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Thursday, 1 October 2020

September Round Up

September Round Up - Team Tunnah Equestrian

Although September means the end of the summer, I do love the autumn season, with all the beautiful colours that it brings and especially those fabulously fresh mornings - clear blue skies, sun shining strong but the ground is full of dew and the air is crisp and cool ๐Ÿงก

As the season changes, we all start to think about what we need to do to prepare for the coming months - clipping, what rugs we might need, feeding, turn out & field shelters. I popped a post up a couple of weeks ago with my top tips for horse care in autumn & winter.

But for now, Louie and I have carried on throughout September just as we are...

If you remember, at the end of July, we moved yards. I moved to a full livery only yard, so there was already a lot of changes for both Louie and I to adapt to. I'm very pleased to sit two months later and reflect on how well Louie has settled into his new surroundings. He seems very content in the field with his other grey friend, he's settled on an evening when I go to ride, and he's far less stressed about things. Seeing him settle in so well really help put me at ease, know it was the right decision and helps me to settle in too. 

I'm taking a bit more adjusting, and not in a negative way! I need to relax into the full livery routine more, and instead of on an evening rushing to the yard, panicking that I've "only" got these 40-45 minutes to ride because I've got all my yard jobs to do. In reality, whatever time I spend at the yard is all about spending it with Louie - whether riding or just grooming. I'm planning to write a blog post on choosing the right yard for you and your horse very soon so stay tuned for that one!

So what have we been up to in September? Plenty!

On the first weekend, we headed out to our first dressage competition in over SIX MONTHS! Although we'd ben back in the saddle a month or so, I opted to enter the two Novices as it had been a while since we'd been in a competition and inside those white boards.

It was a good day out, and Moose made his first appearance at a competition! Louie was really well behaved, and apart from a few more spooky parts when we went into the indoor arena, he did really well. I felt a bit rusty and as though with more practice I could polish up the test that we put forward, but I was just pleased we were back out & about!

If you have heard all about the day, how we got on or seen our tests & results, make sure you have a read of the dressage competition report blog post.

In between working on our dressage, I was trying to put the hard work into our showjumping training too. We'd had a showjumping lesson at the very end of August and took away a few exercises to work on at home, but it didn't quite go to plan...& I couldn't figure out why! 

Instead of repeatedly having poor quality training sessions at home, I headed out on a few more hacks than normal on an evening. If nothing else, it would help with Louie's fitness, and we made use of the hills in the fields behind the yard. They are great for working Louie up and down to get him using his muscles, whether it's in walk, trot or canter... 

Benefits of hacking & hillwork - Team Tunnah Equestrian

I arranged a showjumping session with Philippa a little earlier than I'd have liked to help us get back on track with the training and before any of the bad habits we were getting became problematic. Leading up to the session, I really wasn't motivated to go, but I'm so glad I stuck in and went along as she spotted straight away what the issue seemed to be - a pulling war between Louie & I. 

The session really lifted my spirits about how to work around the problem, if it presents, and we took a step up in our training to really start to get jumping. Having the right support around you when you're struggling with something is so important!

I took a 10 days annual leave from work in September, starting on 16th, and my first day back was Monday this week, 28th. I really needed the time to switch off from everything that this year has thrown at me - it's been a tough one for us all in 2020. It was perfect - beautiful weather throughout and I spent almost every day just chilling out. We found a glorious long walk along the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders, which we did twice with Moose (it's a little too far for Harry these days), so if you're interested in doing it, just send me a message and I'll share you the details!

Dog walks along the River Tweed - Team Tunnah Equesrian

In the middle of that mini-holiday, I had a dressage lesson with Cathy. I had been so excited for it as the last one was such a fun one, very productive but also a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I let my self-critic loose and destroyed all my self-confidence in the space of minutes, so it didn't quite go to plan. If you have read about that dressage training session, make sure you catch up on it. 

It took me a couple of days to swing around from our session to writing that post, but I always believe reflection is important, and that you don't just ignore a day like that. For me, that helps me build on it and make sure that it doesn't keep happening to such an extreme.

I didn't want to overdo the flatwork and get stuck in a cycle of frustration, so I gave Louie a long hack the day after, a day off, and then headed out to an arena we haven't been to before to hire it for some jumping training. 

It was blowing such strong winds, and there was a lot going on around the arena, but overall I was really pleased with how Louie and I tackled it. He jumped well, I just need to keep working on staying in the right canter and rhythm - I never find that easy in the wind! But I'm easily distracted from thinking about the canter into thinking about my turns, the jumps, my lines, my leads, not getting into a pulling war, etc... But with more practice and repetition, I'm confident it will come!

I worked on Louie's flatwork, gave him a lunge and went on a rather wet hack for the following few days, before having a quick ping around the jumps that were set up in the indoor arena at home and then headed out on a short hack, mostly to cool off. It went well, and being indoors it made me more conscious that I'd need to keep the canter up and not let it fall down from feeling quick due to simply being indoors.

Coming up in October we already got a showjumping lesson booked in and I'm thinking about entering a dressage competition mid-month, but just a bit unsure which tests I should do - two Elementaries or a Novice & an Elementary. So stay tuned on our social media to hear how we get on, & don't forget you can sign up to our email list so you get the latest blog posts straight into your inbox!

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