31 Day Social Media Challenge Day 1 - Motivate Monday

Because I've really struggled with blogging over the last few months thanks to the sheer loads of university work as well as suddenly having three horses to look after, I decided that what better way to kick things up a notch and try to get back to normal than by doing a 31 day social media challenge! I decided to join in on The Equine Business Assistant‎'s month long social media challenge to really test myself this month. In June I'll be in Germany with the horses so who knows how much I'll be able to blog there so I feel like I need to have one month where I am blogging/on social media as much as possible 😇 Some of the posts will be done on the blog's Facebook page when there isn't enough for an actual blog post, so be sure to be following that and some of the daily posts might also be on my Instagram account!
"The secret to happiness is freedom... And the secret to freedom is courage" (Thucydides). What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?


Trends to watch out for: Spooks SS18

As I just received my very first Spooks saddle pad, I realise how foolish I had been for not including Spooks in my 'trends to watch out for' series, where I cover my favourite equestrian brands, their new season collections and any exciting new products they have launched!
Spooks is very much one of my favourite brands aesthetically at purely because  I love the look of their rider clothing (especially their breeches and hoodies) and their willingness to use sequins and sparkles on everything totally appeals to the inner princess in me 👑 They stick to good clean patterns, but include a dabble of glitter or sequins to jazz it up a bit! This season Spooks has gone for a mix of ombre, glittery and sequin details in their products, but especially in their rider clothing. Apart from the normal navy, grey and black and the classy silvers, greys and whites; there are also bright blues, greens and pinks thrown in for good measure and to appeal to as many customers as possible. My ONLY problem with them is there are no matching boots or bandages... 🙄 Just why?


Are you expecting too much of yourself and your horse?

I always knew having horses and completing a master's degree would be difficult, even with the having the horses at home. But I expected it to be easier than it has been, because my bachelor's degree wasn't as difficult as this! There honestly haven't been enough hours in the day, and the last couple of months have been hellish due to a lack of sleep and constant stress. I'm currently SO close to the end, I just need to finish off my master's thesis, complete my last language course and get the results of the test of my last compulsory module. Yet I feel like for the last few months I've been a total failure to my horses, they had to deal with less time and attention from me, and more days off than usual because riding 3 horses every day is just not possible when you're trying to finish up your degree! 🎓
And then a friend said to me that "you're expecting way too much of yourself". A lot of people (without horses!) struggle to complete their master's degrees, and I've been doing it with three horses and a yard to run! And this made me think that the reason I've felt so bloody guilty is because I've had to put university work first ahead of the horses for the first time in my life AND I've been expecting too much of myself. The perfectionist in me has been dying because I've not blogged regularly and ridden every day. But perfectionism means setting our goals too high and having unrealistic expectations. Being averse to failure is often driven by an underlying sense of shame and that's exactly what I've felt.


Riding exercise of the month: control the tempo of your flying changes

Whilst I've been riding my new horse Erkki for the last month now, I've been having fun trying to build up his strength in the canter and especially his flying changes. He has a tendency to rush through the changes if he's doing them across a diagonal, so I've had to get creative and think of ways that I can get him to slow down just a bit and start to listen to my aids and doing the change when I ask him rather than guessing when I'd like them!
The only thing that has really worked well with him has been to practise flying changes on a 20m circle! So if you're riding a circle at the middle of the arena, each time you get to the long side you ask for a flying change (so change at the E and B markers) and if after a couple of repetitions the horse starts to guess and take over, then start asking for the changes when you cross the centreline (so change at I and L if you're riding on 20x60 arena). By alternating where I've asked for the change, he's not had the chance to take over and he really starts to listen to me! 👏🏻 He is currently still weak behind so I can only ask for two changes on a circle because otherwise he struggles too much with his long legs! But I'm sure in six months time we will be able to do a couple more.


New boy!

In case you don't remember, in October last year my mum bought a new horse for herself when we all thought that Rama (who is 20 years old this year) would have to start his work being slowly reduced to get him to a semi-retired state... Well it's not exactly gone to plan 😅 as Rama is fresh AF and acting like as if he's ten years old rather than twenty and clearly not ready to be retired yet.
So, meet my new super early "well done for getting your Master's degree and 25th birthday present"... Erkki! He's a 14 year old Danish WB gelding (Blue Hors Don Schufro x Racot). Because of his ridiculous show name, he is known as Erkki but I know he'll become Eric once we move back to the UK since I don't think anyone will be able to pronounce it. I AM SO BLESSED that my parents have agreed to keep him for me to ride rather than selling him on, they really the best parents ever! 💖