Show time! In pictures

I’ve not been active at all this week I’ve been totally overwhelmed with work, vets and being super sleepy.

As you all know I competed last week on my Millie and Zimmy, one of our liveries. 

We had an awesome photographer there as well –Equine photography by Daisy – she also edits, mounts and even puts your picture on a canvas or keyring! Her page is fairly new so do give it a like to watch her progress and find out about horsey events she’s at! 

As I mentioned in my blog posts about the show and my lazy riding that Zimmy and I haven’t been going so well lately but my naughty, hormonal Millie was outstanding with 61.52% on our first ever test/show. Considering she has thrown me off so many times in the past few months to a year, with multiple falls in one thirty minutes session and one time through a wooden fence I think that’s fantastic. 

First up her are some picture of Zimmy and I: 


Just as tense as each other


I love photos in canter, they look so graceful but we know how much work it takes to keep you bum where it should be. Photos like these are a lot like looking at a swan – so peaceful above the surface but underneath they’re working overtime. 


I love show shot of Zimmy. (But how uneven are my hands!!!) 


Free walk on a LONG rein – not a loose rein next time.


Obviously these are taken on different tests. But it’s the best part of every test ….. the end. 


Got my game face on! Zimmy? Not so much. 


Breathing and relaxing for the first time since the test started. Every competitor can relate. 

Now for Millie and I: 


Doesn’t she shine!? 

Not round but still pretty. 

So excited for the next show! To improve and get better score. Looking at photos is always good to make little tweaks to your riding and position. But ever since my post from my first ever show. The nerves are still overwhelming! 

Catch you laters, 

Eloiseđź’•

Show time!: Cloud nine 

This weekend we had another show at the farm. 

Again I competed on my noble stead Zimmocha, but she wasn’t feeling it this weekend. She decided on the Saturday that it was too windy and she really didn’t like the flower pots around the arena and had other plans when it came to cantering KEH and sort of went KEGHA and we placed 3rd…….. Out of three. But I’m not angry or disappointed, she just wasn’t feeling it. On the Sunday however, I was just so tense from the test before that it showed in my riding. We placed 6th… But I’m just chuffed that the rosette is pink! 

But the real star girl this weekend was my gorgeous bay. Millie. Yes, Millie as in the hormonal, fence destroying, bronking moody mare. 

We won. 

I know, I’m on cloud nine. 

Without thinking I tacked her up as normal and headed over to the warm up arena and was stopped by my boss who told me I couldn’t ride in a pelum and martingale. (I had no idea, all I wanna do is jump) And I broke down, I was a mess. But I feel if I knew this before hand I wouldn’t have even entered. The shock in the sudden change of bit obviously took Millie by surprise as she didn’t yank my arms out!! She offered me a natural outline, which I wasn’t expecting so I didn’t hold he in it – so a lot of the comment mentioned her being quite hollow. But the judges overall comments started with “lots to like” which I am so incredibly happy with. 

Moving forward we start Millie’s hormone therapy today, which means we can build on these skills and our 61.52%. Not bad for our first ever show hey? 

Catch you laters 

Eloiseđź’•

Millie

So I’ve mentioned Millie a lot in past posts but I’ve never really described her fully (I’ve only really made her out to be naughty) 

Millie is a huge part of my life. She’s my main goal and focus and although I’m often disheartened by her I know deep down it’ll take a lot for my to give up on her. She’s a playful, 15.2hh cob x shire. She’s what I call a “thermal bay” as she her coat changes from chestnut bay to dark bay depending on the weather. 

Before Millie I had only ever ridden riding school horses, I couldn’t sit to canter and I have no idea what contact was. 

So you’ll probably think I’m a total idiot when I say we got Millie three years ago when she was only six. You read that right, six years old. But my mum and I fell head over heal for her. We travelled four hours to view her and we know in the time it took her to pop her head over the stable door that we were going to have her. My mum and I exchanged glances and she told me to “keep a level head, just because she’s gorgeous doesn’t mean she’s right for us” 

Looking back, we didn’t keep a level head, she wasn’t right for us at all.

My mum had been out of the horsey world for a few years and I knew next to nothing about horses. So essentially we were two total novices about to bring on a youngster. We were totally bonkers. 

But Millie (her original stable name was Mimi which was THE first thing we changed) was a gorgeous, bare footed playful loveable lump who you just couldn’t not love. 

Then you’d sit on her, she didn’t know what anything meant. All leg aids meant go faster and she had zero bend in her. 

As we pushed her, she pushed us. She napped, ran backwards, bucks, bunny hops, flying bucks until our confidence was crushed. My mums especially with the motive “I’m too young to bounce” we had people out to school her, we had her checked for any pain, teeth, back, physios what seemed like every few days. 

Gradually Millie improved and my riding came on leaps and bounds. But it has still taken three years to sit to her powerhouse canter.

My goal is to jump, it’s what I want to do. It’s definitely what Millie wants. It’s what we will eventually do.

But she’s quick, very quick and equally as strong so getting her strides it’s still a problem. 

But in the spring something awful happens, she’s dangerous to ride. Four weeks ago she put me through the wooden fencing around the riding arena. Luckily I was only scraped and bruised. 

We are currently toying with regumate. Supplement don’t touch her. She’s marey all year around but worse and dangerous in the spring/ early summer. Cats have said it looks like she has mothered a foal which explains a lot -she thinks she should be out sh*gging not doing canter poles-. She also shows  a few signs of pain, in canter it feels like she’s trying to run from something despite all the bit changes you can imagine (the end of the saddle sits right near her ovaries and canter will put the most pressure on that area), leaning back when she naps makes her worse and brushing and towel drying her in that area makes her angry. 

Her vaccinations are due Monday so I will keep you updated on our next steps. 

