Saturday, 29 March 2014

[Product Review] Stain Master

It has been such a long time since I have done one of these! But, I am back with another new product which I bought last minute from my yard last Sunday before going out competing! It is perfect for anyone with greys or coloureds especially, or those with white socks. The product I am going on about is Stainmaster by Carr & Day & Martin. 
Picture from Robinsons Equestrian Website

As you may be aware, last Sunday (23rd March) I took Pea out for some dressage and I had spent the day before scrubbing his legs clean. Unfortunately, being the ditz that I am sometimes, I completely forgot to take his lick out of his stable and I'm sure you can guess what happened...(I'm pretty sure Pea did it on purpose because he wasn't allowed out to roll though!) Sunday morning I arrived at the yard and opened Peas door to find lovely orange marks on his legs where he had rubbed his lick covered mouth! Just typical! Luckily, my yard sells a few products so I went into the office to see if they had anything which could help get rid of the stains, or at least hide them! That's where I saw a bottle with Stainmaster written on it. It was slightly dusty where it had clearly been sat on the shelf for a while as no one really buys anything from the yard, but I picked it up and went to try it out. 

The product description says: "Ideal for removing dirt and manure stains with no need to rinse. Fantastic for last minute show touch ups and an 'on the spot' brightener for white markings. Stainmaster can also be used as a dry shampoo when it's too cold to bath."
From Carr & Day & Martin Website
Think it's a new bottle. 

All you need to do is spray the product into the stain (or a cloth/sponge if it's the face) and then massage in with a damp cloth/sponge and wipe off. It works so nicely and definitely helps to remove the stains on Peas legs! It even got used in a few other spots which I deemed to be slightly too mucky! I also took it along to the competition with him in case he unloaded with any poo stains (typically he did!) and so is now a firm staple in my competition kit! I also like that it can be used as a dry shampoo as I always feel guilty washing him in the winter, despite sticking to his legs and using warm water! 

Do you have any other products you love using? Will you be trying this product out? Leave me a comment below to let me know! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx

Sunday, 23 March 2014

[Competition Report] Sissons Farm 23.3.14


Sorry about the absence, I have been busy finishing my dissertation off (which has now been finished and handed in - yaaay!) So today I went out for our first competition of the year, and in fact since August. Over the winter I have been busy working on his canter and it is now much improved, although today I messed up a bit and thought he was on the wrong leg because he was iffy only for him to change and go onto the wrong one anyway and not change but hey, ho!

Prelim 7
This wasn't overly great as we didn't have a great warm-up, however I felt it was reasonable. On right canter we ended up doing it on the wrong leg - so annoyed but hey, mistakes happen. His left canter felt better and I had been worried because in practise he kept trying to toy with the idea of stopping instead! So luckily he carried on moving forwards. He got a fair mark of 58.5% and the majority of the comments were that he was hollow, needs more bend, needs to cover more ground and more balance in the transition from canter to trot. All of these I agree with. Now that we have canter more established, we do need to work on the downward transition as he gets a bit too carried away and then instead of sitting back to go to trot he just runs and falls into trot instead. The judges comment was that he "shows correct paces - now needs to develop more suppleness over back and work into a softer, rounder outline for more marks."

Prelim 18
I felt prelim 18 went better, although I thought we had a wobbly entry! His canter was on the correct lead each time, though in the first canter I had to push him to get to M before trotting and in the second one he thought about mucking about on the canter but luckily, when I asked him to move forwards he did and forgot about his idea! Prelim 18 is a harder test for us as the canter - trot transitions are at a certain marker with another movement at the next. I.e. in the first canter you trot at M and walk at C and in the second one you trot at F and turn down the centre line at A. These caused a few issues in practise so after reading through it again last night, I decided to bring him back to trot just before the marker to give us more time to set up for the next movement and I think this paid off a bit today. Two people from my yard were also at the competition, both in the same class, and both said that this test looked better than the first and I was feeling happy, hoping for at least 60%. However, the judge did not agree with us! I was upset to see that we had only scored 57%. The majority of comments stated that he was hollow and occasionally that he lacked bend. The judge wrote: "an active pony who would now use a supple, rounder outline for more marks to be gained." I feel this is fair, and I was happy with her comment about him being active as this is something we have been working on and I am glad that it showed today. It just showed that different judges mark differently. 
New groom in training

At the end of the day I have mixed feelings about how today went. For his first competition in a while I was happy with how he behaved in the warm-up as he can often play up with other horses around and I felt he did perform reasonable tests. I'm just gutted about the lack of bend as I feel this is always what lets us down and it feels like we're not moving forwards. However, I am going to look through magazines and on the internet as well as book a lesson with my new instructor to try and get ideas on how to improve his suppleness. If anyone has any ideas or knows of any sites or anything which could help then please leave a comment :)

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

[Monthly Review] February 2014

Another month has come by and flown on past again and we are know rapidly heading into Spring and also towards the end of my time at University!

February has been a reasonable month with Pea. He started off going really well and seemed to have finally grasped canter! We built it up slowly, just cantering down the long side, half a circle and half the long side, a circle, etc. and then slowly, as he started to feel more comfortable doing more canter strides I increased the canter. I didn't want to push him too much as he can easily get all unsettled and then refuse to canter, but my doing in gradually he started to get really eager to go into canter, often requiring just the slightest leg aid, and would also happily canter further without getting all 'stuffy' and get ready to buck and stop. 

We also worked on forwardness and after a short warm-up of him trying to just meander along, he soon started to work nicely at a good pace with a nice rhythm. This, in turn, helped with straightness and circles as well as letting him to soften as he slowly worked more from behind. By him moving forwards better as well he also tripped less frequently which helped demonstrate that he was using more power from behind and not falling so much on his forehand. I had aimed to book a lesson, however on the 16th, Pea didn't feel quite the same schooling and just was not moving forward in the trot, no matter how much I asked, how many transitions I did and not even when I tapped him with the schooling whip. I asked for canter, and he had one or two iffy moments striking off onto the incorrect lead but then picked it up only to then find it hard to stay straight. After about 35-40 minutes I decided to finish as it was clear that he was struggling. The next morning, I took him out for a quick schooling session to see if he was just having an off day but he was still similar in not wanting to move forwards and finding canter difficult so I decided to call out my chiro again. 

My chiro came out a few days later and confirmed that his pelvis had rotated again, but luckily as I had caught it early he wasn't too tight in his muscles and was to have the usual day off and then go for a walk before being able to return back to normal work. You can read about the chiro visit here. We went for a stroll with my friend as she is only allowed to walk with her mare, so I think both were happy to have company for a change. On the Saturday, I then gave him a quick school and he went better, though not quite as well as he had been but I half expected that. Typically, I then managed to injure myself (this is becoming a recurring theme after Pea's had the chiro!) so he got lunged one day, and then the next I decided to loose jump him as a bit of a change. I rarely jump Pea anymore, which, considering I had originally bought him to jump, I occasionally feel guilty about. Pea seemed to love having a pop over some small fences and happily went into them without me having to half chase him! I then hacked him the next day and schooled the day after and he's starting to go much better. 

I have aimed to compete him on the 23rd March, with the aim that I will have my dissertation all done and bound by then (scary idea!) so I plan on just working on his canter more as well as accuracy such as straight lines and also getting the trot-walk transition better as he sometimes just carries on jogging and doesn't understand why we need to walk for a stride or two! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx