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9th February

Posted: 9 Feb 2015 - Comments (0)
It is 8pm and off to bed as leaving home tomorrow at 3.45 to drive to Bristol and fly to Dublin for a few days horse hunting. Fingers crossed please.

Quick clip of Bobby from the BE cross country clinic on Sunday, he was really good and coming on in leaps and bounds.
Sorry for the short update - night!

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7th February

Posted: 7 Feb 2015 - Comments (0)
Been busy planning a trip to Ireland next week to view some horses. Been a frustrating hunt to date so thought it was time for a change of scenery and at least the ability to see quite a few on one trip. Hoping that there will be 20-25 to see which all roughly match my criteria.

Good idea as it sounds at the time all the organisation needed as well as fitting everything else in has been a bit of a struggle. However flights, car, B&B as well as a good few horse to see is now organised!

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2nd February

Posted: 2 Feb 2015 - Comments (0)
Had an ace session yesterday at Pontispool Arena XC. A clinic with Caroline using the huge variety of fences, it really demonstrated how much he has progressed since our last visit. This time also we could add the water into our schooling as it wasn’t frozen. We did a variety of exercises and his confidence continued to build. He only had one naughty which was the ditch we jumped last time now with a rail over the top, however as soon as he had a lead he hopped over confidently.

The brush type fences that in the past he has not understood he was sailing over and we were seeing some good controlled strides to our fences.

Below is a clip which I think shows how far he has progressed starting with a fairly technical line and going on to jump a couple of decent fences out of a good rhythm.
Near the end of the session we attempted Bobby’s first proper triple brush. Considering that the simulated version has caused us some problems and even resulted in me having a splat we did build it up carefully with poles to help start us off.
So all in all delighted and gone away knowing I now need to be a bit more positive in my riding of him and not quite so defensive.

Thanks to Nick Perry for the photos again.

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The importance of hydration

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 - Comments (0)
Drinking is something I can really neglect and it is something that can have a huge influence on riders performance. In this article Dr Dave Siemens explains why keeping hydrated is so important.

Dr Dave says, Riders, drink more water to improve your performance

Your muscles and your brain are about 75% water, and your blood is about 82% water, keeping your body hydrated helps keep important body functions working properly. Not being hydrated makes it hard for your body's systems to work efficiently. Even mild dehydration will slow down your metabolism because dehydration reduces the volume of blood in the body making the cardio-respiratory system work harder to pump blood throughout the body and deliver sufficient oxygen to the working muscles. This means you, the athlete will perform less well, become more prone to injury and take longer to recover.

Additional benefits of staying hydrated are:-
  • Improved mental alertness
  • Your brain is mostly made up of water, so drinking water will help you think better, be more alert and more concentrated
  • Increased physical ability
  • Drinking water during exercise helps to regulate your body temperature. This means you’ll feel more energized when exercising. Water also helps to fuel your muscles
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body. Also it is what makes up the majority of the fluid in your blood. If your body lacks water, your heart, for instance, will need to work harder to pump out the oxygenated blood to all cells. If you don’t get enough oxygen to your brain and other organs then they will be exhausted and as will you.
  • Reduced back pain
  • Often headaches and back pains are due to dehydration. Although many reasons contribute to headaches and back pain…dehydration is one of the common sources of them.
  • Reduced cramps
  • Being properly hydrated helps keep your muscles from cramping.
  • Faster recovery
  • Properly hydrated bodies recover from trauma and injury quicker. Plus hydration boosts your immune system.
  • Improves the mood
  • When your body has fewer toxins, it will run better and make you feel better…and when you feel good you are happier.
To stay hydrated aim to drink water before and after every work out and ride. Drink before you feel thirsty. Also remember that quite often thirst can be mistaken for hunger.

Remember fizzy pop, tea, coffee, sugary squash and alcohol will cause you to become more dehydrated. If you drink these you will need even greater quantities of water.

