Archie’s First Show

I can’t believe I haven’t written about my little superstar in the making mr ‘Silverset Swift Condor’ aka Archie!!!

It was over 2 weeks ago now that we went to our first show ‘Blakesley Agricultural Show’ for a couple of in hand youngstock classes. The intention was to take him to see things and get him accustomed to the show atmosphere.

We arrived early as we were to be on at about half 9 so husband went in search of Ring 1. After wandering around what felt like the whole field, he came back and said he’d found it…it was the main ring! You have to be f’inf kiddin!’ Now I know him want him to get used to shows but I didn’t really want main ring action on his first show!

He was a little excitable so husband walked him round and kept him calm even when there was a loose bull causing havoc around the horse boxes!!!!!

We headed down for class one ‘ In hand 1,2,3 year old to make a hunter or competition horse. The more horses that turned up the more I tried not to pass wind in case something else passed!! They looked amazing and the handlers looked like they had been doing it for years unlike me who, despite wearing all my own clothes, somehow managed to look like a 12 year old wearing my fathers clothes!

(Photo only on this blog given very few people will see it!!)

How did this happen? After seeing this I have since found a waistcoat and purchased a second hand showing hat in the hope I look like an adult!!

Anywho, Long story short not too long, he was amazing. He behaved impeccably not once looking at the banners, tractors, flags, tents, everything else you expect to see at an agricultural show. Even when the tannoy came on he was one of two that didn’t even blink an eye. He had one moment when he was made to stand and wait whilst we trotted before being lined up and got a little jumpy and reared but within 20 seconds he was back with it!

We got pulled in 4th which I was super pleased with and then we did our individual show where he again was a legend. Back out to the group walk around to then be pulled in again for the prize giving in…second place!!! What the..!!! I couldn’t believe it and very nearly burst into tears! Thinking about it now, thank god I didn’t- what with how I was dressed they may have asked where my mummy was!!!

Onto class two which was for 1-3 year olds and 4+ (not sure why it didn’t just say ‘any age?!’) to make a sports horse. There were less in this which made me think that the majority in previous class must have been potential hunters. Anywho, he nailed it again, even better than last time and we got pulled into the final line in first place!!! 😡😡😡

Then on to the championship which was meant to be between 1st and 2nd from the two classes so obviously given the hunter in the first class beat me earlier, she won the championship and we got reserve champion.

Rosettes aside, I couldn’t be prouder of my not so little man. How he took everything in his stride and kept his cool and his manners was so impressive especially as he had never even been to a show before.

There was one slightly disappointing moment when a fellow competitors partner decided that he didn’t agree with the results in either class and complained to my father and husband not realising they were related to me, saying that Archie walked funny and the hunter winner had cow hocks and his horse was much better. To top that off he then walked into the ring and complained to the judge!! Who does that???? Have a moan back at the car/lorry but not to spectators and certainly not the judge who is still in the ring!! Apparently he also couldn’t believe that it would have been a first show for any of the horses who were placed! Haha up yours Mr!!

Some miserable sore loser wasn’t going to dampen my spirits though and Archie got back to the lorry for lots of fuss and a ‘stud muffin’ which I think he inhaled as it disappeared that quickly!

We will do one more show this year which is Winslow I think on bank holiday Monday and then he can go back to playing in the field!

Hopefully my next blog post will be about this weekend shenanigans at Twesledown and Winslow so stay tuned!

Until then, toodle pip 😘

Training sessions with Giovanni Ugolotti

On Saturday I had a training session with World and European 4* event rider, Giovanni Ugolotti at Lyneham Heath.

As Chino was on. Ox rest for a week due to being lame (vets not sure why!) I decided to take Ara rather than miss out and lose money. I had very mixed feelings about it- I love Ara and his schooling is coming along well and he’s so much fun to jump but…he’s also a knob when he wants to be and could make life difficult and embarrassing with his ridiculous antics.

