Sunday, 25 January 2015

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

He nearly decks me but is an angel with Sofie on board!

Things had been steadily improving with Pea, though there were still issues to work though, however he is now back to a week of light work. I've had a few issues with his hind quarters/hind legs for a while now as he can get stiff in them, especially if it's cold. This past week he's not done much work as it's been freezing temperatures which has resulted in frozen/hard arenas and although I have an indoor, it's always in use when I'm down. Luckily, Wednesday wasn't too bad so I popped him on the lunge as he hadn't done any work since the Saturday. I like to lunge at least once a week as it lets me see how he's moving and also I can work on him learning to support himself rather than leaning on me. I let him have a walk and trot on each rein without his side reins on to begin with as a bit of a warm up and so I could see how he was and I noticed that he was being a bit stiff behind and not properly bending his off hind leg. He did slightly get better after warming up a bit so I popped the side reins on for a short while and he wasn't too bad. He was very eager in canter on the left rein which I think is a good sign but I didn't want to canter too much as his hind was giving me a bit of bother.

Friday I decided to give him a bit of a stretch and worked him for around 20 minutes, just riding long and low in walk and trot as the arena was still slightly hard. He wasn't moving forward as eager as he has been so I didn't push too much and just worked on a few basic circles and some leg-yield to try and get him working a bit better. Yesterday (Saturday) I took him for a hack which I don't get to do too often so it's nice to just let him stretch his legs a bit better and he sometimes goes a bit better as it's straighter lines. Then today, I tried to school him a bit and had my Dad look at him when I trotted. He noticed that he was slightly stiff behind and reluctant to bend the leg properly as well. I was debating about asking for canter but in the end decided I would just see how he went, however, I really didn't expect the explosion that came out of him! He flat out refused to canter and very nearly managed to deck me - not helpful when there's a few others riding in the arena and your 4 year old niece watching! I decided to trot him round a bit more and ask again in case it was just naughtiness but he was really not happy about cantering so I decided to just quit whilst I was ahead. I did give him a canter yesterday out hacking and he was fine but I'm guessing that's because it was on a straight section and in the arena he has to bend which he is probably finding difficult.

It's quite frustrating as he had been going well but he has the physio coming out at the beginning of February so I've decided to just do some pole work and long and low work this week to keep him ticking over and see how he feels. Hopefully the physio will really help as I don't think the chiro was going deep enough to sort out his issues.. 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Thursday, 22 January 2015

[Laura Loves] Tweed Jackets

For many equestrians, as well as people who love country pursuits, a tweed jacket is a bit of a wardrobe staple. With so many different styles available on the market as well as a range of prices there's something to suit everyone. 

Jack Murphy - £199.99
First up is the truly gorgeous 'Aurnia II Jacket Glendalough Tweed' by Jack Murphy. This jacket is definitely on my wishlist as I love the detachable fur collar, the colour and the pockets. It also has a beagle print lining which is no doubt gorgeous! It's slightly pricey at just under £200 but it would probably be worth it's price the amount it could be worn!

Joules - £229
Second is the Joules 'Mr Toad Semi-Fitted Tweed Coat' which retails at £229. This style is a timeless classic when it comes to tweed jackets so it can be worn from year to year for many years and still look fabulous. It's made out of 100% wool (so you may want to avoid the rain!) and the inside collar is suede material. This is perfect if you're looking for a coat that will last years. 

Tottie - £225
Okay, so this isn't exactly a jacket but this 'Sophie Tweed Long Coat' by Tottie is 'oh my gosh' gorgeous! I absolutely love this! I think it looks really smart and comes in a choice of four colours with each of them being equally as nice. This would look great at the races, for work or even out shopping! 

Holland Cooper - £649
Fourth is this beautiful 'Tweed & Fur Cape (Raspberry)' by Holland Cooper. I really like all of the capes on the site as they are so beautiful, but the pops of raspberry on this is what makes it my favourite. Now if I could just win the lottery...

