Aztec Diamond Equestrian - 'Behind The Scenes' press day & interview with Jordan McCabe

What a day this was! The lovely people at Aztec Diamond Equestrian and Sam Forrest PR invited me to an afternoon in London for a Behind The Scenes press day in the amazing Core Clapton building, in Upper Clapton  London. This equestrian brand has been hugely successful since launching in 2014, and now Aztec Diamond Equestrian are doing a 5 year anniversary re-brand and had invited the media to come to view the brand new collection at an exclusive “behind the scenes” media day. The event was held at an absolutely beautiful Edwardian space that is also used for yoga and wellness – it was such a nice place to visit, even if it took me hours to get there and hours to get back! One of the problems of living deep in the countryside in Wiltshire... But anyway, the lovely founder of the brand Jordan McCabe opened the doors for the media & bloggers to come along, meet her and her team and to see what goes on behind the scenes as they worked to create all the content the new collection for their new 5 year re-brand 🎉🎊
It was amazing to have Jordan walk me through the new collection on the rails, telling me about the styles, colours, new branding. She was incredibly busy, but still had the time to chat to me about the new products for ten minutes - you can tell just how passionate she is about all the products and how much it means to her to have these designs come to life! As a long time fan, it was lovely to see the new products but to also have the chance to touch & feel them and to see just how well made they are. My biggest worry with buying online products is that they won't feel as nice as you think they should when you're looking at the photos online, but trust me the AD stuff really is well made!


Yard & barn tour!

Despite how incredibly mind-blowingly crazy it seems, by mid July it'll have been a year that we've lived at our current place, as the horses and I arrived last year in the early hours of the morning of Friday 13th. It's incredible to think that a year has just whizzed past like that, but in that time we have built an entire brand new barn, fixed the house up, sorted out the arena and the paddocks! So it's been a very busy time, which is why I'm very excited to have finally show you a little yard/barn tour 📹

Click HERE for the video (for some reason the youtube link doesn't want to work 😳)


25 questions

Thanks Viva Carlos for the blog hop!

1. What is the first thing you do when you get to the barn?
I sing "goood morninggggg" 🎶 to them as I always get to the barn first thing in the morning at 5.30am to feed the horses. I give them their hard feed, give them their hay and check that everyone has enough water. Then I stumble back home to have a large cup of coffee! 

2. Is there a breed that you would never own?
I've always believed in never say never, but being my height and size I can't see myself owning or riding anything extremely small and dainty, so as much as I love the TB it probably won't happen. I'm hoping that at some point in my life I'll find myself with a very chunky Lusitano or a PRE, but they'll have to be at least 16.2hh.
3. Describe your last ride?
Like in the photo above, a bit wonky but the attempt was there! I last rode Vallu after a week of very little work due to the miserable weather we've been having and we were both a bit stiff and a bit wonky. I think we'll need several rides to get back on track and I desperately want to go for a nice hack next weekend, fingers crossed the weather becomes a bit more summer-y! ☀️

4. Have any irrational riding fears?
Not any irrational fear, but I do have a sense of self-preservation so I will not put myself in a situation with the horses where I or my horse might be in some danger. This means that if I'm going to a new place I want to go check out the place before taking my horse there, just to be on the safe side.

5. Describe your favorite lesson horse?
I don't have a favourite lesson horse since I've not been to riding school since I was about 10! But before I got my pony I was utterly in love with a grey pony at the last riding school I went to and I think this is where my love for greys comes from 🦄


