Wednesday, 29 April 2015

[Laura Loves] Equestrian Themed Living Rooms

I love interior design! I can spend hours on pinterest, on home design websites and reading related magazines (Style at Home, Your Home and Home) are my favourites. In fact, I often debate whether I want my own Event & Wedding business or my own Interior Design business (both equestrian/country themed) in the future. 

Below are a couple of equestrian themed lounge/living room ideas that I like. I cannot wait until I get my own place to decorate how I want and these give a great basis. I really like that they are quite minimalistic (in a way) but still inject that bit of personality. 

Image Source: Pinterest

I really like how minimalistic this idea is. The canvas stands out against the brown/copper wall and goes well with the black leather sofa and white foot stool. It all works really well together and whilst a brown wall might sound kind of hideous, it's actually really nice! I think it's in part to do with the monochrome feel of the rest of it! I think this is one which will work in a smaller space as it's clean and simple, making the space seem bigger than what it may actually be. 

Image Source: Pinterest
This one is slightly more opposite than the one above! This one has a rather 'grand' feel to it and I can imagine it in a rather large stately house/mansion type of place! However, I like how it all ties in together with the grey background on the canvas matching the grey seats as well as the grey horse matching the white details on the chairs. The chandelier also adds to the feel of the room and it looks like a nice airy space with the canvas making a statement without being too over the top. 

Image Source: Pinterest
This one is my absolute favourite!! I think it's the cosy feel it has about it with the white cushions and throws as well as the glass table making it all work together nicely. The two smaller canvas' work well with the large horse canvas and I love the colour scheme. I really want a grey colour scheme when I get my own place as well as a corner sofa so this would definitely be something that I would base my ideas on. The horse canvas is gorgeous, I love the look of the texture of it (cannot think how to describe it so apologies if that makes no sense) and the colours work well with the rest of the room. 

Keep an eye our for more equestrian themed interiors (there are a lot of bedroom ideas!) as well as some posts on little decorative pieces. 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Monday, 27 April 2015

[DIY] Horse Shoe Necklace Holder

I've been having a bit of a change around in my room which involved getting rid of two sets of drawers as they weren't majorly needed. However, I had been storing my necklaces in one of the drawers so needed somewhere to put them. I had looked into buying a necklace stand but couldn't find one I really liked and then I saw the below on pinterest so decided to have a go at making my own. However, I soon realised that after putting up a new shelf, the project would mean that my necklaces would hang too low so decided to alter it and came with the above. It was my Dad's idea to have the photo's put in as the hooks would likely scratch my wall so we put some wood behind and added the photo's to make it look better. 

Unfortunately I didn't take step by step photos, but here are some vague instructions on how I made it!

Step 1: 
I already had two horse shoes dotted around painted so I just used these. However, if you don't then you can either ask your farrier or I found mine outside field gates all rusty! They were then sanded down and painted (you can paint them any colour you like). I also cleaned the nail holes out a bit (though dad had to drill them later on for the hooks) and poked through some ribbon to hang them up with. 

Step 2:
I measured round the horse shoes on a piece of plywood to create a square background and Dad then used a saw to cut them out. I also printed out two of my favourite photos onto photo paper and placed on the wood before putting the horse shoe on top to get an idea of where to centre the photo and cut off the excess. I then drew round the shoe on the photo and on the wood. Dad trimmed the wood ( I attempted but only did half of one before my hand cramped) and I trimmed the photo down. 

Step 3:
I then sanded round the edge of the wood before gluing on the photo using good old art attack glue (pva glue) that we still have kicking around and held them together to stick properly. Dad drilled the nail holes a bit more and then we used brass hooks to screw into the holes and attach the shoe to the wood. 

Et Voila! You now have a lovely horse shoe photo necklace holder or key holder or any other holder you may want to use it for! It was actually a vaguely easy DIY project, but my DIY/DT skills are awful (it was one subject I did awful in at school) so Dad took over some parts! However, I love the end result and it means that my necklaces are nicely on show and easy to get hold of :)

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Clare Balding Show [21.04.15]

On Tuesday, I drove down to London with my nephew to head to the BT Studios for the recording of the Claire Balding Show which featured the guests Charlotte Dujardin, Victoria Pendleton and AP McCoy. I can honestly say it was one of the greatest evenings ever! 

