Fun Ideas

12 Reasons Why Horse Riders Make Great Skiers

I don’t know why I have never had the idea to do a blog about my two favourite hobbies before! So, its mid February which means its ski season here in France, which means at the moment my ideal weekend is riding Mya on Saturday and then going skiing for the day Sunday.

I have been riding since I was five years old and I learnt to ski at the age of 18 years old and I found I took to it pretty quickly as many of the skills you need to ski I had already because of riding.

So here are the reasons why I think horse riders make great skiers.

1. It’s all about position. When you learn to ski, you learn that the position of your body affects where you go and how well balanced you are. Just like when you are riding your horse, if your position isn’t quite right it has the potential to mess everything up!

2. It’s all about confidence. Although there is no horse to sense this when you are skiing, it hinders your performance if you are terrified just like when you are riding. In both sports you will move your body defensively which affects your position, which will ultimately affect your balance.

3. Both sports I have felt the fear and did it anyway! There has been many times that I have been terrified jumping a massive course of show jumps and have never told anyone and also many times where I have been terrified skiing down a black run with my mates. I use my pretend everything is fine face for both sports! However it’s much easier to hide the terror skiing as conveniently you wear goggles.

4. Ski Pistes are a lot like cross country courses, just with no actual jumps, just ice, moguls and a varying degree of steepness to them . You totally get that same buzz when you have done a challenging ski run as when you have finished a round of cross country jumps. The pistes vary just like cross country courses too. Green/blues are like your 65-80cm classes that are great for people gaining confidence or new to the sport. Reds are your 90cm courses, there are some challenges but then blacks are your 100 cms plus courses that sometimes you just have to look at them to feel nervous!

5. On the other hand skiing can be like a nice hack. If you stick to the blue pistes, you can have what feels like a gentle stroll around the mountains similar to a trail ride vibe.

6. Horse riders are used to wearing boots all day. Ok admittedly ski boots are slightly more uncomfortable but it’s the same principle. Also in both sports you wear a helmet and gloves too. Samesies.

7. Horse riders are not put off by a bit of weather. I think it helps as well if you are a British horse rider like me. Let’s face it if we waited for it not to be raining in the UK to ride we would never ride. So a bit of snow and wind isn’t going to bother us when we are on our ski hols either.

8. Leading on nicely from that, horse riders are used to feeling absolutely freezing after riding in the winter. That feeling after being out all day at a winter showjumping competition and a day of skiing in the cold are very similar.

9. Also horse riders are used to falling off, so falling whilst skiing is actually not as bad! We are used to falling from a height, skiing you just fall at great speed, something we are actually used to as well.

10. Ski pistes can be a lot like warm up arenas. You need a level of awareness of what is going on but that same level of disregard so you can concrete on your skiing and not be worried by anyone else.

11. Horse riders are used to having to lug heavy equipment around before and after riding like saddles and jumps etc. Just like skiing where you have to carry your skis to and from the piste. Skis are actually a lot lighter than a full water bucket or wheel barrow for sure!

12. And finally in general I think its fair to say that horse riders (particularly British ones) enjoy a drink. Skiing is famous for it’s drinks at the apres – Ski. The perfect way for the skier/ horse rider to end a day of sport!

Let me know in the comments if you are horse riding skier!

Copyright of Louise Dando & In Due Horse 2020.

Other blogs you may like:

8 Reasons Why Horse Girls are Great at Camping.

10 Reasons to Watch Peaky Blinders If You Love Horses!

Horse Girls need to eat too. Asparagus & Smoked Salmon Salad Recipe.

Guest Blogs

Rider Biomechanics Why Is It So Important?

Welcome to the first guest blog on In Due Horse. 

Over the past few years the topic of rider biomechanics has become more popular and lots of people are turning to it to help performance issues for them and their horse, but do you really know what it is, why it’s important and how it can help you and your horse? 

What are Biomechanics?

Let’s take a closer look at biomechanics. If we break down the word into its ancient Greek origins, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, bios means “life” and “mechanics” refers to the study of the mechanical principles of living bodies, particularly their movement and structure.  During sport, the laws of mechanics are applied to how a body moves in order to help us understand what is and isn’t working, and how we can change it for the best to improve performance and reduce injuries. 

Now we’ve got that little nugget out of the way, let’s put this in the horse and rider scenario: Rider biomechanics looks at how the horse and rider move, both by themselves and in relation to each other. It looks at the tilts, twists and wiggles we all do and how they can be worked on to create a much better harmony between each other’s bodies, improving balance and flexibility. If we improve balance and flexibility, we can encourage better movement and directly influence performance. 