Natural foraging & supplements for horses

Natural herbs are my choice in horse supplements, and letting the horse self-select what supplements they need is something I'm trying to work towards. When a horse is temporarily out of balance, natural herbs can give them what they needs to rebalance in a gentle, supportive way. Every summer I've fed dried cleaver and marigold to Vallu to help support his lymphatic system - he's had these in a separate feed bucket so that if he needs them he'll eat them, and if he doesn't eat them then I know to stop offering them. Amazingly, this form of self-selection is not something routinely offered by many horse owners, probably because we're so conditioned to giving them what we think they should be eating - rather than letting them choose for themselves 🤔 But this is where the line becomes blurry... I have been told by some of the best vets in Germany that Erik should have the best vitamin E to support his muscles because of the slight shivering he has in one of his hind legs, so that is something I will always add to his feed. But the rest? I need to up my game and find more natural alternatives to other supplements!
Horses living in the wild are able to keep themselves healthy by seeking the minerals and nutrients that their body needs by foraging for certain plants and herbs that they require at any particular time. Research has shown that horses will seek out particular plants to help with a particular condition and once they start to feel better, they'll return to normal grazing. For example, have you noticed your horse pulling at the sticky weed in the hedges? I have! It's because they know that it's good for them as sticky weed (galium aparine) which is also commonly known as cliver/goose grass/cleaver is a very useful herb for supporting the lymphatic system and is a diuretic. It's good for allergies, for supporting the liver and kidneys and cleanses the blood. This means that it is particularly good for flushing out swellings and inflammation! I learnt about this a few years ago when Vallu was injured and I had a friend come out to do Reiki on him and see what he'd pick from her "magic box of herbs & oils" and she introduced me to zoopharmacognosy.🌱


Introducing Digital Horse

I'm really pleased to announce on the blog that I have teamed up with Digital Horse and become their official guest blogger! 💙💫 If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you'll already know this but I wanted to make it's own blog post too. Digital Horse is THE social media hub for horses & equestrians and is made up of Liz & Rebecca, a mother and daughter team with a big passion for horses. It's a place where the conversation is about your horses, and won't be drowned out by adverts and negativity. It's been a long time since I've had the pleasure of getting nothing but love and support for every single thing that I've posted - a rare phenomenon which is why I'm SO proud to be a part of the team 😍 My first official blog post for DH will be on the website this week, so if you don't want to miss out on that, I recommend joining!

Having had the chance to meet & chat with the lovely founders of Digital Horse a few weeks ago at the Aztec Diamond Equestrian press day, we were talking about how important it is to keep Digital Horse as a safe community, where you can ask questions and talk to others about your day without being mercilessly attacked by other people. The problem of social media such as Facebook and Instagram is that when so much of your life becomes public, other people’s opinions can become difficult to avoid, especially when people seem to have so much time on their hands to comment and apparently some have forgotten the saying "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything". In my case I'm lucky in that what I choose to put out into the world is entirely my own choice, and whilst I often don't post about the negative days, what I do share on Facebook and Instagram is carefully chose. I have my own horses at home, so most of my riding, horse care and the decisions I make happen on my own terms and I do not have the problems that others may do at livery yards. I get to choose exactly what gets shared & published, but others are less fortunate and therefore need to have a safe place where they can share how their day went and how their horses are doing without receiving any negativity.
When I see posts on Facebook asking for advice on how to deal with problems with their horses or simply asking for useful exercises when riding or different methods of lunging, but they have to add a ‘no nasty comments’ note at the beginning of the post it just breaks my heart. Having to worry about nasty comments or receiving hate when all you're doing is simply asking for help, guidance or more knowledge from others saddens me. How anyone can be hurtful and judgmental when another person is simply asking for help is beyond me. And the biggest problem is that there doesn't seem to be a solution, which is why I'm more than happy to have joined up with Digital Horse as their guest blogger to try and help people, especially the more vulnerable younger generations to find a safe and secure equestrian community where they'll never be bullied or attacked.


The benefits of field work & hacking out

Whenever it's a gorgeous hot summers day, I always feel like I shouldn't spend it in the arena training the horses but instead I want to go out into the fields or go out for a hack - they all deserve a bit of fun! 💚 Now that we've found a nice quiet local woodland to hack around, I've gained a bit of a hacking out obsession with Vallu. In fact last autumn I spent a lot of time with him 'hacking' around the field, but every single time I've gone there with him he has spooked/spun/tanked off with me, so I was a bit apprehensive about going back out into the 'real' world. The first time a few weeks ago he was a little look-y, but last weekend despite the new route he decided that actually this was fun and I had a lovely time. We all know how those first few rides somewhere 'different' can be so demoralising when it seems that the horses decide to forget everything they've ever known.... So I've not been brave enough to take Melisse outside of home, but I am VERY pleased that she has been hoof perfect in the big field! This made me think about all the benefits of field work & hacking out: