Sunday, 28 February 2016

[Book Review] Chasing the Wind by Hannah Hooton

As some of you may be aware, I have previously reviewed two books by Hannah before as well as read the others in the 'Aspen Valley' Series and so when an email popped up from her in January asking if I would like to review the fifth, and final, instalment, I jumped at the chance. So, after a few fails at navigating how to download the book and it being in the right format for me to be able to read it, and then February flying by quicker than I expected leaving me little time, it took me a bit longer to start reading than planned!

This book took me a bit longer to get into than some of Hannah's previous ones but once it got going, there were turns everywhere that kept you guessing as to what was going to happen. The story mainly follows Lucy Kendrick, a young 'reporter' who is not what you expect! For the first quarter I was constantly trying to guess what her plan was. It soon becomes clear she's not what it's first made out to seem but when the truth is revealed, it's nothing I expected! There is also a bit of a shocker within the first couple of chapters which I can't decide if I like or not...however, I have to say hats off to Hannah for writing it! 

There's the typical romance side that accompanies Lucy's story which I always enjoy, although I did want to shake Lucy a few times! (Though, isn't that the same with a lot of romance's?!). There is also the story of Jack Carmichael who we've seen plenty of times before and we were fully introduced to in Book 1 which introduces Pippa and Aspen Valley. This time round, they hit a number of stumbling blocks which stem from the shocker I mentioned. Now, Jack is definitely a character you want to shake and yell at!

For some reason, I found it a bit harder to get into this one compared to others and it took me longer to read, however it is still a great story. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way which really keeps you guessing as to what's going to happen and whether there will be a happy ending or not. As always, Hannah does such a great job of captivating the reader and getting them sucked into the story so it feels more realistic and you really do feel all emotions in reading 

Overall rating:

                                                           Image result for four stars

If you want to give the book a read yourself then the links are below:

Thanks for reading,

Laura xx

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

No Turnout Days

Sometimes, when the weather is extra bad, the yard ask that any stabled horses are kept in for the day. Being on a large livery, we do have grass liveries and luckily we do get great turnout. However, there are those days when it just pours and pours so limiting the number of horses out helps to keep the fields from getting badly churned up.

Luckily, Pea is generally quite calm about the odd day in but I do like to give him a stretch and also some entertainment. Below are some tips on how to keep your horse occupied when they can't go out:

A Large Haynet:
I'm a big advocate of ensuring that Pea always has hay/haylage on offer throughout the year. Horses are trickle feeders and therefore it's best they eat little and often. During the winter, Pea has a big haynet over night and then on the odd day he is in, he has one on offer then as well. In the summer, he's in during the day and will still have a haynet in the stable. He doesn't tend to really eat it but I prefer that it's there for him and hope that it means less gorging on the grass! I remember once, we had the Spillers team out for weighing and feed advice and she told me not to give him anything when he's in. I was quite shocked by this as it was drilled throughout uni nutrition courses to always ensure horses have something on hand, even if they're overweight! There are now the little fibre blocks you can get so I might give those a go this year!

Pea currently has a likit, a horselyx and a salt lick in his stable. He doesn't seem at all fussed in the likit which is slightly irritating and the salt lick hasn't altered much over the months but he does occasionally have his horslyx (only noticed by the stains on his legs when he finds it entertaining to wipe the lick over him!). I'm aware these are quite high in sugar but seeing as Pea doesn't gorge on them, I'm not exactly fussed! He's also a really good weight this winter which I always like as he seems to suddenly fatten out within a week once spring grass arrives! 

I often hide carrots in Pea's haynet for him and he also has a swede hanging from a rope to give him a bit of entertainment during the day. 

Leg stretches:
On the days Pea has to stay in, it generally means the weather is awful and riding is off the cards. I do, however, like to ensure that he gets a walk round (and seeing as he hates the walker, we have to do it in hand). I tend to give him a loose lunge in the morning if it's not too terrible or we go for a walk round over poles for 15 minutes. This is especially good for Pea to keep him supple and ensure he doesn't get too stiff behind which I'm sure you are aware we've had issues with. In the evening, I then take him for a spot of grass and walk before popping him to bed for the night. 

I hope these help if your horse ever has to stay in for a day or two (or the dreaded box-rest!). 

If you have any of your own tips then I'd love to hear them!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

Thursday, 4 February 2016

[Monthly Review] January 2016

January saw us finally getting some potential answers for Pea's behaviour over the past 7 months. The vet visits our yard once a month as I'm on quite a large livery so I decided to put his name down to get him checked for whether there could potentially be a shoulder or back issue. You can read the full post here but as a summary he ended up having back x-rays which showed a few vertebrae closer together than normal and so he had steroid injections to try and help. 

We then had to lunge for a few days following including some work with the side reins on before I could ride. However, riding was put off longer due to the cold weather we had freezing our arenas and we haven't had our indoor back. He then had the physio out which the vet recommended we keep and she carried out some work on his back (read it all here) as well as suggesting I do regular carrot stretches. 

Again, it was a few days until I could ride again due to the weather, resulting in him not being ridden for two weeks (though he did get lunged). In typical Laura fashion, I decided to take him for a quick hack when he'd been in for two days...not quite the most sensible thing to do! I think it's safe to say that Pea was feeling very fresh after trotting off down the drive and then threatening to spook and run at every little thing... 

Since then, I've schooled him a few times. The vet recommended that I trot round on a
long rein as soon as we get in the arena for a short while and then have a canter round to loosen him up before slowly gathering him up. So far, he seems to be going quite well. He still has the odd grumpy moment but I've come to learn after 7 years that that's never going to change! He's a lot freer in the canter, and I'm slowly working on getting him to canter round large circles so we can hopefully progress to him comfortable cantering a 20x40 such as if he was doing a dressage test. 

The plan for February is to do more pole work, keep up lunging him once a week in his side reins and work on smaller circles in both trot and canter. 

Thanks for reading,

Laura xx