What Makes a True Horsewoman?

alycia-burtonWhat makes a true horseman/ horsewoman?

How can we ride like those who inspire us?

Is it even possible or just a beautiful dream, reserved only for the elusive few to achieve?

We love to hear about inspirational horse riders because they act as our aspirational selves – they’re who we want to be. There comes a point though when it’s not enough just to witness others succeed. Dreams are all very well, but we need to believe!!

Reality and dreams collide harshly though, and all to often our hopes are quashed in the process. Time, money, age, responsibilities, expectations… so many things seem to stand against us in our quest to greatness. It was easy for them, we can’t help telling ourselves. They came from a horsey family/ were riding before they were born/ had plenty of money/ a million other reasons that we’re jealous of those we admire. Often it’s true. But they had their own challenges, just as we have ours. It might not be easy, but we can achieve!!!

Anything is possible in life, if only you can somehow hold onto your dream. – Pippa Funnell

There’s a lot of truth in Pippa Funnell’s words. We tend to let life, doubts, expectations in the way. It’s all too easy to give up on our dreams, but it’s only by chasing them that we can ever realise what we thought was impossible.

If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

It’s important to have dreams that seem impossible, dreams that scare us, because it’s only by aspiring to be more than we are now that we can achieve and grow into who we are meant to be. Dreams act as a destination point for us, and life is a whole lot easier if you know where you’re going! Even if you don’t know quite what it’ll look like, having a vague compass direction will help guide your journey. It’s just the journey that’s difficult!

Impossible dreams need to be broken down into possible yet intimidating steps, which need to be further broken down into smaller, more tangible, achievable goals. These goals must be actively worked on rather than just dreamed about, and should be measurable in some way. Set a time scale for these and review them regularly. Adapt them if necessary, but be courageous enough to push yourself out your comfort zone.

If your dream is worthwhile to you, then take fear as a sign that you’re doing something right! Push at your limits and boundaries – you’ll find you’re capable of more than you thought, and sooner or later your impossible dreams will seem not so impossible after all!!

Good luck!! Keep dreaming your dreams alive!

Horse Daydreamer xxx

First Polo Lessons!

polo-lessonHello! If you’ve read my last blog post you’ll know that the 100th horse I rode was a polo pony. I told you that I had a lot of exciting stories to tell you, and one of them is that I’ve started learning polo!!!

So far I’ve only had a few lessons, but it’s amazing how fast everyone’s progressed! The other new riders and I are nothing compared to the riders who have been playing several years, but already we’re managing to play chukkas in walk – and score goals!!

Polo, in case you don’t already know, is a game played on horseback that has been described as a bit like hockey. Usually there are four players on each team, and they all have a wooden mallet with which they have to hit a small white ball. As with most ball games, the aim is to hit the ball into the opposing team’s goal. This is easier said than done!

I thought I’d share with you some of the thing I’ve learnt in my first few polo lessons, as it’s great fun and very different to ‘normal’ riding.

Forget What You’ve Learnt

Polo needs a different riding style to regular dressage/showjumping, and polo ponies are trained to understand different signals. It’s similar in many ways so it won’t take long to pick up the basics, but if you try steering with the reins in two hands (even just to get out the way of the mounting block when you’ve got on) your pony won’t understand! Apart from having the reins in one hand and neck-reining, you have to hold the reins in a completely different way. It’s very strange to start with, so you almost need to forget what you’ve already learnt.

There’s an Art to Holding a Mallet

This is another thing that’s very confusing, even after several lessons. You can’t just grip the mallet – you have to make sure it’s facing the right way, try to remember how to wrap the ribbon at the end round your hand, and then position your fingers in the right place. This is very important as your arm is going to get tired from hitting the ball and it’s easiest if you’re holding the mallet correctly.

It Makes ‘Normal’ Riding Feel Over-Complicated

Once you get over the strangeness of polo riding you begin to wonder why you ever rode any differently!! The lightest pressure on the reins (even with them just in one hand!) will steer a polo pony much more easily than all those arguments you use to have with nappy riding school ponies. Polo ponies are trained to be forward and sensitive, but it’s also a more natural riding style.

