Sunday, 20 March 2016

One Step Forward, Three Steps Back

This picture popped up on my pinterest at a rather fitting time! Pea has been going quite well the past few weeks and was progressing well with his schooling. He then had a couple of days off and a lunge before I was able to ride again. As it was a lovely evening, I decided to go for a hack and thought he might be a bit excitable but not too bad. That turned out not to be the case seeing as he got half way down the drive before slamming the breaks on, spinning round and trying to buck! 

No matter how much I tried to get him to continue, he wasn't having it at all and nearly slipped a few times on the road in his attempt to buck. Another horse went past and I thought Pea might be happy following but that wasn't to be the case! In the end, we went back to the yard, had another big fit when I tried to go in the arena and resulted in me fetching a lunge line to pop Pea on the lunge for a few minutes. He went firing off into canter and stayed cantering for a while before swapping reins and doing the same in the opposite direction. I then hopped back on board but we ended up having another argument so I popped off again and lunged him again for 10 minutes before getting back on. Luckily, he seemed to have learnt and we did 10 minutes of half decent schooling before I called it a day and finished on a good note. 

The next day I went a bit more prepared and put my spurs on as well as took the lunge
line just in case. He did actually do five minutes of nice trotting before stopping and trying to dig the arena up or see if he could get me off.. He refused to move forward and after a couple of minutes of not getting far at all unless we reversed or spun round, I decided to pop him on the lunge again for a few minutes. This time when I got back on board he was better behaved and we did a further 15 minutes before calling it a day. 

Friday morning when better as I managed to do 20 minutes of work without having to lunge him. He still played up a bit but didn't resist for long and wasn't really bucking as much, more just cow kicking and stomping. Although he only did 20 minutes, I left it there as it's better to do a shorter session where he behaves, than push him further just to end up getting into arguments. 

He then had a day off and today played up again quite badly. I had Dad come down to take photos and also pop poles out for me in the hope it would distract him but unfortunately he still played around. I lunged him for a few minutes after about the fifth argument where he flat out refused to move at all before getting back on board. Luckily, he wasn't too bad and although he had one or two bucks after, we did manage to get over the poles a few times on each rein. 

Someone at my yard saw him misbehave and asked whether it could be linked to the grass. This is something I have been questioning as he had been full of energy and now suddenly refuses to move and is very lack lustre in his movement. She's suggested looking into a gastro supplement as she mentioned that her horse used to be quite tense to the leg but since being on one he's been much better. So I'm not off to do some research and see whether it's worth trying one out on Pea! 

Thanks for reading,

Laura xx

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

[Product Review] Feedmark Activet

Around Burghley time last year, I was chatting to someone from my yard about supplements (funnily enough, she also owns a Paddy!) as I was thinking about maybe swapping Pea's as I wasn't sure that his current one was really helping. She suggested I have a word with Feedmark as she had done that the year before and was getting on really well with them. 

So, whilst shopping round Burghley with mum, I dragged her over to their stand saying 'it'll only be a quick word!'. Mum has very little knowledge about horses and her main contribution is to ensure that I don't put pink anywhere near him so whilst I was on the stand browsing supplements and asking her opinion, I didn't get much of an answer! Luckily, one of the team soon came over and asked exactly what it was that I was looking for, what kind of horse I had, etc. 

As this was still the time where Pea was misbehaving but we weren't getting much luck as to the reason behind it, I gave the woman the basics. I explained that he's always had a history of being naughty but that he had recently been quite stiff behind resulting in back shoes being worn and ensuring that we didn't pick his back legs up too high. I mentioned that he's only 14 but that I was after something to help his joints and also potentially muscle as we weren't sure as to whether the problem stemmed from. 

She recommended that we could either try their 'ExtraFlex HA with rosehip' or their 'ActiVet' and leaned more towards the 'ActiVet'. After reading the ingredients and hearing the benefits from them, I decided to give it a try. She suggested we get a 1.7kg tub which lasts about 30 days as it would take two weeks for it to be introduced to the feed and then we had two weeks to see how effective it was. 

ActiVet includes the below:
  • Boswellia: a herbal component which soothes older joints
  • Glucosamine HCl: a building block of cartilage
  • MSM: a source of sulphur, necessary for production of collagen and connective tissues.
  • Magnesium: to aid muscle relaxation
  • Linseed: a source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Helps to maintain condition.
  • Soya: a source of quality protein important for muscle tissue
  • Vitamin E and Selenium: antioxidants to maintain muscle health
It's suitable for horses in work and at rest helping to maintain flexibility and free movement as well as supporting joint structions and muscle functions. Pea has been on it since and I feel that it does really help him. I ran out of it for a few days and he did seem to decline a bit by not being on it as he became quite stiff. There is also a lot of great reviews on the product from people with elderly horses as well as younger ones so it's definitely worth a try if you have a horse that's a bit stiff!

I also have to recommend Feedmark as a company because they offer super speedy delivery. I'm absolutely useless at remembering to order more of the supplement when it starts to run out, often leaving it to the last minute when he only has a few days left. I placed an order last Monday for another month of the ActiVet, choosing the renewable bag (which I'm sure is way more than the original tub!), as well as ordering a large tub of garlic after continuously running out of that also. 20 minutes after placing my order, I received an email from one of their team to say that there was a delay in getting the orders out but that it should be with me on Wednesday. Considering that I wasn't expecting it until then anyway, I was quite surprised! Sure enough, when I got home from work Wednesday evening there was a lovely large box waiting for me :) (They also have free UK delivery!). 

I would definitely recommend giving Feedmark a look if you're thinking of a new supplement as they have lots of products on offer for all sorts of different things. 

Thanks for reading,

Laura xx

Sunday, 6 March 2016

[Spotted] Horse Ornament from George at Asda

Horse Ornament: £12

George at Asda is one of my favourite places to search for homeware items. They are super affordable and always have nice pieces in! They've recently released their Spring Summer collection which includes lots of rabbit themed items as well as sailing themes and flowers. The one thing I truly love about George is the amount of animal themes they have such as with cushions, ornaments, candle holders and bedding. 

This horse ornament didn't quite make it into my basket this time around but it is so nice and at only £12, what's not to love? I think it would make a great book-end or placed at the edge of a mantelpiece.  

Thanks for reading,

Laura xx

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

[Monthly Review] February 2016

February seemed like a short and sweet month and flew by with me hardly noticing! Things have started to look up with Pea and he is slowly starting to work better. There are still the odd days where he'll misbehave, but after seven and a half years, I've learnt that it's just who he is! 

I've been trying to vary his work load more so that he only schools twice a week and then we also lunge with side reins and hack more as well as doing various pole work exercises. I've also started to jump him again after more than a year which he seems to enjoy and the break from jumping seems to have done him some good as he's a bit calmer about it! 

I'm hoping to get him out to a dressage competition again in March, mainly to do an intro test but we'll see what his canter is like at home for whether to try a prelim. At the moment, I'm mainly focusing on keeping him relaxed in his work as when he does he goes quite nicely. He just prefers trying out a giraffe pose too much to stay relaxed! 

Thanks for reading,

Laura xx