Double bridle from EquiWare UK

Vallu’s double bridle is well over 10 years old, as it was originally bought for mum’s mare when she was younger and after she was retired mum could not sell it or give it away but despite me giving it lots of TLC and taking REALLY good care of it for the last 5 years or so it has finally started to show signs that it’s time to buy a new bridle. The leather has got the tiniest of cracks on the headpiece and the noseband so although I can still safely use it for now, I won’t be able to for too long before I'd start feeling uncomfortable and worried about it. 

So then started the hunt for a new double bridle 🕵🏼 I knew exactly what I wanted, it was just finding a company that either had exactly what I wanted or were willing to create one for me. My requirements were: an anatomically shaped headpiece which is softly padded, an anatomically shaped noseband and the throatlash and cheekpieces made of rolled leather. I essentially wanted what my snaffle bridle is but with an anatomically shaped noseband and extra cheek pieces for the other bit. I first looked at BR’s bridles since this is where Vallu’s snaffle bridle is from, but after emailing them about the sizing of their bridles I realised that it would be a risk to buy their biggest size since even that might end up being too small. There was always the option of PS of Sweden, but they are SO expensive that my bank card was sobbing at the thought of paying for one. One evening I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a British company called EquiWare UK. One of their sponsored riders is my lovely friend Jessica from Gee Gee & Me blog so after messaging her and asking her lots of questions I decided to get in contact with Evie from EquiWare UK.


Be aware of the activity

Carl Hester had been in Australia doing a clinic and in one of the many blog posts about it I saw a quote of his that said: "how many strides do you ride in a 20 meter circle? You need to know." After reading this I realised that I actually don't know exactly how many strides I ride in a 20m circle on both my boys, I mean I can guess but I'm not totally sure... 🤔 So off I went the next time I rode and I counted how many strides I ride in a circle in both trot and canter on both boys in trot and canter .... And yeah, I've had to work really hard over the last few weeks to perfect my circles so that they stay consistently nearly the same amount of strides and don't vary too much!


10 tips for organising your tack

As is well known by friends and family, I have a major tendency to buy lots of things for my horses and for myself. Over-reach boots, bandages, lead ropes, rugs you name it! I'm sure everyone has at least once in their life gone to a tack shop to buy one thing and come out with lots more things than you intended 🙈 It's like you can't stop and it's even worse with online shopping where you see something pretty in the  catalog and you end up buying another pretty sparkly thing. And eventually, you run out of space even if you already have lots of shelves dedicated for all your stuff 🙄
So after having had a major spring clean/clearing up session, I have thought of some tips to organise your tack efficiently so that you don’t come to hunt for that thing that you had in your hand yesterday but can't find it when you need it! 

Tips for organising your tack:
1. Make sure to have a big enough grooming bag to hold all of your brushes, lotions and potions. I can recommend the Eskdron grooming kits, they are very very good but my favourite is this Kingsland grooming bag ⬇️ It's just that bit bigger and has a slightly better shape to it. I can always overfill an Eskadron bag with all my stuff but I've never managed yet it with this one!
2. If you have a tack locker or shelves that you have to share with others, buy lots of clear plastic boxes. You can stack the boxes on top of each other and so get more bang for your buck, but it also looks so much more tidy and organised than without!

On a side note - it also helps to put your sweets/cookies/polos/sugar lumps into small plastic boxes so that they don't attract mice or other little creatures.


Trends to watch out for: Eskadron Next Generation SS17

ALOHA! It's here, it's finally here the newest Next Generation collection from Eskadron! If you remember last autumn Eskadron replaced NG with the Heritage collection (which I wrote about here) and if you recall I was quite dissapointed with the loss of the NG, so you can imagine how pleased I was when I heard about it coming back for the SS17 season!
Now this collection is not for those who like the more sedate/classic colour schemes, because Eskadron decided to go big and bold and incorporate flowers, feathers and an Astec type pattern into this collection! So risky, which is why I really admire Eskadron. I can't imagine a lot of the more famous big brands doing anything like this. It may or may not prove to be popular, but well done for trying something like this major points! The colours are anthracite (black) grenadine (orangey colour) light grey, smoked blue and white.


One year 'not broken horse anymore' anniversary

How time flies! 🎉🎊 I'm so happy that we've managed a year without any major set backs and no reoccurring broken pony (fingers crossed, knocks on wood 👍🏻) This time last year I was ecstatic to have the vet tell that I could start riding Vallu again after having gone through nearly 4 months of an emotional rollercoaster where during the worst times I thought I was never going to get to ride Vallu again. My poor vet, I can still remember her having to deal with me crying and shaking when she said that his leg looked good!

And here we are a year later, and I'm still overjoyed to be riding my Heart Attack Horse 🐴 I'm trying to get us out doing a medium level test as soon as possible, because he feels really happy and healthy at the moment! I'm just waiting for mum to check his saddle and for the chiropractor and sport massage practisoner to treat him before really pushing on towards competitions!


Outdoor season!

Finally! Last week I've been able to exercise both boys in our outdoor arena! I've been really feeling quite claustrophobic in the indoor as we've been using it for over 7 months now, so I was really pleased to be able to ride outside, even if it was a bit speedy at times 🏇💨
I kept things really simple with both boys, just doing lots of circles and transitions in an attempt to keep them a bit focussed on me so that neither would have the time to spook at something. Basse earned lots of gold stars for being hoof perfect and not being bothered by anything ⭐️ Vallu on the other hand was near a total breakdown for 99% of the first ride outside... 🙈 Even though he'd been lunged 3 days in a row on the outdoor arena so that he would be used to it, on the day that I rode him for some reason the road was really busy and there was lots going on which meant that I was pleased to trot around the arena both ways and to not have fallen off! Here's hoping this week it will be a bit calmer when I ride him so that I could possibly even canter without being ejected off into orbit.


Training day!

Last Friday I had an amazing but hectic day training where at the end of the day I felt like I had been at a training camp for a week, my head was just full of new ideas and I had so many light bulb moments! 💡🐴

In the morning, I had a lesson with the amazing Jenny Erikson and Vallu totally redeemed himself from last time! It was a brilliant training session, I was so pleased with both Vallu and myself. Of course when a lesson is brilliant that's the one time there is no photographic evidence as I was on my own. Vallu was working with me, cooperative and just the right amount of forwardness (apart from a few spooks, but those had legitimate reasons!) 


Blue Sunday

Warming up in trot - look at his little ears!!
On Sunday I had a really "just OK" ride on Vallu. It wasn't the best ride ever and a few months ago I would have been really bummed out about it, but now I'm actually really proud of what we achieved that day. Vallu came out so hot that the moment I picked up my reins he was off - which is normally nice - but this time I had no breaks and no steering and he was just running away with me! 🏇💨 But instead of getting frustrated or scared, I actually made him work with me practising either riding down the centre line or the ¾ line in his 'small' trot so that he actually had to work over his back and relax through his neck. To tell the truth he was listening to my seat really well whilst simultaneously blocking my hand/rein aids, so I figured out I was better off working on straightness in collected trot and canter rather than doing transitions because doing transitions when he's in this kind of mood just seems to always end up in a very very hot and unrideable Vallu.


Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows

"Brighter than a lucky penny, when you're near the rain just disappears dear and I feel so fine just to know that you are mine. My life is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows"  ☀️🍭 🌈
Since the training sessions that I talked about in my last two blog posts, riding both boys has been so much fun! It's not been easy, we've actually had to all work quite hard doing the exercises that Jane recommend to us and it's had a massive impact on how well both of the boys are moving. Vallu has been on fire 🔥🔥🔥 every time I've ridden him and we've had a couple of spooks but thanks to my better and stronger seat I have felt SO much more comfortable dealing with these, and because I feel more confident Vallu is able to relax and let me call the shots. Doing travers every ride has improve his trot in such a short period of time that I'm astounded (or at least I think he looks better in these pictures that before!) I have even managed to have good rides on him with just a snaffle on, instead of his double bridle finally, thank god!!! 🙌🏻