So how are you all – did you survive January, the dark nights, and no money after Christmas, not to mention trying to stick to any new years resolutions you set?!  I did.  Just.  But I don’t know about you but I feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel with the winter weather and the dark nights, every week we gain just a bit more light and its nice to actually see Mikey in some sort of daylight during the week when I get to the yard in the evening after work!

Mikey enjoying his hacking

Mikey enjoying his hacking

This month has been all about bringing Mikey back in to ridden work – and I am happy to report it has been going great!  It seems patience has paid off and one thing I know for sure is horses and patience are a must have combination in order to remain sane!  Something that has been interesting to me of late is trying to work out a regime that works for him, since I have only owned Mikey for just over a year, like anything its been a bit of trial and error but it seems that we might of cracked it, increasing his hacking whilst reducing the number of times a week he is in the school!   It seems to be working just now so fingers crossed his progress remains on the up!  I had my first lesson for almost 3 months, and so as it was the first one for a while I was expecting it to be so so, but he felt fab – and in my lesson the following week Michaela (who regularly teaches me and runs the yard I am based at) said that if she didn’t know better she would think I had been practicing since my previous lesson – she knew I hadn’t in fact I hadn’t been in the school since my lesson the week before, but I was happy to take the compliment!  So it seems like less is more, I know talking to a few of my friends they feel like their horses go much better since reducing the schooling element  – and lets face it getting out hacking is much more fun anyway!  Onwards and upwards – I have just had the go ahead to increase his work even more so February will very much be about increasing his fitness and getting him ready to start thinking about jumping! Yippee.  We get to leave the floor again and I can’t wait!

 

In Hand Agility

In Hand Agility

As part of the progress and in a bid to do whatever I can to keep him improving I have been keeping up with the tens machine, every other day, it seems to be really helping keep him nice and loose through the back, I have got it down to a tee now though and clip it to his rug so I can get on and muck out instead of having to stand around for twenty minutes whilst his bum pulsates!   We all need to find time saving tips when at the yard lets face it! We have had a few more trips to the water treadmill and I have been really pleased with the results from that too, the water levels are now just below the knee, and as his fitness is improving Mikey seems to be finding it easier too, a few more visits and he will be trotting through the water! – I always find it hard to know to do to help keep a horse in tip top shape, we can end up spending so much time and money on all these things, and as a fairly new horse owner I am sure I have fallen in to the traps of some products but I do really think that both the tens machine and the water are both helping so plan to keep them up and see how they help as we start to introduce jumping back in to his workload.

Flying the flag at In Hand Agility

Flying the flag at In Hand Agility

With not much on at the weekends this month Mikey had a trip out to do some in hand horse agility with my niece Amy, we took a trip over to Thurleigh Equestrian Centre and joined in a clinic put on by East Anglian Horse Agility.  They had a great time their together, as expected Mikey wasn’t phased by anything, he went between the curtains, walked over the tarpaulin and stood whilst Amy waved flags in his face!  The one bit he didn’t seem to get was why she was asking him to step over a pole on the ground but only with his two front feet, he came round a dozen or so times and kept going barging through – with a bit of help from Amanda they managed to master it and even came 2nd in the little competition they ran on the day.  A great way to bomb proof your horse and good fun too.  Why not give it a go?

I have also taken the chance with the quieter weekends to do a bit more dressage writing, its really helpful to see it from the judges perspective, this time round I got to write for one of the novice tests, last year I competed Mikey at prelim so it was good to see the next class up – we just need to work on our medium paces being a bit more consistent and I am sure we can give a few novice tests a go!

 

 

As a keen wannabe eventer  like more of us I like to try and learn how to get better so a few friends and I headed over to Hartpury to the annual Eventing Forum, it was well worth what ended up being a very early start, I really enjoyed the demo from Lucinda Green, as well as giving a great lesson she had so many stories to tell, I am sure she would make a good dinner party guests with all her tales!

Your Horse Cover

Your Horse Cover

Homemade birthday treats

Homemade birthday treats

Saving the best till (almost) last the most exciting thing to happen this month?  Mikey and I appeared on the front page of Your Horse Magazine!  Last year I sent Mikey’s picture to the magazine and they chose him to come out and do a photo shoot with, I had totally forgotten about the pictures as it was almost a year ago, until a few weeks ago when one of my horsey friends tagged the picture of us on Facebook – my subscription had ran out so I didn’t know our picture had been used, thanks Kimberley I might not have noticed if you hadn’t of seen it! – I know I am biased but he is a very handsome chap and I am very proud that we got to be cover stars for the month!

Mikey turned another year older this month, and so not one to want to miss out on a birthday treat my niece Amy and I baked him some homemade tasty horse treats.  Spoilt you say? Not Mikey! Lol.

 

Last up is last months exercise from Tim, it was very similar to that of the previous months, last time we worked to further improve balance and bending now we were looking to build on that and improve control whilst turning. This exercise does need a bit more room than we have at home so we decided to use a bigger arena (we managed last months exercise in a 20×40) so as a tip if you are going to do it, make sure you have enough space.  My friend Nadine and her horse Moet volunteered for us again, Moet found it really easy to warm up over the exercise set out as ground poles so we quickly increased the ground poles to small cross poles, once thing we did notice (as with all jumping) as long as you have a good canter, and can keep the rhythm the fences regardless of the height or complexity don’t really matter, although the turns come up quickly if you keep the rhythm the fences ride themselves.

 

Until next month Laura and Mikey x