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