Wednesday, 2 May 2018

First Premier League of the year!

Our first Premier League of the season was at Keysoe Equestrian Centre. 
Keysoe is located in Bedfordshire and takes us about an hour an a half to get there. We had a very civilised competition time- 3pm!
The warm up was extremely busy. Merri wasn't very pleased with the quantity of horses in a such a small space but she coped very well and felt relieved to go outside to the competition arenas when it was our time.
She was a star, the trot work felt great and we got good scores. We gained 7.5's and 8's for some of our eight meter circles as well as the two time changes.
We placed sixth overall in a huge class of 40 competitors on 68.77%.
Merri enjoying a post test snack!

Earlier in the week we competed locally at Windmill farm in the Prix St George Freestyle class.
We had not competed in a music competition in a long time and Merri was a total pro.
Our floor-plan included long sweeping half pass lines, pirouettes out of counter canter and all of our changes on half (or whole) circles. We placed first and are looking forward to dancing again soon!

Next stop, Addington Premier League!

Friday, 2 March 2018

Calming Balancer- The perfect mix!

I was very excited when Blue Chip told me they were bring out a Calming Balancer, I definitely had a horse who could benefit from some calming...

Since feeding the Calming balancer I have noticed an improvement in Finn's results...
I tend to gradually start introducing the balancer in the days leading up to a show. This means there are no sudden dietary changes and it also influences the horses mood when travelling and adjusting to the competition environment.Finding the right diet for your horse is so important and its amazing how adding something new in the right quantity can make such a difference!

Finn feels more relaxed and rideable which allows him to produce the work he is capable of.
From my experience if your horse is wound up before you get on, it is often to late to get them to truly relax, you have to do everything you can to stop them from getting stressed in the first place.
We tend to do things like allow turn out in the field the day we travel to a show, which can help keep stressing and excitement about leaving the yard to a minimum.

When competing at a Premier League show we tend to go away for about three days so we also try and incorporate some hacking in this time if the venue allows, and if not, we walk the horses in hand.

The calming balancer consists of ingredients such as magnesium and chamomile, which have proven calming effects. the primary reason for combining a calmer and a feed balancer is that stress and digestion have a very close relationship; stress can cause digestive issues, and digestive issues can cause stress.

The probiotics in the balancer restore the natural balance of the gut flora and help to maintain the natural well- being of the digestive system.

watch our video HERE..

Inspiring times!

Mid February I drove down to Hartpury College for a Young Professionals Programme training day. We had the privilege of the Gold medal winning Olympian Helen Richardson-Walsh come and talk to us...
Helen talked about her road to the Rio Olympics and what she believe gave her and her team the gold medal advantage.

She believed it was her teams Culture. By this I mean their values, behaviours, morals, awareness of themselves/others and the appreciation of difference within the team.

Helen spoke about the ‘vision’ which they lived by,
“Be the difference, create history, Inspire the future”. This vision is bigger than an Olympic gold or the individual athletes, it is about inspiring the next generation, the ultimate dream.

The reality of life for Helen was tough.. There was a lot of pain from training, constantly being assessed and competing against other top athletes who she had close personal relationships with. It was the uncertainty and challenge that made having a clear set of values and morals all the more important, to keep driven and motivated every day.

As a team they had a set of values and from these they created a written statement.

“Respect differences, Listen, Got your Back, Belong now and Forever, Connection, Communication, Stamp out fires Early, Strength, one Team.”

Helen and her team lived by these words everyday which put in place the behaviours that eventually became habits. This allowed for them to be the same team under pressure, even at the Olympics. This is what Helen believed allowed them to Win Gold at the Rio Olympics. Thank you for coming Helen!

Overall February has been a productive and inspiring month-I am very thankful to the organisations that allow me to continue to progress and grow. Physical training can be really tough in these Winter months as it can sometimes feel like you are not moving forward but really it just highlights even more how important mindset is, to overcome such challenges and find the best way forward!

Expectations Exceeded....

This month has been very educational.... what with snow and horrendous weather riding at the moment has been feeling at times less like training and more like survival mode! The weather has not stopped everything though! I have been extremely busy teaching clinics at some fantastic venues, going to training days and travelling down to Hartpury for the Young Professionals Programme.

