Saturday, 29 December 2012

Update on the Pea Monster :)

Taken last year - Pea's no longer as clean as this this year!

Well I've been home from University for 3 weeks now and that should mean that Pea has been doing lots of work and we're working on our winter plans but again it hasn't happened. Last winter I had lots I wanted to do over winter and this year was no different however due to work and the weather, it has meant that I haven't been able to ride as much as I would have liked to Pea has had a little winter holiday really but he is now starting to come back into work ready for competing again in 2013 :) 

I planned on starting his work last week, however after the monster decided he would pull a shoe (again!) and then the weather turning for the worse he had a week off and started being ridden on Thursday with just a casual walk round the farm with another horse as the arena's were flooded and the indoor booked! It was so muddy so we just walked but Pea was such a saint, happily walking on a long rein most of the way so he could pick his own routes through the mud, which often meant I got dragged through tree branches! He did decide that it would be rather entertaining to let out a large spook at a sign, one he has walked past many a time yet very rarely walks past it normally! Normally he just watches it as he walks on past in case it decides to jump out at him, but this time he was nearly past it before deciding to launch sideways! Oh so silly! He also decided he didn't like the part of the wall that had fallen down which he has walked past before no bother, even though Nelson was between him and the wall Pea still decided to walk through the crops to avoid it! Good thing the hacking is round the farm so luckily Robin doesn't mind too much and has got used to hoof prints in the crops! haha! 

Today I managed to get the indoor as it was so windy and Pea is a nightmare in the wind, although being indoors didn't change too much! He started off schooling quite nicely and stopped once or twice when there was a sudden gust of wind as it made the doors rattle quite a bit. We then started to do circles, and on one off them at B, there's a dark circle on the circle which Pea has been over no end of times in walk but on one circle he decided that the shadow was rather scary - when he was on top of it - stopped, looked at it and jumped sideways! So glad I've learnt to keep my heels down and be prepared! I walked him over it and he didn't care, trotted and again fine, go to do a circle again and bam, the shadow is once again scary! He also had a bit of a fright when my instructor appeared at the game in the door asking if she could share with a client! But luckily he still schooled really nicely when they were in, when normally he would nap and misbehave so very pleased with how well behaved he was and living up to their entrance of: "oo we're sharing with the new dressage superstar!", haha!

I had a lesson last week and we talked about his canter seeing as he can happily canter out doing a test and win but refuses to do 5 strides as home and my instructor decided that instead of collecting him and then asking for canter like you normally would, for now just ask for a fast trot so he naturally goes into canter as that's easier (Pea likes things to be easier!) and he'll gradually realise that canter isn't that bad, just as you often do when first teaching youngsters - I do often say that Pea is like a 7 year old as he hasn't ever done much work before me. 

Overall, I'm pretty sure Pea was loving his easy life but I don't think he minds being in work that much at the moment! Hopefully might pop him over some jumps next week, seeing as that was the plan of winter, before I go back to uni. 

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and that all your horses are fine :) Oh and if I don't write a new blog post beforehand then have a Happy New Year :) 

Laura & Pea x

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Achievements of 2012 & Plans for 2013


  • Getting to & competing at the UK Riders final and Pea producing a lovely test, just missing out on placing.
  • Coming home from each show (except the finals) with a rosette, sometimes two!
  • Winning in his Prelim earlier this month even though he finds canter so hard and hadn't cantered at home for a while.
  • Seeing Pea so happy in his work and very rarely arguing when we school, and even if he does have a 'paddy' it is so small and you can tell he doesn't mean it. 
  • Pea being happy in general :)
  • Qualifying for the UK Riders final in Intro and Prelim
  • Qualifying for the second round Trailblazers in Prelim - already done!
  • Start working at Novice level over the second half of the year and maybe try one competition
  • Get more confident jumping at home and hire arena's to school round jumps away.
  • Have a few individual jumpcross lessons and hire a cross-country course at least once. 
  • HAVE FUN!!
So those are my main achievements and plans. They may seem small, and possibly insignificant to others, but to me they mean a hell of a lot :)
Do any of you have any plans for next year? I don't necessarily feel I have to complete them all and I don't get down if I don't but it gives me and my instructor something to work on for the year! 
What are you achievements of this year? Please leave a comment as I love to hear how people are doing, no matter how small or insignificant to others they may seem, to you they'll mean a lot and that's all that counts! 

Laura & Pea x

Ps. Here are the links for the video's of his tests at Houghton earlier this month:

Intro A:

Prelim 14:

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Winter Schooling Ideas

Winter schooling can be a bit of a chore. Arena's might be frozen or water logged making schooling difficult and with the dark nights we're maybe a little less keen to school. I am fortunate in that I have an indoor to ride in during the winter months, however at the moment we have only just got it back (it's used to store corn during the summer and autumn months) and so we are limited to walk and trot. 

Here are some ideas on what you can do to spice up your schooling for if you, like I sometimes do, get stuck in a bit of a rut! I would just like to point out that I am by no means an instructor, knowledgeable rider, whatever, but these are just some of the things I often do with my horse to keep him listening and active :)

20, 15, 10m circles. These can be done anywhere. I start with 20m to make sure Pea is warmed up, making sure I don't just do them in one place but mixing it up by doing one at C, then A, then C, then B/E. For 10m circles I often like doing them in each corner to make him think, but then also incorporating them at B/E so sometimes doing 6, then breaking off and doing bigger ones. 

3 or 5 Loop Serpentines:
These really help to get your horse bending and listening to your leg and seat aids rather than relying on rein aids. I find with trying 5 loop serpentines they really help with mine to stop him from trying to just rush off in the trot rather than using himself as he really has to use himself and come back and listen to me in order to fit them in! Of course, depending on the size of the arena you can vary these to add more if you have a long one or shorter and you can also vary the difficulty. I also add in halts when going across the centre line to spice them up a bit. 

Shallow Loops:
I find these help to encourage you really use your corners otherwise the movement just won't work. Also you can vary how far you come in off the track and once more established, these can be used in canter to start encouraging for counter canter. By leg-yielding back to the track you are encouraging the horse to really use himself and making the movement more helpful rather than your horse possibly just rushing back to the track. 

Lateral Movements:
Leg-yielding off the 3/4 line, centre line, in and out of circles, decreasing and increasing circles, round corners, anywhere to really encourage your horse to use himself. I also introduce some shoulder-in and turn on the forehand (though this confuses Pea no end) to spice things up and get him thinking. 

As I mentioned, I'm no schooling pro or anywhere near but these are some ideas to spice things up, but speaking to your instructor will help as he/she can advise you on what exercises to try which are best suited for you and your horse!

Laura & Pea x

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Houghton Hall Unaffiliated Dressage [5.12.12]


Yesterday Myself and Pea (and the rents) ventured out to Houghton Hall near Huntingdon to do their unaffiliated dressage seeing as now I work at the weekends I cannot compete. We did the Intro A and the Prelim 14 even though he hasn't cantered properly in the last few weeks due to various reasons (slightly lame, frozen arena's) but I didn't want to travel all the way just for one test, well I hate doing one test anywhere to be honest! 

Intro A:
61.3% - 6th. Judges comments: "Attractive pony showing some pleasing moments now needing to work with more impulsion especially in the walk and more suppleness. Well done."
Overall I was reasonably happy with this test. Yes it was afar cry from what he could produce and he was rather forward going, spooky and didn't bend correctly but considering he hasn't been out since August and there was a lot of building work still going on and it was a much different arena to what he has been used to, I think it went okay. He found the corner between M & C rather scary where the sunlight shone and his attention was elsewhere, but hopefully if I can try to get him out more often again then he'll soon settle again and produce nice tests! 

Prelim 14:
66.66% - 1st. Judges comments: "Attractive pony with active trot. Not really co-operating in canter today! Canter needing more impulsion and less bucking! Well ridden."
Wow. I was so surprised when I saw that we had come first! This is the horse who finds it so hard to canter, and at home we have endless battles where he can't canter more than 10 strides easily! Obviously we still have lots to work on in getting him more comfy to canter and therefore straighter and able to bend better but I am so proud of this little horse for his ability to come first and qualify for second round trailblazers which is something I had on my list of plans for 2013! There were so many other nice horses in the class and I even started from last place when I was trying to find my score sheet and was beginning to think they hadn't put mine out!

Paddy is honestly such a superstar of a horse and it just shows that a lot of perseverance can pay off! I have had people tell me to sell him as he won't achieve what I want, and maybe he won't but I've revised my plans and now make ones each year that are more achievable and hopefully in the next couple of years we'll have plenty more firsts (this one was his first win!) and I aim to affiliate him with British Dressage in a few years time! 

Laura & Pea x

Ps. There will be video's of these tests on my youtube within the next couple of days so I will post links when they are both up :)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

New Blog


I have recently decided to re-start blogging, and with that created a new blog! Fingers crossed I'll remember to keep this one up to date and work out how to make the layout all nice and everything! There will most probably be lots of changes made over the next few weeks as I try to work out how to get a good layout, etc so please bare with me and if anyone has any advice then that would be greatly appreciated :)

Laura and Pea x