Rydale - £50
The final one is for those with a small budget. This lovely 'Double Breasted Tweed Jacket' from Rydale which is just £50. Rydale is a company I constantly go back to and is where my tweed jacket is from (they no longer sell it). They have some really nice items and are really well priced. This jacket looks a bit more lightweight so would be great for spring or autumn.

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Monday, 19 January 2015

My Winter Time Saving Tips

I may be slightly late with this post (again!) but hey, better late than never, right?! With it being a bit chillier in England at the moment, despite it getting darker just that bit later (anyone else noticed how it's still light at 4pm?!) I thought I'd share with you a couple of my time-saving tips. I've recently started a new job which as bought the joys of getting up at 6am to do Pea and returning home whilst it's still dark (that was a new one!) as well as getting to the yard at 6pm to bring him in & ride = no home time until around 8pm! I hate early mornings but I like to get Pea's stable done in the morning so that at night I can just turn up & ride, well in essence!

   - The power of sprays
Luckily Pea doesn't have breakfast so my first job is swapping his rugs & chucking him out in the field. To help save time in the evening, someone on twitter told me a tip about the NAF Silky Mane & Tail Spray, which is that you can spray it over the body to help the mud slide off easier. So I know you can actually get sprays for this, but hey why fork out for two sprays when you can just use one?! I have already done a product review on the NAF spray (you can read that here) but I honestly cannot recommend it enough! Pea's tail gets a good spray with it at the weekend and then all week his tail is easy to brush through, and now that I've discovered it's new talent I love it even more! 
   - Find a bedding you love
Pea is bedded on Easibed and he doesn't have rubber matting, however I find that he really doesn't need a great big muck out and often in the morning he just gets skipped out & if there's any really wet patches then they get taken out too! This means that for two days he just gets mucked out into a skip bucket which I'll empty every other night if need be (or if I'm running early it gets done in the morning). I really like Easibed as I don't have to continuously put new bedding in, in fact I put two bales in every other week to give a big bed which lasts the two weeks really well! The wet doesn't spread and it makes a good bed. Pea is quite a clean horse which helps but I would definitely recommend Easibed if you're looking for a new bedding to try! 
   - If possible, get rid of haynets or have plenty
Pea doesn't have a haynet anymore as some of his hay gets left & I prefer to just chuck it on the floor as it's more natural so this helps save time as I'm not having to fill haynets. However, you could always buy a bunch of haynets and fill them at the weekend if you have somewhere to store them. Pea's on a mix of hay and haylage as he's rather fussy over his hay so he has a bit of hay down and a slice of haylage which is easy to just chuck into his stable and luckily he doesn't get it everywhere (except every now and then when he has a party in his stable!). 
   - Persuade someone they love bringing your horse in!
Okay, this is obviously not very helpful however I'm quite lucky that Dad will sometimes bring Pea in for me as he normally finishes work at 5 whereas I finish at half 5. This doesn't always happen so times I do go off on a trip at 6pm in the dark attempting to find my horse in the dark in a very large field which clearly doesn't save time at all!
  - Learn to cope with a mucky horse
I have a grey, therefore it is really hard for me to ensure he's not groomed to near perfection all the time. However, I have learnt that leaving a bit of mud on his hind quarters really isn't the end of the world and it does mean that I can get home that little bit sooner! As long as his face, legs and saddle area are groomed and his feet are picked out, I can cope with a bit of mud! 
   - Get the most out of a 30 minute schooling session
Your Horse magazine have been doing a feature for a while called '30 minute expert workout' which gives great exercises to get the most out of your schooling session in a shorter space of time. Pea normally works about 30-40 minutes in the evening as sometimes all I really want to do is get home so I'll work on just one main thing such as bend rather than try and work on lots of things. Other nights, I might just stick him on the lunge for a bit with his side reins on or he'll just have the day off. 

