Friday, 27 December 2013

[Monthly Review] December 2013

Apologies for not finishing my gift idea post, however things became rather busy and I was also ill so needless to say, not much got done and so I have a lot of uni work to try and catch up on as well as various other things. 

December has been a fairly quiet month as he has not done much work due to having the chiropractor back out and then me being ill as well as Christmas. The Chiropractor came out about two weeks ago and found that his whole left side was tight and his axis was higher on the left as well as his pelvis having rotated again to the left, so no wonder he was finding work hard! He was then due to do some light hacking two days later, but typically that was when I became ill so instead he had around four days off before going for a walk (or in Pea's case, jogging down the road on the way back pretending to spook at cars!). Luckily we didn't have to build it up quite as slowly as last time so he did four days of hacking and enjoying himself whilst I tried to build his fitness up. Unfortunately, we then hit the week beginning of Christmas and I was busy doing bits and bobs that I didn't have time to ride so I have currently allowed him to have this week off and will begin riding him again tomorrow, just hacking over the weekend before schooling again come Monday. 

I am hoping that after his chiropractor treatment and the use of my new instructor that
we can work hard over January to build his fitness up as well as improve his schooling through lots of suppling exercises and pole work. I am not sure when I will start competing again, I am hoping maybe February but it depends how well his schooling is going and my dissertation is also due in March as well as having three assignments and an exam to prepare for so we shall see, but I am really starting to miss competing! 

Sorry it's a short post, however hopefully January will signify a new start and I will also have my year review and plans for next year blog post coming up next week hopefully! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura and Pea x

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Lesson [4.12.13]

I have just realised that I never blogged about the lesson I had last week with Pea! Pea is now in regular work again after the chiropractor visit and having to build his work up slowly and was starting to work well so I decided it was time for a lesson. I have been debating for the past couple of months whether to stick with my current instructor as I have had a few issues lately such as:
a) she's never suggested about the chiropractor/physiotherapist/anyone for Pea
b) despite repeatedly telling her about our canter issues we never properly worked on it
c) my lessons were always much shorter than I asked for, despite me warming up beforehand
d) I have felt that as of late she's not been as interested

I know that some of these I should have sorted earlier, such as getting a chiro or pushing more about lesson length and issues, however these things happen and you never properly think about them until later I guess! So, after much debate and talking to a friend who has the same instructor, we both agreed on the same thing about maybe trying someone else. I already had someone in mind to try so I decided to go for it, after all if it didn't work out then there's not much lost but it's worth the try! So I booked a half hour lesson for last Wednesday. Unfortunately, a few days before, Pea's canter started going downhill again, though it was probably a good thing as we could have worked on it during the lesson! 

I warmed up before the lesson, just giving him a walk and trot round on a loose rein. Once Cathy came into the arena, we discussed our background such as how long I have owned Pea, issues we've had, what we want to work on, etc etc. Straight away Cathy said about getting the chiropractor out as soon as possible as it was clear that Pea was showing discomfort about something and as he's not had regular treatment over the years, it is probably just niggling him at times. She also suggested about seeing a chiropractor or someone myself (though I still need to organise/find the funds for this!). She then watched us walk and trot around a bit and noted how he falls through his left shoulder and tilts his head to the right, not bending correctly; this means he is not straight, and this is further shown on circles as he turns his head but the rest of his body doesn't necessarily follow through, so it's not a uniform bend. 

To correct this she has mentioned that I need to send him forwards more but without constantly nagging which is an unfortunate bad habit of mine as when he used to be naughty he would slow down and so I felt I always needed to put my leg on, although this has just meant that he learns to ignore it. Therefore, we worked on coming round the corner onto the long side and giving him a few short sharp taps with my leg to send him forward and then not nagging and leaving him be unless he slowed down considerably. She also mentioned that I tend to use my right rein to guide him back straight but this just causes him to fall through his left shoulder more, so instead to use my left leg to push him over but give with my right rein. This will help make him straighter and I need to keep an eye that I can't see either of his eyes more than the other, indicating him turning his head though he should be straight, and if so to correct him. I have been working on this the past few days and feel we are getting a lot straighter, although I'm not too sure about our circles but hopefully that will come with time! I also need to check my position, as although Cathy stated it's good, I tend to ride in what she calls a 'chair' position where my heels are slightly forward compared to my shoulder-elbow-hip line so I ensure I put myself in the right position before I start and then regularly check that I'm still in line. It feels slightly odd as I can feel my heels being further back but I think I am keeping to it well! 

There was a lot to take in but everything she said made sense and I feel like I'm really starting to work on getting us both to go better so fingers crossed that next year we start to see some good results! He's seeing the chiropractor on Saturday to see what's wrong, if anything, and then see how we go from there! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura & Pea x

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Christmas Gift Ideas for Horses

This year I have decided to share 10 products I think would make lovely presents for our horses, because let's admit it - even though they probably have no idea what Christmas is or anything, we still decide it's the perfect excuse to treat them! (I hope that's not just me!) I shall split this into two posts so keep your eyes peeled for the second list! 

1. Likit Snak-a-Ball. 

product video
Retail around £20-25 I think!
You can fill these with either pelleted feed (I use a handful or two or pony cubes) or Likit Snaks and it stimulates natural grazing behaviour as the horse has to nudge the ball around in order for the food to drop out. These are great for stabled horses as it keeps them amused during the night or day. Pea loves his, though it took him about two weeks to work out how to play with it, and then one morning I found it empty in his feed bucket so I think he eventually worked it out and let me know it was empty! There's a few horses on box rest at my yard as well and you can often hear them knocking their ball around keeping them entertained, much better than them getting bored and starting with stable vices!

2. Likit Boredom Breaker.
product video
Retail around £20-£30..
The boredom breaker combines a likit holder and a ball that holds two smaller likits and are perfect for food loving horses that understand licks! The horse I look after at work loves his boredom breaker, just ensure that you hang it away from the stable walls otherwise the horse pushes it against the wall and eats the lick, not quite what is intended! Again these are perfect for stabled horses and can keep them occupied for quite a few hours. There are also a range of likit flavours that can be used such a cherry, apple, carrot, banana, mint...

3. Horselyx
These come in a variety of sizes and flavours and contain a balance of vitamins, minerals and trace elements as well as supporting all round health, vitality and have a unique Healthy Hooves package. These are great for stabled horses and those out at grass and they promote horses to self-regulate so they will only have some when they want it, no need to worry about them having too much! You can buy smaller licks which you can use during stressful times to occupy the horse to large tubs which can be put in the field. However, if you have a grey, just be careful as they make their noses orange and then they tend to wipe it on their legs! Haha!