We have had a few weeks of decent weather, luckily Judy Harvey brought some sunshine for my most recent training session! Merri was a total star! Watch a very short snippet of video from our session HERE
We have booked another session for March in already so fingers crossed the snow clears soon so we can get practicing!

Through the Pony Club I was invited to attend a CPD day at Bury Farm. Initially I was a little concerned about sitting in the big cold indoor school all day but my expectations were definitely exceeded. 

We whizzed around all morning listening to fantastic talks! Our first talk of the day was from Charlie Unwin a sports physiologist, who has coached five different olympic disciplines and has a particular interest in accelerated learning. An inspiring start to the day! 

We then went and found Russell Guire from Centaur Biomechanics in another class room, we talked about tack and some interesting new discoveries that Russell has experienced during his gait analysis controlled experiments. 
The day was very interesting, I picked up a few tips and new information and also had a chance to chat with Neue Sheule about bitting! Hopefully my horses will appreciate some change with regards to bits in the next few months.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Equilibrium Magnetic Chaps

  • In my opinion the Equilibrium magnetic chaps are the unsung hero of the Equilibrium therapy range.
  • My horses tend to wear them more over the winter months as they are spending a bit more time in the stable as long periods of turnout can be tricky in the unpredictable winter weather.

  • The boots are a snug and soft fit, we tend to leave them on over night as there is no fear of them slipping or causing rubs.
  • I tend to use the magnet boots mainly on my more advanced horses as it helps keep any swelling/wind gals down and improves blood flow to the legs. They help with arthritis and also any general knocks or bumps. 

  • The magnets are all moveable so you can target specific swellings or an injury, such as a splint.
  • We really rate these chaps and i'm so pleased to be able to use them on my horses. 
  • Watch the YouTube video HERE!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Tis the Season... for Snow!

So at the end of last week we had an enormous snowfall!  I couldn't believe it when I woke up on Sunday morning... It is the most snow we have had in years!!

Although snow is extremely pretty... It's never good news for the horses (unless you are lucky enough to have an indoor school!).
All of our horses have been stabled, walked in hand and had a small amount of turn out.

One of our little helpers!

It really effects our lifestyle ... I have gone from spending all day outdoors to doing lots of work on the computer! It has been a good amount of time to start to get on top of some paper work but we are all ready to get going again now!

I am very lucky to have been given tickets to Olympia Freestyle evening tonight (Thank you!).
We are getting the train down this afternoon to make the most of the day and I am so excited to watch a seriously hot competition this evening.

Time to start feeling festive!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017


I have had my beautiful WOW Saddle for a year now and I feel like this would be the perfect time to reflect on how myself and Finn have progressed in this time.

Here's a bit about WOW to start...
The WOW team have a wealth of experience and over the years they have worked with many different horses and riders as well as investing much time into scientifically testing different types of saddles to see how they actually perform on horses. Funnily enough they came up with the brand name 'WOW' as thats what people exclaimed when they rode on their saddles!
It took me and Finn a few weeks to get used to the WOW, its incredible as you are so close to the horse and you can feel a lot more movement than in a traditional flocked saddle. I found that over time we had much softer and subtle aids, produced mainly through movement in my body. It felt like the 'conversation' between us was much clearer even though  I was doing less.

I have noticed many of the people I teach have a WOW and they all say how incredible it is. The important benefits are that they can change the saddle according to the horses development or if they get a new horse the saddle can be re worked to fit an entirely different shape. Wow is a modular saddle, so you can get all the components separately. This also means it is a saddle for life!

Since being ridden in the WOW saddle Affinity Bay has had his most successful season to date.
We had many good results at Premier League competitions, including a third place at Addington Manor Premier League in the Inter I and a WIN at Keysoe Premier League in the Prix St George which qualified us directly for the Summer Nationals. And not forgetting our third place at the British Dressage Petplan Inter I at the start of 2017 in the Inter I class (pictured left).

This was Finn's first year at Inter I and I couldn't be more proud of him, his results and development! We are very privileged to be supported by such a wonderful Company and we love their saddles!

Here's a link to my YouTube video of our fitting in the summer with David from Wow Saddles WOW Fitting