This has partly turned into 'my daily routine' type of thing, but hopefully you'll get some tips on how to cut down a bit of time :) 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Your Horse Pole Work Exercises

In last months 'Your Horse' magazine (February 2015 issue) they featured two pole work exercises as part of their '30 minute expert workout' which sounded really good so I decided to try them out. Unfortunately, Pea wasn't in a great mood and the arena was a bit hard so it didn't go exactly to plan! 

The first exercise is one to help improve suppleness and 'perfect your circles'. I put the fan poles too close to the other poles though so it didn't quite go as plan but I think it still worked out okay, I just ended up not using the other poles like you're meant to! According to the article, they say you should start in walk riding a 10m circle over the narrow end of the poles and coming round in front of the first tramline pole. You then progress to riding between the tramlines and riding over the middle of the fan poles, picking trot up before the fan set of poles before ending up riding outside the tramline poles (by the fence) and over the widest part of the fan leading to medium trot. This could definitely be a good exercise for Pea (if he stops jumping each individual pole) so I can't wait to try it out again - hopefully when he's in a better mood!

The second exercise is to help improve connection but I completely forgot how to set it out, I just had the basic idea, so I modified it to make them canter poles but with the ground being hard we didn't get to fully try it out (though we did have a quick go) so I mainly just trotted over them and tried to do a transition to halt in the tramlines which failed! How it's meant to be set out is 3 trotting poles, 6 long strides to tramlines on either side. You're meant to trot over the poles and then walk between the tramlines before returning to trot before the second set or move it on to halting between the tramlines or riding a 10m circle if your horse doesn't listen. You can then up the difficulty by having the second set of poles as canter poles so you trot over the first lot, 10m circle in the middle and pick up canter and ride the last. I think it might be a while before we got to that! I think this would be a good exercise to ride as I'm having a few issues with Pea running a lot lately so I will definitely try this out again in the future! 

There might be another post on this in the future when I try it out again (and hopefully it will go better)! 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx



This is a slightly different post but it's relate-able all the same! I was recently contacted by Madie at Kabbage to write a blog post featuring my top 5 tips for productivity for the coming year. As it's January and the time many of us make New Years resolutions or goals that we want to achieve over the year, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to share with you some of my tips for getting the most out of your year! I will be the first to admit that I procrastinate so much that if I got paid for it, I would be rather rich by now! I have such a short concentration span the majority of the time and I cannot devote too long to doing the same task so by following some of my own tips (and others I've found from various places) it helps me to at least get something out of my day! 

#1: Writing Lists!
I am one of those people who loves lists! I have so many notebooks for different things and you will find little lists dotted around here, there and everywhere! I have a little blue notebook which is my 'to-do notebook' and each week I will write down things I need to do over the week such as what blog posts to write, if I need to book any appointments, if I need to buy/order feed, etc. I also have another notebook for writing down blog post ideas. This year I really want to try and blog more often as I feel my blog has improved over the past 6 months and I would love for it to continue to grow. I understand that not everyone likes lists, so obviously this tip won't work for you if you're not a list person but I personally love the satisfaction of ticking things off once they are complete!

#2: Mix Things Up!
As I mentioned before, I switch off if I have to do the same task for too long unless I genuinely love it! So, to make it easier and ensure that I don't switch off I will either have a break or move onto a different task for a bit before returning. This ensures that the task will get completed in a shorter time, even if it doesn't sound like it, and will also be completed to a better standard (I hope!) as if I try to do the same thing for ages I will just ramble and not put as much effort into it. 

#3: Share Your Goals!
By telling other people what you want to achieve it will help give you more motivation to try and achieve the goal as well as giving you support if you hit a rough patch. There are some goals that you might not want to share or you may feel that people might snub your goal. However, this quote I found on Pinterest is a great one to keep in mind if anyone does doubt you!