Anywho, dressage was first in the morning and he was actually very good. He’s quite weak across his back and he has no top line, something I’m going to discuss with the vet this week as I’m struggling to keep weight on him, so he did find it hard work but he really tried hard bless him. The session revolved around, figure of 8’s, poles, raised poles and transitions. I generally do a lot of this when the field is ok to ride in but it’s nice to get other ideas which I can use. We had a few tack alterations as he pointed out Ara tried to get his tongue over the bit…all this time and no one highlighted this to me!!

The afternoon session was SJ with an emphasis on lines and jumps in quick succession to make us all think. Ara warmed up well, really concentrating hard and popped the cross pole keenly on both reins. And then we were asked to jump the green oxer. It could have barely been 2ft but Ara was having none of it and I nearly flew over his head when he slammed breaks on.

This behaviour continued for much of the session with more elaborate stops and standing on and breaking a filler! The problem was I then lost confidence in him and failed to ride him- I would literally freeze on top or drop the contact but I think I just went into preservation mode.

I felt so stupid- I have a thing about people! If people are around when we’re both acting s**t then I ride even more s**t. I get conscious that ppl are watching and judging my terrible riding- I feel like I ride like a sack of spuds as half the time I’m chasing him round a course so etiquette goes completely out the window. And to make matters worse, everyone else looked great going round on their horses. ☹️

I did however, finish feeling confident and wanting to do more…with Chino!

Husband needs to step up his feedback game though as he’s pretty awful and would make even the most confident and proficient rider question themselves. By the time we got back to the box he had pointed out 4 things I was crap at and 0 I was good at! When I pushed for something positive all I got was ‘well you were really good- perfect!’ RRRIIIIIGGGGHHHTTT! Thanks for that!

Although the negatives were correct it would have been nice to have got something positive that wasn’t half hearted! I shall remember for future!!

Giovanni as an instructor was fantastic. He nailed everything on the head with my weaknesses without it sounding like an insult (ahem- husband take note!) although he did say I had duck feet which I’m very paranoid about and can’t do much about as I get pain in my ankles and knees if I force them in- if my toes point forward then my foot lifts off the stirrup so only the outside of my foot is in contact with it!

Anyone else experience this or is it just my weird anatomical build!!!

He explained everything so clearly pointing out the consequences of our weaknesses whilst also being encouraging and giving positive feedback and praise. He highlighted me dropping the contact in sj when I’m on a half stride which I’ve thought I’ve been doing for a while but no one had told me so so I wasn’t sure but he sussed it immediately. This is something I think I do with Chino so a lot of cross over points can be learnt from Ara and Chino.

I’m now going to arrange for session with Giovanni in future as I really got a lot from him and feel he could step up my hand a lot. I have got a coupe of great instructors here but there was something about him that gave me a boot up the arse and made me do it when I wanted to quit so that’s a huge bonus!

So plans for the week:

1.hopefully take Ara sj in Thursday and trial out the pomms and fly veil.

2.new saddle arrives today!

3.vet and farrier visit tomorrow.

4.vet visit to check on Chino on Friday and hopefully he will be good to go!

5.all being well with number 4, I’ll take him to Twesledown on Sunday for the ode .

Fingers crossed he’s finesse I want to try out the new saddle!

Until next time, toodle pip 😘

Product Review (3)- Equilibrium Products

Simply Boost

After receiving a bottle of the electrolytes in my monthly ‘my horse box’ I decided to purchase more bottles. Chino is a bugger for not drinking much water for a whole day when we are competing at an ode so I thought the best way to replenish the salts lost would be through added electrolytes.

Unlike many other products, which tell you how much you need to add to feed and you scrabble around trying to find something to measure it out with, these bottles come with the measurements on the side of the bottle so just tip upside down and squeeze until it’s down to the measure- easy! There is a faint aroma but nothing too strong and given my fussy thoroughbred eats his food with it in then it’s clearly not bad!

I took a bottle with me on our horsey holiday (see previous 3 posts! And I’m glad I did as he got the runs- not sure what caused it as he’s usually a good traveller so could have been the rich haylage. Anyway, knowing I had this with me meant I could keep his salts up without worrying to much about him.

Along with the electrolytes order, I purchased some bottles of the ‘resilience’ which is packed with vit c. I intended it to be kept for winter when the horses are stabled for longer and as it’s also good for the respiratory functions, I figured it would also assist Chino who sometimes suffers with a cough when stabled. I again took another bottle with me to Wales as the boys were to be stabled for the week plus with the long travelling, which it is also useful for, I decided to add to their feeds. Again, the measures on the side of the bottle helped and a faint orangey smell. Too soon to tell if it works but at face value I’m impressed.

Munch blocks-Vitamunch

In order to keep the horses entertained for the time they were stables I bought 5 of the vitamin the blocks. I have each of them a block on the first day and they tucked straight in. Ara finished his after 5 days, Chino after 2 days! I gave him another on day 3 and it had gone within the day! There was just no stopping him!

If it keeps him this entertained then I’ll be buying the others in bulk! Hopefully it’ll stop him being so mardy when he’s stabled in winter!! They fit perfectly in the mini haynet which you have to purchase separately or if not you can put them down loose. I prefer the nets as it makes them work for it! I can’t imagine how quickly it would go without the net! There are 4 varieties so I shall try them all and I suppose depending how quickly they get munched will determine which one is the best!!

Holiday with Horses (3)

Why everyone should go on holiday with their horse!

I know it sounds mad! Why on earth would you want to go on holiday with your horse… holidays are meant to be relaxing, late mornings, doing what you want when you want, not having to pick up s**t!

But…How many of us go on holiday, leaving our horses at home in the (what we hope are) capable hands of either relatives, friends or if you keep them at a yard, someone there but then continually keep thinking: are they being fed correctly, are they being checked regularly, are they being rugged if needed, have they still got 4 legs!!! If like me then that is usually a daily worry given my three are not exactly normal in how they go about their daily field business! I mean take this morning for example, i arrive to find the top strand of electric tape hanging and the top gate handle on the floor – since when could horses remove handles from hooks!!!

So for anyone here who has considered taking a break but don’t want to leave their horse at home then read on to find out why I think you should take the horse with you!

 

  1. Mental stability!!! As mentioned above, you know exactly what your horse is getting up to etc as you are with them! Yes you have to get up to feed them in the morning and again at lunch and or evening, BUT you know they are being fed the correct amount etc. I mean, for the first few days i was constantly texting my dad asking how Archie was who was being looked after by him! Not so relaxing!
  2. Tourist on horseback! You get to see the area via horseback meaning you get to see more and travel further in a quicker time. We went to the Gower in South Wales and it was such a beautiful area. We rode to the beach, to quaint little villages and up the moors meaning we could see for miles – the view really was breathtaking. Yes you can walk but that’s not as fun as being on a horse and somehow, less magical than standing on the top of a hill looking out the the ocean like your a queen!!
  3. The horses get fit…super fit! Yes they are now knackered and are having a well deserved 2 days off however, the miles we covered each day over varying terrain really has done wonders for their fitness. Of the 8 riding days we had, 6 of them were spent out and about and 2 days in the school. When out and about we were in the saddle for 3-4 hours, apart from the 5 hour ride!!Β Holiday with horses part 2 – never listen to the husband!. Most of this time was spent walking up and down hills, some of which were s**t your pants steep!, the rocks and stones on the trails were also good for the horses as it made them think about where they were stepping and made them pick their feet up, something which they both needed work on before arriving and then when we weren’t walking we were usually cantering and galloping up the moor and on the beach – great cardio work for them.

 

  1. The humans get super fit! But riding isn’t a sport…the horse does all the work! Tell that to me thighs, back and shoulders and knees – I strangely didn’t have a sore gluteus maximus though! Seriously though, I did actually lose a few pounds over the wee and the only difference was that i was riding more. The terrain meant that i had to keep stable in the saddle – core, the galloping – legs (my god they were burning after the long gallops!), the pulling the beast back when he wanted to be in the lead – arms, back, shoulders. I’m a PE teacher and have pursued various sports in the past including being a gym goer and having a PT and i can honestly say non of the sessions i’ve done with them, even compare to who i felt after a days riding!
  2. Ticking things off a bucket list. Now i can’t imagine it’s on every horse riders list of things to do, but beach riding was high up on mine and on most peoples i have spoken to. I have always been jealous of seeing horses being galloped on the beach and through the waves so having the opportunity to do it was literally amazing. As experiences go this is up there with the best yet. I got to ride both horse son the beach and I will admit that my goofy ex racer, Ara, was by far my favourite. He just loved it and wanted to run and run and run and seemed to enjoy splashing about in the waves which is bizarre for a big wimp who won’t even jump a stream.img_2300-2

I’m sure I could think of another few reasons why horse holidays are great but these ones are the ones that spring to mind first.

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We stayed near Rhosilli which has a hotel which apparently is in the top 10 in the World for sea views. It is literally on the edge of the cliff and although the hotel/pub is slightly dated, they do in fact have amazing views especially when the sun is setting!

slope
The Slope

For the first 7 night we stayed in a gorgeous little cottage about a mile from the stables where the horses were kept. Whilst it was very small, it was perfect for us and even made me contemplate my current house and whether I actually need it all! CLick the link under the picture!

For the final two nights we stayed at the stables where they have a number of holiday lets, caravan and camping areas as well as shepherds huts! We stayed in the ‘Bolt Hole’ which was a 2 minute walk door to stable door! Below are a few pics of our humble abode and the horses pad pad.

Pilton Moor StablesΒ is really a great place to stay with our without horses. There are plenty of rides direct from the stables with no need to ride on the roads if you don’t want to. Jo and Martin are so lovely and made us feel really welcome and at home. They have a good school for those that don’t want to hack out, locked tack room and feed store and wonderful big airy stables as well as plenty of turnout should you wish for your horses to stay out and finally the beach within hacking distance…5km and god knows how wide when the tides out or gorgeous pure sand. We will definitely be returning!

So there you have it. Our horsey holiday summed up in over 1000 words!! I find it amazing how I can write so much about random horsey stuff and yet when I was doing my degree I found it difficult to write 500 words on a topic just as random as horse holidays!

I hope you to consider a horse holiday and if you can’t figure out where then the above is a must!

Thanks for reading,

Toodle Pip x

Holiday with horses part 2 – never listen to the husband!

We are well into our horsey holiday and I’m loving it! Would definitely recommend it to anyone. We have now been to the beach twice (I’ll upload the go pro vids once home) and across a couple of the ‘downs’ a few times. (I figured out what they were called after seeing a sign.)

Weve been super lucky with the weather, getting a bit burnt yesterday when out for an unplanned 5 hour ride! Yep…5 hours in the saddle- my knees are buggered!

We were on the way home, coming to the last moor crossing and I was desperate for the loo! Pretty easy for husband to stand and whip it out whilst holding the horse but could you imagine squatting behind a gorse bush and the horse then pulling you off your feet!!! Husband had offered to hold the horse while still mounted but given Chino was hugley impatient i figured that was a recipe for disaster so i choose to hold it in and suggested we try and get onto the lane so we could trot most of the way home rather than wak across the stoney moor.

So when it came to the choice of left or right the husbad suggested we go left as that was the direction of the lane. I pointed out that that was across the marsh and bog land we had been told to avoid! did he listen…did he buggery! ‘oh itll be ok, its been dry!’. ah yes, i didnt grow up in the lakes riding on the moors- what would i know!!!

As we tootled down we came across some small bits which we pretty easy to jump across until we got to the bottom. Now i must highlight that i does seem a bit stupid to put both a foot path and bridleway straight through bog land but there you have it!

At the bottom we came across a huge wet boggy puddle with no way of crossing it but there was a path going around the right of it so being ahead i went first.
it was at this point i didnt need to worry about pissing myself as i very nearly shat myself! the path led us straight into bog. huge deep, suck you in bog. All i could do was keep kicking and shouting at chino to move through which he dutifully did with no fuss at all. We were pretty much covered head to toe in mud!! You would have thought witnessing that chaos that husband and Ara would have decided to stay put but no, he bounded through barely making a bloody splash. F**k knows how!

(Not the bog just a random- strangely forgot to get a photo whilst getting sucked into the darkness!!)

Safely on the other side of the bog we then had to cross a tiny stream and onto the hard lane. Ara was having none of it! He will gallop through the sea, jump bogs, go up and down steep banks, occasionally jump ditches but will he hell as like jump a stream!!

We then had to break every rule of riding on the moor and go our separate ways back home as I refused to come back over the stream and attempt to go back up the moor avoiding any more bogs.

Husband went in one direction towards home and I went the opposite way with no phone, no jacket, no idea where I was going and no one knew where I was!!! Nightmare!

Luckily Chino was awesome and didn’t panic being on his own and we somehow figured out where we were and where we had to go, going back through the same village we had 40 mins ago only this time having to ride through a wedding party! I’m sure that looked romantic…bog splattered horse!!!

Anywho we were back on track and made our way home safely with not a bog in sight. And that’s the last time I listen to the husbands directions!!!!!

We’ve 2 days left so we’ll head up the moor tomorrow and finish with another beach ride on Sunday.

Look out for the action vids coming soon!

Until then

Toodle pip 😘

Holiday with Horse! (1)

HOLIDAYS!!!! How I love a good holiday away from the hustle and bustle of normal life and the best bit…we've taken the horses with us!! No we're not mad but we have a music festival in our village and our stables are slap bang in the middle of it- well the camping fields pretty much surround us. We have kept the horses there in the past as it's quite good for getting them used to people, flags, noise, speakers etc but I just don't trust the random people especially when they've been drinking so I insisted they not be there this year. With that in mind we had two choices- pay to put them in the livery up the road OR take them on a beach holiday so I can tick riding on the beach off my bucket list. We went with the latter!

So off we toddled yesterday afternoon (after a show in the morning with the youngster-details to follow but he is a superstar!) on the 4.5+hr journey to The Gower in Wales. The 2 boys travelled really well and settled in their stables which will be their home for 9 days.

Sunday arrived and we were off to the beach!!! I had to ride Ara-I've fallen in love with riding him again and I couldn't not be the first to gallop my little racehorse down the sand!

To get to the beach we went cross country over and around the moor (hill/fell) which was surprisingly stoney and rocky- Chino did not like the rocks…must have watched the never ending story and thought they were gonna come alive!!!

Anywho we get to the beach after about an hour and its decent sized beach- long and wide although as it's by a holiday park there were quite a few people on it so it wasn't as simple as I imagined! In total honesty I had envisaged something from the black stallion films- galloping down the long beach, bare back and splashing in the waves. Yep, I'm 32 and clearly still think like an eleven yr old!!!

We trotted down the beach until I saw a nice clearing to the sea. At first Ara was a bit unsure of the little waves washing up at him and pulled some funky side moves but eventually he relaxed an let the waves wash around him. Chino on the other hand…!!!!

He was rather spooky with the waves lapping up so The husbands training thought was- I know… I'll trot him straight at the sea and get him to 'jump' the waves!!! I kid you not!! Needless to say Chino was not joining in with that particular training method and decided to spin around unseating husband who tried to hang on but Chino continued running for dry land!!! With husband in the sea I tried to grab Chino but it would have been easier catching a fish with bare hands! He promptly trotted off up the beach in search of his balls(!) with husband running after him, me shouting for Chino whilst trying not to let Ara run after him which meant he started getting excitable and bucking!!! Good introduction to the beach I would say!!

