Louise and Mya

November 2019 Dressage Results

This month I learnt a lot. We had great success last month winning our Limited Prelim 2 class with our personal best score of 66% so I was eager to keep the momentum going. This month we entered Prelim 7 and we also entered Prelim 1 as it was a special Christmas fancy dress class.

We had already done Prelim 1 as our first ever entry to online dressage in September, so the test was familiar. It is a straight forward test and I remembered the feedback that we received from the last test. But I must admit the tinsel and Santa hood made it a bit harder to see where I was going & hear Katie calling the test than I expected! Although despite that we managed to film a nice test. I knew it wouldn’t be a 66% scoring test but certainly not a bad one.

Then came Prelim 7. Now I had picked Prelim 7 as it looked very straight forward. All you really have to do is change the rein in trot and canter large. When I choose this test in my head I had visions of Mya and I doing a wonderful test as the movements were very simple. WRONG! In fact this test did not suit Mya at all! Mya quite frankly found the test very dull and when cantering large really didn’t want to stop. She tried to do some medium trot paces every time we came down the centre line and each walk to trot transition, she thought would be more fun to do walk to canter.  It was frustrating. It made me tense and that made her worse. I was feeling more and more aware of how much of Katie’s time we were taking up as she had kindly said she would film us. We actually filmed this test about 3 times on the Friday and were not happy with any of them. We reconvened on the Monday and filmed a nice Prelim 1 straight away. Then had exactly the same problems with Prelim 7. We filmed it another 4 times and I just could not hold her back from doing all of the same mistakes. I must admit it was tough as I sooo wanted to do a good test but just didn’t seem capable of it. I felt like I had ridden like a sack of potatoes on the Friday. I seemed to just become a passenger every time the camera came out, for fear of being marked down if I looked like I was having to ride her. I felt much more confident on the Monday, but even then I just couldn’t get her to not anticipate the movements. In the end the more wired Mya got, the more impossible a good test seemed and we had to settle with an OK test. It was really frustrating as I felt like I firstly had picked a test that really did not suit us and felt silly that I hadn’t thought of that and secondly felt like we had made such progress recently to then be incapable of doing a good dressage was flat out annoying!

Katie did remind me that we are doing this for fun and I realised that perhaps my competitive edge was getting the better of me. This did also make me think that we only did start doing online dressage in September only 3 months earlier so to expect brilliant results straight away may not be that realistic in a very strong field of competitors.

However we got our results on December 1st and to my utter surprise we came 3rd in Prelim 1 with a respectable 64.74%. For Prelim 7 we came 12th with a score of 61.14%. I was very pleased with that score as honestly I thought it would definitely be a sub 60% test. In fact the class was spilt into 2 groups and if I had been in the other group I would have come 10th with that score, which bizarrely made it the best we have come so far in the restricted Prelim classes.

So, a lot was learnt this month. On a positive note hard work pays off! The hours of riding paid off and in fact I may well have been being a bit hard on myself. However, I knew we could do better than the tests we did this month, but reality is with any horse they are not machines. I will not get an amazing test out of Mya every time particularly if I ride like a sack of potatoes!!

 

Inspo Interviews

Inspo Interview #8 Girl About The Yard

Today’s Inspo Interviewee is Verena or you may know her from instagram as ‘Girl About The Yard’. I ‘met’ Verena when she was a guest on The Equestrian Pulse Podcast (Stay tuned for that episode as it has not aired yet) and she was as fun in real life as she is in her very entertaining instagram stories. I hope that you enjoy reading her responses as much as I did!

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What inspired you to do what you do? 
It all happened quite simply by accident! No word of a lie, one day I started doing IG stories and someone with a big following gave me a shoutout on their stories after watching me dance to Mathilda’s soundtrack and it took off from there! I have a passion for people to not be undermined in the equestrian world, it is hard enough trying to keep a horse/wild animal alive without people telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing all the time!!  

