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!! 😂❤️

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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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News

Burghley Cross Country 2019. Tough Course or Too Much?

I watched all of the cross country yesterday at Burghley online and it made for very tense viewing! There was fall after fall, refusals a plenty and lot of people retired. This makes me ask the question was that course too hard? The safety pins were a big taking point on the commentary as competitor after competitor was demolishing jump after jump. Is this the point of cross country? To have obstacles that most of the horses can’t clear? There were jumps so wide on the course that it actually got hard to watch horse after horse attempt to clear them, but fail and fall with their rider. It actually reminded me of Lemmings at one point! It was pretty crazy!

Out of 67 starters only 33 finished. Of those 33, 23 managed to go clear. 1 within the time! Whilst 20 competitors were eliminated out on the course. However I’m going to put it out there, it was brilliant to watch. No horses or riders were injured despite the large number of falls and quite frankly all the ups and downs made it absolutely thrilling! Burghley is known to be the toughest 5* event in the world and course builder Captain Mark Phillips certainly made sure it was yesterday.

There are many opinions about the use of frangible pins. Many people saying that this course was more dangerous because of the use of the pins.  However I disagree as it is simply not true. No horses were injured after falling. Ok it was unpleasant to see so many of them fall. But if you compete at this level there is a very high risk of falling to you and your horse. Crikey I never competed at affiliated level and I have been fallen on by my horse several times, it happens.

Frangible pins were designed in 2002 in the UK. They were originally designed to prevent rotational falls. As rotational falls are the most dangerous way of falling. They have become controversial because of course now you can have faults for knocking obstacles. For example if you knock a pin and a fence collapses you gain 11 faults. This was not possible before as these jumps could not be knocked down. Many people have argued that courses are now being made harder because of the pins and that the courses are actually becoming too hard.

It was very interesting to watch the footage of the cross country yesterday. The difference between the calibre of the riders was glaring. You needed to have experience of riding at 5* events to clear this course. There were a few inexperienced combinations that continued too far in my opinion, when they already had a few hairy moments then eventually fell. You simply can’t be competitive if you are struggling on a course like this. If you are struggling it is simply too dangerous to carry on and I think that was a tough lesson for some of the inexperienced combinations. However, the likes of Pippa Funnell, Piggy French and Oliver Townend made the course look easy. They are experienced and not only could ride the jumps well and safely but also knew when it was ok to speed up in between the fences without tiring their horses too much. This makes me wonder if the qualification process for 5* events is too easy? Should the qualification process be more stringent?

Burghley Horse Trials
Photo credit: American Eventing Association

There were many riders that made that course look as hard as it was. I watched an interview with Captain Mark Phillips after the cross country had finished yesterday and he said that the gates in the course were far more unforgiving that he imagined and that they would not be used again. He wasn’t happy that only 33 people completed the course and claimed that was not his intention. When questioned about the toughness of the course, his response was that simply the calibre of riders that attempted the course was lower than normal. I was shocked when I heard him say that at first. However then he listed the riders that were missing and that you would normally expect to see at this event Tina Cook, Mark Todd, Ingrid Klimke, Michael Jung and William Fox-Pitt to name a few that he felt could have tackled the course well and I think he is right. The course was hard but I do agree that all of the people he mentioned could have tackled that course well.

This course is a 5* course after all. I think the frangible pins are a good thing and I think that we shouldn’t lessen the challenge of eventing. To me that event was top level eventing at its finest. It reminded me of going to Badminton when I was child and seeing these enormous fences that felt so scary and dangerous. Now they are scary but the facts show they were not dangerous as despite there being a lot of falls, not one single horse was injured. To me the Maltings combination simply seemed too wide for the majority of horses and I did not enjoy watching people go through there as so many horses fell trying to clear it. Although there needs to be challenges on the course, as it cannot be just a dressage competition that is not the point of eventing.

Burghley Horse trials
Photo credit: horseandrideruk.com

Now, our sport is a dangerous one. We cannot dumb it down too much or how will the sport develop? It is one thing to include safety measures, but we still need to have the toughest courses possible for our elite competitions. A true test for these horses and riders. There were many alternative longer routes that many didn’t use. If that had been my first run at that level, I would have picked the easiest way round possible and retired if it was too much for me and my horse. A lot of the inexperienced combinations did not seem to do that and I don’t know why.