#4: Quotes!
Again, this might not be one for everyone, however nothing motivates me more than finding some good quotes on Pinterest. You can then print these out and stick them anywhere and everywhere - on your desk, in your diary, at the side of your bed, etc. I love a good quote and they can really help me to get into gear if I'm having a sticky moment! If you want more quotes feel free to follow my board on Pinterest - words of wisdom :)

#5: Take a Break!
Last and probably one of the most important is to remember to take a break and relax! Don't feel that you need to spend hours trying to achieve a goal because if you do you will soon begin to resent that goal and find it harder to achieve! So remember to take a step back if things don't go to plan and do something different for a while to clear your head. Trust me, you'll feel so much better when you return to what you were trying to do before! 

Hope these help!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

PS. If you want some more information on Kabbage feel free to visit their website (link above). They are a company who provide small business loans online to help start up entrepreneurs get that step closer to achieving their goals. 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

[Laura Loves] Winter Head Warmers


So this post might be slightly late but with the British climate you just never know when the next cold spell is going to be! One day it's absolutely freezing and then a few days later it's quite mild! 

I love hats/head warmers! They are my winter staple and they are also great at the yard after you've ridden to help hide the hat hair! This year I have a tweed one with a fleece lining that I found at a local county show which is great and I've also previously worn a fur one. Both are great for keeping me warm and also hiding hat hair after I've ridden! Below are five hats or ear warmers that I've found which look great!

How gorgeous are these head warmers? They look so stylish and so warm! They come in a variety of colours and are reversible. Each head warmer is hand made and are likely to suit most skin types & hair colours! 

I think this head warmer is a bit of a winter staple among equestrians. They feature the classic tweed which looks great for any country pursuit and the Union Jack gives that little bit extra decoration which looks great. 

This is the fur headband that I own and it is amazing! Such a good price and it looks great at the yard or even at the races. There are 5 colour options to choose from so a good selection to suit most if not all! 

Next up is this gorgous bobble hat from Equus. I love a nice bobble hat and they are great for hiding a bad hair day as well as keeping you warm. I've worn one of my bobble hats down the yard in the morning when it's 0 degrees celsius and ended up baking because it keeps me so warm! I love the logo on the front and it comes in a range of colours but I think the navy is my favourite! (which you probably guess already as the majority of my riding things are navy!).

#5: HelmetEars Audio (£20)
And lastly, how could I not include Helmet Ears? I keep adding these to my wishlist every year and I still haven't gotten round to buying a pair but I have heard raving reviews! You can get a helmet attachment or a headband and they come with either inbuilt audio or you can decide not to have the audio which makes them cheaper. As you can see there's a range of colours (baby blue is my favourite) and I will ensure that I finally get my hands on a pair by the end of 2015!

Do you have a favourite head warmer?

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Sunday, 11 January 2015

[Product Review] MacWet Gloves

Sorry they're mucky! 
This product review is probably really long overdue! I received these gloves from Samantha (Haynet Blogging) to review as she was unable to ride at the time. Unfortunately, I only got to use these properly for a month before going on placement leaving Pea on a 3 month holiday and I don't think I got round to writing the review amid the chaos of finding somewhere to live and sorting things out! 

However, since November, these gloves have been religiously worn each time I ride and when I lunge and I've grown rather fond of them! 

Reasons why I love them:

  • they are fitted which means that they fit to hand literally like a glove, no annoying large fingers, and so it makes untacking/tacking up wearing them much easier. 
  • they don't slip on the reins when you get caught riding in the rain!
  • they keep your hands nice and warm when you're schooling in the winter and don't overheat too much in the summer either.
  • because they are fitted I think it makes them look a bit smarter too...maybe that's just me?
Not so good points:
  • I don't really have any negatives. The pair I have are black and ideally I'd prefer them brown, which they do do, but for general schooling it really doesn't matter (right....)!
Overall, these are a great pair of gloves and have lasted well. I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for a pair of good riding gloves that you can also wear doing other yard duties!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Thursday, 8 January 2015

[Product Review] Shires Lunging Roller

Before I start, I would like to apologise for the mucky, fluffy pony! haha!

I have owned this roller for around 3 months now and felt it was time to write a review! I have been meaning to buy a roller for over a year or two as using a saddle to lunge can be such a pain! It's annoying how rollers can be so expensive, however this Shires one was less than £30 and it's sheepskin lined! 

Things I like about the roller:

  • the sheepskin lining means that I don't necessarily have to use a saddlecloth
  • the price!
  • the multiple rings
Things I don't like:
  • It may be that I bought one a bit too big but to me it seems slightly long - but as I say that might just be me!
  • How to clean it?! This is probably the same with all rollers but as it's sheepskin it's can't necessarily just be wiped!
Overall I would definitely recommend this roller if you're looking for one on a bit of a budget as it's just as good as all the more expensive ones, if not better! 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Tuesday, 6 January 2015



This is a bit of a fun post but I thought I would share with you some of the 'selfies' that I have of Pea! I probably have more on my instagram and loads have probably been deleted as he's not the most helpful when it comes to taking photos! I recently tried taking some of him in his stable rug to do a review on it and instead I ended up with about 10 of his face in the camera and none were decent in showing the rug! The middle one on the bottom is a favourite of mine, though I'm not sure why! It was taken a few years ago and he got so close to the camera that it ended up being a photo of mainly his nostril with a little ear peeking out! 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Saturday, 3 January 2015

[Monthly Review] December 2014

Happy New Year! 

December was the month that I really started to knuckle down and start schooling Pea again after his holiday. He was finally clipped which meant that I could increase his workload without him getting ridiculously sweaty and he's no longer a fluffy teddy bear! 

I was slightly apprehensive about starting schooling, especially cantering, however he has been a little bit of a star! We do have loads to work on though, but he's been enthusiastic and hasn't been bucking much at all which was quite a shock! As he's had 3 months practically just sitting in the field he has lost a lot of muscle (& gained a lot of weight which is slowly coming off) so he finds it a bit hard to stay straight and bend properly. He is slowly improving and I've been doing lots of lateral work as well as lunging him with his side reins. Ideally I want to try a pessoa on him, however I currently have no money and I have never used on so I might see if I can borrow one off someone who can help me use it as well and see how he gets on with it before deciding whether to get one or not. The equiami was also suggested to me, however that's a lot more but I might see if anyone else has used one of them previously and what people recommend more. 

His canter is the one area that I have noticed a massive difference! He is now so forward
going (occasionally too forward going) which is great, though now I need to try and work on collecting him just a bit so he works more from behind and doesn't then pull and go flat. We also really need to establish a better bend as on the right rein he is a bit of a motorbike in canter, especially at the corners where he just cuts them off and bends the wrong way... 

I have been doing some pole work with him, however the past two weeks I don't think I've actually done much pole work - oops! We've been sticking to just trotting poles, both raised and flat, and he's been finding it quite easy but it's good to get him to lift his legs (I'm sure he forgets he has 4) and also having them slightly further apart than what I normally would has meant that he has to lengthen his trot a little bit which will help open him up more. There are some great pole exercises in the current issue of Your Horse which I can't wait to try out and I also need to introduce canter poles to help him not get so flat, though I'm always wary of canter poles as I'm never 100% sure what the right length is for him :/ 

My aims for January are to get him out to a competition and also have a few lessons on him. I'm considering joining a local riding club, however I'm waiting to hear back from them about what events they have coming up, etc as I want to see what type of clinics they do. Hopefully we can really start cracking his bending issue as this has been a long term issue and is what lets us down in our dressage. I'm learning that if I keep my hands a bit more relaxed he will slowly accept and work rounder but then he'll argue about something in the next instance and we end up having a slight battle as he then won't listen to my rein aid :/ I'm also trying to teach him shoulder-in, though he seems to prefer doing it when he's being naughty and not when I actually ask him! 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx