20.4.18

Are you expecting too much of yourself and your horse?

I always knew having horses and completing a master's degree would be difficult, even with the having the horses at home. But I expected it to be easier than it has been, because my bachelor's degree wasn't as difficult as this has been! There honestly have been enough hours in the day, and the last couple of months have been hellish due to a lack of sleep and constant stress. I'm currently SO close to the end, I just need to finish off my master's thesis, complete my last language course and get the results of the test of my last compulsory module. Yet I feel like for the last few months I've been a total failure to my horses, they had to deal with less time and attention from me, and more days off than usual because riding 3 horses every day is just not possible when you're trying to finish up your degree! πŸŽ“
And then a friend said to me that "you're expecting way too much of yourself". A lot of people (without horses!) struggle to complete their master's degrees, and I've been doing it with three horses and a yard to run! And this made me think that the reason I've felt so bloody guilty is because I've had to put university work first ahead of the horses for the first time in my life AND I've been expecting too much of myself. The perfectionist in me has been dying because I've not blogged regularly and ridden every day. But perfectionism means setting our goals too high and having unrealistic expectations. Being averse to failure is often driven by an underlying sense of shame and that's exactly what I've felt.

13.4.18

Riding exercise of the month: control the tempo of your flying changes

Whilst I've been riding my new horse Erkki for the last month now, I've been having fun trying to build up his strength in the canter and especially his flying changes. He has a tendency to rush through the changes if he's doing them across a diagonal, so I've had to get creative and think of ways that I can get him to slow down just a bit and start to listen to my aids and doing the change when I ask him rather than guessing when I'd like them!
The only thing that has really worked well with him has been to practise flying changes on a 20m circle! So if you're riding a circle at the middle of the arena, each time you get to the long side you ask for a flying change (so change at the E and B markers) and if after a couple of repetitions the horse starts to guess and take over, then start asking for the changes when you cross the centreline (so change at I and L if you're riding on 20x60 arena). By alternating where I've asked for the change, he's not had the chance to take over and he really starts to listen to me! πŸ‘πŸ» He is currently still weak behind so I can only ask for two changes on a circle because otherwise he struggles too much with his long legs! But I'm sure in six months time we will be able to do a couple more.

2.4.18

New boy!

In case you don't remember, in October last year my mum bought a new horse for herself when we all thought that Rama (who is 20 years old this year) would have to start his work being slowly reduced to get him to a semi-retired state... Well it's not exactly gone to plan πŸ˜… as Rama is fresh AF and acting like as if he's ten years old rather than twenty and clearly not ready to be retired yet.
So, meet my new super early "well done for getting your Master's degree and 25th birthday present"... Erkki! He's a 14 year old Danish WB gelding (Blue Hors Don Schufro x Racot). Because of his ridiculous show name, he is known as Erkki but I know he'll become Eric once we move back to the UK since I don't think anyone will be able to pronounce it. I AM SO BLESSED that my parents have agreed to keep him for me to ride rather than selling him on, they really the best parents ever! πŸ’–

24.3.18

Trends to watch out for: HV Polo SS18

FINALLY! HV Polo released their SS18 catalogue! This totally made my week as I'm a long time fan of HV Polo - I own tons of HV Polo t-shirt and tops simply because they last the best, are worth the money and also are a bit cheeper than buying Pikeur! For this collection, HV Polo have used bright colours of pink and turquoise which have been mixed with floral prints and more muted and softer colours of white, navy and grey. I think this one of the prettiest and most fun collections that HV Polo have done for a while... But then again I am a sucker for pink, grey and floral patterns! πŸ’
What I personally love about the colours in this collection is that they are so similar to the colours used by other equestrian brands so you can buy matching rider clothing for saddle pads and bandages you already own. I have Eskadron Classic jade (which is a pale minty green) and the Eskadron Heritage rose (pale pastel pink) sets and because I am cheapskate and don't want to pay Pikeur's slightly too well branded/expensive prices, I am going to buy these from HV Polo ⤵️ And whilst I know they won't be a 100% perfect match, they are pretty damn close and half the price of Pikeur which makes them even better in my eyes! πŸ‘πŸ»

18.3.18

Introducing a double bridle to your horse

This is a topic that has been coming up recently with a couple of my friends, who have been worrying about when to introduce a double bridle to their horse, or to even use one on their horse. I've had several conversations where people have been SO worried about the double bridle that they have avoided using it for years! In my opinion, a horse should be willing and able to carry his weight on the hind legs with uphill balance in the snaffle bridle, and only after then introduce a double bridle to them. I'd never put one on until I’m totally happy with the way the horse goes in a snaffle, which has little to do with age - Basse is now already 16, but this was the first time when I felt like both him and myself as a rider were ready to use a double bridle on him whereas Vallu was 7 when he first had a double bridle on (not introduced by me, we bought him when he was 9 years old)!
I think what needs to be remembered is that depending on how the horse is in the mouth, you need to pick the correct bradoon - I'd opt for a loose ring bradoon for a horse who needed more 'play' on the mouthpiece (e.g. Basse) and an eggbutt for one who responded better to a mouthpiece which stayed relatively still (e.g. Vallu who I'm still trying to find the right eggbutt bradoon for!)

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