But with Millie it’s not all doom and gloom, I love her and spending time with her. And we play, a lot. She chases me, “paws” at me when I sit in her field, and lunging her is more play than work as she runs in towards me and I run to her and just before to collide she playfully runs away. 

But she is much bigger than me and playing can end in pain (well for me anyway) ​

​

My face at the end is shock and concern because she HATES hurting me. 

If you have any tips for us please leave a comment, everything is welcome! 

Catch ya laters, 

Eloiseđź’•

Why most horse owners HATE spring time

Picture it now – you’re out on a countryside walk with loved ones, surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, blossoms, glorious flowers and adorable little lambs skip along around you. Beautiful right? 

Then suddenly you hear the roaring of horse hooves and screams rapidly close in from behind. You turn. There, hurtling towards you is a sweaty horse with its nostrils and eyes wide with a rider barely holding on. 

That’s right, that’s horse is a grassatic. I call it grassatic because it was one thought that mental disposition was caused by the moon – Luna –  hence the term Lunatic. This is the same kinda thing but with horses and the spring grass. 

Not all horses experience this change. But most people will be sitting reading this and nodding. 

Ok, maybe my example at the beginning was a little extreme but I mean it when I say some horses can be like Jeckle and Hyde with the seasons. To the point where I now believe that when we bought my mare we actually acquired two horses – Millie and spring Millie -. 

It may be the lush green grass or it my even be that out four legged friends aren’t as innocent as we first thought and they know that spring has definitely sprung. If you know what I mean. 

Bucking, rearing, bolting and just being damn right rude are all symptoms Millie and some of her friends show this time of year and with show season right under our noses it can be a stressful time. Just two days ago, Millie bolted with me in the area and all I could do to stop her was to turn her on a circle which spiralled smaller and smaller until Millie was cantering on a fifty pence piece. (Incredible, I know and Hell would freeze over before I got her to do that intentionally) 

It can be scary, so please if your a non horsey person try and understand that your partner/sibling/son/daughter/friend may just want you to stay with them while they ride. You don’t have to do anything just sit and watch and you’ll instantly be a human safety blanket. And don’t even think about saying thinks like “well maybe you shouldn’t ride” or “maybe (s)he blames you” when something goes wrong. 

And if you are horsey and going through this, you’re not alone. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, it’s natural. It’s spring, most animals are hungry and horny. And there’s not that long left of spring in the grand scheme of things. Just help each other and tell each other stories of your grassatic experiences. It’s helps to know you’re not alone. 

Catch ya laters

Eloiseđź’•

Riders wobbles

We’ve all been there. Too scared to get on your own horse, to the point you think up the most ridiculous excuses to not get on them. Sometimes it’s because your four legged friend has thrown their teddies out of the pram because trotting in an outline is just too much or because there’s just something about your riding you just cannot correct. 

Everyone’s had what I call a “wobble” and people who say they haven’t are lying.

It’s nothing to be embarrassed about because at the end of the day you’re sitting on a living animal which can often be scared to death by a leaf being too crispy under foot. 

Three years ago I got my first horse. Millie, who was six at the time, was very green. Once she got comfortable she knew how to push buttons and knew where mine and my mums weaknesses were. Shortly after she started running backwards, tossing her head and pulling the reins right out of our hands. No big deal, we worked her harder. 

Then the bucking, paddling and bunny hopping started. Riding lessons seemed to be more focus on teaching me to sit to her tantrums than on making her work properly. Riding Millie mostly consisted of tears, arguments and a sandy bottom from when I ended up on the floor. With this Millie made a bit of a name for herself at the yard. 

After a lesson in which she floored me four times in twenty minutes, each time upping her game, we turned her away for the summer as she was too dangerous for me to ride. As soon as September hit we dropped her off in Leeds to “boot camp” with Richard Barton, on our way to a family holiday in Scotland. 

Within two days Richard was jumping her. That’s when the wobbles really set in. I. Wasn’t. Good. Enough. I’m not strong enough, experienced enough. She deserves better. 

After two weeks Millie returned home and I rode her. Practising everything I was told to. And if it wasn’t perfect I got so angry with myself and took it out on Millie. “All of this is my fault” “Millie was only like this because I’m not riding her properly” was all I could think when I was on her. 

But I never gave up on her. I just couldn’t. If I gave her up I would give up riding altogether.

Now we’ve dipped our toes into jumping and she loves it. We can canter out on hacks and she’s a different horse. But I STILL get wobbles. 

When I rode a different horse for work I would spend the whole time tacking up repeating “This horse is not Millie” over and over in my head. And sometimes even have to do it now. 

Millie has so much power in her back end and canter for her is all or nothing making it incredibly difficult to sit to. Four weeks ago I jarred my back cantering her and it took me almost two weeks to get back on her again. People thought I was stupid because of how far we have come and a silly little thing like that would set me back but once it’s in your head, it sticks.

And it’s natural, completely and utterly natural to sometimes be so tense whilst riding that your whole body aches when you dismount. It’s natural to make excuses to not ride today and put it off and off and off. 

But you’ve got to celebrate the little victories. You rode your horse past that scary looking tree today? GO YOU. You walked your horse around the school after you said you weren’t going to ride at all today? GO YOU. You sat on your horse for the first time in a while today? YES GET IN THERE!! GO YOU! 

From my experiences, riding wobbles are formed when we look at the negatives. For example, your horse lost it because a bird flew out in front of you but (s)he also stood perfectly for cars and a tractor. Or, that was a really shitty transition BUT (s)he was genuinely listening to what you were asking of them. 

If you’re currently having a wobble, take your time, it will come but don’t keep it to yourself. Talk to someone you trust and ask for help. Be patient and take baby steps. 

Trust me, you’ll never look back! 

Catch ya laters,

Eloiseđź’•