Keep Your Eye on the Ball

The advice that’s probably equally applicable for all ball games is to keep your eye on the ball. Being on speedy polo ponies, you need to be aware of your surroundings, but stay focused on the ball. If you let yourself get distracted by what other people are doing, chances are you’re going to miss it.

Just Go For It

Polo is something best learnt by doing and learning by experience. Practise makes perfect after all!! Get out there. Hit the ball. Try a faster place. Don’t hold back. The worst that  can happen is that you’ll miss the ball, and at the end of the day polo is a competitive sport!

Get Over the Ball

When you’re about to hit the ball you’re suppose to get out the saddle into a sort of light seat. However, it’s different from your typical jumping light seat in that you need to be actually over the ball. To get a better polo position, it help to think about getting your head actually above the ball, as this will help you lean out the saddle properly to hit the ball

Your Pony Will Help You

Polo ponies are generally very well trained! They’ve learnt what you’re trying to do and will automatically follow the ball to some extent. Sometimes they kick the ball themselves, which may be helpful or unhelpful. Even if you miss, your pony may help you and kick it along! Also, it’s important to remember to trust your pony! Polo ponies know what to do and will help you if you ride properly!!

Polo Is a Team Sport

One of the main things that makes polo so much fun is that it is a team sport! It relies on both individual partnerships with your pony and a collective team spirit, the combination of which makes it unlike many other sports. Possibly one of, if not the most important thing, is to back each other up, support, and communicate. Different people have different skills and it is only by supporting each other that you can succeed – meaning polo is automatically more sociable than ‘normal’ riding can sometimes be!!

Keep Moving

Polo is a fast-moving sport (when you’re ready for the speed!) and requires you to keep moving forwards. Don’t stop on the ball, just keep moving, and when you’re ready to up the pace a bit, go for it!!

Polo requires a whole new skill set compared to regular riding, but it also feels very familiar. At the end of the day, it’s still horse riding and if you already ride you will feel surprisingly at home in the saddle. Polo isn’t as intimidating as you might expect!

If you get the opportunity to learn polo take it!!! It’s the most amazing fun, and there’s something very satisfying about the clunk of your mallet hitting the ball!

Keep loving horses,

Horse Daydreamer xxx

 

 

My One Hundredth Horse!

autumn-horseHello! It’s been a while since I last posted anything, but I’ve decided to start writing again. There’s a lot going on in my life right now, so I should have some exciting stories to tell you, but I might be a bit irregular in how often I post articles. Think of them as a nice surprise! (I hope it’s a nice surprise!!)

Ok, so my first news – as you may have gathered from the title – is that I’ve now ridden 100 horses! I’ve kept a list of the names of every horse and pony I’ve ridden since I started learning properly, and it just kept growing!

It was at 99 for quite a long time before horse number 100 came along, and it seems very fitting that she was a special horse. My 100th horse is a polo pony!!! But more about that later…

100 is quite a significant number, it sounds almost exaggerated but it’s not, I promise! I’m yet to own my own horse (that’s a dream of mine that will come true one day!) and have been riding now for about eight-and-a-half years.

Mostly I’ve just had weekly lessons at my riding school, with occasional extra rides whenever there were Pony Club rallies or summer camps. I love horses but I’m not one of those lucky, lucky people who get to ride nearly every day.

As much as I wish I had a horse of my own, not doing so may be partly why I’ve been able to ride such a variety of different horses. From 4-year-old Connemaras to 16.2hh Irish Draughts, elderly thoroughbreds to cheeky little Welsh ponies, beautiful Andalucians to trustworthy trekking cobs, I’ve had the chance to ride many different horses and ponies!

It’s worth noting that all the horses I’ve ridden were relatively safe, enough to be in a riding school. They all have their quirks and difficulties – some of them were by no means easy – but none of them were dangerous or ‘problem’ horses. I don’t want to lie about my ability!!

