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