Laura's Blog

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  1.  

    May 2012

    May started out much like how April had finished … Rain - leading to more events being cancelled including Chatsworth International. I was disappointed to lose my first two runs out as my plan flowed and would have set me up for the tougher events.

    I did get in another show jump practice however, please see Arena UK article in the New page.

    Wizard was all set for a run and thank goodness we finally received an entry confirmation at Little Downham International Event. 

    A last dressage lesson before the event really highlight an issue that had been creeping in; convinced it was a result of a weakness in my back I asked Malcolm (my dressage trainer) to ride Wizard. He definitely could feel the problem but thought it was a pain related issue Wizard may have. He was completely blocking his right side and becoming difficult to turn however the left was his usual; lovely and soft. Wizard seemed to be going better for Malcolm but he wasn’t happy with the result so I called on the expertise of my equine physio Ettie Cook (also fellow event rider.)

    Ettie was brilliant and came out straight away. She remark on how well Wizard was looking and with a full assessment couldn’t find anything that would cause the issue. Back to square one! The equine dentist is booked for the end of the month. Malcolm had given me lots of exercises to do with Wizard to help him loosen up, which help although I am keen to resolve the issue.

    Despite this Drama we managed a 26.5 dressage score at Little Downham International! Thanks to Malcolm for helping me warm up too. For the full report please see NEWs page.

    It was strange to think on the drive to Shelford Manor Horse Trials that a week ago we were all freezing at LD now it was a heat wave! After the Blip from the last event I was determined for not only a good run but for an amazing one! The course looked nice, a few questions but nothing scary. The heat really affected Wizard; to be honest I could have quite easily envisage him on a sun lounger with a glass of Pimms! The dressage test didn’t impress him and we lack some impulsion thanks to the heat despite this a nice test resulted in a mark of 32. The open section was full of established experienced combinations, even with our good score it put us midfield. Wizard perked up when it came to the show jumping and we jumped another lovely clear – I really hope this trend will continue. After this we heard the commentator asking for more XC riders’ to come forwards early; I had to decide, crack on or give Wizard a break and go on our time. Normally I would just have got on with things but due to the heat I untack washed him down and went on our time. I think it was the best decision as it really was incredibly hot. We seemed to be round the XC before I knew it and everything jumped nicely. Between fences 8 and 9 there was a long galloping stretch down the side of the wood, on the end a turn to a skinny. I was worried about not being able to get Wizard back under control in time and with a few rider saying the fence hits you really fast and would be easy to miss I decide to take a control canter down the track. This proved to be a mistake; riding stronger Wizard was listening well to me and we jumped the combination with ease - although the canter meant we somehow managed to pick up 6.4 time penalties. Really! I was surprised and it pushed us out of 5th spot but all round it had been a good performance from us both. Wizard was so relieved to be untack then to have a lovely cool shower – it did look nice … I will confess I may have accidently on purpose gotten a mini cool shower too!!

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     Pics: Top Left - Dressage phase       Top Right - Chating with Alex Postolowsky         Middle Left - SJ phase         Middle Left - 'Wizards moment' :-)    

    Bottom Left - Shower time        Bottom Right - XC phase, The Hedge (fence 4)

    A well-deserved day off for Wizard who spent it relaxing and sunbathing in the sunshine. The next day I discovered he’d had a serve what looked like an allergic reaction to something. I called my vet to discuss the options and purchase some first aid spray which has herbal soothing properties. Thankfully it seems to be going down. Unable to ride we have missed out on a jump lesson and a trip to the gallops plus we are back at Little Downham next week! Fingers crossed we can run.

    Babykins has been behaving – mostly. It is due to have his first outing at the beginning of June. We are looking at entering him in some showing classes – he’s looking really well & is sure to stand out.

    Keep an eye on the NEWs page for an update to how the day unfolded.

    I would like to thank my newest supporter Wolds Exclusive Bling for Wizards gorgeous new browband. They sell fabulous, quality & very snazzy bridles, browbands & accessories. Please see their Facebook page for a full range of their products!

    New updates to this site coming soon … keep an eye out!

    Laura Xx

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
     
     
     
     

     

     

     

     

  2. April 2012

    This month seems to have come and gone quickly. The weather has held up a lot of preparation work and has led to events including Badminton to be cancelled. By the looks of things May isn’t looking any brighter.

    Finally I have been able to do a bit of riding although not pain free it is manageable. Wizard is working well and in fact is so relaxed my trainer Malcolm asked if he was on a calmer! I’m so pleased that he is happy and settled; our work is coming together nicely. I have been suffering from blonde moments whilst learning some new movements – lucky both Malcolm and Wizard have been patience and I think I am starting to master or at least understand them.

    I have even been show jumping, once and on lots of painkillers. Again Wizard’s calm attitude surprised all. We had a couple of rails down but I have put that down to me being rusty - as the last time we jumped a course was January! I feel dishearten as yet again I have not been able to put in the training we need and thrown us in at the deep end. Events in May looming perhaps we may be able to squeeze in another course practice before a competition….

    In March work with Babykins had been progressing so well; however, this month I’ve not had the time or was put off my downpours to keep up with the work. He will be having a ‘make-over’ this weekend – extra attention he will adore.