4. Exercise Sheets
Exercise sheets come in a range of designs and colours. They can be wrap-arounds, cut-away, just quarter ones, waterproof ones, fleece ones or hi-vis ones and are perfect when exercising in winter, such as those early morning hacks or schooling sessions in the cold! If you have a waterproof one as well then it means you can ride in the rain and not have to worry about waiting for ages for the horse to dry! My exercise sheet is a necessity in the winter and Pea is much happier exercising when it's on as he doesn't get such a cold bum! 

5. Leather Headcollar

Leather headcollars look smart and can be personalised. Some people claim they prefer them to other headcollars such as nylon, as the leather can break easier if the horse gets it stuck somehow, although they are also very hardy! They suit all horses and come in black or brown, though you can get pink and blue ones for ponies! 

That is my first 5 gifts for horses! I hope you like this post and if you have any suggestions please let me know! Also, if you're getting your horse a present this year, I'd love to know what you're treating them to! Pea's having another chiro visit and will probably get some treats or something! 

Thanks for reading!
Laura & Pea x

Monday, 2 December 2013

[Monthly Review] November 2013

This year seems to have flown past! As of the end of this week (6th December) I will have finished my first term of my last year at uni, scary! 

November has gone quite well with Pea, he is so much happier working and has realised that he can go faster out hacking now and has decided that trotting fast will definitely mean that he can canter and do his little gallop, which unfortunately it doesn't but he still tries! 
Having a quick power nap before hacking!

His schooling is slowly coming on and he's a lot happier but he needs to learn to relax and soften more, and also to pick his feet up! He has started to get a bit iffy again about right canter, but fingers crossed a few lessons will put us back on track and I'm also going to get his saddle sorted again after Christmas as he's lost a bit of weight recently since I have decided to stable him this winter. We have been doing lots of bending and leg-yield to try and soften him up a bit and bend better and it is getting there, but every now and then he'll start rushing a bit and just throw his head in the air to try and evade the contact. I have also had a little jump on him which he was surprisingly very calm about, though I had them really small so he wasn't particularly putting too much effort in so next time I shall have to raise them! He did have a strop though when I schooled him a bit after as it had started getting a bit too dark to jump properly as for some reason the lights are only in the top end of the jumping arena where the dressage boards are and the other arena has only one jump in! 

This winter I have decided to stable Pea at night as we are meant to have a cold winter and last year he got really tight through his hind-quarters due to standing against the cold so I'm trying to minimise that this year. Luckily he seems to be okay with the new routine and he still gets a good 6+hours out in the field during the day and has decided that he simply must roll in the muddiest puddle every day! 

Sorry about the lack of blog posts lately! I have been busy with my final year of university as well as getting up early every morning to do Pea before work or Uni and also sorting out jobs for after graduation! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura & Pea x

Sunday, 3 November 2013

[Monthly Review] October 2013

Well October has been a quiet month. As I mentioned in my last blog post (read it here), Pea had three/four weeks off waiting for a Chiro to be able to come out. Since then, he has been in light work, just building it up over the weeks. 

The first week consisted of just walking and increasing the trotting, so he was only doing about 20 - 30 minutes work, with the majority being walk. In the second week we increased the trotting and I think Pea started getting bored of just walking and trotting along as half way through the second week he decided it would be a great idea to canter off! Luckily he felt really good, though it was short and he decided to do a massive spook at the horses in his field! After two weeks we were finally allowed to start cantering! Pea was actually really calm the first time we did an 'allowed' canter, very different to the past two days when he had decided to canter on his own free will and took full advantage! However, he has now done a week of cantering, increasing it as the week progressed and he feels really good! Definitely makes waking up early to ride before lectures twice a week worth while! All this work has been done out hacking as it's much more relaxed and no tight turns or anything and I think he has enjoyed it! He has been rather cheeky though, spooking at hedges or gaps in hedges or even a gateway that I thought he had finally gotten over after 5 years, and properly taking spooking to the extreme by launching to the side! He then casually walks past a 100 odd people at the yard on a conference who were shouting a bit perfectly fine...seriously?! 

Early morning hacks like this are perfect
I'm currently considering stabling him at night this year as we're meant to have a particularly cold winter and last year the muscles in his hindquarters got really tight from the cold. He's currently in during the day at the moment and he's well rugged up at night but I'm hoping that someone will eventually employ me, just got to persuade my dad, though the cost won't be much different to now! I think Pea is also wanting to be stabled now as he's rather reluctant about going out...he's seriously getting spoilt and knows he has me round his little finger, so to speak! 

November has started well. I schooled him for the first time in nearly 2 months and he was so well behaved, even with another horse sharing the arena and yesterday he willingly hacked in the rain without napping or anything! Starting to think someone's swapped my horse! Fingers crossed it lasts and November brings about good changes in his schooling. As usual, I shall let you know in the round-up at the end of the month! Scary to think how we've nearly finished 2013!

Thanks for reading!
Laura & Pea x

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Pea sees the Chiropractor

After around 3 weeks of Paddy just chilling in the field and coming in for the day for food and hay, he finally saw the chiropractor today for some McTimoney treatment to try and identify if there was something wrong in his back causing him to find it difficult to canter. 

"McTimoney chiropractic will align and balance the animal's musculoskeletal system, so optimizing the individual's dynamic flexibility and helping the nervous system to function at its highest level. By adjusting those misaligned joints throughout the whole body whilst paying special attention to the spine and pelvis, health, soundness and performance may be restored and maintained." (

The chiro started by having a general look over Pea and then saw him being walked and trotted up as well as how he looked when being asked to turn on a tight circle and walk backwards. She found that Pea's pelvis was misaligned and had dropped on the left as well as being slightly back than where it should be. He also had a few tight knots on his back, just behind where the saddle sits, as well as being slightly tight through his withers - this will probably explain why he gets quite touchy about having his saddle put on, even though he is fine with rugs. He was also a bit tight along his neck and creaky in his front legs! So basically, he needed a good seeing to! She put his pelvis back into place and also loosened up all his tight spots, making him feel a lot more comfortable in his back, and he happily stood there snoozing away by the end of it! 
She has suggested giving him the weekend off to just chill as releasing the knots also meant releasing toxins and has warned that he may be stiffer tomorrow but that it's to be expected. On Monday I am able to start riding him, however just a 10-15minute walk as it's the first exercise he will have done after his treatment, nevermind the first after about 3 weeks! We are the to slowly start increasing it and introducing trot for two weeks before adding canter. All this is to be done in large circles, no tight turns; she suggested mainly doing it out hacking or if I have to go in the school then using the whole school. I am also going to get the saddler to check his saddle the next time he is at the yard as my chiro suggested to get someone to see what it's like when ridden as the back may be causing the tension and eventual knotting in his muscles. 