Despite the course being criticised for being too hard, I throughly enjoyed watching it yesterday. No I did not enjoy the rotational falls. But it was a thrilling day of sport and let’s not forget that some of the drama was not down to the course! Tim Price falling on the flat in the lake – what bad luck! Buck Davidson fell, was rolled over by his horse then when the horse got up there was an awful moment he was left dangling upside down as his foot was stuck in his stirrup. Urgh! Zara Tindell falling off at one of the simpler fences because of an unlucky run out And let’s not forget poor Georg Hilton Jones’ horse that jumped a fence but got his leg stuck in his martingale which caused him and his rider to fall after the jump! Wow! It was edge of your seat stuff. Yes it would have been different if people or horses had been injured but no one was so to me that is a successful day eventing!

What are you thoughts? Was the course too tough in your opinion?

Overnight Scores heading into showjumping:

1st – Pippa Funnell – MGH Grafton Street – 26.8

2nd- Piggy French – Vanir Kamir – 26.9

3rd – Oliver Townend – Ballghmoor Class 27.3

Its going to be a exciting showjumping competition this afternoon.

Copyright of Louise Dando and In Due Horse 2019.

Reviews, Uncategorised

My Review of Fly Off Horse and Rider Starter Kit

I was delighted to be gifted a horse and rider starter kit from Fly Off to test out and review. We live in the South West of France and we get a lot of flies. Mya is particularly sensitive to them too, so I was very pleased that we could test out some fly repellent. Here is my honest review of the product.

A bit about the product.

Fly Off is an alternative fly repellent that is not a spray. It uses discs of fly repellent that insert into a leg strap for the horse and insert into a clip that you can attach to you or in my case the front of my saddle. It is waterproof, and each disc should last for 2 weeks once removed from its wrapper.

Mya modelled beautifully for me I think you will agree!  If you look carefully in the above photo you will see that Mya is wearing the leg strap which has 2 fly repellent discs on her front left leg. Mya is also sporting the rider disc too, which you can see clipped to the saddle to help me with the flies too.

Pictured below you find the fly repellent discs. Each colour contains a different type of fly repellent Citronella, Deet and Neem. Also pictured are the leg straps for the horses. The kit also contains the clip that I attach to the front of my saddle too which also has an insert which fits one disc in.

My thoughts on the product.

I used the product whilst hacking this summer and was impressed. Living in France, it is very hot in the summer which unfortunately means a lot of flies!  I found that normally there are flies buzzing around Mya, who often uses her legs to kick out in discomfort whilst we are hacking. I also have flies buzzing around my face most of the time too, which is very unpleasant.

I have found the starter kit to be effective.  I used it like it is pictured on Mya above. So a leg strap on Mya and the clip on the front of the saddle. Of course there are still some flies, however there were considerably less than when I hack without Fly Off. Mya didn’t kick out or swish her tail as much as does normally either.

I must admit that I haven’t turned Mya out in the leg straps as I know that she would lose them. That’s not a criticism of the straps I just know that Mya would try and get them off! She’s naughty like that! Although my one criticism of the straps is that they are quite large. Mya is 16.2hh so not small and at first when I put the strap on I wondered if it was going to be too big (it is 14 inches long) . It turns out it was fine. So horses that are smaller may struggle with them being to be big for their legs. Although you can obviously put it on your girth or rug as an alternative to the leg so not an actual problem.

Overall

I liked the rider clip particularly as despite the repellent in the clip being by my leg there were considerably less flies around my face. I also like that the both the leg straps and clip are movable, so I took the clip on holiday with me and used it when I took my niece riding in the forest!

So all in all I personally found Fly Off to be more effective than any spray I have tried this summer. I think you have to bear in mind that no repellent will eliminate every single fly. However Fly Off eliminated a lot of them. Riding was considerately more comfortable with the Fly off products.

To get some for yourself head to www.equine-innovations.co.uk – it is currently on sale reduced from £29.99 to £17.99

Copyright of Louise Dando and In Due Horse 2019.