The BT studios are unbelievable! They are situated in the Olympic Park which I've never been to and we could have easily made a day of it but Pea had the vet in the morning. The reception/waiting area of the studios have a cafe, table tennis, table football and pool table so there's things to do whilst you wait. There's also regular shuttle buses that run to and from the BT studios to Westfield shopping centre which is where I parked and easy to navigate so BT really do make it a good, easy experience!

We arrived a bit early just to ensure we could find our way and everything so had about a half hour wait in which I checked in my bag and then just hung around to wait before being called to go through to the studio where The Clare Balding show is filmed. The studio is incredible! It looks good one the television but it is so much better in real life! It's absolutely huge and the colours are so nice - literally like my ideal studio if I had one! The crew were helpful and friendly and Clare Balding is just so lovely! She really interacted with the audience beforehand and everyone made everyone feel really welcomed and valued. 

I wish I could have taken more photos because the whole experience was so good! I definitely recommend everyone to go along to a recording! My nephew isn't interested in horses to be honest but he reassures me that he did actually enjoy himself (I think Victoria Pendleton had a helping hand in that though!!). The whole show was really informative and it's such a shame that so much is cut out to make it into the half hour show for BBC 2 as a lot of information was given during the recording (I don't have BT Sport so don't know what it was like on there). 

Overall I would definitely think about going again, just maybe try and get closer to the front as there were a couple of tall people in front of me making me have limited viewing which is a slight shame! 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Saturday, 25 April 2015


Following McCoy's last ever ride at Sandown today I thought I'd just write a little post :) 

As many of you probably know, McCoy is one of the top jump jockey's of all time and he retires having been crowned champion jockey for the 20th year! He has also ridden 4,348 winners, broken nearly every bone in his body, won BBC Sport Personality of the Year (2010) and won nearly every major NH race including the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup. 

I had the honour of seeing him on The Clare Balding Show when I went to London to see it filmed on Tuesday (blog post to go up tomorrow) and it was amazing to hear about his life and his plans for the future. He is so modest about his career, despite all his accolades and achievements but there were also many entertaining stories that he shared! (I personally think he'd make a great presenter!)

AP's retirement is a huge loss to the racing industry but I wish him all the best for the future! 


Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Friday, 17 April 2015

Spillers Weigh-In April 2015

Once or twice a year, someone from my yard organises a lady from Spillers to come out and do a weigh-in for the liveries and also discuss with them some feeding advice. The visits are normally organised at the end of winter/start of spring and then again at the end of the season before winter which is ideal for knowing how to prepare and feed your horse for the seasons following.

After Pea's little 3 month holiday last summer, he literally turned into a barrel! Over the winter he dropped a considerable amount of weight and looked really good. He now weighs 493kg, slightly more than last spring but he's just started to put a little bit of weight on his shoulders though you can still feel his ribs and seem them slightly when he's lunging. The aim is to bring him in during the day so he's off the grass and keep up his workload of about 5-6 days a week doing 30-60 minutes of either lunging, schooling or hacking. The spillers lady didn't think that anything needed to change (he's already fed Spillers and I've been feeding it for years) so it's just keeping an eye on him to make sure he doesn't pile on too many pounds!

I normally always put Pea's name down for the weigh-in as I think it's really good to get an exact measurement of his weight as well as get any advice. The Spillers team are so friendly and always helpful and you get to take away a little folder which tells you your horses weight and body condition score, any changes they might need making to their feeds, leaflets on how to body condition score, about their products as well as two £5 off vouchers. I also got given two more feed cups as she asked if I needed one but when I mentioned that they always seem to end up broken, she gave me a spare - bonus!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

[Monthly Review] March 2015

First of all, apologies this is so late! March seemed to have literally flown by and I had posts scheduled without even realising we were already progressing through April!! 

