Supported By:

SureGrow Jayne Townsend Equine Bowen Therapy Woof Wear Activate Your Seat by Maeve Sheridan Super X Country Cousin Jack

My Blog

Earlier Entries Later Entries

Confidence Update

Posted: 9 Feb 2018 - Comments (0)
My New Year blog (link here) detailing my confidence struggles received huge feedback via messages and Facebook, what perhaps struck me most was how many of us are affected by these issues. For those of you not on Facebook or that don't follow my page (why not) we now have a post every Thursday to share positives from the previous week. Call it group therapy! So how am I getting on? Things are slightly improved I am getting more confident doing things with the horses and going places, I have schooled Fliss on my own several times. This weekend I am taking Fliss for an Arena XC lesson and even semi looking forward to it. Equally though I am a long way from where I want to be, I still find myself getting tense and imagining problems riding, causing me to tense and perch. Only this weekend I had a major set back bringing Fliss back to a walk as I didn't want to canter as I thought there was something that might upset her and totally mucked up jumping Ellie as I couldn't find a stride for looking too hard and panicking.

I have had great support from friends and enjoyed some things such a beach rides but on my own the demons still keep messing with my head!

I am reading a few self help books (I think I understand where things are going wrong just struggling to get tools to correct it), also trying some homeopathic and natural solutions. I do think think the weather doesn't help the situation so hoping things get easier as spring approaches.

Comments (0)

Dressage Training

Posted: 6 Feb 2018 - Comments (0)
I was grateful that we had two dressage lessons booked indoors on Saturday as the weather was yet again rubbish. Threewaters Riding Club had organised an Andrew Lovell dressage clinic which gave us a great opportunity to work on the girls flatwork.

As always we started the lesson discussing progress, any changes (the new bits) and what I wanted to achieve. With Fliss it was a general overall improvement and we worked on getting her straighter in the shoulder and used sitting trot to enhance the seat aid and get her working correctly from behind and helping to lift the front end. She certainly likes the new bit and the work improved immensely. The clip below is actually flat work taken from the following day when we continued Andrew's work in a friends school and I think she went really well. Also looking at the video I have realised that I need to stop saying she has to strengthen and make up, while of course there is always an ongoing need to develop the correct muscle she has suddenly filled out and looking much stronger.

Ellie I explained to Andrew needed to develop medium trot but again it was straightness that was the key. She has a tendency to be quite fixed in her neck and shoulders and energy can go out the side door. We worked on straightening her using shoulder fore and then some simple flexion each way but focusing on her bending the head from just behind the jowl independently of the shoulders. We also used increasing and decreasing circles in canter to engage the hind end. Very much a work in progress but started to feel some increased engagement. The new bit was definitely an improvement and fitted to a Micklem we had no tongue over the bit.

Comments (0)

Improvements and frustrations!

Posted: 31 Jan 2018 - Comments (0)
The new bits came yesterday so today was first chance to have a play at home. I had the afternoon off so time to ride both to the school. A friend came over and helped with Fliss and we did some pole work, Fliss's outline has definitely lengthened in the new bit and I have more of a contact which is great. Her canter continue to improve and working with some scattered poles gave us something to focus on rather than drifting around the school. So very pleased with the difference it has made.

Ellie on the other hand was frustrating! The weather was cold and windy and she is feeling fresh. I left the poles out for her to work over quietly but she was on her toes and in an opinionated mood. She was trying to take charge and it became a bit of a battle. She then found with a lower (correctly) fitted bit she could evade by popping her tongue over the bit. In the end we both ended up frustrated and with light fading I called it a day and headed for home. Much as it is great to work through these issues sometimes it is best to just walk away and come back fresh with plenty of time and plenty of patience another day!

Comments (0)

New bits for the girls

Posted: 28 Jan 2018 - Comments (0)
A really interesting day today as I had a consultation with Sue Paine from Horse Bit Fit. We all make sure teeth, back and saddle is comfortable yet there is so much in the fit of the bridle and the bit that affects the horses way of going. It is an area that I haven't got a huge amount of knowledge about and can be a minefield of trying and buying bits only to find they are not quite what you wanted.

I was really excited when a friend invited me to their yard to meet Sue and have a consultation. Fliss particularly isn't easy in the mouth and curls badly so I was keen to see if we could find something that helped us. I was undecided whether to take Ellie as I am fairly happy with how she is going in her bit but in the end decided to take her as well. Consultations were very reasonable £40 each (when 2 or more horses are at a yard), the consultant also doesn't sell you bits directly but leaves a written outline of the consultation and the suggested bit including where you can buy, this means there is no pressure to buy.

Fliss was on first and the bridle fit was checked, she is currently in a Micklem bridle. It was suggested I try her in a bigger browband and if possible get the bridle altered so the buckles on the checks don't sit quite as high but lower almost level with the eye. I then rode her in the school in walk trot and canter to give an idea of her way of going. At this point the bit bag came out and we tried some different bits. For me I was primarily looking for a training bit that was dressage legal and would be suitable for all disciplines. We tried a variety of different HP relief bits and after trying 3 or 4 different versions settled on a hanging cheek. (More info here) This isn't a bit I would have tried on Fliss as I always understood it added poll pressure but this has evidently been proved not to be the case. She took the bit forward more and I was able to ride her subtly more to the contact allowing her to sit a bit more. This showed particularly after popping a jump. As she has a small mouth the narrow (12mm) mouthpiece suited her better and the barrel rather than a lozenge was comfortable.

So onto Ellie and we went through the same process of checking the bridle fit. Sue wasn't keen on the bridle fit and the way the buckles sat on top of one another and the fit of the noseband and flash. To be fair the bridle was never bought for Ellie and although it 'classically' can be said to fit I could see the issues and where they could affect her way of going. Have a look at the diagram that Sue gave me (at the end of this blog) that explains how strapping the mouth shut or poor bit fitting may affect the horse.

We reverted to the Micklem bridle for Ellie (which she wears for jumping anyway) and warmed her up in the school. Whereas with Fliss the changes in her way of going were quite subtle for Ellie being the character she is, she was quite clear what she liked and disliked. Again we found her to go well in the HP bits, and really liked the loose ring rather than a fixed eggbut type snaffle. We finally went for the HP loose ring snaffle barrel bit (more info here) In this Ellie had a longer softer neck and was using her hind end a little more giving me the feeling we may even have some medium today. As Ellie wasn't the one I had particularly felt the need to take she was the one that was ultimately the most changed by the different bit.

The interesting thing with Ellie's bit was the fit. I felt it was too low yet when you looked sat centrally over the bars of the mouth. My natural inclination would have been to pull it up a couple of holes each side. Need to be careful when the new one comes to fit in properly and not be tempted to pull it up!

The other bonus was it was the girls first trip out together and apart from some whinny's from Fliss when Ellie was being worked they both behaved brilliantly.

I certainly would recommend Fit Bit if you are interested in trying different bits and having help finding what suits your horses mouth confirmation and preferences best.

Comments (0)

BD Colraine

Posted: 27 Jan 2018 - Comments (0)
Our first competition of the year today was the British Dressage competition at Colraine. Been a while since Ellie has done any pure dressage and I was keen to see an improvement. We had entered Novice 27 and Novice 30.

I was a little concerned that the dressage might be explosive as they were hunting in the vicinity but luckily neither hounds nor horn were heard. She produced two nice tests, trying hard in both and is showing a huge improvement on last year. There are still areas to focus on principly engaging her hind end more to create medium paces, a more solid halt and my inability to ride good shapes particularly the half 10 meter circles and the 15m circles. Her give and retake was really good, her transitions are much improved and although her frame could still be slightly softer it is rarely behind the vertical.

In Novice 27 we scored 68% and was 3rd in a small class with the marks all very close.

In Novice 30 I thought it was a slightly better test but we scored 65% albeit for a very close 2nd.

Although I don't plan on doing a huge amount of BD due to entry costs it is nice to know we can go and do some tests and be competitive.

Comments (0)

Dressage diva?

Posted: 24 Jan 2018 - Comments (0)
I may be regretting it at the weekend but I have just renewed Ellie's dressage registration and we are off to do BD this weekend. I must admit I thought long and hard regarding registering as the cost of affiliated competitions is just so much higher than unaffiliated for basically the same facilities, judges and tests. However my competitive instinct to test myself at affiliated level and the enjoyment of gaining points won over!

So Saturday we are off to Colraine for 2 novice tests (27 and 30). I am afraid we will be remaining both bling and matchy matchy free and even worse I will be competing in my jump saddle. At least no one can say we have all the gear and no idea!!

Seriously it will be interesting to see how we have progressed and what percentage we can manage.

Comments (0)

Page: 49 of 101