Who do you look to for inspiration and why? 
There isn’t someone or something that inspires me exterior to me, it is mainly that I hope when I am sitting in a chair reading endless thrillers or watching my or other people’s grandchildren play around, that I can think – yes… I allowed myself to be myself during my life and kept generally positive vibes throughout! 
Oscar

What would you say has been your biggest horsey achievement to date? 
Oh gosh, that completely depends on the day – most days it is keeping Oscar’s (the bay in the photos) shoes on or mucking out with a straight edge to my bed. I am proud of achieving my British Horse Society qualifications, they are notoriously difficult for a reason. I am proud of myself for going ahead and making something out of the horse I had before Oscar who everyone said was a bit of a dud and he kept trying to get me off at every opportunity (the grey horse in the photos!)  I am proud of myself for getting my HGV test and for confidently driving the trailer! It really does depend on the day! I am proud of competing last season.
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What would be the best piece of advice you could give someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment? 
Relax, take the pressure off yourself. Your horse loves you whatever you decide to do with them, give them a massage in the form of grooming, or plan something for the future for you both to do, or clean your tack, whatever helps you gets back to the inspired stage. My advice for mindset would be let yourself off. It won’t matter in 3 months time that you had a break, so have a break. 
 
Enjoy not having hat hair for a bit, allow your boots to grow some mould and when the pressure is off and you’ve completely rested – you’ll be ready to jump back into the saddle! Once you have got back in the saddle – HAVE FUN!! 


What are you plans for this year and what do you hope to achieve? 

I hope to compete, dressage, show jumping and/or eventing more regularly, to have some good outings – go the beach, a fun ride, or the likes with Oscar and to maybe get another British Horse Society exam under my belt! 
Louise and Mya, Uncategorised

October 2019 Dressage – Results

Hi everyone sorry I have been quiet on here for a few weeks. I lost my blogging mojo a little bit as I have been travelling nearly every weekend since July and then I had the most horrible cold for weeks on end. But now I am back and ready to get blogging again!

We recorded dressage 2 tests in October the week after we returned from the Perry Wood clinic. The weather was awful but Mya went beautifully. She actually seemed very content after the clinic, like she was really enjoying her job. I got the impression she felt like she was doing something for the first time in a few years and was loving it. Her normal  fed up looking selfie face was replaced with a horse happy to stand and have her photo taken with her ears forward. It was a real delight to see her this happy!

We recorded two tests this month. I entered the restricted Prelim 12 first of all. To be able to enter the restricted class you must not have scored over 65% more than 3 times at prelim level. We managed a 63.7% which I was pleased with, which put us in 15th place out of 20 competitors. Out of the two videos I submitted I thought this had not been the better one, but was still very pleased with it. It also showed a 2% mark increase from last month’s score of 60% and I had managed to creep up the score board very slightly this month.

However honestly it was just like last month. Me and Mya are doing tests that for us are better than we have ever ridden. The mark we received we were really pleased with and the improvements were vast after the clinic with Perry Wood this month however we are still not competitive in these large prelim classes. I am so happy with my score and can’t help but think I would be getting better placings than I am now if I was going out to competitions?

Which is what lead me to do my second test this month. E-riders announced a new class called “Limited’. Limited is exactly how it sounds it is limited to people that have not ever scored 64% in a prelim test. Perfect for us! It was limited to 10 competitors only (I’d say more like my actual experience of dressage comps I have ridden in). I jumped at the chance to enter this class as I felt it was prefect for prelim newbies like us. So we recorded prelim 2 for that. Mya loved prelim 2, she loves that there are lots of diagonal lines and transitions on those lines. I don’t know why – but it was obvious she liked it when we rode it. I was SO pleased with the test we recorded for this entry. It just felt amazing from beginning to end. I was pleased with the Prelim 12 we had recorded but knew this one was better. When the scores came out it confirmed it too. We had won the class!!! We got 66.2% by far my best mark ever! I was over the moon! I was so pleased I took the chance to do this class, as I knew I may not be able to do this class in the months coming up if our scores kept improving. It’s true as we scored 66% in it so we no longer fit the criteria to do the class again.

So I have been delighted with both of my marks and especially delighted that we came away with a rosette this month. I had held off writing this blog so I could post a pic of us with our rosette, but it hasn’t arrived yet. It has really fuelled me on to continue doing a class every month as I can feel massive improvements already after only 2 months.