Fingers crossed this treatment will have helped and I hope to see improvements in his way of going once he gets working more properly, if not then she's going to come out again to have another look or we'll have to get the vet out to have a proper examination to see if there's something deeper going on - however, i'm hoping this isn't going to be the case! 
How cute is my niece in the pictures above? She loves Pea, although she is slightly worried about being close to him! But she did keep going back to see him in the field about 100 times before we could finally get her to leave!

Thanks for reading!
Laura & Pea x

Saturday, 28 September 2013

[Monthly Review] September 2013

This will be as a slight shock to some of you as I have actually posted it on time (well maybe a couple of days early) rather than in the middle of the next month for a change! I have been super organised and have written things down in a little note book about what has happened during September with myself and Pea as normally I tend to forget! Oops!

This month started off well with Pea getting much stronger on the lunge. I normally just lunge him in his bridle at the moment as I still haven't got round to buying a roller and don't really like lunging him in his saddle, but there are the odd times that I borrow a friends roller. Before, Pea used to fall in quite a bit on the lunge, but lately he has gotten much better at keeping to a good circle shape. We still need to work on transitions, especially at the beginning as he just likes to keep trotting and not walk and definitely not stand but I like to try and do a few transitions to keep him listening to me and not think that he's just free to do as he pleases. His canter on the lunge is much better and he finds it easier to maintain, though sometimes being a bit cheeky and deliberately trying to turn in just to let out a silly little buck and speedy get away when I send him on! But he is good the majority of the time, and much better than how he used to be when lunging as he used to refuse to move anywhere and just keep turning in at me and be a general pain! 

Riding wise he has been much more forward and generally feels happier in his work since I changed his bit back to his loose ring snaffle. He's a lot softer on the bit in trot and starting to stay in a nice outline for longer, though there are still a few times when he decides to go all giraffe like. His left bend is improving as he tends to find that quite difficult so I have spent time doing lots of circles of varying sizes as well as transitions on the circles to get him thinking more and also maintaining the bend as he can sometimes come above the bit in transitions. His canter has also gotten a lot better. He still goes onto the incorrect lead a few times, but he is striking off on the correct lead more and maintaining the canter for longer, not doing a few strides and insisting on stopping! 

However, last week (20th) I had a lesson and Pea was really naughty, hardly cantering and then when coming out of canter stopping and bucking and not really wanting to move forwards. The next day he seemed a bit better but was being a bit silly with canter again, but I think part of this was due to me schooling in the arena with the jumps and he was thinking he was going to jump so got in a bit of a strop that he wasn't allowed to try and aim at the fences! A few days later I went for a walk with a friend, as her horse is only allowed to walk at the moment, and then after I went in the arena to do a bit of schooling and my friend decided to come and watch. She noticed that he seemed a bit stiff and iffy over his back in canter and although he kept going on the correct lead he was getting all 'stuffy' and bucking to break out of canter. The next day I decided to lunge him and he seemed fine but I decided to spend the week lunging him to try and get him a bit better with canter. However, I lunged him with the roller on one day and as I was warming up I didn't attach his bungee. I decided to give him a canter before putting the bungee on, just to see how he was, and he was really stuffy, refusing to go on the correct canter lead, falling in, everything that he hadn't done without the roller! I tried on both reins with the same behaviour, but when I took the roller off and lunged him, he was happily cantering and going much better! I am now waiting for my chiro to get back to me and hoping she can come out reasonably soon as I am a bit paranoid about working him as I think there could be something wrong with his back. Therefore he is now doing very little other than some lunging and some gentle hacking to keep him ticking over until the chiro can come out. I'm hoping it's nothing serious, but I am almost certain that there is something wrong with him as he had been going so well and now hardly seems to want to canter again or anything. I shall keep you all updated when the chiro has come out! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura & Pea x

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Volunteering at Blenheim Horse Trials 2013


For the week (10th-15th September) I have been at Blenheim Horse Trials volunteering as part of their stable team, this is a new thing they set up this year with people volunteering and helping out in the stables by helping riders and grooms unload their lorry and move stuff to the stables, collecting shavings for them, putting ice out in the cool down area for the horses to be hosed off with after cross-country and helping in any other way needed. I have had such an incredible week and have met some of the loveliest people, riders and horses (oh and dogs! Many of which I could have quite happily tried to steal!).
William Fox-Pitt 

On Tuesday I arrived at the palace for a meeting with the Stable manager and the first day. Only 5 volunteers turned up when there was supposed to be 10 but luckily we all got on really well which made me relax as I was quite nervous but it was so relaxed and lovely. We spent a few hours putting shavings in all of the stables which was probably the worst few hours of the week but after that things were a lot easier as we helped some of the arriving riders to move stuff from their lorry to their stables as we had a little buggy we could carry their stuff on! I think this proved very useful to the riders and their grooms as they had multiple bags of bedding and hay/haylage as well as tack lockers which needed taking over.

Wednesday was spent much the same as the rest of the riders arrived in time for the CCI*** trot up later that afternoon. We were also lucky enough to be able to sit in on the rider briefing which was really interesting and gave an insight as to what goes on behind the scenes. The rest of the week was fairly quiet as people had already moved in and therefore there wasn't much else that needed to be done apart from little jobs mentioned above.

Overall I had such a lovely time as the people there were so friendly including many of the riders and grooms who would chat with us and just sitting in the same area whilst watching the dressage/cross-country or show-jumping rounds on the television and hearing their views made such a great atmosphere! I really hope they decide to run this again next year as it was such an enjoyable week and it definitely made up for the cold and damp weather!

