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