Once husband was back on we continued up the beach walking in the waves before turning and galloping back! So much fun- Ara absolutely loved it!! We went to the other end and back with two more gallops which sent Ara into giddy mode and we had Irish dancing all the way back off the beach!

As we were heading off through the dunes (on the bridleway) a family came through with surfboards & boards. I'm quite sure you can guess what the horses thought of that!!! Chino nearly fell over spinning round then went over a wire fence to escape with me trying to contain 17hands of wound up thoroughbred!!! They were pretty gormless and didn't once think to keep the boards still or lay them down- instead just stood still with the girl and mother whimpering and crying that they were gonna get kicked!!…wave that bloody board one more time and it won't be the horse kicking you love!'

Once back on solid land we trekked back home, continuing around the moor taking in the spectacular views as we climbed higher and higher.

After 3 hrs in the saddle….less for husband 🤣 we were back at the stables tired, sweaty and hungry but I was happy and can't wait to go back and gallop through the waves next time.

Day two I think we're planning on riding over another moor and exploring North of where we're staying so probs another numb bum day!

For now, toodle pip 😘

Finding the end of a rainbow would be easier than finding a job!

The week started well after receiving an email asking me to interview for a job I'd been recommended to apply for so I was super excited especially as it was in the equine industry and combined by skills as a teacher and head of department.
The interview came along and I was pretty nervous as it was with the CEO and 2 others but I was fully prepared and was quietly confident.
I came out not fully convinced I'd done my best and found I answered questions that I didn't give my brain chance to think of the answer but I didn't think I'd fluffed it.
Turns out I must have done as Friday I received the dreaded email to say I'd not been successful. I apparently didn't have the skills, attributes and experience for the job.
Now one one hand, that's fine, there was clearly someone better for the job who probably gave a much better interview and I'm well aware that I'm not going to get every job that I really want. On the other hand however, is firstly I'd been recommended for the job (not just to apply) and so I feel I was lead up the garden path and given false hope. Secondly, surely my cv and letter would highlight the skills and experience I have and didn't have so I should have been ruled out straight away. Some of the questions I was asked about my experience in X,Y and Z were pretty obvious given I'm a teacher in a school where I have been for 11 years since graduating so what are the chances of me having had experience of managing staff in other parts of the country or offices away from where I'm based?! This is just one example of a question that could have been answered though reading my application.
I know this must sound like sour grapes and perhaps it is- no one likes losing out on a job they wanted. My biggest upset though is that I'm now lost. I'm in a job I hate that turns me into a person I don't recognise, I have responsibilities which means I can't just quit but mainly wtf am I meant to do to get a job when everyone wants experience or on two occasions I've been told I'm too experienced for the job. I thought that being a teacher of pe and HoD would put me in a relatively strong position moving into a new career but seemingly not.
I didn't even get long to wallow in self pity and tears as the husband came along and basically told me to pull myself together and do something about it! It took all my mental strength not to push him in the canal!!!!

I'm meant to be applying for two jobs I saw late Friday night but I've become stuck in a 'what's the point' rut.
People keep telling me 'it was obviously not meant to be' and 'the right job will come along'. Well yes that's all very well when im saying it but I don't need your words of wisdom right now Susan!!!
(I don't in fact know anyone called Susan but you get my meaning!!

So for now, whilst on holiday for another 4 weeks I'm going to go in search of the end of rainbows, 4 leaf clovers and whatever other magical superstitious shit there is as I'm 99.9% sure I'll have more luck finding that than I will finding a job.

If you've managed to read to the end of this pretty boring 'feel sorry for me rant', which incidentally, I can't actually voice to my beloved husband for the afore mentioned reason, then well done! If you have any words of wisdom that doesn't make you sound like 'susan' then I'd love to hear them or any tips or advice on finding a new career out of education and schools! For now, the suns out and it's raining so I'm off to find me some gold!!!

Until later, toodle pip 😘