Dressage lesson with Brooksby Dressage: Back to work

There is no one else that I would have rather have had our first lesson back than with than Brooksby Dressage. I was so nervous beforehand, and afterwards realised how rusty I am! Shocking how many bad habits have crept back in, I need a proper boot camp session to get everything back under control.

Three things. Short reins(!) hands very still with active fingers, and suppleness.
"You cross your legs like dis..."
Warm up was once again on my favourite 3/4 line. You cannot hide anywhere and you have to have the shoulders under control, and your hands and legs have to be coordinated.

The left canter felt just so awkward, I felt like I can't sit properly to it without making him do a flying change. After 5 minutes it got lots better, so it might just have to be something that will come back to me the more I have lessons. And today when I attempted it again it was much easier but still, I must work on this because the right canter is no problem,  the canter flows better and I find it nicer to sit to. On both reins the horse must be 100% straight, and I must focus on not flexing/bending him to the inside in the corners - he can do a corner without his outside shoulder escaping!
"And then dis way..."
Because we only wanted to do a maximum of 30 minutes of work to make sure it wasn't too much for Vallu, we only worked on one exercise which was: trot down the centreline, turning with outside rein and leg. Straight for a few strides, then start leg yielding to the edge (either E or B), then change to half pass then back to leg yield. This gets both the shoulders under control and hind end active. And having to change between leg yielding and half passing for me is a massive brain work out.

Just look at his little ears and his knee action! <3

Next mini lesson on Tuesday! Luckily Vallu is being clipped Monday night so hopefully it won't take me three hours to get him to dry after a lesson again.


My new winter love

With winter firmly approaching and temperatures dropping, I feel like it's time to bring out all the rugs. If I am having to increase the amount of layers that I'm wearing, then so does Vallu. And omg, my horse has nicer clothes than me?! This HV Polo exercise is to dieeeee for! ♥︎ It is amazingly soft and I really appreciate how much effort and attention to detail was paid when designing this. We got compliments on it from people who don't even really like my matchy matchy who said it looked really smart!



There's nothing quite like being able to ride outdoors in the sunshine on a warm autumn afternoon. After the visiting the vets last Monday, Vallu had four days of walking followed by a weekend of hacking out so you can imagine that come Monday afternoon I was sitting on fire breathing dragon/ticking time bomb of a horse who was very excited to do proper work. Vallu bounced from one end of the indoor to the other end, refused to do trot for more than five strides before cantering off squealing... And I couldn't help but laugh and smile at how happy he was.
This week we're sticking to only 15 minutes of work a day to gently introduce him back to proper work, next week 30 minutes and the following week 45 minutes. I'm so happy to be even allowed to do fifteen minutes of trot and canter without constantly having to doubt myself that it might be hurting him. End of next week we are having a mini lesson with Lili so that she can have a look at how Vallu is moving and to give me a bit of help - 4 months of no training has ruined my seat and made my aids so much slower. I can't wait :)


Peace of mind

Although Vallu has improved dramatically when looking back and comparing to his initial lameness, there was a constant fear that something was still just not right and as we have given him and his shoulder so much time off that we came to the conclusion that we needed to have him checked over. So off we popped to Oakham Vet Hospital. 

Vallu was lunged on a hard surface, ridden in the arena, lunged in the arena, he had flexion tests done and then even more lunging on a hard surface to really see if we could get anything to react. And of course his shoulder was deemed to be fine by the vets, but his hind legs reacted a little bit. In the end, we decided to have all of his legs scanned and his hocks x-rayed to see what was going on. Even though it felt like it took forever for the vet to look at the scans and x-rays, the result was a lot more positive than I could have ever hoped for. There were some tiny changes that could be seen from the X-rays of the hocks which the vet said that they looked a lot better than he was expecting! And that these changes are more than normal for fourteen, going on fifteen year old advanced dressage horse. From the scans we could see some inflammation of the origin of the suspensory ligaments on the hind legs, which he got injections for.
I was more than pleasantly surprised to have the vet tell me "to be more positive about the outlook" and to "get the horse back in the work that it obviously wants to do"! Vallu was incredibly excited to be doing proper work, as when being ridden the vet wanted to see how he would react to more advance movements and more pressure. Thus Vallu decided to show every move under the sun - flying changes, piaffe as well as taking off with me down the long side! Cheeky pony! :D

We now have four easy days after which we have permission to go back into normal work! I'm so excited for this! It is such a relief to have a vet go 'there's nothing really wrong with this horse' and to carry on with proper work. Obviously the time off to heal his shoulder has worked (alongside the hard work done by my physio), and the only logical thing to do now is to see how it responds to more pressure and more work. Everyone keep their fingers crossed for us?