sunday’s weather was much better…as in, it didn’t rain. But it was still typically grey and damp, but at least there was no wind or rain. I’d decided to leave Louie in the stable, enjoying playing with his Silvermoor swinger until early afternoon when we headed out for our lesson.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

November's Dressage Exercise of the Month

It's the second post in our winter training series and this month we're going to focus on how to help you become in control of your horse's shoulders and hind, & we'll start off with a basic exercise to get you going! Later on in the post, I'll share with you our favourite exercises to put the basics into practice.

I'm going to apologise now - there's no pretty photos or diagrams for this. My artwork skills, unfortunately, don't extend that far!

Both of these turns can start to test your control of the shoulders (turn on the haunches) and quarters (turn on the forehand), and are a great way to tune up your horse's aid to move away from leg pressure. 

Some trainers will start with the turn on the forehand, however, I've always found this quite difficult when coming to a halt and moving the quarters over. I also believe it goes against the principles of training to maintain forward momentum in movements, therefore, I'm going to start with riding a turn on the haunches.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Dressage Competition Report - 17.11.19

I have to say in the week leading up to this competition, I wasn’t hugely enthused…It hasn’t stopped raining for what feels like weeks, with ground flooding all over, although I’ve seen MANY worse photos for fields, stable blocks and even houses, so I won’t complain too much! As it turned out, luck was on our side as it didn’t all day & we were even able to enjoy some blue sky and sunshine at some points…But that wasn’t all that was great about the day.

I’d had a bit of a shakey (to say the least!) training session with Cathy on Monday night. Anyone who follows us will have seen that not only is negativity banned, so is perfectionist Sophie also now not permitted at our winter training! I explained it all in my training update blog post, so have a read if you haven’t seen it already. However, the best thing I did was to watch the videos Andrew had taken during the session. Not only did I realise that the work we did go wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it was during the session, but also Cathy repeatedly said to ‘stop speeding’ which I couldn’t grasp at all. I didn’t feel like we were going fast at all! Watching back, it was speedy at the start of the video and towards the end, when we remembered, it was a much steadier rhythm with good engagement and activity.

This was my goal for the competition – correct rhythm without losing the key ingredients of activity, engagement and impulsion.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Dressage Training Update - 11.11.19

Our first flatwork training session with Cathy since the start of September & our first one sat in our super lux new saddle... I was so excited & looking forward to it! Maybe that's where the problem started...

A message from the yard just after 2pm to let me know Louie had lost a front shoe. Great. I called the farrier who was struggling to get to us in time but could maybe have made it to the venue to knock one back on when we got there. On reflection, it seemed a bit pointless as Louie is due to shoeing the next night, and the flatwork was on a soft enough surface, so after a quick trot up on the yard concrete and seeing him not sore, I made the decision to go with three shoes.

I always like to arrive in good time, even when it's only training. I hate being in a rush and it also gives Louie a chance to have a munch on his haynet or on his alfa when we get there. Today was no different and we arrived about 30 minutes before our session. I hadn't yet realised but we turned up with someone completely unexpected & who never helps us complete a productive training session.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Managing a Horse that Has Previously Suffered with Equine Gastric Ulcers

The first thing to declare with this post is that it is all based entirely on my experience, and not on veterinary knowledge. It is therefore just one way to consider managing a horse that can be prone to equine gastric ulcers and is NOT the only way.

The next crucial declaration is that to my knowledge Louie's gastric ulcers were not the result of a stressful situation, or at least that was mine & the vet's conclusion. Instead, the conclusion was that as he was diagnosed in February, the more probable cause was a lower intake of grass, therefore a less 'full' stomach and an opportunity for the acid to come into contact with the lining of his stomach.

We published a blog post all about our story of equine gastric ulcers when Louie was first diagnosed if you've not seen it and want some context.

So what does that mean for my management of Louie's equine gastric ulcers?

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Showjumping Competition Report - 02.11.19

What a fantastic blog post to be writing!! I am beaming from ear to ear and feeling proud, happy, and like all the hard work is now starting to really pay off with things starting to come together! A few weeks ago, I entered a showjumping competition at a local venue, entering the 75cm & 85cm classes. I know, it's pretty unusual to pre-enter local unaffiliated showjumping, but this competition is run slightly differently to normal and is PERFECT for combinations who want to get out & about in a supportive environment.

For anyone who has followed our journey over the last few years, you'll probably be more than familiar with photos & videos from our training, but one thing you'll have spotted is a distinct lack of fillers, planks, and generally spooky fences. We're really struggled to get Louie's confidence over these fences, with many a time capturing on camera Louie's speedy decisions in the final stride to run in the opposite direction.
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