March was again a quiet month with lots of walk, trot work, pole work and hacking. After my lesson in February (which you can read here) where my instructor felt that he didn't seem to want to put weight behind, I ended up just working him in large circles, getting him a bit looser and generally not asking too much from him. About half way through March, Pea decided he wasn't too keen on just walking and trotting in the arena and was also a bit lack lustre about hacking. Therefore, he felt it a great idea to 'play' up a bit in the arena as an attempt to canter. In the end, I gave in as he was clearly up for it but I made sure it was mainly just down the long side of the arenas (luckily we have two very large arenas at my yard!) and that no tight turns were involved. Clearly this is what Pea was after as he got so excited about cantering in the arena, despite the fact that he was allowed to canter out hacking yet that was a bit of a kick along affair!!

I put Pea on the vet visit list for the end of March as the week leading up to it, I felt that
he became really stiff behind and he just lost enthusiasm about work making it really hard to get him moving forward. Annoyingly the vet reckoned there wasn't anything wrong with him but to try out hind shoes and see how that helps. He's had them on about a week now and I'm still not 100% convinced so might check again with the vet next week when Pea has his jabs, although his work has come on leaps and bounds!!

I was hoping to get Pea out at the end of the month to a competition for second round trailblazers, however Dad has informed me that our trailer and car aren't up to the job anymore unfortuantely, especially as the venue is a bit of a trek so it looks like we might be staying at home for a while. At least I can work on really fine tuning us and I'm thinking of entering some of E-dressages classes which you can do at home! (Worth a look if you can't get out competing!). 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx

Friday, 10 April 2015

[Lesson] 9th April 2015

With Pea's recent clear from the vets, I decided to book in for a lesson and get properly cracking with him as I'm hoping to get out near the end of the month for second round trailblazers. I was slightly apprehensive of how he would behave as he'd been in the majority of the day and had hind shoes on for the first time (and as per Pea's style, caused trouble!), but it was actually one of the best lessons we've had. In fact my instructor even said it was the first normal lesson we've had as the few I've had with her so far have either been him being a bugger, slightly lame, or assessing him without working on improving him (we've not had a great deal of lessons to be honest!). 

To start with I just gave him a walk, trot and canter round. Straight away Cathy noticed that I back off from kicking him on more and that we're stuck in this rut of a mediocre trot which I have always thought to be an alright trot but in reality he needs to move more which helps him actually bend his hind legs. We did a little exercise where I had to really get the trot going, but then as soon as I felt him back off ask for canter, and then ride a 20m circle into a figure of 8, returning back to trot and trotting round until he backed off again. It meant that it gave him a different exercise to do as he wasn't certain what would happen next and also really got him to move in the trot so I now definitely know the difference!! 

We then moved into canter and worked on my not being afraid to push him forward as soon as he backed off. As I've had a lot of issues with canter in the past, it got to the point where Pea knew that if he backed off just a bit too much I would back off as he used to buck a bit mad so I lost confidence in myself to push him through it. Slowly, I'm getting there and he's more happier in canter, but I still need to really work on ensuring that I push him through it. 

We also worked on 20m circles in trot and I realised that I haven't been riding them 100% correctly so definitely need to work on them! We then moved onto doing some flexion with him to the inside and outside in all three paces. He was definitely worse at flexing to the left so my left leg had to seriously work hard to achieve it but I'm really happy with how it went. Flexion in the canter is a major issue with us as he literally bends completely wrong and we both get so unbalanced but we're going to work on it and hopefully we'll soon start to see some changes!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Monday, 6 April 2015

DIY Ideas with Stirrup Irons

The majority of us will all have some old equestrian items of tack knocking around in a shed/tack room/garden that we know we should sort out but never get round to. Therefore, I've decided to feature a couple of DIY ideas starting with ways you can recycle old stirrup irons that might be hanging around waiting for a new lease of life! 

(All the images came from Pinterest)

This idea is what actually started my idea for the post! There's a house in my local town which has a stirrup iron as a door knocker, and whilst this one isn't quite a DIY that we'd all do, the one I've seen looks simple to make! I think it adds that touch of equestrian without being too over the top. You could just grab an old stirrup iron, polish it up a bit and then hang with an old stirrup leather, cut a bit shorter. I'm trying to persuade Dad to let me make one for out front door and would definitely have one when I get my own place!

I think this would look great on the edge of a mantle piece or on a floating shelf to hold together some classic equestrian books. You could maybe attach a bit of plywood to the bottom and paint in a metallic colour or something to use as a base if preferred. 

I really like this idea and I'm planning on scavenging round my yard at the weekend to find an old horse shoe to recreate this using one of my favourite photo's of pea that's currently sitting on the corner of my bookcase in a broken photo frame. It looks so simple to recreate and the rustic stirrup iron makes it look quite authentic. Keep your eyes peeled for a possible post if I get round to making this! 

This idea would be great if you have a guest bathroom or a second toilet. It looks so much better than a normal towel rack (well in my opinion anyway!) and, again, adds that bit of personalisation with the equestrian theme. (The towel's a good extra too!). 

If anyone manages this as a DIY project then I applaud you! I suppose it shouldn't technically be featured but I just love these! They are so quirky yet so simple! I would definitely think of purchasing these (or researching just how hard they are to make!). 

Do you fancy giving any of these a try? Let me know!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Saturday, 4 April 2015

5 Things No One Told You When You Bought A Horse

Owning a horse is great. Costly but great! It gives you something to do, you make new friends, you get into other sports, the list could go on and on. But here are five things people don't warn you about!

#1: Your body will slowly start to die on you! I'm 21 and yet my parents complain that I'm like an old woman as I constantly have a bad back, my knee will give way, my wrist is currently playing up rather badly but seeing as the last time I went to the doctors about it he told me not to ride for at least a week I don't think I'll complain too much!
6am lunging sessions

#2: If you don't work in the horse industry or you're still at school, people will think you're mental for getting up at 6am before work to sort your horse out in the dark and then try and find him again after work (again in the dark). And whilst everyone gets excited about snow - you're there absolutely detesting the idea earning a few 'spoil sport' looks as well!

#3: Weather apps are your new best friend. If anyone ever wants to know the weather - you're the best person for the job. You will become that geek that can tell people the weather forecast for the weekend when you're still only on Monday/Tuesday as well as giving an hour by hour run down!

#4: It's probably best to not look at your bank account! People always warn you that horses are costly but trust me, you never realise just how true that is! Plus there's all the extras you buy which probably aren't really needed but you can totally justify their expense/worth to any non-horsey person that asks!
3 browbands - really?!

#5: All that money that you do manage to save for things like a holiday/day trip/anything non-horsey will end up being spent on the horse when he/she kindly decides to suddenly need an emergency vet/farrier/new saddle! 

Any other things that you've discovered? Let me know!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

[Laura Loves] Tottie's Reborn Collection

When the Tottie video popped up on my social media feed last week to show off their new look, I fell in love! Their reborn look is fashionable, fun and affordable. Their look book has literally made me lust after every item as they make it look so good! Here are some of my favourite pieces:

Maven Tie-Dye Breeches - £69.99
Their new leg wear collection is my favourite and these are so so awesome! Not entirely sure if they would look as good on me as normally I just don't suit anything but I'm definitely going to seek them out at an event to try these on! I think they just add that bit of fun and are so unlike anything else on the market (well from what I've seen) and whilst at £70 they are more that what I normally pay (yet probably normal for everyone else), you would probably pay a lot more for this kind of design by a different company! These come in navy (pictured) or berry. 

Maven Knee Grip Breeches - £64.99
As mentioned, their leg wear is amazing! These knee grip breeches are simple for every day schooling and the white pair are perfect for competing in. The colour is lovely and would definitely brighten my riding wardrobe up which is predominately navy! I also like their tie-dye jods and joggers so worth checking them out too!

Maven Jacket - £75.99
I love that this jacket has a hood and reflective logos. I'm in search of a new riding jacket for next winter so will definitely be adding this to the possibility list! The only question will be - berry or navy?

These are my top three picks but I also love their hoodies, fleeces, and zip polos. I've always been a fan of their tweed collection as well! If you haven't already checked out the new Tottie products then I would recommend you pop along now! Their new site is so easy to navigate and view and I think it's pretty clear that I love the clothing! 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx