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

 

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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!!

img_5688
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

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

Lifestyle

The In Due Horse Vlog!

In Due Horse now has a vlog!! Please subscribe at our YouTube channel to check the full vlog out https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk9lc1AGlIm1eUdLP–tdWw

Recently I have been really getting into watching equestrian vloggers. This made me want to give it a go myself. So I used the preparation I have been doing for my recent online dressage test as a subject.

Here are some clips of the vlog…

I included some out takes of my preparation for filming my test. It’s fair to say I still find dressage very hard!!

I have also included the actual dressage test I have submitted for my competition too.

So please subscribe to our channel ‘Louise Dando In Due Horse‘ on YouTube and like and share it if you enjoy it!

I am hoping to film some more about my horsey life in France very soon!

If you want to hear more about our dressage preparation here is the blog about it. Louise and Mya Progress Report!

Fun Ideas

8 Celebrities That Look Ridiculously Good On Horseback

These photos are something you didn’t know you needed to see until you see them. Now I am not sure how well they can ride but here are 8 celebrities that look great on horseback.

  1. Zac Efron
Zac Efron Horse riding
Photo Credit: Ciao Pix/ Frezzalafata/akm-gsi

Starting out strong with this one. Here is Zac Efron galloping shirtless in the sea on a horse. I don’t really have much else to add to this…

2. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga horse riding
Photo credit: Lady Gaga’s Instagram

Lady Gaga looking like a straight up goddess riding her horse Arabella. Fun fact: Arabella was bought for Lady Gaga by her record label.

3. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift on a horse
Photo Credit: weheartit.com

Tay Tay looking awesome in her music video for Blank Space. I think I’d do this if I had a chateau.

4. Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt riding a horse
Photo Credit: Unknown (found on Pinterest)

Now, I haven’t met anyone that doesn’t like Chris Pratt. Here he is looking like a cowboy. Although when questioned about his riding ability he claims he rides a horse like a jet ski!

5. Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt horse riding
Photo credit: Unknown found on Pinterest

Continuing with the cowboys, Brad Pitt is looking very comfy here in the saddle during filming for Legends of The Fall.

6. Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman horse riding
Photo Credit: Entertainment Wallpaper

Another cowboy for you. Here is Hugh Jackman looking very much the part for his role in the film Australia. He trained for a year to be able to ride good enough for the movie. He could ride before but knew he would have to improve a lot to feel comfortable herding cattle and cantering around.

7. Cillian Murphy

Peaky Blinders horses
Photo Credit: Horse and Hound

Possibly the best thing about Peaky Blinders is when Cillian Murphy rides bareback around the streets of Birmingham. He just looks so cool! I’m pretty certain I’m not the only one that thinks this!

8. Kendal Jenner

Kendall Jenner Horseriding

I think it’s fair to say Kendall Jenner would look good doing anything including horse riding! Oh to be a super model and look good all the time

Copyright of Louise Dando and In Due Horse 2019.

 

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Lifestyle

Louise and Mya Progress Report!

Well, I am very excited! If you have been following my blog for a while, you may notice that I don’t actually publish that much about myself on here. Mainly because I feel that I don’t do anything interesting enough to blog about and actually compared to when I was younger and competing and jumping all the time I actually feel that my level is not what it used to be. This is because as an adult I have stopped and started riding many times, sometimes with long breaks in between. And now when I ride I have been hacking and having the odd lesson but not doing anything particularly exciting.

However, after having a few lessons on Mya with her owner Katie. I realised that actually we have been progressing quite nicely. I set myself a goal of entering an online dressage competition at the end of last year and failed to do it. As it is fair to say Mya and I have taken quite a while to work nicely together. When I say this it doesn’t mean we don’t like each other. Its the opposite in fact I adore her and I think she is pretty fond of me too. It is that we are both quite sensitive girls together. Both of us had a long time off, before I started riding her, Mya due to an injury and me due to moving to France etc. So our first year together was enjoyable, but I was starting to feel that we hadn’t made much progress. It wasn’t all plain sailing though, we had some trouble with Mya being difficult to handle in the winter that really knocked my confidence with her. It affected me on the ground and in the saddle. Her unpredictability was not fun and she reared a few times in hand with me which really frightened me. I had some problems with her spooking quite violently in the arena, napping going out of the yard and bucking when we were cantering. God actually this makes her sound awful which wasn’t the case! But you can see my point of not making any progress! However I persevered. At times I wondered why. But I am so glad that I did. A massive milestone for me was back in May. I went for my first proper riding lesson in years. In French! I had put this off due to being worried I wouldn’t understand anything that the instructor was saying but it actually went very well. I rode Campi a very sensitive little horse in the torrential rain. Where I had to succumb to the less is more tactic on this little coiled spring that they had put me on! After riding Campi around for an hour with long reins despite her feeling like she was going to gallop away, I realised that I actually knew Mya quite well and compared to that fizzy, prancey little horse I could actually anticipate what naughtiness Mya had instore for me now. Campi didn’t make me fall off and Mya hasn’t yet either. What am I feeling frightened of?

 

So, I went back to Mya with new confidence and haven’t looked back. I realised I now knew when she would be likely to canter across the arena bucking with me and if she did I would just sit it out like I always do. This happened a couple of times and then I would just ask for canter again until she wasn’t doing it anymore. She hasn’t done it for months now. It no longer frightened me. I realised it wasn’t building up to anything else, that’s all she does. The spooks in the arena have got less frequent too and she gets an assertive tap with the whip instead of my passiveness before.  If we hadn’t been able to ride for a few days, we started to lunge her before we got on and this helped my confidence greatly too. Mya loved having a canter on the lunge and it was wonderful getting on a nicely calm warmed up horse instead of a coiled spring.

So without realising our rides soon drastically improved fast after that. We hacked out with confidence. I could cope with and not be afraid of her spinning if she did try and nap going out of the yard. I started to trust her again and now she could look to me for reassurance. Something I was not able to give her before. Mya has taught me to be a bit more assertive than I like to be too. However now I don’t need to be as much. Well not all the time! We had a few more sessions with Katie and did things in the arena that I wouldn’t of even considered trying to do alone. Cantering around the arena no handed was a highlight! A particularly memorable trust exercise that Katie used to prove that Mya would not gallop away or buck with me and that I should learn to trust her again. It worked as she didn’t and hasn’t since. Over the summer we hacked out frequently with Katie and Galaxy totally relaxed and when it was cool enough we schooled in the arena practising dressage tests, working in an outline and leg yielding (I need practice with all those things not Mya) until I went on holiday for 3 weeks in August.

So I was absolutely delighted that after having a month off in August that Mya was going as beautifully as she was before I went away. Mya ended up having August off too, as she developed a cough. So the week I returned from holiday, Katie showed me how to use a Pessoa and we lunged Mya in that. I was quite taken with it. Mya looked beautiful and I really felt that she had worked as hard or even harder than she would of if she had been ridden. Then this week Katie and I rode her and she went beautifully. So beautifully in fact that we have entered an online dressage competition! I am so excited!

We decided to enter with E-Riders.co.uk and they have made their own  prelim/novice test that looks great. We decided to enter that next month, as it is a fairly straight forward dressage test but it does include movements like rein back and turn on the forehand, which I think will be really challenging! I had to you tube what turn on the forehand was actually! It’s fine I know now, but this show jumper has rather limited dressage experience and it is starting to show! But when I went online to print off that test, I noticed that E-Riders are running a charity event in September, which is Prelim 1. So we have entered that too!  We have to video that test this week as it has to be submitted by 30 September! We ran through the test on Wednesday and I was so proud. Mya went beautifully. Katie and I each did the test a few times and she was amazing with both of us. I was on a high all day after. Not only because I felt that I was riding at a standard I can be proud of again but because my passion has been revived well and truly again. I am not a nervous rider anymore. I never was when I had my own and feeling frightened is not fun. It makes you feel rubbish and silly.

So even if I do not get placed. It would make my year if I get a rosette though I’m not going to lye. I have my eyes on one and will try my best to get one, but if I don’t that’s ok too as I am so happy to back doing what I love! I am not a dressage rider. I only ever did flat work when I was made to so I could jump. As an adult I have a secret dream of eventing but thought it would always just be a dream as my dressage is so bad. But maybe there is hope for this show jumper yet! Maybe I will be back out jumping soon too. I suddenly feel anything is possible and it is great!

Have a great week.

Louise xx

 

 

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