Friday, 29 July 2016

[Lesson Report] Unexpected Dismount

Pea's slowly improving with his work now and starting to work more forwards and does less arguing, but today he decided to push the boat out by well and truly chucking me off! More on that in a bit...

We used to lunge him before riding but I've now decided to just hop straight on and hope for the best. He walks out well and starts trotting nicely but does throw in a quick stop and stomp at some stage. Luckily but holding his head up high and strong leg aids he soon gives in and moves off again with less arguments. Today was no different with a tiny stop but then moving forwards really well. We played around with plenty of changes of rein to keep him guessing and pushing him forward in the trot.

He then started to offer canter so I allowed him and pushed him into a working canter. There's one corner on the left rein where he backs off a bit and tries to throw in a bit of a buck, As we came round the corner, I felt him tense so I nudged him on, however instead of getting the reaction I wanted of him continuing to go forwards, he slammed the brakes on and threw in a massive buck. Needless to say, I did a rather gymnastics worthy somersault and ended up on the floor. I think there were a few swear words by both me and my instructor after that but luckily I don't think I injured myself much (though my arm is rather painful now)!

I hopped back on board and I think Pea knew he was in trouble and started to jog off! As he was trotting, I asked for a bit more out of him and he responded by cantering. Again, I asked for a bit more to have a proper working canter and we came back round to the corner where he rather nicely dumped me five minutes prior. I felt him back off a bit again so I sat deep and pushed forward, this time getting the right reaction of him shooting forwards and still cantering forwards! 

We came back to trot and changed rein to the right rein. As he wasn't giving me much of a trot I gave him a sharp tap with the whip and he went into canter instead. Claire
encouraged this but told me he has to really work in the canter so I pushed him forward down the long side and then came back to trot in the corner. Again he fell into a bit of a lack lustre trot so I asked for a bit more and he decided to canter again. I think we continued this for about three rounds of the arena before he finally caved and gave me a working trot! 

We then had a walk round so he could stretch his neck as we tend to work him with his head high to prevent him from stopping and bucking. Weirdly, Pea actually does some good work like this and stretches out more in his paces - he's always been an oddball! Typically it then started raining and so Pea got rather hopeful we were finishing but instead I gathered the reins and asked for trot. He had a mini grumble before realising I meant business and we worked on doing some 20m circles with him keeping a consistent rhythm. We then went up to canter again and this time he was much better behaved so we incorporated large circles. Normally Pea tenses when we try to canter a circle but as we kept them quite large and didn't ask for too much, he stayed quite relaxed and didn't back off at all - progress! 

As he had given me 20 minutes of really good work we finished him there whilst on a good note. It's a shame he was so naughty at the beginning as he gave me some great work towards the end! 

Thanks for reading,

Laura xx

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

[Product Review] Aztec Diamond Breeches

I bought these breeches last autumn/winter in one of Aztec Diamond's sales and this summer I have well and truly fallen in love with them! They are ideal for summer as I think they are my only pair where I don't feel like I've put my legs in an oven whilst trying to ride in the recent heatwave we've been having!

They are also super comfy and I can quite happily wear them all day. They have a stretch Lycra sock at the bottom of each leg which eliminates any bulky fastenings so no Velcro rubs on your ankle like some breeches. They have four pockets and the back two are a great depth that my phone fits in well and I don't worry that it will slide out whilst riding as well as hiding treats well ;)

I love the bird design on these as it's something different from them being yet another navy pair of breeches in my collection! Unfortunately, Aztec Diamond no longer do these but I am thinking of buying their aubergine coloured breeches.

Considering I bought these in the sale, delivery was really good as I received them 7-10 days after purchasing with an email saying that due to the sale it would take longer to dispatch than usual.

If you're after a new pair of breeches then I definitely recommend you check out their site. I'm also lusting after their baselayers!

Thanks for reading,

Laura xx

Friday, 15 July 2016

[Product Review] Canter Coat Shine by Carr & Day & Martin

This product is fast becoming my new favourite in my drawer of many sprays! I actually bought it on a whim (really didn't need any more sprays, we now have a bit of a collection) but I had ran out of mane and tail spray so thought this might be a substitute for a few days until I could get to a tack shop. When I first bought it, I rarely used it and could not get on with the new style 'equimist 360'. Needless to say it lived in my drawer and got forgotten about until a month or two ago. Now it's used nearly every day!

The product claims to help repel grass stains and mud whilst leaving the coat non-greasy and with an oil-free shine. I have to agree that it helps repel grass and mud as Pea does seem to be a bit cleaner when he comes in if he's had the spray applied which is always a bonus if you have a grey. The company also say that the spray can be applied to the chest and shoulders to help prevent rubbing from rugs. Pea wears a fly rug where possible during the summer and it does tend to rub at the front, however I have noticed that there are fewer rubs at the front after the spray has been applied. 

I also love how soft and silky Pea's coat is afterwards! It lasts for a few days despite him being out 24/7 at the moment and not always having the spray applied every day. It's not slippy so there's no issue with applying it before tacking up (although the same can't be said with his lightweight which slides off rather easily due to it's material). 

The Canter Coat Shine is a great product in my book and works a treat as either a last minute addition before a competition or for general every day use. 

Thanks for reading,

Laura xx

Monday, 11 July 2016

8 Years

8 years with this crazy bean! I think it's safe to say that it's been a roller coaster, and the past year has probably been one of the toughest. It even reached a stage where I seriously considered whether it was worth putting Pea up for sale but luckily we battled through and now he's going better than ever. Sure, he still argues and just this morning he very nearly launched me off after leaping over a pole and then slamming the breaks on but hey, he'd be pretty boring if he didn't do that, right ;)

Here's hoping I have many more years with the goofball. 

Thanks for reading,

Laura xx

Sunday, 3 July 2016

[Monthly Review] June 2016

If you live in England, like me, then you're probably fully aware of what a wash-out June proved to be! We had to reschedule lessons last minute when I got soaked getting Pea in and he was drenched from not having a rug on, we had to try and work round flooded arenas or get lucky with the indoor being free so it wasn't quite as productive a month as I envisaged. Luckily, I got to escape the rain for a week and jetted off to Tenerife where it was a lot warmer and sunnier! Pea had the majority of the week off, although my instructor did ride him twice for me, more on that later. 

Our lessons throughout June have been amazing. We tend to use the indoor as it's an enclosed 20x40 arena so Pea can't run off anywhere and if need be, Claire is close to give him a reminder with the lunge whip should he ignore me. Luckily, she's only really had to do that once when he seriously tried it on (no bucks, luckily, just ignored my leg and whip!). He's more energetic in his work and we're both far more relaxed in cantering round the arena and are now working on keeping us both relaxed in turns and half circles. 

Outside the lessons, we've had fun out hacking, free jumping and lunging. He's had the odd schooling session where we've kept it light and fun with pole work as we're still working on keeping the forwardness when Claire isn't there to help out. 

The last week of June, I went away on holiday and asked Claire to ride him for me. I got a text the first day to say that he had tried it on a bit on the lunge but soon moved forward well. Once she was on board, he walked out great, had a short forward and free trot before suddenly slamming the brakes on and bucked. Oops! She told me she bought him back to walk where he still tried it on a few times but she eventually got him forwards with his head high and he soon realised it was easier just to work properly! Friday she rode him again and it sounds like he was much better behaved! In a way I am quite glad that he did try it on on Monday as it means that Claire has also felt what he does and how it literally comes from nowhere! 

I'm now back from my holiday feeling much more positive about things. I'm hoping to make some changes over the next few months as I've done some re-evaluation of my life so fingers crossed I can ride more and also blog more! 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx