Monday, 28 December 2015

[Product Review] Euro-Star Priya Shirt

I saw this shirt a few months ago before it actually came out and thought it looked pretty good. Unfortunately, the first site I saw it on was advertising it for something like £60-£70 which I didn't really want to spend! I then saw a promo code for Topline Equestrian offering 10% so I figured I'd have a look at what they had. When I saw they had the Euro-Star Priya Shirt for only £40 I decided to hop at the chance of using the discount code and order myself one. 

The Priya shirt is quite literally amazing in my opinion! It features a mobile pocket on the upper arm which is ideal on slightly warmer days when you have no jacket/pockets to put your phone as well as a slit for your watch. It also features thumb holes meaning you can pull it over your palms to provide extra warmth. The inside of the shirt is fleece whilst the outside is made from fast-drying material. Having worn this in the rain I can safely say that it keeps you dry and does dry quite well without clinging to you like other materials. It can be worn on it's own or layered for the colder weather making it great almost all year round (not quite suitable for warm weather as you will probably melt!). It also has a kind of turtle neck with a zip making it easier and more comfy to wear. There is a bit of material behind the zip as well so it's not exposed and you don't get that horrible feeling of the zip rubbing against your skin. Initially I hated the idea of the material, but after wearing my shirt nearly constantly, I realise it's actually a great addition!

As mentioned, I ordered my shirt from Topline Equestrian. They had it in either navy or 'beaujolais' (red) & I had a rather tough decision trying to pick one. In the end I went for the red as the majority of my breeches and other riding wear are navy so thought it would go well with them. I am quite impatient when it comes to deliveries but then realise it's only been a few days despite thinking it's been weeks! However, after about a week or two I received a call from Oliver who runs Topline Equestrian. He called to explain that unfortunately he'd been involved in a riding accident resulting in a short hospital stay and as he is the only person behind the company, there was a bit of a delay in getting my parcel out to me. From this alone I would definitely recommend the company as very few would take time to give you a call to explain the delay! He also offered a free gift as an apology which was ridiculously nice of him, and again very rare & unexpected. After another week/week and a half, I received another call from Oliver asking if my parcel had actually been delivered as he'd used another company. Unfortunately it hadn't so he chased it up and sent me a text the next day to let me know it would be arriving within a day or two. True to his word it did and I was shocked to open it and find two shirts in each colour! Seriously top service!! 

I would definitely recommend this top to anyone as it fits nicely and is perfect for riding in, especially at the moment when it can be mild one day and freezing the next!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick post to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and prosperous New Year!! Thank you for all of your support over the past year & let's hope for a great 2016!

Laura & Pea xx

(Sorry for the lack of Christmas-ness?! Forgot to get Pea any tinsel/reindeer ears!!)

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Pole Work Exercises

As both my physio and instructor have recommended doing lots of pole work with Pea, I like to come up with new exercises with them so he doesn't get bored of simply doing the same thing. So Saturday morning, I dragged down with me to take photo's and I set out the below poles:

Basically, it's four long stride poles one way and then four trotting poles the opposite through the middle of the long poles. The trotting poles also help to ensure that we stay straight whilst going over the long stride poles. 

This exercise was really good for Pea as we started with the long stride poles which helped him to loosen up and realise about picking his feet up properly. As i've mentioned previously, Pea tends to not pick his legs up properly and will bunny hop over the poles at first as he thinks it's easier. By starting with the long poles, it gives him more time to loosen up between them. Once he loosened up over these, we moved onto the trotting poles and he went so well over them. 

We kept it varied by circling round going from long to short and in different directions so he really had to think about what he was doing with his feet. We only did the exercise for about 15 minutes as he tires quite easily with pole work as it makes him really pick his legs up. However, we did manage to finish off with a few canter strides as he loosened up enough. He's still very reluctant cantering on the left rein and is so much better on the right but we'll get there (hopefully!)

I'm aiming to do poles twice a week. Once ridden and once on the ground. There's a great page on facebook called horsephysio which post videos of lots of polework so it's great to get some ideas of how to play with poles :)

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Monday, 14 December 2015

[Product Review] Horseware Brianna Riding Jacket

I bought this jacket from Burghley after deciding that I couldn't keep wearing my uni riding jacket (turns out, I still will!). I spotted this one and thought it would be great for keeping me warm in winter and the peaked hood is the ideal attachment. Initially I wanted a coat similar to my uni one which is a softshell type of jacket but many of them aren't really waterproof which isn't ideal with our weather!

After wearing this in the worst weather, ie when it was absolutely hammering it down with rain and rather windy, I felt that I simply had to write a review about it as it proved to be amazing! Unlike previous coats, this one kept me nice and dry as well as the items in my pockets which has proved to be a let-down in other coats. The peaked hood means that it keeps the rain away from your face but it is also detachable so can be easily removed if not needed. It also features quite a high neck which keeps the wind away whilst providing you with extra warmth in case the 100g fill wasn't enough! It's not too bulky either which I have found with other winter riding jackets so it's easy to move and ride in. I think I only paid something like £70 or £80 for this so it's definitely worth it!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Help Rescue Horses This Christmas

If you're on twitter, you may already be aware of the Crowdfunding page set up by Alexandra to help rescue equines this Christmas. If not, then basically the page has been set up in an attempt to reach £400 for rescued horses and there's only 3 days left to donate! 

They have just reached the half way point and it would be amazing if they could reach their target! So pleaseeee can you all donate, even just a little bit helps! As the majority will know, horses can be expensive but even just a small amount of money can help. £5 could buy some treats or carrots or even a new headcollar! £10 could go towards some hay or a bag of feed. It would be so nice to donate some money so that those horses without homes can have a lovely Christmas and a comfy winter :)

Please follow this link to donate: Crowdfunding - twitterherdjumper

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

[Laura Loves] Christmas Wishlist 2015

With Christmas approaching faster than anticipated, this is probably a bit on the late side! I honestly can't believe how fast 2015 has flown by! There are two main items on my wishlist that I can't decide upon and that is either a new bridle or a quarter sheet. 

I've been eyeing up the Evison Equine bridles but can't actually decide between a standard or paying a little bit more for a Crystal browband one. I really like the sound of the Evison Equine bridles as they feature a padded headpiece that curves away from the base of the ears so reduces pressure on that sensitive area which should allow the horse to work more freely. They are also reasonably priced at between £80-£120. Normally this is more than I would want to pay for a bridle but if it's going to last a good few years and it seems like it's a good bridle that reduces resistance so should be worth it!

The thermatex quarter rug has moved up on my wishlist after reading Jessica's review on Gee Gee & Me (read it here). I previously looked at one of these last year but didn't really want to spend £55/£60 on one, however it seems that these would make a great addition to Pea's rug collection! At present, Pea's exercise sheet is a waterproof one with fleece lining that is great (especially when working in the rain) but annoyingly it is not cut-a-way around the riders leg so I have to fold it back in order for Pea to actually listen to my leg aid! The thermatex quarter sheet features the classic great wicking properties as well as being lightweight and easy to put on/remove. It also comes in various colour choices and can be personalised. 

The Mountain Horse Sovereign boots are most likely going to stay on my wishlist for quite some time being around the £300 mark but they just look so smart and stylish! They would definitely only be used for competition (although I would need to break them in first!). They claim to feature a softer and easier heels down position so offer increased performance and the two tone brown makes them look very stylish!

The final item on my wishlist is a Wintec dressage saddle. Due to Pea's continuously changing shape and conformation my saddler has recommended that a wintec saddle is the best make for him as they feature the changeable gullet system and aren't too long in the back. My current saddle is a wintec GP which I've had for 7 years and never had any issues with so they're long lasting and easy to care for. I believe the dressage saddles start from about £450/£500 so they are a great price compared to other makes and look smart too despite not being leather. 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Saturday, 5 December 2015

[Lesson] Wednesday 2nd December; Cathy Lammie

This is a few days late but I was super tired after my lesson and then have been busy with work so have only just had chance to write up about it now! If you follow me on Facebook (search for LB Equestrian) then you will already have an idea!

Unfortunately, Pea has started to misbehave a little lately but I booked in a lesson as Pea was in the last week of his bute trial so I wanted to have a chat with my instructor so see her opinion about him. Unfortunately she believes that there is definitely something wrong with Pea and that we should definitely stay on the bute long-term. However, she thinks there may be an issue in the front end as when we got round to trying a bit of canter, Pea tripped a lot when I went to get off his back and she reckons it looked like he was finding it really hard to keep his balance in front. 

As we often do, we did some pole work again using four poles. We started by doing one, then building up to the four, firstly spaced apart before bringing them closer together. This really helped him to loosen up over the poles and by gradually bringing them closer together it stopped him from hopping over them so much. Pea has a bit of a defence mechanism of hopping over the poles rather than lifting his legs correctly as he finds it easier. Unfortunately for him, it's not what we want and it won't help him but the more he does the poles, the easier it becomes. 

Once he loosened up a bit in the trot, we decided to try a bit of canter after we had gone over the poles. On the left rein, he was really reluctant and this was when Cathy suggested getting off his back. I was a bit reluctant as I always worry about him bucking but after we realised he was getting unbalanced we decided to take a short break. We then swapped reins and went onto the right rein where we had a bit of a longer canter, although it was still only about 5 strides! 

We finished the session off by looking at doing some in-hand work. Cathy suggested that we do some in-hand poles either before a schooling session or just as a session on there own. We put three poles together and walked over a few times before gradually raising one pole at a time. We then did the raised poles in the middle before moving to the higher end of the pole to really get him picking his feet up. 

Pea is now on the bute long-term and we might look into getting a vet to look over his front end in the future. For now, he's been trotted up and seen by the vet numerous times that I don't think it's a matter of urgency as they've never noted anything so we'll see how winter pans out. It might mean no dressage, or I might do a couple of walk-trot tests but for now, I'm looking into lots of ways to keep him supple. 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

[Monthly Review] November 2015

Pea was on a bute trial for November to see if it helped improve his way of going as he's been misbehaving a lot going into trot for the past few months. Our physio suggested it as she believed there was something troubling him but there wasn't actually any obvious signs. For the majority of the trial it seemed that the bute was really helping as he was behaving whilst working and we could go into trot without any hesitations or bucking. 

For the first few schooling sessions we mainly stuck to walk and trot before finally deciding to try canter. Unfortunately, we don't seem to be doing well with canter which is a bit of a shame. On the lunge he's not too bad with canter although he does break into trot easily and it can take a bit of persuasion and chasing to keep him in the gait. The weather hasn't been too helpful unfortunately for me to keep trying as it's led to lots of puddles in the arena which Pea isn't too keen about going through! 

The first few schooling sessions where Pea actually behaved for trot, he was also a bit sluggish and not very energetic in his paces so I've been schooling him with spurs on. They do seem to be helping but we are also working on doing lots of transitions and lateral work to get him to use his back-end as he can be really lazy with it and lean on his forehand. This does seem to be helping, along with the regular pole work, as he's starting to soften well (other than when he's trying out his giraffe impressions with the wind!) as well as flexing better. Some attempts are better than others but I always know he's never going to be perfect for an entire session!

Annoyingly, the last two schooling sessions have led to him starting to misbehave when I ask for trot again. He is still on the bute trial, being in his last week, and nothing else has changed so I'm not really sure what is causing it. I'm booking in a lesson this week to see what my instructor thinks as I thought the bute was helping his way of going but now he's misbehaving I'm not so sure! 

Let's hope that December brings better things! Whilst Pea's flatwork is getting better, it's not great having him misbehave when I ask for trot, especially when he's pretty stubborn about moving forward again and will happily ignore my leg or sharp taps with the whip! We also need to work out what to do with his canter as it feels like he simply can't rather than he won't. Sometimes it would be so much easier if horses could just talk!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Redwings Horse Sanctuary: Ada Cole

Loved this little pony!
This past weekend (21st November) saw my niece turn five. As a surprise/birthday present from me I decided to adopt a pony from Redwings so on Sunday we took a trip to their Ada Cole centre. When I was younger, about 6 or 7, my parents took me to the Caldecott centre to adopt a pony for me there as we couldn't afford a horse at the time. I adopted Rusty and still have that adoption now. Unfortunately, Rusty recently passed away and my adoption was passed over to a sweet little pony called Cauli. Hopefully next year I'll take my niece over for a visit as I haven't actually seen her but unfortunately the Caldecott centre is shut for winter. 

The Ada Cole centre is actually smaller than what I was expecting but it's still a lovely place for a visit. I already had an idea in mind about who my niece would adopt but we went for a walk round the fields to look at all the horses and donkeys there. The Ada Cole centre has four adoptions: Tinkerbell, Elvis, Dolly and Del Boy the donkey. Sofie fell in love with Tinkerbell (which I was expecting) and is now adopting her! She absolutely adored all the little ponies in the paddock with Tinkerbell and I had a hard time pulling her away from them! She also questioned why she couldn't ride them, oops! 

With Christmas approaching, why not consider an adoption for someone you know? At Redwings it's £12.50 a year and includes letters and photos a few times a year along with an invitation to the horse's birthday party. There are also numerous other charities which offer an adoption scheme and there are plenty of centres around to go and visit! 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Friday, 20 November 2015

Twitter Meet-Up

This is actually a few days late but unfortunately, after getting back from the meet-up, I randomly got rather ill for a few days :(

If you use Twitter, you may be aware that there are various '#hours' that run each night with their being an equestrian themed one now every day of the week (typically between 8 and 9pm!). It was during Wednesday evening's one (#equestrianhour) one time that someone mentioned about having a bit of a meet-up and the next thing, one had been planned! This took place on Sunday at a small hotel in Buxton where there were seven of us who met up for afternoon tea. I think I actually travelled the furthest (& I had to drive up/down some ridiculously steep and twisty road!) but it was well worth the journey. 

As mentioned, seven of us attended in total:

It was such a lovely afternoon and so nice to put a face behind everyone who I interact with on twitter regularly. 

If you're on twitter, I strongly recommend you interact with some of the hours as there's always a lovely bunch of people to chat to and sometimes some great competitions!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Friday, 13 November 2015

[Laura Loves] Autumn Colours: Reds & Purples

Deep purple/red shades such as burgundy and plum are my absolute favourites for autumn! Before I ended up in a job where I'm not allowed nail varnish, I would always crack out my gorgeous berry shade nail varnish as soon as the leaves started turning! This year, I seem to be turning this love into equestrian items! There seems to be so many gorgeous saddlepads and breeches coming out this year in 'must have' autumn shades!

I bought Pea this LeMieux plum set from Burghley and I have to admit that it looks amazing on him! It's so nice, sometimes, having a grey when there are so many colour options to suit! 

I discovered Aztec Diamond earlier in the year and follow them on social media, including instagram. When these aubergine breeches popped up on on my feed I just knew they had to be added to my wishlist. At £90, they are a bit more than what I tend to want to spend on a pair of breeches but after buying a pair of Aztec Diamond breeches a few months back, I can guarantee these will be worth the money! They are, however, in competition with the breeches below:

These HKM Lauria Garrelli Paris breeches are so pretty! I spied them on Equus a few months back but they were out of stock and have only recently been restocked. Again at £94 they are more than I wish to spend but they are high on my wishlist as I do love them! I'd love to see them in person so if anyone has any or knows any one who does please let me know!! 

And finally, I have grown quite fond of this RiderbyHorse cherry red set. I love the binding as it makes the pad stand out a bit more rather than being quite plain. I've seen some images on instagram of it on various horses and it looks amazing! 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Monday, 9 November 2015

Podcast Feature

A few weeks ago, I received a message from the lovely Steve/@HorseHour on twitter asking if I would be interested in participating in a podcast. For those of you who may not be aware, Horse Hour is a social networking hour that has been running for two years now, every Monday from 8pm for an hour (though people continue to chat past the hour and all week!). It is a great way to chat to new people, get great advice from a range of experts and mainly have a fun hour! I have come to know many different people through #HorseHour and now there are many other hours throughout the week to join in on! 

So back to the podcast! Steve put me in touch with the ever lovely Amy Stevenson who emailed me a brief overview of what the podcast would be like, before getting a brief overview of what I do, my history with horses and any potential topics we could chat about. It turned out that we had a bit in common with us both having a bad horse buying experience. Obviously, I'm not going to give anything away so if you want to have a listen then please click here.

There is also some bit chat from the wonderful Matt Waterworth (@thebitexpert - he knows his stuff!) as he explains the history of bits and how to choose the right one. 

I hope you enjoy the podcast if you gave it a listen! I was actually rather nervous about it, especially finding out that I was going to be on the first one! Wasn't quite expecting that but luckily Amy was super friendly to chat to and it literally did just feel like chatting to a friend!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

[Monthly Review] October 2015

October started well as I decided to really crack on with Pea and see if we could overcome the behavioural issues we were having. I started to note some improvement in that he would trot for a few strides longer before stopping, but then as soon as I put my leg on, he did actually go!

Canter was slowly getting there; as long as we did large circles and not too many strides he was happy. However, I did start noticing on the lunge that he was really struggling to keep his balance in canter on the right rein and was virtually motor-biking round which was slightly worrying! 

He had the vet come out mid-October to examine the lump on his stifle and x-ray/scan it (you can read it here). However, it was found not too be anything major and also showed no arthritis so the vet does not think it has any role in his behaviour. He then had the physio shortly after who believes that he is stiff all over (read that here) and so we're putting him on a bute trial for November to see if it helps. 

Pea had the last week or two of October off/quite easy due to long working hours and he also turned into a fluffy teddy bear which is rather annoying! Luckily, he's getting clipped again next week and he will shortly be coming in again at night and will also start having his magnetic pad on. Goodbye lie-ins, hello early mornings! 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy Halloween!

In honour of today being Halloween, I thought I'd share some of my favourite equestrian themed pumpkin carvings. Each year I think about trying one of these out, but instead I just stick to my 'scary faces' carvings - much easier!

I definitely love the carousel one! The amount of detail that has gone into it is incredible and hats off to whoever the person is that created it. I definitely wouldn't have the patience for all that detail! I also love the top two which look so simple yet so amazing!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Physio Time

Pea's had about a week off due to me doing 14 hour shifts at work and then going to Disney Land for the weekend but yesterday he had Etti, our physio, out again. I'm still trying to get to the bottom of his behaviour but I had also noticed that he started leaning quite badly on the right rein, especially when he was in canter. This causes us issues when riding as I can feel how hard he finds it to bend round corners and thus falls to the outside before pulling up short and breaking back into trot. 

Etti gave Pea a good work over and we chatted about what issues we've been having, what my instructor has said and also what happened when Alex from Oakham vets looked at him and he had his x-rays/scans. She agrees with me that it seems like there must be something a bit wrong with him to cause his naughtiness but she couldn't pinpoint it to just one area. Instead, she thinks it might be that he's actually a bit stiff all over and therefore needs help loosening up as when she performed a few movements he was really stiff at first, to the point where he didn't want to lift his legs for her, but the more she tried it, the better he got. She's also suggested that we keep doing lots of polework but doing more in walk at first to really loosen him up. Etti's told me to keep the poles to a short distance, so four of my feet together, and walk over them a few times, either ridden or in-hand, as this will get him to lift his legs up more. 

Etti's also going to have a chat with Alex as she thinks it might be worth trying Pea on a bute trial where we put him on bute for four weeks to see if that helps him at all. It's a bit of a pain that we can't pinpoint one thing being wrong with Pea but fingers crossed if we do do the bute trial, then that might help, although I don't really want him to be on bute full time :/ 

For now, we're just going to do lots of pole work and not school him too many days in a row so maybe instead school him one day, hack the next, then maybe school again before lunging the day after. This way, his muscles have a day of recovery and it means that I can keep Pea happy in work without causing him to get too annoyed! 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Monday, 19 October 2015

X-Rays & Scans for Pea

Not the greatest photo! & please mind the mucky pony!

Pea has had a lump on his stifle which has been there for about a year or two. He got it checked when it first appeared and Alex, our vet from Oakham, didn't think it was anything to worry about but to keep an eye on it. However, with Pea's recent behaviour, I decided it was worth getting it checked to be 100% sure it wasn't anything to worry about. 

We trotted him up before Vicki clipped the area where the lump is. He was a little saint for the whole thing and I found it rather amusing when Vicki mentioned that Alex refers to him as 'the Legend'! Not sure if it's a good thing or not but hey ho! I stepped out the stable whilst he was being x-rayed, which he ended up needing to be sedated for as he decided to show how handy he can be with his back legs! They took quite a few images at different view points but they all showed that the lump is not bony at all. It also showed that there's no arthritis but that there is an area where the bone is more dense which could be due to a previous kick that we weren't aware of. 

Following the x-rays, the lump was then scanned. It was fascinating to see the scan as I've only ever seen still images. It all looks a little bit complicated but it shows that the lump is on top of a ligament. It doesn't appear to be joined to the ligament but Vicki wanted to check with Alex to be 100% certain. However, she did say that it's very unlikely to be causing any of his behavioural issues. 

I'm quite glad that I had it investigated, although I'm not looking forward to the bill :( Pea's now having a week off whilst I'm working and then I go away for the weekend. When I return he's having the physio as he's been leaning in a lot in canter, especially on the right rein so I want to get that investigated a bit. 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Friday, 16 October 2015

[Laura Loves] Rydale's Malham Westbury Leather Boots

Rydale Westbury Boots in Chestnut; £90

When I discovered that Rydale had had a bit of a 'makeover' with their website, I was in heaven! I've loved Rydale for quite a few years now after wondering into their stand at Burghley. Now they're a regular feature and I love that they offer something for everyone and at affordable prices! My tweed jacket is from there that my Mum and Dad bought me a couple of years ago and it's a perfect winter staple. 

These boots, are next on my wishlist (along with numerous other items!) as they are absolutely gorgeous! They come in two colours, the 'classic' Chestnut, as featured above, which is my personal favourite, or a slightly darker shade called 'Oak'. 

I love the tassle on the zip and the website explains that the boots have a breathable textile lining along with a thick walking sole and deep, rugged treads. In my eyes, this will make them perfect for those countryside dog walks! On the other hand, they would also look equally as stylish walking round town whilst doing some shopping. 

I am definitely thinking of picking a pair of these up after my next pay day or maybe for Christmas ;)

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Making Progress

After a bit of a rubbish September, October so far seems to be going quite well. He still has a bit of a grumble when I first ask for trot but he finally seems to have realised that it's best to listen for a change!

He has also been going really well as of late and seems to be really starting to work hard. He is starting to soften into a contact better, although he can sometimes get a bit sluggish in his movements so I'm trying to incorporate lots of transitions. This will also, hopefully, get him to stop misbehaving!! 

I've got the physio coming out at the end of the month to have a look at him again. There's nothing major, however I have noticed that he's quite unbalanced on the right rein, especially in canter. On the lunge, he literally looks like he's motorbiking round the circle and when I ride him, he immediately tries backing off when I do a turn in canter. I'm also thinking of getting an 'equiami' to see if that will help him. 

Fingers crossed, October carries on going well! 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Sunday, 4 October 2015

[Monthly Review] September 2015

I honestly cannot believe that we're into October! This year is flying by!

September hasn't been the greatest month if I'm truly honest. I've been having a few behavioural issues with Pea over the past month which has slowly been getting me down, before I finally decided to give myself a good kick up the backside and now I've decided that October is going to be a bit of a bootcamp month for Pea! 

On the plus side, Pea's hacking has been coming on better. He's generally not too bad out hacking but he can be so spooky over the silliest of things! The yard made a couple of new fields out on our hacking route so there's new fencing and gates. Normally nothing to be worried about. Pea, however, had completely different plans and the first time he saw the new gate he span round and tried to bugger off with me!! The next time, he froze no where near it and took a lot of persuading to go near to go the other way! I then decided we'd go the opposite way where he has to go past the whole fencing and everything which cause a few slow steps and some strong leg before he finally got past the first gate. Going up the track between the new fence and another fence caused one or two issues but the main one was when we got to the hill and the hedge had gone. He had no idea what to make of that despite the fact he used to spook at the hedge when it was there! Such an idiot! After a few more adventures out that way, he is now a lot happier and we can now trot up the hill! There's still a little way before we can return to cantering up the hill but at least he's now finally getting more confident! 

As mentioned, October is going to be a bit of a bootcamp month as I'm determined to get to the bottom of Pea's naughtiness and hopefully get some dressage tests done. He's seeing the vet in a couple of weeks to check on a lump and I will have a chat with him about any possible back issues but he will also be seeing the physio at the end of the month. He's now clipped which will make working him easier and then will be coming in at night, probably nearer the end of the month. Fingers crossed a little dressage pony appears somewhere along the lines!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Monday, 28 September 2015

In-hand Pole Work

My instructor and also Angela, the woman who gives Pea his massages, have both suggested previously about doing some pole work in hand with Pea. So today, after being at work and knowing the arenas would be rather busy to ride, I decided to do some in-hand pole exercises. I might need to do some research for more exercises though!

We started by walking over some individual poles before moving on to a row as seen in the picture. The row consists of a couple of poles spaced a bit apart, some closer together and also a raised pole. There are also a couple of poles dotted around which are two poles together to encourage him to pick up a little bit more. I also placed a fan of poles out to walk over and also lunge him over but he finds them a bit more difficult! Definitely something to work on! 