Thanks for reading,
Laura & Pea x

Monday, 2 September 2013

[Monthly Review] August 2013

I honestly cannot believe how fast this year is going! Already summer is on it's way out and winter is sneaking upon us with the nights getting darker a lot faster than I realised! This is posing the issue of when to get Pea clipped...normally I clip him in October and that's when he starts getting rugged up as September can be a mixed weather month in my eyes and him being a bit of a fatty means I don't like him getting rugged up too early (very hard to do though owning a grey!). However, his clip then grows back ridiculously fast so come December it's almost like he hasn't been clipped so I then get him re-clipped in January and then it lasts for ages! Even worse that he has to be sedated to be clipped which is a nightmare so I have to organise it for when the vet is visiting the yard and combine that with the person who clips him for me! Such a pain! However, this year I'm tempted to get him clipped earlier, but that would have meant next week and I'm away! Oh the troubles! 

Anyway, back to the August round-up! We only went out competing the once in August, which can be read about here, and after his performance I decided to not plan any more competitions for a while to focus on getting his canter better, however, he hasn't done quite as much work as I hoped! The week after the competition he ended up not doing much work, I jumped him one day which he found very excited and decided to let in a few bucks two strides before the fence, though he soon settled down and jumped nicely. I started to introduce fillers to a fence, at the side but slightly in which he jumped nicely. He's starting to get more confident again and I just need to remember to carry on riding into the fences, even when something 'scary' is added and I think focusing on smaller fences has really helped me with this. He then had a couple of days off as I was injured and then I just lunged him a couple of times to focus on his canter without me on top. He's getting a lot better on the lunge with maintaining the circle and also cantering without falling in so much, though the first day he lunged he was a bit full of himself and thought it a great idea to charge off for a circle then stop dead and turn in to me, to then charge off again and repeat it all over a few times! Silly horse! I have now changed his bit back to his loose ring snaffle from the hanging cheek and for some reason he is so much more forward now! His trot is coming on nicely and he is starting to concentrate more whilst at home which is helpful, his canter is also really coming on and he is starting to canter on the correct lead more often on both reins so I am building it up carefully by cantering longer distances and also starting to incorporate circles so he gets stronger and more confident in himself. I am hoping to next take him out competing either at the end of September or in October and see if our marks improve! 

September is a slightly busy month for me as I am off to Blenheim next week for the whole week volunteering and I also start Uni again at the end of the month but I hope to carry on strengthening Pea's canter so he's happier as he does like cantering, just needs to learn to listen to me slightly more than he likes to! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura & Pea x

Sunday, 18 August 2013

[Competition Report] Vale View 10.8.13

Oops, this is a bit late! So last Saturday we headed off to Vale View for the dressage again and the classes were a lot bigger than we are used to with 30 in the first and 27 in the second! Yet, surprisingly, when we got there, there wasn't actually as many people around as we expected, especially considering there was show-jumping going on as well! With so many people in the classes, I obviously wasn't expecting to place but I was hoping to do some nice tests...I think Pea had other ideas! 

Prelim 12:
Pea warmed up really nicely I felt, obviously his canter was a bit off as we are still trying to work on it but I went in feeling a bit confident and hoping he would perform okay. I felt that the start went nicely, not great but he was listening and starting to soften a bit. Then we hit canter and things went slightly downhill but he still cantered, although, unfortunately, we ended up doing the majority of right canter on the incorrect lead. I have mentioned before that when schooling, Pea often finds it really hard to pick up the correct canter lead on the right rein, and even when he is on the correct lead he can't sustain it and soon ends up falling back into trot or doing a really horrid, hardly moving, canter. At the end of the test the judge got out of her car and commented about our right canter and mentioned about needing to keep trying, which I totally understand, however, she then went on to call me ignorant for not coming back into trot and that it's dangerous for him to keep cantering on the incorrect lead as he will fall. Again, I completely understand that him being on the wrong leg is dangerous, however, it's easier said than done about bringing him back into trot and trying for canter again as he gets really worked up and just pulls. She then went on to say about how to work on it, which was nice, however she wasn't listening to me when I told her that we've tried poles, that I don't school in a field (let alone one with ridges which she continued to talk about!) and that my instructor and I are working on it. By the time she had finished, I was starting to get upset about how she had continued to go on and I was half thinking about her getting on him to see just how difficult he is for the correct canter lead. When I got our score sheet back there were a few comments about the first part of the test that I didn't agree on, saying he was tense and not bending properly, yet I felt that he was showing some correct bend and I'm sure he wasn't tense! We came away with 52.8%, yet surprisingly didn't come last..just second last! 

Prelim 14:
I had an hour and a half to wait between my first test and my second test, and by the time I got on to warm up for my second test I had put the first one behind me. Again Pea warmed up nicely, but this time when we hit canter he went all silly and put in a small buck or two. When we went in for our test and started trotting around, Pea automatically stopped listening and I tried a few transitions from trot to walk but they didn't seem to do much good as he just shot his head in the air! I knew this wasn't going to go well! There are very few comments on our score sheet throughout the test, and he mainly got 6's for the first range of movements. We then hit right canter and again he struck off on the incorrect lead, so I came back to trot and tried again, he eventually got correct canter on the circle to then buck which I pushed him forward from but instead he decided to let out a bigger buck, unseating me a bit but luckily I stayed on and gathered ourselves up to try again. Unsurprisingly he only scored a 2 for the two canter movements, but then recovered himself to get 6's again before hitting left canter. This went slightly better, though he was tense which is normal for his canter so I'm working on getting him to relax more and realise that canter isn't so bad. He then finished nicely with a straight square halt, obviously making up for the rest of the test! The judge's comments were that he was "very tense - at times quite naughty and some irregular steps shown, need to relax more", all of which I completely agree with..but as usual, easier said than done to try and overcome! (This was a different judge by the way!) We score 52.9% so not great but considering he bucked through it, a reasonable score! 

I have decided to have a break from competing and really work on his canter and this may take quite a few months but he's on a bit of a boot camp. He is fine cantering out hacking, and weirdly he will happily canter on the right rein round the whole of the arena a few times, yet the left rein he finds it hard to canter half the arena...therefore making it really difficult! He's getting better on the lunge and not falling his quarters in quite so much! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura & Pea x

Monday, 5 August 2013

[Monthly Review] July 2013

July seems to have been a bit more of a quiet month, I think the heat has meant that I've not worked Pea as hard, however, it does seem to have done some good to our schooling! The heat has meant that Pea has been slightly more lethargic in his work but he's also produced some really nice work and is really starting to soften onto the contact and move much better. The summer heatwave also seemed to have help our halting as at Vale View he got an 8 for his halt! I was so proud as we've had issues with that but I think he was feeling a bit lethargic with the hot, stuffy air and that made him decide to stand properly! You can read about our competition report from Vale View here. We have, however, had a few issues with our left bend and right canter and so I've spent the past couple of weeks really focusing on these areas. 

For the left bend I've spent a lot of time doing plenty of circles and leg-yielding. In-fact, I spent one schooling session doing so many circles and trotting poles in walk and trot that before I had noticed we'd done 40 minutes and not hit canter so I decided to finish there on a good note rather than then go into canter and get stressed if things didn't go well. The leg-yielding has helped open him up a bit and has been really useful for going into canter. In a lesson we had a few weeks back, after our dressage test where our canter went a bit disastrous, my instructor noticed that for right canter Pea bends to the left and that means that my body is turned to the left and therefore I am in the wrong position for right canter. Trying to correct this is a lot harder than it sounds as trying to apply the right aids with my legs and turn my shoulders the right way with Pea turning me the wrong way and ask for the correct canter lead is a lot to think about doing with just a few seconds to do them! If you think about it, trying to put your outside leg back and your inside leg forward as well as turning to the inside so your right shoulder goes back is difficult enough as you normally turn to where your leg goes back and having your horse automatically turn you that way anyway really makes it difficult so I've done some work on the ground to help open my body up as well. To overcome this in the saddle, I have found that going onto a circle and then asking for canter means that I am in the correct position as he bends well round the circle and his canter is slowly getting better! He was also due his teeth so he's had them done and it seems to have helped, especially as he was a bit crazy on the lunge the next day! 

July also brought our 5 year anniversary (blog post here), and I honestly cannot believe how quickly time has flown! To some people it may not seem like we have achieved much in terms of competing or level, however I believe it is the small achievements that mean the most and I honestly cannot think of a life without Pea so I am glad for the choices I have made such as buying a horse without getting it vetting just for it to go hopping lame a week later or how I only viewed Pea once because without these choices they wouldn't have bought me Pea! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura & Pea x

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

5 years on

Today, 10th July 2013, I have owned Pea for 5 years, and wow, time has flown! It seems like just the other week that I went down to the yard to find him standing in a stable after my parents had collected him as a surprise whilst I was on my way back from France. The journey I have had with Pea has been far from easy but I think it's safe to say that he has taught me so much and I wouldn't change him for the world, no matter how many arguments we have! Luckily, I don't think I would be able to sell him anyway seeing as as soon as someone goes to ride him he automatically starts misbehaving, so I think he's decided I'm stuck with him!

Looking back, I don't really know what made me buy Paddy if I'm honest. When I went to try him I think he was one of the first after the mare I bought turned out to be lame and ended up being loaned as a broodmare after just a couple of months owning her, safe to say I made sure to get my next horse vetted! When I went to try Paddy, the girl first rode him and in trot he constantly stopped to buck, but they were only small and I decided to hop on. He was as good as gold for me and I walked, trotted and cantered him. I should have popped him over the small jump but instead decided to leave it - crazy I know! We then got him vetted, but unfortunately I was ill and the girl was at school so the vet had to ride him! It was quite a sight, especially as the owner made him wear a body protector much to his dismay! Again Paddy let out small bucks but I was undeterred, wanting a slight challenge anyway and back then I thought it might be tricky for a few months but it wouldn't be long before we were out jumping and possibly doing BSJA in the future! How wrong was I? When I first got him home it was a few days before I could ride as I had to wait for the saddler to come out to check the saddle we had fitted him fine. When she came we had a walk round, then started trotting but after a 20m circle he started napping and bucking and it was difficult to keep him moving. Luckily our then saddler said the saddle seemed fine. I started having lesson with my yard owners daughter as we could hardly trot a few strides before he started being naughty so she suggested lunging before riding each time. This seemed to help settle him slightly, however once I was on him we would still have issues and be unable to trot even just the long side of the arena without him bucking and it wasn't long before I started to feel like giving up and I would hardly ride, trying to make excuses. After falling off twice in one lesson I seriously questioned my decision but my instructor turned around and said: "well if you can't ride him then you might as well not ride at all" and this made me realise I had to keep persevering!

Over time we finally managed to build up the trot work without him being naughty and as I got more confident thinking we were cracking it, he then went and started throwing in new movements such as a few rears or fly bucking. Again, my confidence was lost and again I questioned my decision but something made me carry on and again I got more confident at getting him past his naughtiness and making him carry on working. I then decided to start jumping him and although he had a lovely jump it was obvious he hadn't been jumped much or was slightly uneducated as he would often get in too deep to the jump and then try to clamber over it or take half a stride out and launch, not very comfortable! As we progressed and tarted jumping bigger fences I started adding in fillers and that was when we had issues again. I was used to my old loan pony who would jump anything that was pointed at him but Paddy was very different and if he wasn't sure then at the very last second he would run out causing me to come out the side door so once again my confidence diminished. I took him out show jumping a few times and we would do well at 2ft and some 2ft3 but any higher when fillers were involved I'd get scared and wouldn't want to jump as I wouldn't ride properly to the fences. Over time I slowly jumped less and instead focused on flatwork.

My instructor then stopped teaching and I tried someone new, however after a few months things weren't working out as we would spend lessons doing the same thing which soon made him bored and therefore start being naughty. Eventually I decided to try another instructor in order to keep Paddy improving and that is when I found Emily, my current instructor. She straight away understood what Pea was like and instead of telling him off each time he was naughty she suggested changing what we were doing which meant that he didn't know what was coming and therefore his brain is actively thinking about what is coming next rather than being naughty. Slowly but surely, more of the time spent working was of him being good and he was continually improving. We then got his saddle and back check and it was found that he had deep muscle issues which could have been from an incorrect saddle before we got him which we knew about and other things and he also needed a new saddle. Since then we've never looked back, apart from the brief period when I took him to uni and he hated the individual tiny turnout and refused to be ridden but once he was back home he was like a different horse!

Since the beginning of last year when I started competing him at dressage more seriously and getting him out most months he has always come home with a rosette apart from at the UK Riders final where he was just one place off. His scores are still varied as we still have a long way to go and there are still times when I feel disheartened but I just have to remind myself that even 2 years ago I couldn't trot around an arena without issues and now I can do 45 minutes work with him working well. Each day this horse does something that makes me smile, whether it's nibbling my ear when I'm trying to groom him, or slowly develop his outline more and more, and there's never a day where I wish I had a different horse as I doubt I will have learned from them what I have learnt from him such a patience, better balance and that the times I want a relaxing hack are the times he's going to test me the most!

I think that if you have a horse which you find is difficult then just try to stick with them, it can be hard to see how you're ever going to get through to the horse and get them doing what you want, but when you do it is so rewarding! I also found that it's best to ignore what others may say, my first instructor and someone who had been 'helping' me with him in the beginning told me to sell him before going to uni as he wouldn't do what I wanted and others have often looked down at us but since then he has continuously improved and I have no doubt that by the end of this year we will be able to do a novice dressage test as although we still have some slight disagreements over right canter at the moment, he gets good scores for his trot and his marks are improving each time overall (discounting our argumentative moments).

Sorry for the sappy and long post but thanks for reading,
Laura & Pea x

Sunday, 7 July 2013

[Competition Report] Vale View 7.7.13

Today, Myself and Pea (plus my trusty groom/driver - Dad) ventured over to Vale View Equestrian Centre for the dressage. We haven't been there before and I was supposed to have gone last week, however due to an illness/injury (doctors think it was a virus that affected my muscles, was not fun not being able to move my arm at all due to it hurting) I didn't want to risk riding so pushed it back to this week. We entered Prelim 14 (getting rather bored of this test!) and Prelim 18. I wasn't expecting a lot as it was very hot and Pea gets rather lethargic and annoyed in the heat and also we are having issues with right rein canter. Before it was left rein, but now that's fine and he's decided he cannot canter on the right rein on the correct lead, not even on the lunge...oh the joys of horses! He warmed up nicely for both tests, he was still a bit funny in canter as he always is in the warm-up, but he was quite relaxed though spooky at times with it being a new venue. I didn't give him a long warm-up as it was so hot, plus he tends to go a bit better with a shorter warm-up as it means that he doesn't get bored. I also allow him to have a minute or two to walk round on a long rein just before we go in, again to relax him as well as myself so that we don't go in all tense and argumentative if something happens. 

Prelim 14:
Our centre line was nice and straight, and for once I actually felt like it was straight as I normally think it's awful when it never is, however we slightly ruined the ending as we had to turn left and he lacked the left bend but it will come with more time. The first few movements were quite nice and he maintained a reasonable outline, though there were some comments of him possibly being more rounder, but he's come a long way and he's getting a lot softer! The first canter was to the right so I knew we would have issues and he struck off on the wrong lead which I tried correcting but it was still a bit iffy. On the 20m circle he broke and had a small argument and then went off on the wrong lead again causing him to get a bit tense but I am sure with more work he'll eventually soften. His left canter was better, though he went a bit 'heady' as I call it and got quite stiff round the circle. He then finished very nicely with a straight centre line and square, obedient halt (getting an 8 - yes!) which has been something we have struggled with lately so I'm very happy! Think maybe the heat helped a bit there! The judge wrote: "Paddy needs to improve his canter work but he tried hard and with more work marks could improve." I am very happy with these marks as he truly does try his heart out despite his 'Paddy' moments and I'm sure with time he will get a lot better, he just needs to learn to relax more for the canter as I think it's more psychological as he had a massage the other week and no problems were found, his saddle fits though I do need to get his teeth done. Overall he scored 59.58 and although essentially came last (7th) he still managed to qualify for Trailblazers second round again for next year. The video can be viewed here

Prelim 18:
Our second test didn't go as well as I think the waiting and the heat got to him as he was a bit argumentative in the warm-up and as it was such a hot day quite a few people withdrew so we didn't have much of a warm-up. His centre line wasn't as good and he drifted to the left. For the majority of the test he wasn't as soft as he had been in his first test and occasionally swung his hind quarters in, which again is another problem we have had. His right canter was very argumentative and he stopped and had a bit of a nap, then carried on on the wrong leg. He was also a bit more reluctant about left canter and swapped leads on the circle so not very helpful. Luckily he finished with a nice square halt..eventually! The judge got out of her car at the end to say that I rode nicely and asked if he was often naughty, haha! Her comments were: "quite nice natural paces, needs more suppleness and roundness. Very naughty at times in canter. Quite nice position." He only scored 52.92% but that was to be expected, and as so many withdrew he came 5th (last). The video can be viewed here

Overall, although it didn't all go according to plan, he is getting better with his frame in trot, and he just needs to learn to relax in canter which I am sure will eventually come (though when I'm not too sure!) and he also needs to bend more to the left as he often gets a bit stiff and therefore falls in and bends to the right. I am very proud of this boy though and feel incredibly lucky to have him as he has taught me more than I could imagine and he tries his heart out most of the time and will always have his 'Paddy' moments. This coming Wednesday (10.7.13) I will have had this special boy 5 years which has literally flown by! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura & Pea x

Monday, 17 June 2013

[Competition Report] Sissons Farm 16.6.13

Yesterday, we ventured over to Sissons Farm, a local equestrian centre, to do dressage again. We entered the Prelim 1 and Prelim 14 (getting slightly fed up of Prelim 14 now!). Overall we came 6th and 9th and got rather rubbish percentages so I'm a bit disheartened, especially for the Prelim 14 as I felt we were harshly marked but ah well. However, they seem to have marked it a bit weird as for Prelim 14 they split it into two arenas and therefore did it as two classes but they were the same, ie not open/restricted or anything which seemed a bit weird. Furthermore, in my first class the person who won had BD class ticket next to her name which seems weird seeing as it was an unaffiliated event so surely she shouldn't have been in it, or at least been H/C? But oh well! 