Still, compared to people who have ridden the same horse for the past six years or so, getting on a horse that I don’t know doesn’t phase me. (And I know nobody would give me a horse they didn’t think I could manage.)

100 is a significant number, and it means I have lots of stories to share!! I know though that I’m far from being a ‘good’ rider, whatever that vague and ever-shifting label means, so I still want to learn as much about horses as I can! I’ll be writing about what I’ve learned (and what I love) here. I hope you’ll join me on the endless journey of equine obsession!! And I’d love to hear your stories too, so please share them in the comments!

See you soon,

Horse Daydreamer xx

Caprilli vs. Classical Riding!

caprilli

In the early 20th century, a revolution took place that would change the way we rode forever.

Captain Federico Caprilli, an Italian cavalry officer, earned the hostility of the Italian army by challenging the conventions of classical riding and was transfered to a different regiment. It was this “rebellion” that initiated the invention of a new style of riding.

Whenever you use a jump position, light seat, or two-point position you have Caprilli to thank.

Classical riding was based around different aims to Caprilli, and had a very different seat. Classical riders told the horse what to do and how to do it; Caprilli believed the rider should just tell the horse what to do and then allow the horse’s way of doing it. Unlike classical riders, Caprilli thought horses were able to balance themselves with a rider rather than needing to told how to do it.

There is a natural difference between the horse’s and rider’s centres of gravity. The rider’s centre of gravity is further back than the horse’s, and this difference needed to be reduced to keep balance.

For most of history, classical riders had taught collection.They tried to narrow the gap between the horse’s and rider’s centres of gravity by moving the horse’s centre of gravity backwards. Collection engages the horse’s hindquarters, causing the horse’s centre of gravity to move backwards, and it was around this concept that classical riding was based.

3045_featured

The old jumping seat – uncomfortable for horse and rider!

The problem was that as the horse’s pace increases, their centre of gravity moves forward. The classical riding seat wasn’t as effective riding at speed, across country, or when jumping. When jumping, instead of leaning forwards as we do now, classical riders leant backwards and stuck their lower leg forwards. This position came from the knights of ye olde days, and is not suited for jumping. Classical riders claimed that by leaning back they spared their horse’s forelegs, but Caprilli disagreed.

The old jumping seat was uncomfortable for the horse, and as classical riders tried to  make the horse land hindlegs first (thinking this would further spare the forelegs) went completely against the horse’s natural way of jumping. By leaning backwards, the rider got left behind the movement and unbalanced. They also pulled on the reins, which was painful for the horse. As a result, horses found jumping difficult and many disliked it.

After watching horses free jump without a rider or tack, Caprilli discovered something that was fundamentally wrong about the old jumping seat – horses always landed on their forelegs. He photographed their shape over jumps and began to develop what we now take for granted as our jump position.

101630

The forward seat meant Caprilli could (and did) jump anything!!

Caprilli’s theory was that the rider’s position over the fence should not interfere the horse’s natural jumping movement. He realised that the rider should shorten their stirrups and lean forwards to move their centre of gravity forwards to meet the horse’s. By taking their weight out the saddle they allowed the horse freedom to use their back, as well as helping the rider keep a secure position. Most importantly, the contact should be light and the rider should give with their hands.

Our modern jumping position was created.

As with all new ideas, not everyone was happy with Caprilli’s “forward seat”. It angered many people and caused him trouble in the army. However, it was so effective that the benefits could not be denied. Before long he was made chief instructor at the Italian army’s cavalry school, where all new students learned Caprilli’s technique. The Italian cavalry began to dominate international competition, and riders came from all over the world to learn from him.

Caprilli died in 1907, aged 39, during a riding accident. The year before he’d had this opportunity to demonstrate his technique to the world in the 1906 Olympic Games. Interest increased throughout the 20th century, and now Caprilli’s forward seat is widely accepted as the correct jump position.

Конкур

The forward seat revolutionised jumping, although shorter stirrups were already being used for racing.