Why are biomechanics important?

The short answer is that biomechanics can help us make sure our horse is as comfortable as possible when being ridden, and that they have a long and healthy ridden career, as well as ensuring that us riders are as balanced and easy to carry as possible.

Let’s put that into an example: If we sit more to one side when we ride, or if we alter our posture from the idea of “perfect posture” we significantly change how the horse has to carry our weight. If we ride a bicycle and we wobble to one side, we will topple to the same side until we correct our posture. Thankfully for us, our horses are very adept at compensating for our poor posture and balance. Our posture and balance can cause such significant problems for the horse that we can contribute towards issues such as shorter stride lengths and flatter jumping techniques, right through to influencing injuries and degenerative changes, just by forcing the horse to work in a posture that isn’t normal for it.

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 Let me just say at this point that despite it sounding horrific, most of these changes happen VERY slowly and there is a huge amount of other influencing issues that need to be taken into account in each horse/rider combination’s unique set of needs. We all spend money on physical therapy and saddle fitting for our horses, but we are one of the biggest influencers as to how our horses use their bodies, so we need to take time to look at ourselves too. 

When both bodies are working at optimum performance, and that has to be optimum for the individual combination, whether simply hacking out, or doing 5* eventing, we can minimise injuries, train more effectively and correct poor performance before they ever become a big problem.

How will looking at biomechanics help my horse and me?

The horse carries 60% of its weight on its front legs and when we ride, we add to that weight load, so the muscles that hold the horse’s front legs to its body, the Thoracic Sling muscles, have to be pretty tough. But as we’ve discussed earlier, if we sit out of balance, we will have a bad effect on our horse’s posture and performance.

When we ride, there are 4 main areas we need to look at to potentially make changes to:

  • Seat
  • Legs
  • Arms and Hands
  • Head

Maybe you sit to one side, drop your chin forward, have a wayward hand or a leg that likes to grip up, maybe you lose one stirrup or constantly battle to keep your reins equal lengths: These are all signs that you have biomechanical issues going on that can be changed. 

A biomechanical assessment as a rider will look at little niggles like this and try to work out where they are coming from to then make positive changes. Surprisingly, most issues can be linked to our seat and making subtle changes to how we sit in the saddle can correct a variety of other issues! 

On that note, it’s worth talking about saddle fit. It’s a topic of hot debate, but a saddle that is out of balance from pommel to cantle, too big or small for either the horse or rider will imbalance the rider and cause pain for the horse. 

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There is such a huge array of fun exercises that can help riders and with the added use of gym balls, therapy bands, small inflatable balls and the like, that everyone can enjoy exercise, so we improve our overall balance and posture. This can also help any niggly aches we have in day to day life and help us to combat repetitive habits we have; Yes, they also affect your horse!  

We owe it to our horses to be fit enough to ride, but that doesn’t mean we all have to take up running! By changing repetitive habits, making sure little things like stirrup length and saddle fit are right, having the occasional lessons to work on us rather than the horse and keeping up with our overall body strength we can make enough subtle changes to help our horses work to the best of their abilities and with as little discomfort as possible – an all-round win! 

About the Author:

Georgina Bull is a registered Osteopath in the UK who, alongside treating horses and humans, takes a special interest in the relationship between how horse and rider move together. Georgina is a rider herself, owning 2 horses and competing in Endurance riding and she has worked with the Team GBR Elite Endurance Squad travelling with the riders to European and World class competitions. Georgina runs her own clinic in Northamptonshire and regularly runs rider biomechanics workshops.

To find out more about Georgina and what she does head to her website  and be sure to check out her blog.

Louise and Mya

January. Goal Smashing and Galloping in to 2020!

Hello and welcome to February already! Didn’t January just fly by?! I don’t know about you but I usually feel a little low in January. But not this year! I had set some goals for the year for Mya and me at the end of December and I have actually achieved some of them already! Hence why I am feeling rather positive!

I said that I wanted to find an instructor in Toulouse that I liked, and this was a goal that I set myself for 2019 and managed to go for one riding lesson. That was it. I made it into kind of a big deal as I was worried about my level of French and that it may be a complete waste of time if I could not understand the instructor or she not understand me. However the one lesson did go well and it gave me more confidence with Mya but I never really got back around to going again. But I have now found the one!!

My new instructor Noelie teaches Mya’s owner’s daughter Sasha to ride, so came recommended. It was so nice having her come to our yard and having a lesson on Mya as I have been riding her for 1.5 years now but have actually only ever had one lesson on her before (apart from when her owner gives me some pointers). Mya was pretty spooky and tense despite me lunging her before hand, but that was actually quite good as I feel I need some help dealing with her when she is like that and Noelie gave me some tips to help me with her when she decides to canter off with me! I was really pleased that Noelie seemed very calm and gentle as some of the instructors I have seen here in France seem to be quite loud and the lessons almost look a bit chaotic compared to what I am used to in the UK. So I have decided to start having regular lessons every fortnight with Noelie which I am very excited about and I am hoping that they will have a big impact on my online dressage test results too!

Also to top things off for January is that Noelie was able to sign me off for my Gallop 4 certificate. This is a very important achievement as that means I now have been declared good enough to compete in France! Not that I have any plans to at the moment, its just passing my Gallop 4 was always something I knew I needed to do to be able to compete if I wanted to. But I never really knew how to go about it. So it is a big relief to have it now!

Lastly, I feel pleased that despite not actually riding that much in January I was able to film and submit an online dressage test this month. I had a really fun morning with my horsey friends Nic, Kate and Trudy who all helped me film a test a few weeks ago. In September I aimed to enter a class each month, which I did right up to December when I was ill, the weather was horrendous and I was away for half of the month. But none the less I didn’t want to get out of the habit, so made sure a filmed a test and entered a class knowing that we may not get to practice much. But as usual Mya keeps me guessing and actually went quite well on the morning we filmed Prelim 14. I actually received the results today and we came 18th out of 22, with a score of 60%. Not our best. Actually this is our worst score so far but I am not going to be deterred. I am confident our results will improve soon with the lessons with Noelie we are going to have. I am just pleased that we are out there doing it! Our time will come because I am trying really really hard!

How was your January? What were your achievements? Let me know in the comments.

PS. Keep your eyes peeled on the blog this month is all about riding, of which we kick off with our first guest blogger of the year Georgina Bull who has written a fantastic blog for In Due Horse all about rider biomechanics that will be published next week. Don’t miss it!

Other blogs that may interest you:

Set Goals Smash Them and Repeat! My Goals for 2020.

November 2019 Dressage Results

The Perry Wood ‘Create Your Perfect Riding Horse’ Clinic

Inspo Interviews

Inspo Interview #10 Raquel From Horses and Heels

Continuing on our January theme of planning and inspiration for 2020. I am delighted to share with you this month’s Inspo interviewee Raquel Lynn from Horses and Heels and Stable Style. Raquel is quite possibly my favourite equestrian blogger.  I ‘met’ Raquel via Skype a few months ago when I interviewed her for the Equestrian Pulse Podcast and she was so nice and I found her to be very supportive, kind and of course inspirational.

If you are not familiar with Raquel she is an equestrian blogger who lives in LA with her horse Fira and Fira lives in her back garden!! Horses and Heels is a really cool lifestyle blog, that features loads of equestrian fashion, home decor ideas and Raquel and Fira’s adventures around LA. Stable Style is a blog that focuses on Yard Tours. Imagine MTV Cribs but for horses! For those that are too young for that reference, Raquel literally takes you on the most incredible yard tours all over the world. Do be sure to check out both of her blogs, you can thank me later!

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Here’s what she had to say…

What inspired you to start your blogs Horses and Heels and Stable Style?

The idea of creating a blog came to me when I decided I wanted a creative outlet to share cowboy boots, tack obsessions, equestrian home decor, and fashion. Horses & Heels was the perfect name for this lifestyle blog. I started Horses & Heels and really had a lot of fun with it. As time passed and the blog grew, so did my ideas. I started a section on H&H called Stable Style. When I featured my first barn tour it was really popular and I wanted to do more. Since I must rotate through content, I knew I needed an outlet where I could share more barn tours – so Stable Style was born. First I quickly scooped up the Instagram handle and began posting. A few months later I was finally ready to launch the blog. Stable Style is such a concentrated niche site and it attracts equestrians of all ages and disciplines who share a passion for horses.

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Who do you look to for inspiration and why?

Inspiration is everywhere. I am a creative person so my brain is constantly firing off ideas 24/7. To me, anyone who is accomplishing their dreams and living a life that makes them truly happy is an inspiration. I look up to large lifestyle blogs like Glitter Guide, My Domaine and Apartment Therapy. Elsie and Emma from A Beautiful Mess have always inspired me with their home projects and blog. Emily Henderson always makes me smile with her home decor. There are so many equestrians who inspire me with what they are accomplishing with their horses. Kasia Bukowska @equestriankasiadbukowska is amazing. Despite her health issues, she does so much with her horses and I love the bridleless work she does. @westdesperado, Shaley Ham is a wonderful fashion guru I enjoy following along with. Beyond that there are countless women in business that I work with including magazine editors that have accomplished so much.

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

That’s a really tough question. I’m proud of so many little moments that have led up to this blogging life I’ve created for myself. Just being able to live in Los Angeles and afford and equestrian lifestyle, my horse and work from home is something I’m extremely proud of. Lately I have been reflecting on my magazine and freelance writing career. In 2019 I wrote eleven articles for equine publications including Horse Illustrated, Chrome and the Paint Horse Journal. I’ve been featured in two magazines this year, including Horse & Style, which was a real treat. My writing career has been a wonderful side effect from blogging. I remember when I was first approached by a magazine to write for them. Over the years, I’ve gained more confidence and have grown as a writer. I’m thankful for the magazines that hire me back year after year for fun projects.

Raquel 1

What would be your best advice to give someone that is feeling uninspired at the moment?

Take a break. If you are feeling uninspired chances are you need time away from the computer, your normal routine. I always find inspiration when I’m out shopping, riding, hiking or chatting with friends. Blogging can be a demanding job. You might feel like you have to achieve or accomplish a certain amount of tasks – but you should always try to be led by creativity. The same goes for someone who is overwhelmed with work. I often have days where I have so much on my plate that I feel weak and tired. I’ll just go sit outside in the sunshine, do nothing, catch up on reality television or ride Fira. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we give ourselves time to recharge our batteries.

What are you plans for this year with your blogs and Fira? What do you hope to achieve?

2019 has been a wonderful year of growth for my blogs and Fira. I hope to continue to work smartly on both blogs as they grow. Fira has matured into a lot of ways and I’m proud of the horse she’s becoming. 2020 is going to be our year of adventure together. I plan on taking her to the beach, her first horse show and on trail rides outside of Griffith Park. There are so many wonderful places within a couple hours of Los Angeles to ride and explore. I look forward to sharing my riding trips on Horses & Heels.

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Be sure to check out Raquels blogs at www.HorsesandHeels.com and www.stablestyle.net and follow her on facebook and instagram @horsesandheels_ and @stablestyle.

To check out my interview with Raquel for The Equestrian Pulse Podcast head to this link

Lifestyle

The Evie Toombes Foundation.

This year I was thinking that I would love to use the blog to help people and have been thinking of ways to raise some money for charitable causes. I thought about which causes I would like to help within the equestrian world and immediately thought of The Evie Toombes Foundation. Being a nurse myself, I honestly have been blown away with Evie’s courage, determination and mind set despite her ongoing struggles with her health.

So I will be supporting The Evie Toombes Foundation as much as I possibly can and I urge you to as well. Incase you don’t know who Evie is, Evie is a British para rider, who was born with Spina bifida and also suffers from gastro paresis which effects her bowel/ bladder and leg function & her ability to feed, meaning she needs to use a tube to feed normally. I ‘met’ Evie when I interviewed her for an Inspo Interview for the blog a few months ago. I liked her straight away, she was a pleasure to work with and despite only being 18 years old she is definitely one of the most inspiring people I have met. Evie struggles with her own chronic health problems with an amazing outlook “find a way not an excuse.”

I had seen her on the BBC 3’s ‘Amazing people’ and wanted to find out more about her. To be honest I reached out to her because she seemed like a very inspiring and interesting person to feature on my blog, but I was blown away when I got to know her more. Evie is a just a lovely person. The way she handles herself and her attitude towards life is amazing. She uses her own ill health to help to educate people about medical conditions, procedures and equipment which people may not be aware of. So much so that she now works as a Hidden Disabilities Ambassador, which has led to her setting up The Evie Toombes Foundation. This work taken her to meet Prince Harry and Meghan last year and this year has led her to talk at the RDA’s 50th birthday celebrations in front of HRH Princess Anne.

Evie finds riding her horses an excellent release and a wonderful distraction from her illness, which affects her everyday. Over the past few months Evie has been an inpatient in hospital for 5 weeks receiving PRN feed as her weight dropped dangerously low and she also frequently visits the hospital to get potassium infusions as her potassium levels also frequently drop dangerously low . The Foundation was set up to help her fund, maintain and run a medical facility/horse box to allow Evie to continue competing her horses as Evie cannot manage her complex medical condition away from home very easily. Her condition effects her bowel, bladder and lower leg and her ability to feed. In order to raise money Evie is visiting schools to educate children about hidden disabilities, but not only this Evie has written a children’s book about the subject – ‘Lucy Goes To School’ which she hopes to be in every primary school in the U.K.

So why don’t you get a copy of Lucy Goes To School’ it would make the perfect read for young children and is engaging, light hearted and fun whilst enriching children’s knowledge and awareness of hidden disabilities and illnesses.

The link to purchase is below

https://foundation.evietoombespararider.com/?location=1#buy-my-book

Evie’s book seller

Finally I would just like to add I have not been asked to write this blog by Evie or profit at all from any books sold. I just want to support Evie as much as I can.

Also some of the words describing Evie’s conditions and her books have been taken from her website.

For more information about Evie head to her website www.evietoombespararider.com

 Follow Evie on Instagram @evietoombes or on Facebook @evietoombespararider

Louise and Mya

Set Goals Smash Them and Repeat! My Goals for 2020.

I have started January full of optimism and excitement, so I thought I would set some new goals for this year with Mya. I am just so pleased with the progress I have made with her in 2019. However things weren’t always looking this peachy.  At the beginning of the year things were looking a bit bleak to be honest. We had a bad winter, Mya reared a few times in hand with me which really frightened me and my confidence was shot. The trust I had in her vanished and because of that her trust in me vanished too. But we quietly trudged on, with a lot of support and help from Kate Mya’s owner we gradually got over our problems.

In fact we not only got over our problems we soared! We spent the summer hacking out along the sunflower fields and we even managed to go to the Perry Wood riding clinic, Mya’s first trip away from her yard in 6 years and she really enjoyed showing off in front of our new friends! We started doing our online dressage tests, which are proving to be such fun and such a good way to progress and now I am looking forward to what we can do next year.

I actually made a short vlog about this if you care to take a look here.

So, my first goal is to continue to enter an online dressage test every month. I would like to try different classes out. Last month we did the Xmas fancy dress class and a normal prelim class. Next month I plan to enter the either BE90/100 class just to jazz things up a bit. I would like to try to compete with different companies to find the one I love the most. I would also like to get to a level where I can participate in the league.

I would also like to find an instructor that I like. I wanted to take more riding lessons here in France and that is a goal from last year that I haven’t quite managed to do. I managed to go for one lesson, but as the lesson was in French I really had to summon up the courage to go as I was terrified I wouldn’t understand anything. It turned out it went brilliantly but the yard I went to isn’t open when I can go. So, this year I have a friend who show jumps with her horse and I am going to go have some lessons with her and her instructor at her yard. I am very excited as I think it will be a lot of fun with her and I am hopeful that it is somewhere I can continue to go to for extra lessons.

My other ultimate goal is to compete at novice level in dressage. This is an ambitious goal for me, a dressage newbie. However I am certain Mya is very capable of this level now. She knows how to do medium paces already with Katie. I just need to catch up with her! I am also very competitive and easily distracted, so I do find challenging myself a very effective in a way of improving my performance. We won our Limited class in November with E-riders at prelim level and that quite frankly has made me hungry to win more! I’m such a sucker for a rosette! But for the mean time I will continue at prelim level and try to get placed so I can participate in the league!

My other goal is go to another Perry Wood clinic and try attend more clinics nearby. I am trying to arrange to be able to go to a lesson with William Fox-Pitt who is holding a clinic nearby at the beginning of Feb and perhaps even start competing Mya in local dressage competitions.

My final goal with Mya is simple. To continue enjoying my time with Mya and riding as much as possible. I am so glad I found her and Katie and really enjoy my time at the stables so I want to continue to do that next year.

Lastly I have some small goals for the blog too. I love writing the blog and will continue to do so but I am going to work on a bit more structure as I worry that the blog is actually just a big mind dump for any ideas and posts that I think of with no real pattern or structure. So in 2020 there will be more organisation and themes to each month on In Due Horse. There will also be guest bloggers! Each month there will be a blog from a guest blogger about a topic that they have expertise in. So for example January is all about planning and goal setting and will feature a blog from Jenni Bush ‘The Equine Business Assistant’ to help you set achievable goals and targets for your equine business or with your horse, so keep an eye out for that.

I would just like to take this opportunity to say thanks so much for reading the blog and following In Due Horse. It really means a lot.

2019 you have been brilliant! Roll on 2020!

Louise & Mya xxx

Other blogs that may interest you are:

The Big Blog of Equestrian Goals for 2020.

The Perry Wood ‘Create Your Perfect Riding Horse’ Clinic

Louise and Mya Progress Report!

Be sure to follow @induehorse on Facebook and Instagram & did you know I have now have a Youtube channel?! You’ll find me on Youtube under Louise Dando-In Due Horse. Be sure to subscribe to see my new vlogs. xxx

Interviews

The Big Blog of Equestrian Goals for 2020.

Happy New Year everyone! I am so excited about 2020. I have been looking back at my goals for 2019 and am pleased to say I have smashed a few and am on my way to smashing the other ones that I haven’t quite achieved yet. So this has spurred me on to make some goals for this year too. But you will have to wait to hear them as I will grace you all with a whole blog of itself talking about that.

But in the meantime I was curious about what my fellow equestrians were planning for next year too. So I have put together one big blog of goals that features some of my blogging buddies and some new horsey friends.

First up is Daisy from How Very Horsey. I have really enjoyed following Daisy this year and am so pleased she shared her plans in this blog!

Daisy: My resolution for 2020 is to put the work in and be 100% consistent in my work. Jack and I had an amazing year last year and I would love to qualify for Hickstead/HOYS again this year but my goal is to perform better and hopefully then the results will follow. I would also like to launch my new coaching programme and finish at least one of the three books I am writing! Lots to do. Bring on 2020.

Follow what Daisy and Jack get up to at www.howveryhorsey.co.uk

Next up is Oonagh O’Brien.

Oonagh shares her story about Peanut. We finished 2019 on a huge high with my little rescue pony Peanut being crowned National Reserve Shetland Pony of Ireland 2019 and National Reserve Newcomer of Ireland 2019 -as well as doing absolutely brilliant in her shows throughout the year, so whilst I am not sure we can beat that in 2010 – we look forward to seeing how this little rescue progresses in her showing career. Peanut came to me just under 2 years ago, never having set foot in a showing ring – in fact being rather naughty and unhandled, but she took to the showing so well and thoroughly seems to enjoy it. Her main purpose in life is to be a companion to Cody, but we will continue to show her as she has a loyal following of fans and she uses her platform as a little social media star, on her page The Antics of Peanut the Rescue Pony, to raise awareness for other rescues and the centre she came from, Cobh Rescue Horses. We are so proud of this little lady who has overcome so much in a short period of time to be come the little superstar that she is and we hope that she continues to shine for the new year.

Follow Oonagh and Peanut at The Antics of Peanut The Rescue Pony 

Next up is the lovely Jane Brindley from Horse Riding with Confidence Scotland.

Jane: I’m feeling excited as I look forward to 2020 but also can’t believe how quickly time passes. Already twenty years since the millennium and it is the year I will celebrate my 60th birthday!

I have two retired horses and therefore have nothing of my own to ride. They will spend the rest of their lives with me and I love them both dearly. For a while I thought I had stopped riding but I missed it too much so now ride regularly at a nearby equestrian centre and take other opportunities as they arise. With 2020 being a big year for me I decided to set myself a riding challenge and have booked a holiday riding coast to coast across the North of Scotland. The challenge is being fit enough to ride long distances, over quite rough terrain, every day for seven days. So my plan is to work on my general physical fitness as well as riding fitness so that I can make the very most of the opportunity and thoroughly enjoy the experience. I’m super excited about it and can’t wait for May to arrive.

Follow Jane at www.horseridingwithconfidencescotland.co.uk

Here is what Shannon from Tales From The Country has planned…

Shannon: My goal for 2020 is simply to get back to enjoying riding again. I plan to stop stressing about the goals or the fact that I’m not schooling enough, or jumping high enough, or anything else. Instead I want to simply go back to enjoying riding each and everyday, even if it’s just for a short hack around the estate because the love of it is why I got into it in the first place.

Follow Shannon at www.talesfromthecountry.com (how beautiful is Shannon’s website?!)

Cara Drouin, who is based in the US shares her plans for next year with her driving ponies.
Cara: My ponies are rare breed Gotland Ponies. Pepper is 14, 12.1 hands, black dun, Registered as Kokovoko Pepper Lee. I’ve had her since she was 8. Nell is buckskin, half sister to Pepper, 12 hands, registered as Kokovoko Penelope. I’ve had her since November 2018. The third pony is Faye, 24 years, 11.3 hands, black dun. She was free and I brought her out from Kentucky to California with Nell, hoping that Nell would travel better over the 2400 miles if she were not alone. Registered as Kokovoko Firecracker, she is a retired broodmare. They are my 3rd, 4th, and 5th Gotlands.
Pepper and Nell are driving ponies. I bought Nell as a pairmate to Pepper after another pony mare passed in May. Both drive pairs and single. I’ve ridden Pepper a couple of times. She doesn’t like it. She’s not fun to ride. We don’t have to do that, so we don’t.
This spring, I found that the new pony, Nell, had a lot of tension about her bridle. A lot. We spent most of the summer working on just that. The bridle is nice, she got massages with her bridle and then finally she looked at her bridle and was happy and relaxed and opened her mouth by herself. So I drove her single and it was scary, she was confused without a road to follow or a pairmate to direct her. Back to long lines until she was less concerned and now she’s good single. But horribly out of shape.
I can trailer them down to Gilroy, the Garlic Capital of the World, but I really could only do this a couple times a week because its ALL DAY there and back. I don’t want to turn them into weekend warriors, so they are mothballed for the winter.
My goal this summer is to get them conditioned enough to pull the carriage up the first mile so I can drive next winter. I also hope to get in some lessons with someone who is about 3.5 hours away. That makes it an overnight trip. It’s too much of an investment in time and fuel to get just one lesson, and the mountain road makes it work for the ponies to stand in the trailer.
Do check out Cara’s Etsy shop Laughing Mare

Last but not least is my friend and co-host on Equestrian Pulse Andrea Parker from The Sand Arena Ballerina.

Andrea: While 2019 saw me land a job that enabled us to move back into the heart of the equestrian world (for South East Queensland at least), it has been far from smooth sailing. The move catapulted us into a huge learning curve with some major changes to my riding and Nonie’s way of going. It was initially frustrating as it meant that we weren’t as competitive as I might have liked, but ultimately I am hopeful that it will set us up for a great 2020 and more importantly for the step towards FEI. With that being said our goals for 2020 are to improve the quality of Nonie’s canter so that we can improve the flying changes and get to work on the canter pirouettes. If we can do this then we’ll be able to have our first start at advanced level.

Follow Andrea and Nonie at www.thesandarenaballerina.com

So, I hope that you have enjoyed hearing about everyone’s goals for 2020. Do you have any goals for you and your horse for this year? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to follow @induehorse on Facebook and instagram.

 

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News

The Best Bits Of Equestrian News in 2019.

I am seeing a lot of round up posts and recaps of the year being published today and thought I would do the same. Mine is slightly different though, like normal! Mine is only the positive stuff. I know that you might say this is not a real look of the world if you only mention positive things, but you can watch the news, read a tweet from Donald Trump or think about Brexit for 2 minutes to feel pretty low and confused to balance it out if you like.

2019 has had a lot of positives, so here are my 12 favourites bits of horsey news that made me smile in 2019.

1) A pony and his boy. The story of a young boy in New Zealand with Downs Syndrome and his pony has been made into a documentary being shown around the world. Josh is eight years old and it shows how his pony Berry who is 28 years old has helped him. The documentary won a Winnie award at The Equus Film Festival this year.

2) Piggy French smashed British eventing results records this season. Piggy claimed 1768 British Eventing points this season after winning 38 events and achieving a further 74 top ten placings after 160 starts. Amazing!

3) Equestrian Pulse Podcast launched! Shameless plug alert! This year I was delighted to be asked to part of this amazing new podcast along side Heather Wallace of The Timid Rider and Andrea Parker of The Sand Arena Ballerina (fellow equestrian bloggers). It has been such fun to be part of this and we even managed to reach 500 downloads in November which was a real surprise since we only launched in September. Be sure to check it out we talk about everything in the equestrian world and features interviews with some really cool and interesting horsey people. You can listen on Spotify, Buzzsprout, Apple Podcasts and iHeartradio.

4) Mark Todd retired. The legend that is Mark Todd retired again this year but this time it is for good. He retired once before after the Sydney Olympics in 2000, but could not keep away and returned to Eventing for the Olympics in 2008. Todd is now 63 and has won 4 times at Badminton, 5 times at Burghley, 2 Olympic gold medals and many many more. He has had a phenomenal career and has now started training race horses. Todd announced his retirement this year at Camphire International Horse Trials in Ireland after finishing 5th.