Prelim 1:
I thought the test went quite well, especially as in the warm-up he properly tried to deck me in canter so I got quite apprehensive about cantering in the test, plus he spooked just before we started our test so took a bit to settle down and I thought our centre line was rather wobbly, however our sheet states otherwise! I thought the rest of the test went better, a few wrong bends which we are working on and he is getting better, but I also thought his canter was a lot better and he didn't buck! However, the judge clearly didn't agree and it turns out that on the left rein he was actually on the incorrect canter lead although he didn't feel it otherwise I would have changed it! We have been having issues again with canter as sometimes he can feel like he's on the wrong lead when he isn't and vice versa so I'm getting him a massage later on this week as he falls in a lot on the left and things so think there could be an underlying problem. Overall we got 57.9% and 6th with comments saying: "very willing horse, now needs to be more connected to help balance and impulsion. Lots of potential." The video can be seen here

Prelim 14:
I felt this test was rather harshly marked and we got a lot of comments saying 'muddled' so I think this is a test to, not so much forget, but just move on from. I felt that he was actually okay, normally in the second test he goes a bit funny but he actually went alright in this. Again we had an unsettled start but I think that this is also partly due to the fact that at Sissons they run two arenas at the same time right next to each other and for this both went in virtually at the same time so trying to do the bit at the end is quite hard! We had an issue in canter where I felt he was on the wrong leg and losing it so broke to trot and picked canter up again but not sure if we were on the wrong leg in the end. We also had a slightly miscommunication coming out of canter as he tried to keep going forward in canter, but we had to trot between F&A which he found difficult and ended up trampling over the board! oops! Our halt went mishap again as usual but fingers crossed the massage will help improve that as well! Overall we only got 51.3% so I'm quite disheartened as I felt it went a lot better than some other tests we've done where we've got higher percentages! The judge wrote: "a nice pony but needs to be more forward and at present lacks suppleness so finds it difficult. Well tried." The video can be seen here

Overall I'm quite disheartened as I felt he went nicely in places so deserved higher marks, but you can't win them all! Were off to Vale View at the end of the month and fingers crossed we do better there! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura & Pea x

Sunday, 9 June 2013

[Monthly Review] April and May 2013

Woaah, time sure flies when you're busy/having fun! I have just realised that I missed doing April's round-up and now we're well into June and I haven't done May's round up either! If I'm honest, not a lot happened and Pea's work took a bit of a back seat due to exams/assignments/etc. 

In April we took Pea to the saddlers as we figured his saddle wasn't fitting too great due to him changing shape and gaining more muscle, which we thought could be why he was struggling in the canter. The saddler compared his shape to the last time and stated he was a lot leaner and that the saddle was slightly wide so she changed the gullet and it fitted a lot better, however he was still refusing to canter. She suggested doing the girth up using the 1st and 2nd straps as opposed to the 1st and 3rd as he is quite compact and so spreading the girth out could be causing him a bit of discomfort. He was still iffy though slightly better so she suggested to stick with it for a bit but if nothing improved after a couple of months then maybe take him back and try a different saddle - something my dad and I were not too keen on hearing! He was still a bit in canter for the next few days and during a lesson I asked my instructor whether to get the physio, chiro or a massage out for him. I also mentioned that when grooming his hind-quarters, especially at the back, he would sometimes get a bit grumpy and flinch. She took a look at him and found that he was quite tight in his muscles and that this was most probably due to the cold weather we had been experiencing and as he was standing with his bum to the cold weather, he tightened his muscles. My instructor suggested waiting for a week before calling anyone out as warmer weather was due so it would probably relax his muscles and save the need for calling someone out. True to her word, just a week later I was lunging him and he went mental! He randomly started cantering when I asked for trot and refused to stop for a good few laps, very different from the norm where I'm normally trying to push for him to canter even one lap! Since then he has just been getting better and better! 

I didn't take him out competing in April to just focus on his canter and getting him stronger and better. His schooling was really coming along nicely and the canter is getting better and better! In May I took him to a dressage and did two prelims which he did very nicely, especially considering being unable to canter in the warm-up as he likes space to canter, especially initially as he can still be a bit tight about it, and the warm-up arena was quite small so I left it to chance and just cantered him in the test. He was so good, had a few moments but got nice comments from the judges and showed a lot of potential. (There's a report about it here). I was especially pleased as his canter on the second test got 7's, well the second canter did. The first canter originally got a 7 but Pea being Pea decided to buck so dropped them to 4's for the first canter! 

His canter is getting stronger and stronger each time I school him and we're currently working on him not getting too strong and leaning and also he tends to try and rush and then buck in one particular corner so I'm working on keeping him in the same rhythm but keeping my leg on to prevent him from bucking. It's a bit tricky but he soon gets the idea when he realises he has to keep cantering the corner until he stops! 

I'm hoping to get him out in the next few weeks with a definite outing planned at the end of the month so fingers crossed his canter is much improved and the marks show for it! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura & Pea x

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

[Product Review] Diamond White Shampoo

It's been a long while since I've done a 'products I love' post, but I felt that I should share this product, especially for those who own greys which are a nightmare to get clean! I've recently started using Wahl Diamond White Shampoo and I rather like it! 

Image from Rideaway

The shampoo states to 'enhance, revitalise and refresh the natural white and light pigment within the hair, leaving the coat bright, silky and vibrant, shining with vitality and health' and I have to agree. At first I was a bit worried that it hadn't worked, but the next day Pea was sparkling clean! If he has got rather mucky then I may wash him twice just to be on the safe side, but typically one normally does the job, I think I just get a bit paranoid sometimes! It makes his legs look so white, which always looks a bit funny to me as I'm so used to seeing them orange/brown so it clearly works a treat! Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of before and after, but I'll try and remember for next time I give him a bath.

However, one of the best things about this product is that it smells amazing! It's such a nice fragrant, much better than some others and it will make you wish that it was suitable for your own hair rather than your horse! It contains extracts of cucumber, passion-flower, lemon and lime which is probably the reason it smells so divine!

Have you ever tried any of the Wahl showman shampoo range? They do them for all colours, as well as 'dirty beastie', 'oatmeal' and 'aloe soothe'. Or is there another shampoo product you love, or any for that matter? I love to hear about different products people love! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura x

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Competition Report [12.5.13]

Today, Me and Pea ventured over to Long Drove Dressage Centre, Huntingdon for a spot of dressage. I decided to enter us for both prelims as his canter is really starting to come along and so I felt he was ready for two prelims. However, when we turned up there wasn't much space to park and the warm-up arena was about 20x30m so I couldn't give him a canter beforehand as he's a bit funny about cantering with others around and definitely wouldn't manage in such a small arena so I made the decision to leave canter until the test and just see how he went rather than wind him up and me get flustered trying to canter in the warm-up arena. 

Prelim 7:
He went quite nicely overall for this test. We've had issues warming up with picking up canter on the circle and this was half shown today. For his first canter he broke into trot a few times and was really unbalanced, but this was his first canter so it was to be expected, but when it came to the second canter I lengthened my reins a fraction as he works better with a slightly longer rein and he went really nicely. His trot work is really coming along nicely and he's coming a lot rounder, in fact in the warm-up arena for both tests he rode like a dream so I'm really excited about the rest of this year as I can't wait to see what it brings us. Overall we came 6th with 60.5% so I was really pleased and the judge's comments were: "Lots of potential but now needs to work more consistently into the contact to help transitions and balance and develop paces. Quietly ridden."

You can watch the test here.

Prelim 14:
After waiting around for an hour it was time for our second test. Again Pea warmed up really nicely and went straight into a contact which I was so shocked about! We went in and he went nicely with some nice movements. For the first canter, typical Pea form he decided to throw in some bucks - not on the agenda! However, he did keep moving forward and settled down again afterwards and his second canter went a lot nicer though he broke just before the trot so fell into trot a bit. His halt was really nice and he was obedient which makes a change as in practise we were practically at C before he decided to stop! Overall, despite the bucking I was really happy with him and got some nice comments from the judge: "Some very promising moments but he was rather naughty for you! Lots of potential but needs to be working more into the contact to start developing his work now. Well sat!" He scored 55.83%.

You can watch the test here.

Overall I'm really pleased with how today went considering the lack of warm-up and the long waits. He got some really nice comments from the judge, and she put some nice things about my riding which I really need to learn to accept! I'm hoping to take him to Crowland Show at the end of June for the dressage and depending if I can get the day off work maybe another before hand. 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura & Pea x

Friday, 10 May 2013

Lesson [4.5.13]

Apologies for the late post, but here's a post about how my lesson went last Saturday. I was hoping to have a jumping lesson, however the weather wasn't the greatest being very windy and rainy so we popped inside and did some flatwork for the majority before venturing back outside to where the sun was making an appearance again to pop a few fences. 

For the flatwork we mainly focused on parts that are in my dressage test this Sunday, in particular our centre lines and canter circles, especially for Prelim 7 where you do a 20m circle and in the second half ask for canter which Pea has been finding a bit difficult. I always feel that our centre lines aren't very straight, however my dressage results and my instructor beg to differ, so fingers crossed they continue that way - though our halt at the end has gone a bit rubbish but we're still working on it and hopefully Pea will eventually understand to just halt straight and quit fidgeting! The first canter we tried was rather shocking, but when we tried again it was much better. He tends to rush down the long side but then finds it hard to keep going to my instructor suggested keeping my outside leg back a bit to help it along and it worked really well and he's been managing a lot better. When we then do a downward transition back to trot it goes a bit wrong as he rushes in the trot or just falls to walk as he's no energy so I've been working on keeping my leg on for the downward transition and to keep the energy there but contained. 

We then popped out to do some jumps and he jumped so well! Think that over the past year all our hard work with the flatwork has really helped our jumping and i'm riding him at jumps more effectively and not holding too tight which caused him to get in too deep and scramble over the fence. He's now really starting to get the striding right and jumps unbelievably and I'm starting to get my confidence back so fingers crossed we get back into the jumping again soon and maybe do a few show jumping competitions next year! We finished by jumping the planks which I was a bit worried about as he's not too keen on them but I decided to be brave and just go for it and remember to ride and he had a look but jumped it (hence in the photo he's giving it a funny look!) so we finished on a good note and I can't wait to jump him again for a change.

Thanks for reading, 
Laura & Pea x

Monday, 22 April 2013

Brain Work to Help Combat Spring Grass.

I found this picture on pinterest and decided to use it for my latest blog post as i've hit a bit of a bad patch with Pea. As of last week he's started to be a bit naughty again, and with all that i've had on (a lot of uni work, job, family matters) I think it's hit a bit harder than usual, along with the added fact that he had been going well! But, as the picture states, either 'give up, give in or give it all you've got' and I plan on giving it all I've got as I'm not a quitter with things I'm passionate about! His canter is coming along, it's still a bit patchy which is to be expected as he has only just started again, but we are managing near enough a circuit round the arena and slowly incorporating smaller shapes, ie turning up the 20m line rather than staying straight as if in a dressage arena. 

Pea has lately started bucking again, and bad, although to be honest he has so far only done it once or twice and then settles, but when he does they are pretty big and cheeky! On Thursday I had a lesson and it nearly started badly as I was upset with how he had just been (he ran off twice in the field, the second time almost kicking me, then bucked refusing to go to one arena before trying to get me off in the other arena in front of a group of people who decided to stare!), however, Pea being the horse he is was so good in his lesson (he bucked before it started) and it was almost like I was lying! My instructor being the amazing person she is soon cheered me up and thought it was most probably the spring grass coming through giving him extra energy and with me being at uni during the week he wasn't getting to use it up so instead played up. This resulted in him being chucked out over the weekend with no rug on but as it was warm in the day it wasn't so bad, but during the night he would have to shiver some energy away (and hopefully slow down him getting a summer belly!). 

So with his naughtiness in mind, Emily suggested doing some 'brain work' with him to get him really thinking about what he's supposed to be doing rather than what he wants to do and I thought I would share the exercises with you. They really helped him to open up and slowly start coming into a more consistent frame.

Firstly, on a 20m circle I collected his trot up really short and slow so that he was really on his hocks. This is a lot harder than it sounds as you have to really use your legs and seat to keep the energy and the trot, but not too much to increase the speed, whilst also using the contact to try and bring him back! Once he was collected, I then pushed him back into a working trot. Once in working trot he started to stretch down and come into the contact, and the more we did, the better he got. We carried this out on both reins, although the left rein was harder as that is his worse rein so we spent a little more time carrying it out before moving onto the next exercise. 

The second exercise was quite similar to the first but instead of collecting the trot I brought him back to a near halt before sending him off again. This is like a good, strong half halt and really makes the horse come back onto their hocks before moving off again using their back-end, something Pea often forgets to use. At first it took quite a bit to get Pea to come back onto his hocks, but after a few attempts he soon got it and then when he moved on he went really nicely and I could definitely feel the difference as he stepped out more and stretched over his whole frame. 

Just when I thought it couldn't get any harder, it did. For the final exercise we incorporated leg-yield; so when I asked him to move forwards after the near-halt, I also asked him to move over. On the right rein this was relatively easy and he really stepped under, however on the left rein he found it a lot harder so it took a lot more leg and seat to get him forward and stepping over but he eventually started getting the hang of it and slowly started to stretch and give some inside bend. 

I now plan on keeping up with these as well as other exercises we have used over the past in the next couple of weeks to get him to soften up and stretch into a more consistent frame as well as starting to incorporate circles into his canter in preparation for the second round of trailblazers in May where we are branching out and entering both Prelims :)

Thanks for reading, 
Laura & Pea x