Classical riding hasn’t been entirely replaced by Caprilli’s techniques. Horse riding as it is now taught uses the best of each method, while ignoring other aspects. A forward seat is used when jumping or galloping, but not when riding on the flat as Caprilli did. Collection is still used, and dressage in particular uses a classical riding position, but jumping has changed drastically.

Caprilli’s position has improved the level of show jumping. At the beginning of the 20th century international show jumps were about 4’6″. Now they are over 6′ and in much trickier courses. While a forward jumping position is still used, experienced riders no longer leave everything to the horse, instead altering the horse’s stride to meet these more difficult fences in the right place.

Caprilli’s legacy is simple but innovative. He’s responsible for radically improving jumping standards for both horses and riders.

Next time you jump, just remember it’s thanks to Caprilli!

Horse Daydreamer xxx

 

You may also be interested in:

What’s Prix Caprilli?

Top 10 Inspirational Horse People!!!

25 Things We Love About Ponies!!!

children & ponyHi everyone!

Since you’re here you obviously love horses and ponies, but when people ask us why we love them so much it can be difficult to put it into words! Horses are just amazing, how can anyone not love them?!! Anyway, I’ve had a good long think and come up with 25 reasons we love ponies. Here goes:

1) They’re cute…

Ok, this one sounds a bit shallow but ponies are just adorable, there’s no denying it!

2) …and fluffy!

Ponies give the best hugs! And when they nuzzle you for carrots, who can resist?!

3) Ponies are fun!!

We enjoy being with ponies, and that has to be the most important reason of all!

4) They never judge us!

Ponies don’t care who you are or what you’ve done. They forgive easily, don’t hold grudges, and live in the present. As long as you’re nice to them then that’s all that matters.

5) They let us forget the world!

Work, stress, arguments… it all dissolves when you’re with horses. Riding needs concentration so you have to clear your mind of everything else.

6) Ponies bring peace!

When you’re with ponies you just are! You exist. There’s something very relaxing about simply watching ponies in the field or munching a haynet.

7) They spread laughter!!

Whatever goes wrong – and it does go wrong when you’re around ponies – there’s always a funny side to it!!! (Usually…)

8) They understand!

This one’s hard to explain. People say that ponies don’t understand us, and maybe they don’t understand our words, but they do pick up on our emotions. Ponies are intuitive. You can just sense that they understand.

9) They give us confidence!

Riding or even just spending time around ponies gives us confidence and a sense of self-worth. That’s why they’re used for therapeutic riding. Besides, when you realise that a 400kg animal with many times your strength (watch this) will listen to you, it has to do something for your self-esteem!!!

10) Ponies are empowering!!!

They let us achieve what we never thought we could, and that confidence and inner strength has to rub off on the rest of our lives! Where would we be without them?

11) They’re humbling!

Let’s admit it: ponies are unpredictable and not everything will always go to plan! Arrogance can’t exist for long when you’re around ponies. They don’t care if you’ve won a million red rosettes, they’ll throw you off just the same!!

12) Ponies make us all equal!

Money, age, background – none of it makes a difference when you’re in the saddle! Ponies bring together all sorts of people!! Did you know that horse riding is one of the only Olympic sports where women and men compete as equals?

13) There’s always something to learn!

There’s always something new to learn and another pony to ride. It’s a never ending quest for knowledge!

14) Ponies let us achieve the impossible!!

From being brave enough to perform in front of an audience to galloping faster than the wind, ponies let us achieve beyond what we thought we ever could!!!

15) Ponies lend us speed…

The average horse can gallop at 30mph, a thoroughbred racehorse can gallop up to 40mph, and quarter horse racehorses have been known to reach 50mph over short distances!!!! Even if most of us never reach those speeds, ponies lend us wings and let us fly!!

16) …strength…

Inner strength and physical strength. Heaving that wheelbarrow to the top of the muck heap mountain has to do something for our muscles!!

17) …and adrenaline!

