Wow, what a month, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year. I have been SO busy with work, horses and preparing for Christmas!!

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Before the show ready to hand out the prize’s

We kicked off December with our local club’s Christmas show where I handed out my bags of Honeychop as prizes to the people who placed in first and second on the day! My Honeychop went down a treat, lots of cheerful riders heading home with some chaff for their horses! The calm and shine is by far proving the most popular, and is what I feed to Skip too! He loves it! Not only are people delighted to have had the opportunity to get some free chaff, but they are also delighted with the results from using the products and with how much their ponies love the Honeychop!

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A couple of happy winners

I had 50+ of my Facebook friends like the Honeychop Facebook page in the space of a few days, it just goes to show how great the products are and I think it’s great that people in Aberdeenshire are getting on the Honeychop band wagon and are making good use of the products available to them, that perhaps they haven’t heard of before. I am really enjoying promoting the products and telling people about the Honeychop, as is my mum! Mum has been great at helping me out with the Honeychop adventure and she is also enjoying telling people all about their super range of products and handing out samples!!

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Skip & I in full costume

So whilst giving out my chaff, I also managed to ride Skip at the show! We jumped the 80cm and the 90cm, Skip was on top form, absolutely flying and loving every minute. He’s my little super star. He also showed off his swanky new blanket clip at the show, a red love heart on his bum, a set of reindeer antlers and a red nose!! #christmasspirit!!

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Skip at his last competition of the year

 

Then…we packed up the lorry and headed for a lesson with the amazing team GBR rider NICOLA WILSON!! I was ridiculously excited not only to meet Nicola but to have a lesson from her, and what a great lesson it was too. She is such a lovely woman and my face was beaming for the remainder of the weekend! She was very complimentary of Mr Skip!

Schooling in Honeychop gear (blog)

Schooling in Honeychop gear

Skip on the weigh bridge (blog)

Skip on the weigh bridge

In other ways we have been busy too, this month Skip got a shot on the weigh bridge, I was very interested to see what he weighed, it turned out to be much as I expected, 682kg! But I wanted to be sure!

 

So we got our next lesson through from Tim, this one puzzled me a little. It looked complicated, and I had a feeling that we would struggle with this exercise, but maybe I shouldn’t think like that! Changing legs is not our best forte. It’s something we definitely do need to work on – so I set to work …with an open mind, as I really didn’t know what to expect from Skip, it’s hard to know how he will take to things as his schooling and general ridden work knowledge is minimal. Again I hired some time in a local facility, purely to have a little extra bit of room that we don’t have in our arena at home. Skip is a gem, he stands quietly still and watches me contentedly as I set up my exercises – every time without fail. The boy does make me smile! I decided that in order to get my bearings, I should start in trot, get a feel for the exercise and how much room I did or didn’t have and so on. So then we popped up into canter and got going. Skip found it hard, he kept breaking his canter on approach to the poles and again after the poles when I was trying to circle and I found it really hard to keep him going and steer the ¾ tonne weight of draught horse to the next fence! He is still quite unbalanced in his canter work, but in saying that, there really is a huge difference in it since I got him last year. This exercise took a lot of tweaking, you have to get the jumps in exactly the right place, otherwise you just can’t make the turns. This exercise was definitely the most challenging one yet. I tried and tried to get the exercise to flow. It just wasn’t happening. Poor Skip, he was trying so hard and bless him he was jumping really nicely. As we had hired a local facility, we only had an hour, perhaps if I had longer to get the set up perfected we might have got on better. However I am definitely going to keep trying this exercise.  We really need the benefits that getting this exercise right could have. So I am not going to give up and will keep trying! Tim’s previous exercises are definitely helping us with our rhythm and I have definitely got a far more adjustable canter than I did when I started, and it’s only been 3 months! I am so looking forward to being able to look back in 9 months’ time to see just how much we have improved. Whatever will our next exercise bring?!

Check out the Scottish Rider mag for my write up on last month’s exercise!

Catch up again soon! Grace x