5) Khadijah Mellah was the first British Muslim woman in the UK to compete and win in a horse race wearing a hijab. Mellah had ridden since she was 12 prior to winning the Magnolia Cup at the Ebony Riding Club in Brixton, an inner city stables consisting of 9 horses aimed at getting deprived youngsters in riding. Although, she had never sat on a racehorse until 2 months before the race.  She now aims to gain an amateur jockey license whilst she studies mechanical engineering at university.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

6) The Queen of England is still riding at the age of 93 years old. She was pictured in November riding one of her fell ponies. That is riding goals right there!

7) Pippa Funnel made an amazing comeback. Funnel won Burghley at age 50 after a massive 14 year gap since her last big win.

8) Burghley cross country course. This I thought needed a mention, not sure if everyone would class it as a ‘best bit’ of 2019 but it was certainly a big talking point! The cross country course was so difficult that only half of the participants finished the course and only 1 person (Piggy French of course) made it round inside the optimum time.

9) Jonty Evans returned to Badminton. After suffering from a serious head injury from a riding accident in 2018. Jonty Evans took part in a dressage demonstration held by Pammy Hutton in front of a crowd at Badminton. It turns out that he was going to Talland for lessons on Art and it was Pammy who helped him achieve his goal of jumping again this year. He even actually managed to compete on Art this year too. Way to go Jonty only 1 year after being in a coma for 6 weeks!

Photo Credit: Sarah Farnsworth

10) France banned trimming of horses whiskers for horses competing in FFE endorsed events. Citing that whiskers are essential in guiding a horse to food and away from other objects and aid their spacial awareness. This is something that many have praised.

11) British Soldier Ezphia Rennock, who served in the Household Cavalry managed to buy his old equine partner when he was retired from service.  Rennock described Agricola as a proper trouble maker, both new to the military when they started in the Queen’s Guard in 2000 but they eventually bonded well. Rennock retired in 2007 and his old colleagues informed him that Agricola his ex equine partner was being retired in 2019. So he placed a sealed bid for him. He later found out that someone had bid 4x times the price he had but because he enclosed a letter stating why he wanted to buy him he was chosen. Agricola now still lives in the Duchy stables in the Queen’s grounds at the palace but is owned by Rennock who visits him everyday.

12) Lastly is a little bit of good news for 2020. A film of Black Beauty is being remade and is set to star Kate Winslet! O.M.G!

So, I hope that your 2019 has been good and that you have enjoyed my round up of Equestrian News. I would like to wish you a very happy new year and let’s hope 2020 is even better!

 

Here are some of my other blogs that may interest you.

Burghley Cross Country 2019. Tough Course or Too Much?

What a Season It Has Been For Piggy French!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louise and Mya

Merry Christmas from Louise and Mya!

Hey Everyone!

It’s fair to say that I have lost my blogging mojo recently. I’ve been ill for a while (just general colds/coughs, nothing more horrible don’t worry) so I have been functioning at the bare minimum to be honest. The last few days I have been stressing as I haven’t been posting regularly, no one is reading the blog and my Pinterest scheduler is not working. I also haven’t ridden Mya for 2 weeks either. But you know what I am not going to worry about that over Christmas! I am going to enjoy some time off with my friends and family and just chill out!

Normally I do a dressage results blog, but I will just quickly tell you that in November we came 3rd in Prelim 1 which was the Xmas fancy dress class with 64.14% ( 3% better than in Sept) and 12th in Prelim 7 with 61%. Two tests that we struggled with, as quite frankly Mya found them a bit boring! She just wanted to canter around the arena or do some medium paces down the centre line when I just wanted her to trot in a straight line!

In January I will get back to blogging, I have lined up some fabulous guest bloggers of which I hope to feature once a month to open up more horsey topics on In Due Horse. I will also relaunch the book club as we know have lots of lovely people in the group but I need to learn how to run the group well! But for now I am on my Xmas hols and all will resume in January & the blog will return bigger and better than before.

Thank you whole heartedly to everyone that reads the blog or follows me on social media. Your support is very much appreciated. We have built up a lovely little community of horsey people that I just love! Having you guys support me so well, actually lead me to approach a magazine to write for and I am very proud to say that I am now a published writer!!! In the winter edition of ´In The Country’ you will see an article written by me & a big picture of Mya & I ( she doesn’t realise how popular she is!) so THANK YOU as I never would of dreamt of that if it wasn’t for you guys saying lovely things to me after reading the blog!!

So that just leaves one thing to say. Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have lots of time to spend with your furry friends over the holidays and I wish you all the best for the new year!

See you on the other side and Bonne Fête my friends!

Lots of love

Louise and Mya xxx

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!!