Galloping across the moors. Improvising a game of horse ball or polo. Racing towards a giant hedge out hunting. Even just navigating our way around a show jump course. It makes our hearts beat faster and may be a bit scary, but it’s so exhilarating!! And we feel so, so alive!!!

18) Ponies are beautiful!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but just let us gaze at ponies all day long! As Winston Churchill once said “there is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”

19) They lead us on a path of discovery!

Ponies help us discover so much, both about ourselves and the places we ride through. How else would we have noticed that the view looks so much better through a pony’s ears? Who else could have mirrored the depths of our soul?

20) They make the best friends!

This is why we loved ponies so much when we were little and still turn to them for comfort or fun today. They never lie and will love us forever!! Sentimental maybe but true!!!

21) They communicate without words and are always honest!

Humans are complicated and small talk tedious. While we all need human friends as well, ponies are far better!! With ponies we don’t have to hide anything and can truly be ourselves.

22) Ponies have great personalities!

Remember that cheeky Shetland from when you were young? The escape artist who always looked as though butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth? The smallest ponies have the biggest personalities!! We can never forget them!

23) We experience all emotions with them!!

Joy, fear, relief, love, tears, laughter… Ponies teach us about life – especially when we’re young – and are always there to share a hug at the end of the day.

24) They form our identity!!

For those of us who truly live, breathe, and dream horses they help form our identity. They shape us, define us, and we wouldn’t want it any other way!!!!

25) We’re just plain mad!!!!!

Yep, that’s the truth of it!

Whatever you do, keep loving horses and ponies!

Horse Daydreamer xxx

Eriskay Ponies Aren’t Icelandic!!

eriskay ponyHiya!

One time when I was little we learnt about the native pony breeds of Britain at Pony Club. The trainee instructors who were running the session asked us what native ponies we had heard of before. Most people gave the expected answers: Shetland, Connemara, Welsh Mountain Pony…

Trying to come up with an answer nobody else would have, when it was my turn I said “Eriskay!”

There was a moment of silence before the trainee instructor replied. “Aren’t they from Iceland?”

I remember my surprise, because when I was little I thought the yard staff knew everything there was to know about horses! Even though I was certain Eriskay ponies were from Britain, I didn’t say anything. Eriskay ponies didn’t get added to our list.

It’s only since then that I’ve realised how few people have actually heard of Eriskay ponies!! They’re a very rare breed – the only reason I know of them is probably because the Eriskay Pony Society brought some to a country show near me every year.

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Eriskay ponies before, but I thought I’d tell you a bit about them!!

Without the people of Eriskay there would be no pony but without the pony there would be no people on Eriskay.

– Father Calum MacLellan, island priest of Eriskay

Eriskay ponies come from Eriskay Island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Most definitely not Iceland!!! (Iceland’s only horse or pony breed is the Icelandic.)

They’re about 12hh-13.2hh and usually grey, although black and bay Eriskays are found. Like all the native ponies, they have a thick waterproof coat and can live out all year round.

Traditionally crofters’ ponies, Eriskays are friendly and have a reputation as “back door” ponies! The nature of their work meant they were mostly handled by women and children, so only ponies with the best temperaments were bred from. Their work included carrying peat and seaweed, pulling carts, working in the fields, and taking children to school!

Although they’re very fond of human company, quick to learn, and versatile, Eriskays are listed as “Critical” by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. This means there are less than 300 breeding mares in the world, and they are at risk of extinction. In the early 1970s there were only 20 purebred Eriskays left!!!

Since then Eriskay pony enthusiasts have brought them back from the brink, promoting the breed, but they still remain at risk. Apparently Eriskays are the rarest horse or pony breed in Europe, and even closer to extinction than the giant panda! (If you don’t believe me read this.)

The Eriskay Pony is the last survivor of the native ponies of the Western Isles of Scotland. It’s origins are ancient, certainly with Celtic and Norse connections. Carvings of ponies of similar proportions are depicted on Pictish stones throughout the north and west of Scotland.

– extract from a leaflet by the Eriskay Pony Society

These friendly, fun, and quite frankly adorable ponies are now very successful in all sorts of roles! Family ponies, children’s ponies, riding, driving, show jumping, dressage, Pony Club activities, showing, endurance, with disabled riders/drivers… even western!!! You name it; Eriskays can do it!

I hope you’re enjoying my blog!! Thank you for reading!!!

Horse Daydreamer xxx

Wild Heart

wild heartI wanted to share this poem I wrote with you. It’s called Wild Heart. I love reading and writing, and sometimes I turn my daydreams into a poem or story.

Wild Heart was inspired by the New Forest ponies I saw when I went camping there with some friends, and the strange longing us humans have to be able to tame wild horses. You only have to look as far as all the pony books to see that the befriending of wild/difficult horses is a common theme. Admit it, who hasn’t dreamt of the horse only they could ride?

There’s a saying that if inside every wild horse is a tame horse, then inside every tame horse is a wild horse. Sometimes the pony we adore might not share our love, and just want more than anything to be free. It’s this idea that I wanted to explore in my poem.

Because it’s essentially a love poem, I tried to write it in the form of a Shakespearean sonnet to express the girl’s love for the pony. In the end I decided not to let it not be confined by the rules of poetry form, which is why it’s not a typical 14 line sonnet.

I hope you enjoy reading it, and any constructive criticism or thoughts on it are welcome!

 

Wild Heart

Moving between the thick oaks and alder,
Cautious, are the ponies of the forest.
Their moonlit shadows make me recall her,
The pony I loved dearest.

Ribs sharp as flint stones stretched her blackberry coat;
She’d been rounded up from her wild herd.
She loved me not, although I clung to hope,
The mare with soul of a bird.

One year she left, galloped away, was gone.
I knew she had a wild heart, but still
Shed liquid stars in the silence so long
For my pony of untamed will.

Snowy Horse Rides!!!

snowy rideHello!

Have you had any snow this winter?

There has been rumours of snow in other parts of the country, but I’ve not had any yet. It certainly feels very wintery though – the mornings are frozen, with frosted fields and watercolour-painted skies. It’s beautiful but so very cold, cold, cold!!

Later in the mornings, the amber sun burns into a snow-coloured sky. Poetic, yes, but it really is that beautiful! I love the snow and am hoping there will be some soon. I think I’m probably being overly optimistic!!!

It’s one of my dreams to ride in the snow!! I thought I’d share some tips I’ve come across but, just to warn you, I’ve not had the opportunity to test them out. If you’ve ever ridden in the snow I’d be interested to know if they actually work!

1: It’s kind of common sense that you should only ride in the snow in a safe environment that you know well. Snow can be dangerous because it hides ruts, ditches, and ice. Never ride on roads.

2: Remember that, unless you live somewhere a lot colder than I do, snow is likely to be unfamiliar to most horses and they might be a bit spooky. Lead them out in it first, particularly if they don’t live out in fields, and progress gradually. It’s a good idea not to ride out alone. Take friends with you, either riding or on foot, and of course always tell someone where you are going and how long you will be.

3: Snow can be slippery so never forget this risk. You can do a slow trot and steady canter if conditions are right, but if uncertain stay to a walk. At least that’s what I’ve heard – I’m doubtful as to the safety of going any faster than a plod in the snow, but you’ll know best what’s safe for you.

4: Only ride out if the conditions are safe. Light powdery snow a few inches thick is good. Icy, mushy, and deep snow are all dangerous. Don’t ride if it’s snowing heavily, but you probably already know that!

5: Wear warm layers, including gloves, and give your horse a warm exercise blanket!! Actually, just do that even if there’s no snow!!! I don’t know about you, but in my last riding lesson I felt like I was turning to ice! Wear florescent reflective tabards like you would (should?!) for road riding, even if you’re not going on the roads. If the worst happens it’ll make it easier for an air ambulance to find you.

6: Cover the inside of your horse’s hooves with a thick layer of Vaseline, which should prevent snow from balling up in them and stop your horse from ending up walking on snow stilts! I’m really curious to know if this works!!