For November we have entered Prelim 7 and we are doing the christmas fancy dress class doing Prelim 1. I’ll keep you posted on how we get on!

 

Louise and Mya

Louise and Mya’s October

Hi everyone! So this blog is going out a little later than I planned due to illness and going away. So please bear with me if you have seen my results from this month’s online dressage competition already! I just didn’t get round to posting this blog in time. So there will be another blog focussing on those results at the end of this week. Then we will be all up to date!

October has really been a month of horsey fun! Of which I am going to try and recreate more often. It was a busy month I traveled to Madrid, Bristol and Dublin in October too. But in between was spent horsing around. (I’m not even sorry for the pun!)

First up Mya was clipped and trimmed by Katie so she was ready to go to The Perry Wood Riding clinic. This was absolutely amazing. Mya behaved far far better than we hoped she would and we met new friends and a new instructor that we really liked. I have written a full blog on the experience that you can click here to read.

Mya sporting her new browband kindly gifted to us by Dragonfly Browbands

Next up was the second month of competing in the E-Riders online dressage competition. I entered Prelim 12 in the restricted class. But then they announced that they had an even more restricted class called the Limited class that had just launched this month, so I entered the Prelim 2 limited class too. I am really enjoying the online dressage competitions but I must admit I was shocked at the calibre of the competition! In the class I entered there was 25 entries last month and the winner won with 75%! I’ve never seen anyone gain that mark – that is a very high mark! So with that in mind and the fact that I am very novice at dressage I jumped at the chance to enter a class that was reserved for newbies or novices like me. For the limited class you cannot of scored more than 64% and I scored 61.5% last month. So I am going to use this opportunity while I can!

Katie and I planned to video the test this week but then Mya ended up having an osteopath appointment this Saturday which meant she would need a few days off after that. So we decided to video last Wednesday. It was the only day we could do it and I was determined to film the tests but the weather was apocalyptic! The arena fence blew down just before I mounted and it was just generally rainy, miserable and grey. However for the second week in a row following the Perry Wood clinic, Mya amazed us and went like a complete dream! No spooking, no being silly in the wind. Two beautiful dressage tests that were filmed and entered into the competition! We were delighted! When I submitted the tests online, I watched them both through and the difference from last month was incredible. Mya is going beautifully, yes she is a little over bent in her head position but we are working on that. My contact needs some improvement. I am still trying to figure out how much rein she needs as both Perry and my feedback from the my dressage test last months says I need to give her more rein but I struggle to keep contact if I do that. The tests are by no means perfect but our circles are rounder and I am riding far more accurately than last month. I am very excited to get our results to see if the results reflect my feelings about the tests. From doing these competitions for just two months, I am already seeing the benefits of having something to work on and the desire to improve. I also feel the benefits of our lessons with Perry made a tremendous difference too.

Next up was Pau! We had a fabulous day watching the cross country at Pau 5*. The weather was amazing and if anything we were a little too warm as the temperatures soared to 26 degrees. The course was challenging! The angles of some of the jumps did not even seem possible. We managed to walk most of the course and see some of the top riders go round. I made a vlog about our day so if you fancy a watch just click here I have gotten into vlogging a bit lately so if you do watch do let me know what you think. As I just had a really lovely day with my friends, which I felt was better captured on video rather than in a blog post. The only thing that has haunted me slightly since that day was witnessing Felix Vogg and Archie Rocks stumble in the water which led to the horse falling and knocking into the jump in front of him. Vogg fell off and led Archie Rocks out of the water and to me it was obvious by the way the horse was limping and the way his leg was not moving at all that he had broken his leg. The vet attended immediately and screens were put up around the horse. They then loaded him and took him away for veterinary attention and I have since read that he did in fact break his shoulder bone and was put to sleep. A very sad reminder of how dangerous eventing can be.

Now, onto the goals that I didn’t achieve. I had planned and had actually booked a riding lesson at a french riding school close to where Mya is kept. But unfortunately they cancelled my lesson. Now this is the second time I have booked a lesson there and they have done this. They said its because of the school holidays and lack of child care. Actually the only time I did go the instructor had her daughter on the lead rein whilst she was teaching me which wasn’t ideal as quite frankly she was distracted and they only offer lessons between 14-17.30 in the afternoon, which doesn’t suit me at all as I child mind during that time everyday during school term. So unfortunately I have given up with that riding school and will look for another. In the mean time Katie has heard of an instructor that she likes the sound of that we are going to try a lesson with at our yard with Mya. So I will keep you posted if that happens.

Lastly, I had planned to participate in Horstober, a instagram challenge run by a french blogger chevaletmoi. But it just didn’t happen. I had a bad cold for most of October so when I wasn’t away or riding I spent watching telly on the sofa to be honest. I ran out of steam and barely blogged. I also run my own instagram account for In Due Horse and run my podcast Equestrian Pulse’s instagram account too which quite frankly is enough so the challenge turned out to be a bit much. But I am so pleased with all the things that I did achieve this month. For goals moving forward, next month I will enter at least one online dressage test and will continue to look for a riding school where I can take more lessons.

So October you were wonderful! Let’s hope next month will be as fun and as horsey filled. Winter seems to have hit Toulouse this weekend, so a rain coat may well be necessary but I am British and will not be deterred by a little rain!

Louise & Mya xxx

 

News

What a Season It Has Been For Piggy French!

As the Eventing season is coming to an end I would like to take a moment to celebrate the success of Piggy French this season. What a season she has had! Wow!

Last weekend saw Piggy smash the record of international wins in a season. After winning two classes at Osberton Horse Trials, then winning the 6 year old World Championship Piggy has now won 15 international events this season alone! Michael Jung previously held this record at 13 international wins in a season in 2009, 2014 and 2015. Woohoo! Piggy has won at Badminton, Blenheim and Chatsworth to name a few.

Photo: piggy french.co.uk

 

I thought celebrating this with Piggy is so good for women in the sport (I do love it when a girl wins!) but also for perseverance too. I remember watching Piggy when I was younger at events as someone that I noticed because of her name and now she has had the most successful season of eventing in history!

With that in mind I wanted to find out more about Piggy and how she got to be so successful, as although she has had some great success she certainly has had a more than her fair share of disappointment too. Piggy has been competing for over 25 years and started her international career in 2001 in the Young Rider European Championships in Belgium, where she won team gold and individually came 4th. Since then her career has flourished, competing in several European and World Equestrian games successfully. Most recently in 2018 where she was part of the team that won gold at The World Equestrian Games in Tyron, USA. Piggy is not just a one hit wonder either, she has had success with several different horses too including Vamir Kamira, Jakata and Cooley Lancer to name a few.

Did you know that not only did she win badminton this year, she beat her ex Oliver Townend of whom she dated for 7 years to the title leaving him in second place! Yeah! She is happily married now to Tom March and they have a three year old little boy but still that had to feel good!!

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Photo credit: Piggyfrench.co.uk

Those are just the hi-lights though, as we probably all know even the best laid plans involving horses never go quite right. Well this has been the case for Piggy over the last few years and that maybe an understatement. Piggy qualified for the London Olympics in 2012 with two horses Jakata and Topper W and dedicated her life to getting these two horses ready for the Olympic games.  But it wasn’t meant to be as both horses picked up injuries just before the event. Meaning that Piggy never made it there. But not only that she lost a lot at that very ‘gloomy time’ as she describes. She lost owners, funding and sponsorship. Luckily a few months later she won an international event on Tinka’s Time and she could see a light again at the end of the tunnel. The pair were shortlisted for the European Championships in 2013, but the day after she received the phone call to tell her that Tinka’s Time was lame as well! Piggy describes this time as a time where she ‘had an anger inside her that she couldn’t overtake’ the harder she tried the less seemed to happen for her. She dreaded headlines of her missing out on another season due to injury, people criticising the way she looks after her horses and really couldn’t see a path forwards. It was rock bottom for her.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2016 and Piggy discovered that she was pregnant. ‘An  emotional bombshell’ for her as of course this would dramatically affect this season too, actually feeling like she was letting her owners down again. She dished out the horses that she had to other riders and took a step back. Now, without any rides of her own she went to visit other riders and observe what they do, she learnt a lot and started feeling more positive again. After taking a step back and remembering why she got into the sport to begin with, the love she has for bringing on horses not just winning titles and once she had her baby, she started to get the competitive spirit back again and managed to secure some new owners including comedian Jennifer Saunders and one year later came second at Burghley in 2017. From there she has not looked back. Back with a renewed passion she just kept winning!

No longer just the girl with the funny name, whose real name is actually Georgina. Piggy actually thought about changing her records back to Georgina, but now finds it quite funny that they will have to write Piggy in the record books!

We are now very close to the end of the 2019 season and its fair to say it has not just been the year of the pig in Chinese calendars but in Eventing too and long may it continue! Well done Piggy I am so glad the years of hard work are finally paying off for you!

 

Copyright of Louise Dando and In Due Horse 2019.

 

 

 

 

Louise and Mya

The Perry Wood ‘Create Your Perfect Riding Horse’ Clinic

Yesterday I had the BEST day ever at Perry Wood’s clinic. I was the first time that I have taken Mya anywhere so Katie (Mya’s owner) and I thought we would try a clinic first rather than a competition. It was the first journey in a trailer for Mya in 6 years and the first time she has stayed away overnight anyway with Jazz too so we were full of hope but also had some reservations about whether this is a good idea! As Mya can be difficult to handle at home sometimes.

We boxed Mya over to Borde Basse on Wednesday which is a 1 hour 15 min drive away north of Toulouse the day before the clinic as we had arranged for her to stay overnight in a paddock there, so she could settle ready for the lessons on Thursday. I followed in my car and I could see that she travelled really nicely. She settled in very well, better than we hoped actually as she is a stressy, tense mare at times. Then we went off to find our air bnb and have some lunch. We returned 2.5 hours later to a visibly sweaty Mya who looked wired! Hmm perhaps she hasn’t settled as well as we hoped? We brought her in and she was ok. We handle her in a Monty Roberts Dually halter when we think we may need a little more control so we took her for a little walk around, then to the arena and she actually seemed fine. Oh how we wish you could talk Mya! We actually think she was getting pestered by flies which was what caused her to be wound up ( this is something she does get very agitated by at home). So we covered her in fly repellent and felt bad that the only item of her wardrobe we didn’t bring was her fly rug. We watched her in her paddock for half an hour and she seemed to be more relaxed so we left her for the night. I felt very calm and excited about the next day of lessons and actually felt relieved that I wasn’t bricking it. A few months ago Mya would have frightened me when she was wired like that but much to my relief today I wasn’t frightened and was actually looked forward to getting on her tomorrow.

We had a nice early night and got to yard just as the sun was rising at 8am to give Mya her breakfast. The clinic was held at a lady named Rebecca’s yard. It was beautiful! And suited us brilliantly as it wasn’t a busy equestrian centre it was just the participants of the clinic there all of whom were very friendly. We started the day by watching Rebecca’s first lesson with Perry and Katie & I immediately loved Perry’s teaching methods and what he stood for. Perry’ is a horse whisperer and teaches with natural horsemanship. Focusing on how you can build a better relationship with your horse and understand them better. He challenges some of the traditional methods of riding and gives you his own very easy yet functional ways to ride instead. He focusses on riding in this moment, not a moment that happened 5 years ago or yesterday, how your horse is going now. I was absolutely full of enthusiasm ready for my lessons after watching that first session with him.

After that all of the participants Rebecca, Kathryn, Fanny, me and Katie (who spectated on Thursday and will ride Mya Friday) sat with Perry with a coffee and a cake and talked about what each of us wanted to achieve today. What I really like is that Perry asked what I wanted to achieve today then asked what Mya wanted to achieve. He is so horse focused. I said that I wanted to build a a better relationship with Mya to become someone that she can trust and understand. I explained that it has taken us a while to click and trust each other after we both had quite long breaks from riding. Mya because of an injury and I just found myself between horses and feeling that my better riding years were a thing of the past that I hope to regain. Perry listened to each of us and then made a point of saying that his clinics are non- judgemental. He asked us not to judge ourselves whilst we rode and not to pass judgement on anyone else either so everyone had a welcoming ,calm and encouraging environment to learn in today. ( There definitely needs to be more Perry’s in the horse world for this reason alone in my opinion.)

I watched the first 2 riders sessions and how each of them made vast improvements in their 45 min sessions. I was then my turn…Suddenly feeling a little bit daunted by Mya pulling me up to the arena, where she stood and seeming grew another hand on very already very ample 16.2hh she has already. I mounted and she was calm. We walked around, no spooks, no tension just relaxed like she knew the place and always came here! I could not believe it! So I then relaxed immediately too. When Perry asked what I wanted to work on I explained I was going to ask him to help me relax her but had to explain that she is more relaxed in this new arena than she is at home! So we did some lateral work to help build up some strength in her hind quarters and we worked on my position in the saddle. He encouraged me to sit more like a sack of potatoes and to soften my spine and when I did Mya immediately went into an outline. He also said I had show jumpers elbows – this is not the first time an instructor has said this to me. But what was really funny is that he said I ride like John Whitaker, a personal hero of mine from a very young age. The first horsey video I had as a child was a John Whitaker video about his very famous horse Milton that I repeatedly watched as a child. I didn’t realise I had actually based my own riding style on John Whitaker’s!! The lesson was a great success. Mya went beautifully, leg yielding and we did some shoulder in like dressage divas. I didn’t even know I could do that! The rest of the participants all came to tell me how amazing Mya looked when we were finished and I felt on top of the world.

After watching a couple more sessions ( this was definitely part of the fun too) and eating an amazing lunch including Rebecca’s sausage rolls, Fanny’s soup and a quiche It was time for my second lesson. I felt so happy with my morning session I thought that the second one probably wouldn’t be as good. Well I was wrong! It was even better. I really struggle to work Mya on a circle and to get her to bend correctly at home and yet after 45 mins with Perry I felt like we were Valegro and Charlotte Dujardin. Mya felt incredible! A little crowd gathered actually to come watch us as Mya strutted her stuff like a pro. Everyone including Perry videoed us and it felt amazing! The instruction Perry gave me was simple but so effective. He doesn’t shout a million things for me to do at the same time he just picked a few things and within a few minutes Mya became a dressage horse! We started by just turning her head in then mine as well aiming for a shoulder in at a trot on a circle. He got me to really angle my body to create this turn inwards and soon Mya was strutting around on this amazing circle, not only that, we kept it from walk to trot , trot to walk and we could change rein and not lose it. It felt incredible. Perry even said what a good rider I am – well I could of cried! After years of feeling very mediocre I felt I was riding at my full potential again. Everyone of the participants came up and congratulated me after my session and said how amazing we looked. I felt like a million dollars!

I just could not believe how well our sessions went. I was worried that Mya would be so wired I wouldn’t be able to get on. But in fact she was foot perfect! In fact I think it’s fair to say she actually stole the show!!! I could not be more happy with her. I had the BEST DAY! If you get to have a lesson with Perry Wood do it! I would go as far to say that he is the best riding instructor I have ever had and am looking forward to his next clinic already. I’m now off to buy all of his books!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

From a very happy Louise and Valegro oops I mean Mya!! 😂❤️

News

My Horsey Plans for October 2019

October is going to be a busy month. But luckily it’s full of horsey fun! I thought I would write a post about all of my plans and then we can look back at the end of October to see how I got on!

Firstly I have entered my second Prelim online dressage test. This month I have entered Prelim 12. I was so pleased with my result of 61.5% in prelim 1 in September but looking at the video there are simple things I can do to improve. I came 21st out of 25 in September, so I am hoping to be further up the leaderboard each month I enter.

I am particularly excited about the Perry Woods Horsemanship Clinic. Katie and I are taking Mya to this clinic, which is about 1.5 hours away from where we are in Toulouse. I have never taken Mya anywhere before and it is perfect place to start as it is just some lessons and not a competition! Baby steps! I have written a lot recently that it has taken me a while to click with Mya, so having a clinic to go to is really exciting. Katie and I are sharing the days, so I will ride on the Thursday in both sessions then I am heading home as I have a wedding to go to in the UK and Katie is staying another night and riding in both sessions on the Friday.

At the end of the month I am having a lesson with my French Instructor. I have had one lesson before and really enjoyed it. I go to a local riding stables near where Mya is kept. It really gave me a massive confidence boost last time and I vowed that I would go back. It has taken longer to go back than I planned as the lessons are only available in the afternoons, which doesn’t work for me as I normally child mind every afternoon in the school term. So each school holidays I am going to try to go. Its excellent for my riding and it’s brilliant for my French too.

The final weekend of October I am going to Pau 5* Cross Country day. I went last year and loved it and am excited about going this year. This year Cris and Julian my friends are coming with me and James which I think will be really fun! I saw some big names there last year competing including Oliver Townend and Gemma Tatterstall, so I am looking forward to see what riders are competing there this year.

During the month of October I will be trying to participate in #Horsetober. This is being run by a french blogger from Cheval et Moi, which will be great for my french. I posted a few weeks ago on instagram that I will be posting all my posts in English and in French but I must admit I have been finding this too hard, as I don’t want to write incorrectly and be told I’m rubbish at french! So this is a good middle ground!

 

 

Fun Ideas

10 Amazing Halloween Costumes For Your Dog on Amazon

Ok I know this isn’t strictly horsey related. But until very recently I was a dog owner and I know I loved my dog as much as I love my horse so I am thinking you guys won’t mind the odd dog related post.

Halloween is only a few weeks away. I don’t know about you but I love Halloween! It’s fun and a good excuse to get dressed up and party. With these excellent outfit ideas your dog can join in on the fun too! Excellent dog selfie opportunities a plenty!

***Just so you know I am an Amazon affiliate so you do decide to click through of the links on this blog at no extra cost to you I will receive a tiny bit of commission ***

1. An Ewok. Even if you don’t like Star Wars everyone thinks Ewoks are cute!

2. A Minion. Now minions are cute and your dog will look even cuter in this outfit!

3. Wonder Woman. You could even get a matching outfit and twin with your dog!

4. A hot dog! Classic joke dog costume!


5. Lion Mane. Any dog would want to have a wonderful lion’s mane! How regal!

6. Harry Potter. This is just too cute!

7. Cowboy rider. This is just so funny! A little cowboy who rides your dog!

8. Raptor Costume! Your dog can be a scary velociraptor!

9. The Pope! Of course you can even dress your dog up as The Pope!

10. Superman!

 

Which one do you like best?! Let me know in the comments.

Lifestyle

Our First Online Dressage Results – September 2019.

It’s fair to say that September started out very well! I returned from holiday full of enthusiasm and Mya was going brilliantly. I had set myself a goal of entering an online dressage test before Xmas but as Mya was going so well her owner Katie & I thought let’s just do it now! In September! After all 3 of us having had August completely off! We both entered the same class on Mya, the charity event that donated to Jo’s cervical cancer trust on Eriders.co.uk Prelim 1.

So I practiced once with Katie and once alone and we scheduled a date the week later to film the test with our good friend Nic. Feeling very happy with how Mya was going I was just really excited that we had reached a point where this is possible. If you have been following me for a while, I only started riding Mya a year ago & had quite a few issues with her over the winter that totally knocked my confidence.

Feeling eager I learnt prelim 1 off by heart (!!) and got my friend to film it. Now as my mum put it I was ‘ never very taken with dressage’ before. I have ridden on and off since I was 5 years old. But I love to jump, so now coming to learn a dressage test I’m realising it is actually very hard! Getting Mya going forward but not too much, (we had some braking issues in the practice session), keeping my heels down, toes in, elbows bent, hips relaxed…. all whilst making beautiful shapes with Mya who is meant to be going at the perfect speed and making perfect shapes at exactly the time I ask her to whilst in a beautiful outline…wow! Dressage is hard!!

The day we picked to film test was very windy. Not Mya’s perfect conditions but knowing there may not be another convenient time for us to do this we cracked on. Katie rode her first. Mya was pretty forward but did a lovely test for Katie after having some similar braking issues to me in their warm up. I was then my turn and suddenly I felt quite nervous. I had instigated this whole thing & now have my friends both very capable riders here and I got on and felt quite inadequate. I warmed up and started my test. It was tense & felt horrible. We continued to the second canter transition and stopped as we were on the wrong diagonal and the test was just blurgh. I then re did my test trying to remember that my besties weren’t judging me and I felt that Mya went well this time. The girls agreed and we decided to end it there.