Many thanks to Dr Dave Siemens (Chiropractor) Find out more via his Website or Facebook page.

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Keratoma - Operation and recovery in pictures

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 - Comments (0)
Keratoma 1In 2012 Sarnie had a number of foot abscesses in a hind foot, they kept recurring so we had the vet to do a deeper investigation.

She was x rayed, you can see at the bottom where the foot was pared away to try and release the abscess but higher up you can also see a half moon shape in the pedal bone itself. This indicated the likelihood of a benign tumour called a keratoma. The only way to remove this is via an operation.

The x ray did not give a 100% diagnosis the only way to do this was by an MRI scan. As the nearest scanner was over 4 hours drive away we had pretty much decided to proceed anyway. However at this point she was still very lame so more foot was cut away to allow it to drain and she was put on a high dose of antibiotics to make sure the infection was cleared up prior to any operation taking place, However, when the foot was further cut away we actually exposed the end of the keratoma leaving us in no doubt she had to have an operation.

You can see on the picture right the bit of a round mass in the foot is the end of the keratoma.

Keratoma 2Decisions then had to be made as to whether we sent her to a specialist hospital with a very experienced team which would involve a 4 hour journey each way and a 3 week stay or did the operation at home where she could recover in her own surroundings.

For me this wasn’t a difficult decision and the operation was arranged at home. I am extremely lucky to have a fabulous local vet Joe Ivey from Rosevean and conveniently I keep the horses on a yard my farrier owns Simon Moore of Equine Footcare who is equally fabulous.

We actually cleared out the forge and placed rubber matting inside for the operation to take place. There was no anaesthetic involved although she was lightly sedated at the beginning and quite heavily sedated during the actual removal of the keratoma.

Simon who is the counties remedial farrier did all the preparation work under the eye of Joe to prepare the foot for and expose the keratome. (More DIY than farriery) This itself took a couple of hours then a torque was put on the leg (wonderful use of a motorcycle inner tube) and the foot was opened up the keratoma removed, the pedal bone scraped and cleaned and the foot filled with swabs and bandaged up. Due to the amount of foot removed (think of a cows cleft foot) it was important the foot was kept stable so modern materials similarly to how hospitals plaster a broken bone was used.

I have the operation recorded via sequential photos with suitable captions (warning some are quite gory) The link is to a public Facebook album which is available to all whether you use Facebook or not.

Sarnie’s Operation Photo's

The recovery we expected to take 9 months with the majority of that time in the stable. I have to say Sarnie coped very well with the box rest and kept her condition really well she started some light ridden work after 6 months and was allowed out after 7/8 months.

The foot needed another year to really grow down again and match the other foot. However from 9 months on there was never an issue with it.

As above I have a chronicle of pictures outlining the recovery process.

Sarnie’s Recovery Photo's

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Posted: 14 Mar 2014 - Comments (0)
Training exercises / lesson reports with a jumping emphasis

Grid - Complex grid

A more complex grid building up to 5 jumping efforts including a bounce to finish the grid. This encourages the horse to sit on his hocks and use himself.

Pole work to improve the canter and rider awareness

A variety of exercises using 6 poles starting in trot and progressing to canter and then raised poles. Good for all levels and abilities.

Circles, turns and straightness

This exercise used a 20 meter circle with 4 poles / jumps set up evenly around the circle. A number of different exercises were used working on maintaining the canter lead, keeping straight and keeping an even turn. You tube video takes you through the exercises. (Caroline Creighton lesson)

Grid - Simple 4 fence grid

This shows a simple grid being built up progressively. The distance is fairly short to start with to help the horse sit on its hocks and use itself. (Rob Stevens lesson)

Simulated Cross Country

A variety of exercises in the indoor school preparing us for some of the challenges on the cross country course. Starts off with simple narrow pole work and develops into problems you may encounter cross country. (Two separate sessions similar exercises) (Caroline Creighton lessons)

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