7: Riding through snow is harder work for your horse than normal riding. Give him breaks every now and then, but keep him moving so he doesn’t get cold.

If you’ve ever had the chance to ride in the snow please tell me about it! If not, you’ll just have to keep hoping for snow like me!!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!

See you soon!

Horse Daydreamer xxx

These Boots Were Made For… Horses!

country bootsHi everyone!

If there’s one thing that says equestrian fashion! horse lover! it has to be country boots!! There’s something almost quintessentially country about them – they’re practical yet beautiful and evocative of many horse related memories, from visiting a country show, to working on the yard.

These boots have become incredibly popular in the horse world and are made for people who spend lots of time at the stables.

Country boots are great because they can stand traipsing through the mud and puddles to catch a horse, but also look good on the high street or when going out with non-horsey friends. Many are also designed to be safe in stirrups so you can ride in them as well!!

Classic examples of country boots include Ariat’s Windermere Boots (£159.99) and Dublin’s River Boots (£149.99), although there are many others. As you’ll see from the prices, they’re not cheap!!! Country boots generally range from £50 – £300, but if you find good quality ones and look after them well they can last for years.

If you buy some country boots it’s important to shop around a bit and make sure you find some that fit well. Buying online can be tempting, but if you have a local tack shop it might be best to look there first so you can try some on. Having said that, it can be helpful to check out some reviews online to see what other people have found. Word of mouth is good too! All country boots are different, and the ones that look good might not neccessarily be the one’s that last!!

Personally I like brown country boots most, but they come in various shades – although mostly brown or black. I don’t know, brown seems more country somehow – maybe it’s just the mud!!!

Keep loving horses!

Horse Daydreamer xxx

 

Keeping a Riding Journal! (Part 2)

horse diaryHello again!

I said in part one that I’ve been keeping a riding journal for a year and have found it really helpful. This time I’m going to share some more extracts from my riding journal, and give some ideas about what you could write.

jumped grid of 3 fences, difficult on left rein mainly because the pony I was riding kept napping towards the other horses, need to fix outside elbow towards stomach & keep tummy muscles straight to be get stronger grip on rein to stop napping – worked but difficult

– extract from my riding journal, July 2015

 

practising jump off skills (even though I don’t compete much), 3 fences across the long diagonal, small because focusing on lines & straightness not the jump, the horse I was riding tanked off a bit, he use to hunt in Ireland & can be quite strong, repetitive exercises not best for the horse I was riding as he thinks he’s a know-it-all, jumped from other direction & he was better because he wasn’t expecting it

– extract from my riding journal, August 2015

 

first time ridden pony, challenging but in a good way, sensitive, fast, did Prix Caprilli but with ground poles instead of jumps, when I ride a pony/horse I know is sensitive I tend to give very light aids but my instructor told me I shouldn’t do that, need to keep under the thumb & constantly use lots of rein, rein contact will stop the pony from rushing off & remind him that I’m there

– extract from my riding journal, October 2015

 

best ride ever with the pony I was riding (the same pony as in the July 2015 extract above), in a good mood before lesson, single jump at B & then a long related distance down the other long side, in warm up quite forward going when I kept my leg on but I needed to keep him straight, not as nappy as usual though not perfect, serpentines working on standing up/ironing board/jump position,  had to circle after 1st fence as not straight enough after to jump related distance, need to work on straightness but kept pony forward going & stopped him from napping, my instructor said best jumping seen me do

– extract from my riding journal, December 2015

In each journal entry I always list which horse I was riding, where I rode, and what I did. Then I usually write a bit about what the horse is like, and try to analyse (at a basic level!) their way of going according to the scales of training. To finish I add what I learnt and/or achieved, but generally I try to keep each entry chronological so I might write this earlier if it fits.

And, of course, you can’t forget the date!!!

Hopefully this will give you some ideas about how to keep a riding journal! Let me know how you get on!!

Happy riding!!!

Horse Daydreamer xxx