It's a nice change to do some in hand work as I seem to end up either riding or just lunging which he gets a bit bored of! This way, it also lets me have a look at him and try different exercises as well as giving his brain something else to focus on. It's also a good exercise to do if your horse is injured (though check with your vet first!) or if you don't have time to ride as you can just spend 10 minutes or so walking over them. 

I'm going to try and do some in hand work like this a couple of times a month, especially now with winter coming. However, I am going to research some more exercises to do and their benefits, so if anyone has any then please send them my way!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Friday, 25 September 2015

Getting Ready for Winter

As much as a slightly hate to admit it, winter is approaching and I'm secretly excited! I love winter (well for so long, then I long for warmer weather again - typically British!). Nights have slowly started drawing in with it now getting darker earlier and so I've started thinking about getting Pea's stable ready for when he comes in at night. He has his stable during the summer as well as he comes in during the day but he tends to have less bedding and eats hay. 

This year I'm planning on getting some rubber matting for his stable to make it a bit comfier for him. It will also help with mucking out and keep the stable a little bit warmer for him. He is bedded on easibed all year round and I will be adding a few more bags before he comes in at night so that he has a bigger bed as he will be in for longer than what he is during the summer. 

During the summer I put him on hay as it has fewer calories than haylage but I don't like leaving him in all day without anything to munch on and it's not good for horses either as they are trickle eaters and therefore it is best for them to eat little and often. He doesn't tend to eat a great deal of his hay but I like to have it in the stable so that there's something there for him. I will also occasionally hide some broken up carrots or a chopped up apple in there. During the winter he is fed haylage as last year he went off hay and lost quite a bit of weight! He doesn't have a lot of haylage and is fed on a high fibre one that has fewer calories and is better for him. He has his hay and haylage on the floor all year round as it is more natural and he gets a bit fussy over haynets!

I have also been regularly de-webbing his stable. There seems to be no end of spider webs made round his stable so I try, on a regular basis, to sweep them down and also to get rid of any dust that has settled. I'm also sorting out his rugs (I was slightly disorganised after last winter) and ensuring that heavier rugs are still on the shelf in the tack room whilst the lighter rugs are hung at the back of his stable for when they are needed. His fly rug has also been put away now. 

I'm also sorting out our storage and having a bit of a re-organisation/re-arrangement of things just to make things tidier and neater. 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Monday, 21 September 2015

[Lesson] Cathy Lammie; 21st September

After having a few issues with Pea lately, I decided to book a lesson with Cathy to get her opinion on what to do with him. We walked round and he felt rather reluctant with me really having to work just to get him to walk forward as he felt as though he was practically dragging his feet! As soon as I asked for trot, he planted his feet and threw such a hissy fit! He started cow-kicking, reversing, stomping and was really having none of it when I tried to get him to move forward. After a few sharp taps with the whip and lots of leg he finally moved forwards and into trot. 

We trotted round a bit before coming back to walk where Cathy suggested that we again do pole work as it seems that that is what he needs. She mentioned that he is a bit stiff and potentially slightly arthritic and thus uses it as a means to try and escape work, where actually, if he loosens up a bit it won't be as hard. 

She first set out three poles spaced a short distance apart and we just trotted over them a few times before moving onto standard trotting poles closer together. The first few times, he kind of hopped over them before trotting properly and lifting his back legs. Cathy mentioned that he was hopping as a means of avoiding picking his back legs up properly as the first time he went over them he wasn't too bad but realised that it kind of hurt a little bit. I unconsciously tensed before the poles which caused him to lose a bit of confidence and thus tense himself. We then came round again and I focused on keeping my contact light but ensuring that I kept my leg on to encourage him to step up and under. In the end, he did them perfectly! 

Cathy explained that whilst I need to hold a consistent rein contact, I end up holding a bit too tight meaning that Pea can't lengthen his neck and come into a softer contact. Once I loosened my reins and held them steady but not too tight (similar to holding hands with someone), he went a lot better and began to give a better trot. 

We finished the lesson by working on some flexion as well as asking for him to come into the contact better. By the end of the lesson he literally felt like a different horse! I'm so glad that I booked the lesson and went through with it (it's hammered it down all day but luckily stopped just as I got on & I've been ill) as it's given me the confidence to really push on with him and hopefully get him out to lots of winter dressage. Cathy has suggested trying some bute an hour or two before riding him to see if it makes any difference so we'll see how tomorrow goes! 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Saturday, 19 September 2015

[Book Review] Valegro, Champion Horse by Carl Hester

When I saw on Thursday that this book had just come out, I knew I had to order it and I'm so glad I did. Thanks to Amazon prime, the book arrived the following morning and by the evening I had finished reading it!! It is honestly so good and a definite must-read for all dressage fans, or in fact for any equestrian! 

The book is written by Carl Hester and so is from his view point and it chats from the beginning of when Valegro was born to now. I really like the layout as there are not pages and pages of words but instead short paragraphs on each page which link to lots and lots of amazing pictures! I love the photos as not only are there lots of Valegro competing, there are also 'behind the scenes' photos which I love! 

Another great asset to the book is the snippets written by a variety of people who have all come across Valegro in some way. Whether it's the breeders, the phyio, owners, judges, literally everyone it seems (only there's nothing from Charlotte!) has written a paragraph on their thoughts of Valegro and the impact he has made in their lives. 

As mentioned before, this book is a must read for everyone! Quite literally! It's so nice to read about his success and yet how much love everyone has for this horse, simply due to his 'down to earth' attitude! He is truly a one in a million horse!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Pea has a Photoshoot!

I am feeling rather lucky right now that my best friend is an awesome photographer! She came a few weeks ago and took some photos of me and Pea and has now sent me the photos. They are truly amazing and I love them all! Pea wasn't the most cooperative as he'd been in all day and had a bath so he was more interested in eating the grass and wouldn't keep his head up for more than two seconds! 

Below are some of my favourites:

These will probably all end up on my instagram at some point (@lauracb_93) but are also on my facebook :)

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

*PS, I don't normally like to get on a horse without my riding hat but I made an exception for a photo and I was on him for less than 5 minutes!!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

[Product Review] LeMieux Wrapround Lambskin over-reach boots

After Pea had hind shoes put on earlier this year, I began to notice that he was clipping himself quite a bit. Before, it wasn't majorly noticeable as he didn't have hind shoes on so there was no noise nor was he cutting himself or anything. However, with shoes on you could hear him over-reaching and he also developed a small over-reach cut. I decided, therefore, to search into getting him some over-reach boots and when I saw the LeMieux lambskin ones, I couldn't resist! 

I ordered mine from VioVet and they arrived within two days - super speedy delivery! I was a bit worried at first because when I opened the packaging, the lambskin came away from the boot quite easily so I was slightly concerned that it wouldn't last. However, I'm glad to say that I've had these for a few months now and they're still in a very similar condition to when I got them and that the lambskin hasn't come off!

I've had these boots for around 4 months now and they've been worn quite regularly when schooling and lunging as well as for the odd hack. They've also been through the stream and worn in warm weather as well as the rain which has caused  puddles and a soft arena surface. I've never had any issues with these boots coming undone, slipping or interfering in any way. This is great for me as Pea can be funny about having boots on so I was worried when I first got them that Pea wouldn't take to them but luckily he's had no issues wearing them. 

Pea is a 15hh connemara x so normally wears a medium, but after consulting the sizing guides for these and seeing one or two other posts about these boots, it was decided that the Large is a better fit. I would therefore, definitely recommend that you look at the sizing guide before purchasing these to ensure you get the right fit! The large does fit Pea really well; they're not too long but being adjustable mean that they fit round well and give a secure fit. 

As I mentioned, these have been worn through the stream as well as having been hosed off after a ride and they've not lost shape/lost lambskin/damaged in any way! I leave them to dry wrapped round the stable bars and they always dry well and are fine to use the next day. 

I would definitely recommend these boots as they look smart and last well. 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Saturday, 12 September 2015

[Laura Loves] Eskadron Walnut Matchy SetsBi

Following sites such as 'Fur Feather Meds' and 'Equissentials Dressage' along with others is quite detrimental to my bank balance as I'm constantly lusting over new matchy match sets. Eskadron is one of those companies that always brings out such lovely sets that I constantly fall in love with although I've never actually bought anything from! 

Their new range is no different and with a range of gorgeous colours available, you'll be spoilt for choice. One of the colours that I have my eye on is the 'Walnut' set. Initially, I wasn't too sure about the colour, but after seeing the colour on a grey pop up on my news feed I changed my mind and fell in love! 

There are various different pads on offer and below I have featured a couple of my favourites. These are priced at £55 each, although there is also a plain cotton pad for £25. Matching bandages are £20 as well as a fly veil for £25 (all prices are from 

Tri Colour
Big Square
Bi Colour

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Burghley Buys #1

I've decided to show what I bought from Burghley as I always like to see what others have bought (I'm majorly nosy) and I thought some of you might like to see too. I've split it into two posts so I'll show what I bought for Pea today and then show the rest another day. 

Pea was thoroughly spoilt this year. As I mentioned in my previous post, I decided to buy an Equilibrium Magnetic Pad for him as we're having various issues with back and hind-quarters stiffness so fingers crossed we might see some improvement with this! I also bought a Feedmark 'ActiVet' supplement to try too. 

It appears that I can never visit Burghley and not buy another rug! There are two stands in particular which are very good for rug offers, Alan Hill and Townfields Saddlery. I bought this one from Alan Hill and it's a medium weight (200g) full neck turnout for £49. His current MW has a large strip missing and patched over with an old rug but it's slightly past its use now so he kind of needed a new one! I'll still keep the other as a spare just in case but fingers crossed he looks after this!

Now we all know that I have a new found love for matchy matchy stuff so I could not resist heading over to the Horse Health stand and looking at the LeMieux range. I decided to go for this plum set which looks amazing! 

I also picked up a few mollichaff samples and Bailee's haylage samples for Pea to try as well as two bottles of my favourite mane and tail spray - NAF's silky mane and tail detangler. 

Keep your eyes peeled for the second part. 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Monday, 7 September 2015

Update on Mr Pea :)

Things with Pea have been a bit 'up in the air' so to speak lately. He still doesn't seem 100% right and stops when I first ask for trot, however once he eventually gets going he's not too bad. He's had the vet look at him regarding hind limb stiffness, seen the Physio, had a couple of massages, his teeth have been done in the last month and also his saddle so I've decided to just work through it for the next few weeks and see if he gets over it and it is just a behaviour issue or if there's something more to it. 

As it was Burghley over the weekend, and I live two minutes down the road, I spent a fortune on the little horse! I have bought him an Equilibrium magnetic pad to wear before exercise to relieve stiffness and muscle soreness. As I've just bought it, he's only wearing it for a short amount of time but I plan to build this up over time and hopefully he'll wear it overnight when he's stabled over winter. I would definitely recommend checking out 'Wychanger Barton Saddlery' if you're ever at a large horse event and they're there as they always have good offers on. The magnetic pad was only £80 and it normally retails for £125!!

I also popped to Feedmark to have a chat about a supplement as someone from my yard (plus a couple of others) really recommended them. We decided to try the 'ActiVet' supplement which claims to 'soothe veteran muscles and joints'. Whilst Pea is only 14, the woman from Feedmark explained that this works on the joints but as we're not completely certain that it is mainly the joints, it will also help with any muscle soreness. I explained that he had been on Glucosamine & MSM which I think helped slightly but not majorly and that it why she thought maybe trying this supplement might help more. I've bought a months tub as she explained that it takes around two weeks for the supplement to show any effect and then you have a further two weeks of continual use to see if the effects stay. 

Work wise, I'm working on trying to get Pea forwards more as well as doing lots of circles,
leg-yielding, transitions and polework. At the moment, we're mainly working in walk and trot but incorporating a few canter strides towards the end of a session when he's loosened up a lot more. As we've had many issues with canter, I don't want to push too much if there is a problem as I don't want to knock either of our confidence in the gait. We're currently doing one schooling session a week where we focus on suppleness so doing plenty of leg-yields and large circles and a second schooling session where we work over various poles to encourage his hind legs to lift a bit more and step under better. He also gets hacked out and lunged as normal, although he doesn't have the side reins on tight whilst lunging. 

I have a week off work next week so I might book in for a lesson and discuss with my instructor what she thinks but I'm hoping that the new supplement, magnetic pad and regular pole work will help! Fingers crossed anyway!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Sunday, 30 August 2015

[Top Find] H&M Horse Print Items

I was browsing through H&M a few days ago after a dentist appointment when I stumbled across these two items. Of course, there was no way I could just leave them on the shelf so they may have ended up in a bag and came home with me...oops!

I picked up this jumper for just £14.99. It's navy in colour with a round neck collar. I picked it up in a medium and it's slightly too big and so I would recommend going for a size smaller if you prefer them more fitted. I also picked up the white horse print shirt for £19.99 which is a really nice fit. 

I've always been a fan of H&M for their clothes, though their sizings can be quite random so it's always worth trying before you buy (which I actually don't always do!). They've got a lot of great country style clothing in at the moment so I would definitely check out their website!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Friday, 28 August 2015

[Monthly Review] August 2015

It seems like only two minutes ago that I was writing my July review (okay so it was like two weeks late but shh!). To be honest, I've hardly ridden this month due to various injuries that Pea's decided to keep chucking at me. Luckily, nothings been too serious but it has meant a stop to continuous work. 

The last Thursday of July, Pea refused to trot when I was riding him so I trotted him up straight - no issues. Tried riding again and he was fine on the straight but stopped dead when I went to turn. I then got rather paranoid so decided to pop him on the lunge and he seemed slightly funny behind so left him for the day. The next day I just did some gentle long-reining before he had the weekend off due to me working all day. Monday morning I lunged him again to double check and he was fine so I schooled him the day after and despite arguments he did actually work really well. Thursday he then decided that payback of working well meant he'd come in with a fat leg. Cue a couple of days walking out and cold hosing before we could start work again. 

However, Thursday morning came around again & this time I get a phone call from my yard owner to say that Pea had been bought in from the field after getting tangled in his rug and stressing out big time. It probably didn't help that the rug got caught in his hind shoe and like an idiot he decided to gallop round the field with the rug flying behind him which scared him more! It took two hours of walking round on the grass, letting him graze, in order for him to calm down enough to stand back in his box without box-walking and pawing the ground. After three hours I took the plunge that he had calmed down enough that I left him in with the yard staff keeping an eye on him. He was due the farrier anyway but after speaking to him we decided to just do his front feet as he can still be quite bad with his hind. I then turned him back out a few hours later and walked the dog over a couple of hours after that to check on him and he was so much more chilled now he was back with his best friend! The next day I left him to just chill out before riding him again at the weekend. Unfortunately, he seemed really reluctant about moving forward and when I attempted carrot stretches he was hardly bending. This led to me giving him a few more days off until someone at my yard who's an equine sports massage practitioner could look at him. She actually looked at him over two days as part of a training course which was actually quite useful! They didn't find anything too major but have commented that his teeth might need looking at again as he is really sensitive around the TMJ. I've given him a few more days off due to work and the weather but will start working again this weekend and will also get the vet to look at him next week when the vet's at the yard. 

So, it's been a relatively quiet month work wise but lots of drama! Let's hope that September brings some better luck!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx