Sunday, 23 February 2014

Dressage Writing

As part of my aim to do more volunteering this year I decided to do some dressage writing today after seeing one of my local competition centres asking for some writers. I have never written before, but decided it can't be too difficult and I have competed before so I have seen dressage sheets.

The judge I wrote for today was very nice and explained what she looks for in horses at different levels as well as what her pet hates are - I soon realised that she looks at riders hands a lot and really hates it when they use them to perform a lot of their movements rather than using their body! 

The judge explained that during a unaffiliated prelim she doesn't focus too much on horses appearance as she just likes to see a reasonable rhythm and a nice presentable image with the rider and horse. I think this is important as many times I have been competing and judge's have written comments that I believe are suitable for higher levels. It was also good to see other levels as the judge I wrote for covered Novice, Elementary and one Medium test which I really enjoyed. 

Overall I learnt a great deal writing today such as ensuring that when you use your leg you really need to make sure that you support the horse with your reins and that accuracy goes a long way! Furthermore, a little side not for all those who compete in dressage - make sure that you check whether you're to trot round in the arena, at the bottom or round the outside if it's not already clear as she did not like people who decided to trot round inside when they were supposed to trot down at the bottom! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx

Friday, 21 February 2014


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Yet another Chiro visit...

I really hope that one of these days, Pea will actually manage to go more than 2 months before having his pelvis rotate out of place again! 

Pea has been going really well in recent weeks, so on Sunday, when I wasn't getting the same result I had been I started to think something was wrong again. Pea has been a lot more forward in his work which has helped with straightness, yet on Sunday, every time I asked him to move forward more I got no response and then in the canter he found it really hard to stay straight and instead fell in towards the inside track. We normally do 45 minutes of schooling which he finds okay, however, on Sunday he seemed to find it really difficult and was really tired by the end. I decided to see what he was like on Monday and he turned out to be the same and not really working well, so after half an hour I decided to stop and called my chiro asking if she could come out. 

Luckily, she was able to come out Wednesday afternoon and although at first she couldn't feel much wrong, after we trotted up she said he looked quite stiff behind, especially in the right and after looking more, stated that his pelvis had indeed rotated again. Once again, she worked her magic and said that as I had called her early on it wasn't too bad and he wasn't tight in any of his muscles as he had been previously. She also mentioned that he is starting to look well and is definitely starting to build up more muscle, compared to the last time she had seen him, even if it is a slow process so at least that's one positive! 

He had yesterday off to relax and recover, and then today I'm just to take him for a stretch in walk to release any toxins but he is fine to return to normal work tomorrow so fingers crossed he continues to work as well as he had been! Also, as he's building muscle up, I'm hoping it means that he will manage to go the recommended 3 months before needing to see her again! 

Thanks for reading!
Laura xx

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Increase in Horse Abandonment

This is a slightly different post for me, however, it is a topic that has come up time and time again in my 'Emerging Issues, Ethics and Welfare' module at University and so I decided to do a blog post about it. 

It is estimated that the number of horses at risk of neglect or abandonment in the UK has risen to 7, 000 with half of these being from fly grazing. Fly grazing is the deliberate grazing of horses on land without the land owners permission, therefore grazing the horse illegally. Wales has recently passed a new law which prohibits fly-grazing, and whilst this is good news in many respects as it reduces the number of horses abandoned as they are either returned to owners, taken in to charities if possible or put to sleep, it could lead to the problem escalating in England as many people may just move the horses across the border. This means that England should now follow Wales' lead and also propose a new law to ban fly-grazing. Although it may mean that many horses are put down, it will hopefully help to tackle the large scale of neglect and abandonment we are currently seeing and charities are already full, finding it difficult to be able to take in more horses which desperately need their help. 

I also think that more should be done to ensure that when people buy horses, that they are competent enough and have the funds to be able to afford to look after them long term as well as having the knowlege to care for them. After all, buying them is the easy and cheaper part! It's the livery bills, vet, tack, feed, insurance and various other things which all add up! I think it is seen that having a horse, in some respects to some people, makes them look better and gives them a higher reputation, although they may not have much of an idea on how to look after them. Similarly, some parents may relent and buy their child a pony but again do not have an idea how to look after them. Therefore, I feel that people should maybe undergo a small exam or lessons or something in order to be able to purchase a horse to ensure that the horse will be cared for properly and not end up being another statistic in charity cases. 

Another issue which needs addressing is the issue of over-breeding (this is actually the topic I am basing  my assignment on!) as many people are deciding to breed from their mares if they can no longer be ridden, or decide that they want a foal or various other reasons. This has also contributed to the number of horses being abandoned as people do not realise the time and cost that has to be put in until it is too late and they can no longer care for them. I think that people should have a license to be able to have stallions and use them for breeding and that more people need to be educated on what breeding involves as well as how to care for the foal through its life. 

I hope you find this interesting and I'd love to hear your opinion!
Thanks for reading, 
Laura & Pea x

Saturday, 1 February 2014

[Monthly Review] January 2014

This month has both seemed long yet seemed to have also flown by! Crazy! Pea had an easy December due to various reasons (blog post here) and so started off January with the aim to start working him properly again although that was stopped again as I got tonsillitis right before I was due back to uni so wasn't able to ride for a week! Luckily, he was then able to start work again and *fingers crossed* we are finally getting somewhere with his canter! Yay! 

The first few schooling sessions he was still finding right canter difficult and was also bending incorrectly in left canter, but since having the week off and also starting to lunge him in side reins, he seems to have worked out right canter and strikes off on the correct canter lead each time. I have been gradually increasing his canter as I do not want to do too much with him causing him to find it too difficult and then refuse to canter again as a lot of the issues are often more psychological with him. This has meant that I will either just canter round the outside of the arena, or do a 20m circle picking up canter after X and then cantering half way down the long side and introducing him to cantering the whole circle which is what he finds most difficult. However, since the discovery that he can do right canter, he has since found striking off on the left rein harder and bends the wrong way, but he is still happy for cantering so I think we just need to do a few tweaks and a bit more work and we'll get there (I hope!). 
Letting him have grass at night as he wasn't allowed out!

We have been hacking each weekend to give him a change from schooling during the week and also to increase his fitness a bit more as well him enjoying it as he is so so much more forward and loves to have a good canter which will (and is) hopefully help his cantering in the school as it opens him up and he feels a bit more confident in doing so. I have also been lunging him a few times in side reins to get him to use himself a little better and I have found it seems to help more as when I canter him without side reins he just shoots off but with side reins he does a much nicer canter. I also had a lesson last week (blog post here) giving us some things to work on to make him more forward and straighter. 

Hopefully February continues to move forwards in the same matter. Depending how he goes he might have the chiro next month or hopefully he can wait the three months he's due as I have just had the saddler which showed no problems but who knows with horses?!

Thanks for reading!
Laura & Pea x