    Disappointingly Keysoe event has been cancelled leaving me a run short – fingers crossed I can reroute to Aston-Le-Walls but I have a feeling lots of people will have the same idea!

    Let’s hope May brings us all some sunshine.

    Laura Xx IMG_2366

     

     

     

     

  3. March 2012

    March 2012 didn't quite go how I had planned. The car accident had left me unable to ride rather than galloping around XC courses at events. Despite this it had been a successful month.

    Firstly, the launch of this site!! After years in the making it is now live. I have so many people to thank for their help and input - it really means so much. A huge Thank You!

    I have now gained my pony Club teaching accreditation! I am really looking forward to teaching at local Pony Club Branches this summer.

    Wizard seems to be making the most of his lighter work load - by working hard on his ever growing porky belly!! I'm determined to keep him as fit as possible and to keep me focused I have planned the first three months eventing program, hopefully realistically. Please see my Events page for what's coming up.

    I have moved Wizard to be stabled at Grange Farm, Wittering; a huge competition livery yard with top class facilities. It feels extra special for me as I have so many lovely childhood memories of riding ponies there. Wizard is so happy at his new home and with a cross country course, 2 large arenas, Indoor school, horse walker, miles of off road hacking and huge turnout paddocks we are definitely best prepared for the season ahead.

    Unable to ride I have been continuing to improve and educate Babykins with ground work and long reining. It has been so rewarding to see him learn and improve each day. He has even done a little XC schooling jumping on/off a bank and popping happily over tyre and log fences. As well as generally behaving in open spaces - which in itself it great for an ex-racer. He did meet two gorgeous donkeys whilst out for a walk around the village - unfortunately he did not share my opinion and was terrified! Hopefully we won't meet them again or perhaps I should arrange for them to share his paddock for a while! I cannot wait to start riding him again. Another issue I have is that he's grown so much since I first brought him and has gone from a narrow to a medium/wide saddle fitting - another huge expensive (any sponsors out there who'd like to buy Babykins a new saddle ;-)) As you can see from the pics below .... Highgate Cat racing as a 2yo, Babykins when we brought him (tiny) and babykins now (filled out a lot!)

    babyracing babytiny babysummer11
     
    Here are some photos below of Babykins schooling - he is learning sideways movements, growing in confidence jumping a range of obstacles, respect and control from the leader/handler, general good manners and obedience.
     
    babyjump babyover1 babyover2 babyover3 babyme
     
    I would like to take this opportunity to say a big Congratulations to Lauren Essex & her stunning horse Minty for their well-deserved win in the Novice dressage test at Sissons Farm EC with a score of 72%!!
     
    laurenandminty
     
    The end of March see's the first of the "big" Events this season - Belton International Horse Trials. Unable to ride I went to watch the pro's in action, support some friends and of course have a jolly good natter! It was lovely to see Alex (Postolowsky) and she has sent me a lovely picture (below) of herself and Wizard competing at Osberton NRF.
     
    alexWiz
     
    Fingers crossed April will see LR Eventing back on track ......
     
    Laura Xx

     

     

     

     

     

  4. Due to Wizards previous tendon injury I have been very carefully keeping a close eye on his lower leg and had noticed that after fitness work there would be some heat. Concerned and with a closer inspection I noticed that his hoofs on the inside sloped at different angles to the outside. The more I looked, the more obvious the difference seemed. How had I not noticed this before? I then questioned this with Hilary Westropp (BHSI) who explained in further detail about hoof balance and what to look out for. We both could clearly see that Wizards hoofs where out of balance causing him to be putting more strain on the outside of his legs and hoofs, perhaps resulting in the heat.

    Hilary suggested specialist shoeing and referred me to Oakham Veterinary Centre where Martin Deacon holds weekly clinics for horses that have come to the hospital with problems that stem from incorrect or poor foot balance. Martin is a Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (the highest accolade for farriers in the UK) and runs a progressive farriery practice in Leicestershire. "Correct foot balance is the key to soundness and performance." Martin is also co-author of the book 'No foot no horse. Foot balance; the key to soundness and performance', Specialised shoeing after removal of a keratoma, shoe fitted with lateral extensions to improve foot balance.

    Martin gave Wizard an assessment; watching him walk and trot up. He then removed Wizard's old shoes, explaining each step he then trimmed and rebalance his hoof. I could see the difference immediately! Amazed and if I'm honest then feeling guilty for overlooking this, I should have realised sooner. Poor Wizard - now I've learnt a huge valuable lesson "never over look anything & question everything!" Martin said it would take a few sessions to make a big difference but was happy with the results and his hoof balance is improving - but as you can imagine it's a slow process.

    Now Stephen Hill (recommended by Martin) has taken over the majority of Wizards shoeing. Continuing to make improvements, adjusting the shoe rather than Wizards hoofs to retain correct balance. Stephen and Martin work brilliantly together to keep Wizard comfortable and I'm very grateful to them both. Thank you!!

    As the saying goes "No foot, No Horse" I would highly recommend Martin and Stephen to anyone and would like to stress the importance of finding the right farrier for you, your horse and discipline.