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Sunday, 9 August 2020

July Round Up

Team Tunnah Equestrian July Round Up

What a whirlwind of a month...& I can't believe my last blog was as far back as 6th June!! 😳 I'm not going to lie, there have been times that I've really struggled mentally while being out of the saddle... At the start, I kept busy with my blog and social media, but the energy began to drain as the recovery took longer & longer. Plus, I've had a really busy and pressurised four months at work - working for a travel company is fantastic, and I love the company I work for, but at a time like Covid when the vast majority of the team around you is furloughed, it becomes really difficult to keep up the spirit and motivation 😔

Why does that matter? Well, I decided to take a step back. Keeping my evening and weekends free from sitting in front of my Macbook and not thinking each day or week about what I should post on social media. I never intended that break to be two months, but the time flew past, and here we are at the start of August! 🤷‍♀️

This is actually a great month for me to come back with my blog as July has been full of activity. I FINALLY climbed back onboard and got into the saddle! 🥳🥳🥳

My leg had a vacuum pump attached with a compression wrap over the top, so I spent my life in the baggiest joggers I had, which meant even if the wound wasn't affected by being in the saddle, I couldn't get a pair of breeches one, and there was NO WAY I was about to hop on in a slippery pair of joggers! 🙈

However, on 17th July, I have a review with the tissue specialists & they were pleased that the wound was now only 0.5cm deep, so the pump could be removed! It was the BEST news! So, you'd think I'd be heading straight down to the yard to get back onboard. No. I surprised myself with more caution than I expected and decided to wait until Sunday (my birthday!) to get back on. 

Well, Sunday was sunny and SO hot, that the thought of pulling on breeches, a hat, leather chaps and gloves just did not appeal, so I waited another day, and my first ride was on 20th July. Thirteen weeks after my accident.

I knew I would be out of shape, but I could feel how weak my leg was and how much muscle and strength I'd lost in my core. So I decided to ride every day, just for 20-30 minutes to build the strength back up, and of course, to check that riding wasn't impacting my leg further. 

For a moment, let's skip back to the beginning of July, when I made a big decision...

During the winter, Louie can be a tricky horse to keep settled when he is stabled. This is not due to no turnout as when the whole yard stays in, even for a couple of weeks, he's lovely, easy to manage and totally settled. However, although I'm very structured and keep everything like clockwork for Louie's routine, the yard is mostly DIY, so on the days that I choose to keep him in (due to weather, or maybe having a lesson later on), he watches as most of the other horses go out, which drives him nuts! And because it is DIY, it's not just once, it's multiple times over as each owner arrives, sometimes twice if they ride and then turn out. 

I've absolutely nothing against DIY yards and owners on different routines, or even those who chop and change their routines each day, but it just doesn't work for Louie. I'm sure if I had a different personality of horse, I wouldn't even notice this kind of thing, and I definitely wouldn't have been looking to move somewhere new. 

So, after 2 or 3 weeks of deliberating, I made the choice to move yards. I wasn't in any rush but wanted to be settled before the winter, and I was determined only to move to prevent the different routines affecting Louie, so I had a fairly strict few points on my criteria:
  • Full livery - not assisted / extra services with DIY mixed in
  • Good facilities for training at home
  • Reputable people taking care of Louie - something I've never compromised on any of the yards I have been on is having someone I haven't heard about taking care of any of my horses
There are many yards around me that offer full livery, but they also have DIY or assisted mixed in, so moving to a yard such as this wasn't an option as it was just moving the problem from one yard to another. There are two yards close by that I knew offers full livery - one I'd been to look at about 3.5 years ago and have been there training many times, and the other I knew three people with horses there but had never really explored. The latter one does offer more (horse walker,m solarium, wash bays, all year turn out, and arenas that are never hired to external unless the owner is coaching in one of them). It also comes at a slightly higher price per week (+6%). I arranged to go and have a look around and hear all about it...

For me, moving yards is a big decision. I don't want to hop around yards as I want somewhere that Louie is happy and I'm content with, which to be fair, we already were at the current yard, just those winter stabling niggles that I wanted to prevent. 

I took about a week to make my decision and decided to go for it! The yard is run by a showjumper and is full of liveries who compete. The hacking isn't great, so anyone who simply enjoys hacking, it probably isn't a good choice for them, but it means lots of like-minded people who can cheer each other one, and appreciate the enjoyment competitive amateurs get from their hobby. 

We moved over on 25th July, where Louie needed to spend two weeks on isolation without turnout, but able to be ridden and go on the horse walker each day. We're away from the main yard, so I'm looking forward to getting our 'proper' stable and making use of things such as the wash bay (with warm water) - what grey horse owner wouldn't! But also getting to know the people too. I've met a few while riding in the arenas, and they do all seem lovely, taking time out to talk to me, asking about Louie and I, and answering any questions I'm unsure about, such as moving jumps and poles around in the arenas. 

Team Tunnah Equestrian blog July Full Livery

We're getting to the end of our two weeks, where Louie will need a second blood test (Strangles) and of course a negative result, so we can move across to the yard, but he's settled in fantastically. And, I'm really loving it too.

I've been back riding every day, both to help my fitness but also I've done a bit more with Louie than I would have perhaps at the old yard, just because he hasn't had turnout. However, I've REALLY made use of the arena facilities - diving for the indoor during a heavy shower while doing some flatwork, setting up polework exercises to have a go at before we jumped, taking our first jump back since injury, and quickly adjusting fences already laid out in a course for a Sunday morning pop around, albeit a rusty one!! 

Throughout the whole time that I've been out of action, I've been really conscious of Louie's weight - the grass coming through on fertilised fields, haylage overnight and standing in a stable, plus less exercise than he would usually have. Although, I had an amazing friend that rode Louie twice a week in the school for 40 minutes for me which has helped me SO much, and I am so grateful for that! 🙌

I bought a weight tape, not as an accurate measure, but as a way to keep an eye on increasing and decreasing weight. Well, he did a lot of increasing, but not so much decreasing, probably a lot like me during that time too 😂😂

I was lucky that I was able to go into a small non-fertilised paddock for 3 weeks, which really did help his weight, but unfortunately, the pony in there finished his box rest and needed it back. So, for the final three weeks of our time at the last yard, Louie was turned back out in the grass rich field, and I made the decision to bring him in at about 1pm every day. Not going to lie, it was a pain in the backside going 6.30am, 1pm and back at 4.30pm...for three weeks 😫 But, it did prevent Louie from getting too fat. He did increase on the weight tape almost 2cm during those three weeks, but I've measured him one week into the new yard and he's dropped 1.5cm of those already 💪

So, what's coming up for us in August?

Well, I've already booked both flatwork and showjumping training sessions for later in the month, when we're both back in the swing a bit more and a bit fitter. I have a flatwork session at home on 22nd August, and a showjumping session at Philippa's on 29th August, plus, as I said, I've booked a polework session with Philippa this coming week. I'm hoping she can help finetune us a bit before our jumping session at the end of the month, plus give me a load of homework to support our fitness and strength over the 2-3 weeks in between. 

Although the hacking isn't great at the new yard, there are private fields with hills, so it's a great place to go and do trot and canter work to help start to build Louie's fitness. The yard I was at before the last one (some of you may remember it) is very closeby where we are now, so I know plenty of hacking routes around the lanes, and thankfully this yard is based on the other side of the fields to the busy road to a new-build development, so the lanes are much quieter. 

I'd also like to find a few local dressage competitions to have a go at. There's a great venue just north from us that does evening dressage on Tuesday's, and I thought about doing it on 11th August, but it's likely to be the day we move onto the main yard and I really want to move all my stuff across and get back to being organised - everything is literally everywhere!!! 🙈 Maybe the week after...

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