Looking back at the video, My circles are sqircles, my transitions are not quite at the right places in the arena and our free walk is more like a giraffe impression. But I reminded myself what progress we had made to even be entering and that only months before we could not even canter large without spooks and bucks. So I submitted our tests. The first since 2007 for me and awaited the results…

Me & Bert 2007

Fast forward to October 1st and the results are in!

We came 21st in a class of 25. Oh. How disappointing! Now I knew I wouldn’t be in the top 6 but to be that near the bottom sucked. I then started thinking about the things even I knew went badly and felt a bit silly for entering. What was I thinking?! Doing a dressage test with barely any experience of dressage and barely any practice on a horse I’ve only just clicked with and not only that doing it very publicly making a blog & a vlog about it. I suddenly felt very silly.

I then looked at my mark. I had hoped for 60% and had said despite the placing I would be happy if I got 60% or above. Well wouldn’t know we got 61.5% – happy with that! Starting to feel less silly now. I looked up Katie’s results 12th with 65% brilliant & not a million points more than me! Ok ok I am calming down now. I then managed to find my sheets from the last dressage competition I did when I used to ride Bert. It was from 2007, I remember it was an evening riding club comp and I had been happy & came 4th. I searched for the score 59%!!! I was riding a lot back then and remember I was so pleased with that score and now with a lot less practice on a horse that hasn’t competed in years I have beaten my personal best! Woo hoo!

Yes in hindsight Katie and I jumped the gun a bit entering without much practice – that we will learn from. I am looking forward to receiving my score sheet so I can read the comments. But I have gone from feeling disappointed and silly to actually feeling pleased and chomping at the bit to do another test and get a better mark this month! So watch this space perhaps we are dressage divas in the making!!

To watch my first ever vlog of this experience click here

Copyright of Louise Dando & In Due Horse 2019.

Inspo Interviews

Inspo Interview #8 Jennifer Sims The Styled Equestrian

This month’s Inspo Interview is someone that I actually met in person. A first for the Inspo Interview series! I went to meet Jennifer in Provence back in May when she was hosting a polo holiday. However, I did plan to do the interview in person then, but to be honest we had such a nice time drinking wine and watching polo that I decided to email her the questions after!

I wanted to do an Inspo Interview with Jennifer because she is a really interesting person, who is really nice but also is a strong and successful woman. She is a great rider and has made a successful business from doing something that she loves. Jennifer is probably best known as The Styled Equestrian on instagram where she is a very successful equestrian fashion influencer, who has over 44k followers!  However these days she runs EqGlobeTrotter a riding holiday company that takes her riding all over the world.

Jennifer has just returned from riding in The Gobi Desert cup in Mongolia. She has never ridden endurance before however she managed to finish in 2nd place!

Previously a hunter jumper rider, Jennifer is now a polo player. Having gotten into the sport a few years ago. Jennifer was also a professional model for several years, which afforded her the ability to follow her passion of horses.

What inspired you to start the Styled Equestrian? 

I’ve always been a lover of fashion and horses so it just felt like the perfect combination for a creative outlet on social media.

Who do you look to for inspiration and why? Honestly lately I have been just inspired by my travel and my friends.  I wear what I like and what I think is comfortable.  I’ve been too busy to pick up a fashion magazine lately.

What would you say has been your biggest achievement to date? 

Placing second in the Gobi Desert Cup in Mongolia!!

What is the best piece of advice you could give someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment? 

To do what you feel.  Don’t force posts.  If you have to force yourself to try and come up with something to say, then just skip posting until you feel inspired again.  It is nice to breaks from social media now and then!

What are you plans for this year and what do you hope to achieve? 

I’ve got a riding holiday in Ireland in two weeks, then Portugal in December with EqGlobeTrotter.  Other than that, just spend time with my family and friends and keep working on EqGlobeTrotter and StyledEquestrian.

You can follow Jennifer on Instagram using the handles @styledequestrian and @eqglobetrotter

Words copyright of Louise Dando and In Due Horse. Photos @styledequestrian.

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Click here to read the blog about when I met Jennifer Polo in Provence with The Styled Equestrian