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.

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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.

Top Tips

Flies. What Horse Owners Can Do To Make Them Buzz Off!

I don’t know about you but I just love the summer. I love the hot weather, the light evenings, and it helps that I now have the summer holidays off! However I absolutely hate flies. Since starting riding in France, I have honestly been shocked at the amount and size of flies that follow the poor horses around.

So, here are my top tips to make those flies buzz off!

1. Fly repellent and lots of it. I have recently been gifted some fly repellent from Fly Off to review and it seems great. Fly Off is different as it has little discs of fly repellent that you can strap to your horse on its leg using their handy Velcro strap and I also was sent the rider clip too that I clipped to my saddle & I was bugged a lot less than normal whilst hacking like that.

2. Fly Masks. For me fly masks are an essential part of my horses wardrobe now. I could not put Mya out without one as her face would be covered in flies.

3. Fly Rugs. Now Mya is turned out all summer with a fly mask and a rug too. This is because she is VERY sensitive to any flies and although it may make her a little hotter, she seems far more comfortable in a fly rug than without. I do understand that this may not be necessary for all horses and I would like to add that Mya is checked twice a day when it is hot as sometimes it is simply too hot for her to wear it in the French summer heat. But most of the time to works a treat in keeping her fly free.

4. Poo picking. Now Katie & I like a clean paddock. It’s something we are proud of and we often compare our lovely poo free paddock to Mya’s neighbours with great satisfaction. However it does serve a purpose too. Poo (particularly freshly dropped poo) attracts flies. Big time. So getting that out of your paddock and away from your horses is a good idea.

5. Riding with an ear bonnet. I always ride Mya inn the summer with an ear bonnet so the flies cannot get to her ears as she seems very sensitive to this. Again can be a little hotter in the heat but totally worth it in my opinion.

6. Research by thehorse.com has shown that a field shelter is essential for your horse not just to protect it from the bad weather in the winter but very effective from protecting horses from flies in the summer also. I would agree with this as I think Mya actually uses the shelter in her field more in summer than in winter and if she is particularly troubled by flies she will always stand in her shelter for relief.

7. Remove any standing water from your field or yard. It is known that flies are attracted to water so if you have any pipe leaks or puddles that build up. Get rid of them as they will attract flies too.

8. Removing buckets from your paddock or stable. Now we are quite old school and use rubber buckets to feed Mya in her field. I also used to do this with my own horse when he was stabled. Namely so the bucket can be left there without the risk of the horse injuring itself on it. However I have noticed that after Mya has eaten, the flies swarm to her bucket to get any left over bits of food from her bucket. So they have to be taken away if you want those flies to buzz off!

So, although not ground breaking I hope you find some of those tips useful for the last part of summer. I can’t actually believe it is September already.

Putting it out there. Fly Off GIFTED me these products to review. I have tried out the products & am happy to recommend them to you. To get some for yourself head to Fly-off.co.uk

Stay tuned for my full review of Fly Off this weekend on the blog.

If you like this blog be sure to check out these other posts I think you might like.

How to Make Ice Lollies for Your Horse.

Keep Cool and Carry on! My Summer Tips for You and Your Horse.

My Back To School Equestrian Picks From Amazon

Fun Ideas

10 Reasons to Watch Peaky Blinders If You Love Horses!

So Peaky Blinders series 5 is back. Hooray! I binge watched all of the other series on Netflix last year & am excited about it’s return. It’s a good show but I love it because there is a lot of horses in it and Cillian Murphy rides through the old fashioned streets of Birmingham on horseback. It’s pretty badass!

Here are 10 reasons that you really should check out Peaky Blinders if you love horses. Move over Poldark Thomas Shelby is back!

1. Tommy Shelby riding through the streets of Birmingham. Bareback! It’s just so cool!

Cillian Murphy riding horse
Photo Horse & Hound

2. Sam Neil’s Irish accent. Not horse related but worth a mention. “It’s none of your concern”. I said that a lot. My Irish friends loved me!

3. Thomas Shelby’s race horses. Tommy owning race horses sees the Shelby Family go to numerous race courses around Britain, including Epsom, Worcester & Kempton. So there are even more horses in those episodes!

Peaky blinders Horses

Photo: horseracing.co.uk

4. Thomas Selby’s racehorse trainer is a bad ass lady named May. At the time it was very unconventional to have a female race horse trainer, but come to think of it I can’t think of any today. Come on girls let’s get racing!

Thomas Shelby and his racehorse
Photo: Birminghammail.co.uk

5. There is now a real racehorse named Thomas Shelby based in Australia. Not sure if they were inspired by Peaky Blinders perhaps?!

6. Tommy named his racehorse Grace’s Secret after his wife Grace.

7. Weird horse care tips. In one of the episodes they said to put goldfish in the horses water to stop them getting worms. Never tried & not planning on testing it out anytime soon.

8.The gypsy carriages are really cool. In series 4 we see the Shelby’s head to a gypsy camp to cremate two people. They are taken by horse & carriage and the carriages used are traditional gypsy carriages.

9. Atkinson Action Horses provided all the horses for Peaky Blinders. They also provide all the horses for Poldark and Elizabeth as well.

10. One more time! Thomas Shelby riding through the streets of Birmingham. Bareback! Even if you don’t fancy him it’s still pretty cool. Look at that horse!

Photo 66.media.tumblr.com

** Putting it out there this post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase something at no extra cost to you I will receive a tiny bit of commission**

Other blogs you might just love

16 Facts You Didn’t know about The Horses in Game of Thrones

My 5 Favourite Disney Horses

7 Horse Riders That Have Really Famous Parents.

Copyright of Louise Dando and In Due Horse 2019.

Fun Ideas, Lifestyle

8 Reasons Why Horse Girls are Great at Camping.

I am actually off camping for 2 whole weeks tomorrow. It’s ok…I do live in the South of France where the weather is pretty hot in the summer. That being said I always used to go when I lived in the U.K. too and it rained a lot!

I think there are many reasons why us horse girl’s thrive whilst camping & here is why…

1) We are used to be being cold & wet (well, if you are British anyway.) But I think horse girls worldwide can relate to those days at the yard when it is torrential rain & freezing cold. You can’t feel your fingers & think you will never be warm again but it is all worth while when your darling is exercised & put back in their cozy warm stable.

2) The lack of cleaning facilities are not a problem for horse girls. We are used to spending all day at the yard. We are used to getting a bit smelly after mucking out. Getting hay and straw all over ourselves. Horse slobber is everywhere. And we are used eating our lunch without washing our hands. Camping is actually quite luxurious in comparison.

3) This then leads us to the ‘facilities.’ If the toilet situation is a little less than desirable camping it’s probably far better than the stable toilet. I actually got frightened to go in ours the other day as something quite big moved in the undergrowth by the door. The toilet I don’t think has ever been cleaned so I didn’t fancy my chances even from the outside and there is never ever any toilet roll. Note to self pack my own toilet roll for camping.

4) Camping brings back glorious memories of pony club camp. Those days were the best. We would ride all day then sneakily eat chocolate biscuits in our tents. My friend Lucy & I used to get dressed for riding the night before. We would sleep in our clothes so when we were awoken at the crack of dawn we could lay in our warm beds right up to the last minute & not get up and get changed in the cold.

Click here to get your camping stuff from Amazon.

5) Mud glorious mud! Something else that if you camp in bad weather you will have to get used to. Of course us horse girls know all about mud & it no longer bothers us. It helps that we have all the boots, coats, hats and waterproofs already needed to stay dry and warm and it really doesn’t matter if your horsey clothes get covered in mud it probably is already.

6) Some places you can take your horse! It’s becoming more and more popular to be able to take your four legged friend with you. If you don’t take your own you may well be pitched next to a field of other four legged creatures you can make friends with. You’ll surely be able to take your dog.

7) Being outside. I just love it! There’s nothing that beats seeing the sunset and getting up nice and early whilst camping in a nice quiet field and listening to the birds tweet.

8) Its cheap! Camping is a great holiday that doesn’t break the bank. Which of course leaves you more money for horse related necessities.

So there you have it. Camping is in fact the perfect holiday for a horse girl. Our way of life has prepared us brilliantly for it. Go grab your tent and get going!

** This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to click through and purchase something at no extra cost to you I will receive a tiny bit of commission**.

 Mystical Fire Flame Colourant $8

Marshmallow Roastings Sticks $9.99. 

 

 Instant Set up Tent for 3-4 people $69.99

 

Let me know if you have been camping or love it in the comments section!

Copyright of In Due Horse and Louise Dando 2019.

If you liked this blog be sure to check out

How to Make Ice Lollies for Your Horse.

7 Horse Riders That Have Really Famous Parents.

6 Equestrian Brands You Probably Didn’t Know Are on Amazon

 

 

Lifestyle

My Back To School Equestrian Picks From Amazon

 

 

I don’t want to be a total bummer but the end of the summer holidays is rapidly approaching. I don’t know about you but I like to make sure everything is as organised as possible before I go back to work. This includes my horsey & dog stuff!

I like everything to be ready to use and organised so when I go back to work and have less time to hang around at the stables my stuff will be tidy, I will know where everything is and it will be clean!

Here are my top back to school picks from Amazon.com. Just click on the pictures or the highlighted words to shop!! Also Amazon will convert the currency to your own country by the way. So if you are not shopping from the US. Don’t worry!

***Putting it out there- This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click through and purchase something at no extra cost to you I will receive a tiny bit of commission***

  1. Get your grooming kit in order!

Equi-Essentials Super Groom Organiser $18.95

Now is there anything more satisfying than cleaning out your dirty old grooming kit?! I just love it! I have recently moved my grooming kit to a bag that I can carry on my shoulder and I will never use a tray again! I can now carry my tack & my grooming kit at the same time, saving me a trip to the tack room & how nice are these colours?! They stay cleaner too, as I hang my bag next to Mya when I am brushing her and then a lot less dirt and hay gets in there when it is off the floor & I don’t need to keep bending down too.

2. Buying your dog/horse food in bulk & keeping it in a large container

Chicken Soup for Your Soul Dog Food $39.99

If you buy you dog/horse food in bulk it’s cheaper. Fact. So get your self a big container that will keep it fresh. Shop Amazon here for Dog Food Containers.

Get your horse and dog food delivered! I order my dog’s food on Amazon as I couldn’t find the one he likes here in France. It is great. I don’t have to carry it to & from the car. The delivery guy brings it straight to my door! 

3. Get ready for school or work with this cool lunch box.

Cute Horse Tote Lunch Box $9.99

I am a big packed lunch fan!  When I was nursing full time I took my own lunch everyday. It saves you so much money if you take your own lunch. You can also make sure that you are eating nice healthy lunches that you prepared yourself instead of picking something quick & fattening! Amazon have loads for adults and kids.

4. Get your riding gear cleaned and organised!

Shires Flamingo Boot Hat and Whip Bag $47.99

Sorry but this is the coolest boot bag I have EVER seen! It has flamingos on it! Flamingos! If you are like me and go riding in different places or just like your stuff to be kept clean and dry in a bag whilst in the tack room, this is the bag for you! It is just so cool!

5. Ready for school?

Wildkin Backpack $29.99

Your kid will be the coolest in the playground with this pretty horse backpack. I want it and I am an adult! You can also get a matching pencil case too.

6. Get your horses rugs ready for winter

Derby Winter Blanket Storage Bag $32.95 

Tidying out your tack room? Where do you keep your horse’s rugs during the summer? I used to get mine washed then keep them in my parents garage. That is not an option anymore as I don’t live in the same country as them! I deffo need one of these in my life! You can just pop your clean blankets in the bag and then the rugs are kept clean and away from pesky rodents until you need them again in the winter. Great idea!

7. School Supplies

 Always be a Unicorn Pencil Case $7.44 

Amazon have a wide selection of school supplies. Pencils, pens, back packs and stationary. Check the girls stuff here and the boys stuff here.

8. Did you know that you can order your groceries from Amazon? Get stocked up for school!

Amazon Fresh is a grocery delivery service that delivers fresh groceries to your door. Click here to trial for FREE! They have everything you can think of and more.

9. Get extra supplies for your horse ready for winter.

Shires Premium Haynet $14.63

Make sure you have spares of everything you need to prepare for your horse for when he comes in for the winter. I make sure I can prepare my horses hay net for that evening and the following morning at the same time. I also prepare his feed for the following day too. Anything that saves time when you have gone back to work!

10. Get your warmer clothes back out.

Ariat Ideal Windbreaker Jacket $64.50

There are bargains to be had off season! If you need a new jacket start thinking about buying one now, as you may find they are a lot cheaper off season. There are some great equestrian brands on Amazon like Ariat where you can get some real bargains.

Here are some other posts that you might like:

6 Equestrian Brands You Probably Didn’t Know Are on Amazon

Keep Cool and Carry on! My Summer Tips for You and Your Horse.

6 Reasons I Love Having a Horse In Autumn

My Horsey Must Haves For Autumn

Copyright of In Due Horse and Louise Dando 2019.

Inspo Interviews

Inspo Interview #7 Para Rider Evie Toombes

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Welcome to the 7th Inspo Interview of the year and I have someone very special lined up this month…
It is the amazing para rider and Hidden Disability Ambassador Evie Toombes. Evie was born with Spina Bifida, which has leaves her with weakness and severe bladder and bowel problems. Evie struggles with her health on a day to day basis and is in and out of hospital frequently.  Despite this as part of her work as a Hidden Disability Ambassador Evie has  set up a foundation called the Evie Toombes Foundation and has also written a children’s book called ‘Lucy goes to school’ which was written to help children understand hidden disabilities. Evie frequently visits primary schools to talk about disabilities with children and her work won her a Well Child award of ‘Inspirational Young Person’ last year, which was presented to her by Prince Harry and his wife the Duchess of Sussex.
As well as that, when she is well enough Evie competes in showjumping with her mare Daisy. I’m sure you will agree this is pretty impressive and to add to it Evie is just 18 years old!
I first heard of Evie when I watched a BBC 3 clip on the internet called Amazing Humans and they really weren’t wrong when they featured Evie. She is one AMAZING HUMAN!!
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1) What inspired you to start showjumping and what inspires to continue even on the days you are feeling unwell? 
I was lucky enough to begin riding aged 5 after growing up around my mums horses. I used to help my mum at shows when she was competing and soon became keen to join in on all the fun. Riding was initially a huge worry for my parents, but amazingly is the exercise of choice for people with Spina Bifida (my main condition) in the States after showing huge success in leg function improvement.
At times I’ve spent weeks in hospital, stressing and discussing the grief my health brings with doctors whilst being really ill, it can be a bit upsetting and it’s so easy to fall into being nothing more than a patient when you’re so poorly at times. There’s a real sense of normality and joy that comes from connecting with an animal, I’m no longer a viewed as a patient or an illness by Daisy… she probably prefers to call me the ‘treat lady’!
Riding gives me a drive to continue trying, taking medications, administering treatments etc. I can set goals and have plans to look forward to which is hugely important for remaining optimistic and continuing to live my life to the full (when my body allows.)
2) Who do you look to for inspiration & why? 
For riding inspiration, I could watch Ben Maher ride all day, he’s so connected with his horses, it’s like they speak the same language.
I also hugely admire my dressage trainer, Kate Lewis. Not only does she teach, but she’s happy to ride any horse too and does so is such an accepting mindset of each unique horse. Nothing is ever forced and she works with horses and their personalities, instead of instantly demanding a robotic shape or good behaviour- through this they seem to work beautifully for her, and she’s so talented so it’s such a pleasure to watch.
I also find myself most inspired at RDA events, which some people struggle to understand. Seeing children who can’t walk find freedom onboard a horse never fails to amaze me, or to see visually impaired and deaf riders connect with animals when they can’t connect with humans very well is indescribable . Horses offer so much more than just a sport to us and seeing the benefits and joy they can bring is a huge remainder to appreciate every gift they bring to our lives. I challenge anyone to attend an RDA event and not leave feeling inspired.
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3) What would you say has been your biggest achievement to date?
As crazy as it sounds, I think my best achievement to date is my elimination at Pferd International in Munich last year. I was selected for the Para GB team and after coming third in the first class with a double clear I was even more eager to give it a go in the final days jumping when I was drawn last to go in the jump off. When I attempted a jump off turn to cut inside a grand prix fence from the previous class Daisy not only locked onto the 1.50 fence but jumped and cleared it! I was so shell shocked by what had happened that I just picked her up again and carried on jumping the 90cm para course where we left off. The video went viral on Clip My Horse’s social media and has received over 2million views. I know it’s ironic but for it to happen at such a prestigious show and to have a horse who loves her job that much makes it all the more memorable- it’s a good job she cleared it!
Click here to watch Evie clear 1.50cm in the middle of her 90cm course aka the Munich mishap! 
4) What would be the best piece of advice you could give someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment? 
My motto is ‘find a way, not an excuse’ and its been something I’ve lived by since first saying it aged 12. There will be challenges, hiccups and bad days- but its in your hands how you choose to deal with it. How you respond to these scenarios, whether it be an injury to your horse, broken down lorry or bad health is what produces the eventual outcome, not the actual problem itself. Don’t be afraid to change plans either, its great to have goals but there are times when they need to be adjusted, and that’s okay. You and your horses journey is unique and can’t be compared to others, try not to compare yourself to friends or people who may progress faster or seem to be doing better, let it inspire you to work hard but don’t forget to remember how far you’ve come.
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5) What are your plans for this year & what do you hope to achieve? 
I’m having so much fun with Daisy at the moment when I can avoid hospital, I’d love to aim to jump a low level international in the near future. Recently my young mare Breeze, who suffered a horrific field injury 2years ago came back into work full time- she’s performing better than ever which is so rewarding and is loving being ridden. I’m hoping to take her to some pony club fun shows and just have some teenage fun on her whilst working on her dressage with Kate, it’s so enjoyable to work with a horse you understand so deeply, regardless of the level you compete at.
My health has been deteriorating for the past 8 months and we’re looking into further surgery options (finally) with my new specialist in London. We desperately need some help as complications are becoming more common and often end up being critical- its not sustainable, especially when I have so much I want to be doing! For now though, I’m keen to make the most of my time riding now so I have plenty to look back on when I’m recovering!
Instagram: evie.toombes 
I’m sure that you will join me in wishing Evie all the best for the future and her medical treatment. She is a true inspiration!
Evie wanted to make sure that I do a big shout out to her sponsors https://justriding.com
KEP Italia and Global Herbs. 
Copyright of Louise Dando and In Due Horse 2019. Photos provided by Evie Toombes.

****Putting it out there – There some of the adverts in this post are affiliate links. If you click through and purchase something, at not extra cost to you I will receive a tiny bit of commission***

Blogging, Uncategorised

Take Your Equestrian Blogging To The Next Level!

I started my blog In Due Horse a year ago. Now I don’t claim to be an expert at blogging by any means, but I have taken a lot of time to learn how to improve my blog and how to get my blog out there.

I learnt quickly by reading other equestrian bloggers advice that I needed to utilise apps and websites that I have never thought of using like Pinterest and apps I had never heard of like Canva and Tailwind. Now this is the best thing I have ever done for my blog! Each month the views on my blog are going up and now I know what I am doing it isn’t very hard at all! So, here are my tips for you to up your blogging game!

Create interesting informative content.

Find your voice and find out what your audience likes. Some things I have written that I think are going to be really popular aren’t. Then much simpler things that I have written that I don’t think will do well gets loads of views. It’s very much trial and error and of course it’s up to you what you write about. Depending on if you want to write truly for yourself, to get more views or even to make money on your blog.

Pinterest

If you aren’t using Pinterest you are missing out. It’s that simple. Pinterest is the only reason I get people visiting my blog! It is so easy to use. You just need to create some boards with content related to your blog. Pick nice images and things you think people would reshape on their own pages and add them to your boards.

For example my top viewed boards are called ‘Equestrian Photography’ where I share beautiful photos of horses and ‘Equestrian Wanderlust’ where I share beautiful pictures of people riding horses in beautiful locations. These 2 boards don’t have anything that directly links to my blog. However I do have my own ‘In Due Horse Equestrian Blog’ board where I create pins for each of my blog posts and I also have an ‘In Due Horse on Instagram’ board where I share nice pictures from my blog’s instagram account.

Canva

So as a rule now I create several pins for Pinterest each time I publish a post on my blog using canva. Canva is a graphic design tool app that uses templates for you to create facebook stories, blog images and Pinterest pins to name a few things it can do. It allows you to create designs using images that you can then easily add text to. I use it to create pins to drive traffic to my website and it works very well indeed.

Here are is example below.

Tailwind

Once I started using Pinterest and saw how much traffic I was getting by manually pinning. I took up the Tailwind 30 day free trial. Well, my traffic soared! Tailwind is a scheduler that can pin to Pinterest and instagram. You just need to add your images to your tailwind queue and it pins away for you. It’s really easy and its so much quicker than pinning manually. It’s really upped my Pinterest game for sure! I loved it so much I subscribed to Tailwind straight after my free trial and haven’t looked back. To me it is THE most important tool I use to get traffic to my blog. It knows when it is the best time to schedule my pins and how many pins I should schedule a day. I have seen amazing results with it. I am getting thousands of views each month to my blog now and hundreds of views each day and it saves me so much time not having to manually pin each day.  What I love about it is that I am about to go on holiday for 3 weeks. I have scheduled all my pins for that entire time with Tailwind so I won’t have to worry about my traffic decreasing while I am away.

If you would like to try tailwind just click here to sign up for a 30 day free trial. Grab your free TAILWIND trial here  –>

** Putting it out there. The links in this post are affiliate links. If you click through and choose to sign up to Tailwind I will receive a bit of commission at no extra cost to you. ****

So those are my top tips for taking your blog to the next level. Please do let me know if you use any of these tips. Obviously I cannot guarantee any results, but I wanted to offer some advice from my own experience of the blogging world.

Be sure to check us out on Facebook and Instagram @induehorse.

Copyright of Louise Dando and In Due Horse 2019.

Book Club

The In Due Horse Online Equestrian Book Club

Did you know that In Due Horse has launched an online equestrian book club? Well we have and you should definitely get involved! It’s free to join, all you need to do is head over to our facebook page www.facebook.com/induehorse  and there is a link to join the group.

How it works: Each month I will recommend an equestrian book to the group and provide a link of where you can buy it. It is online so everyone can participate. What we will do is use the Facebook group as a way of sharing our thoughts about the book, a space we can share with other like minded horsey people.

The first book and the pick for August, I am delighted to present is ‘Confessions of a Timid Rider’ by Heather Wallace. Now I have become friends with Heather online as she is just a wonderfully supportive and friendly person and she is actually my co-host on our new podcast starting in September called The Equestrian Pulse Podcast. So I am so happy to be able to support her by having her book as the first in our book club.

confessions-of-a-timid-rider_cover

The book is easy to read, it is funny and relatable to anyone that has ever struggled with confidence in the saddle. It is a memoir written by Heather about things that have happened to her personally. I read it on a recent holiday and throughly enjoyed it.

Timid Rider

Timid Rider an excellent holiday read!

Click here to buy it on Amazon https://amzn.to/31cjUfo

Click on the links below to check out Heather’s other books on Amazon.com

                            

*** Putting it out there – This article contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase something, at no extra cost to you I will receive a tiny bit of commission ****

Other blog posts you may be interested in

Inspo Interview #3 Heather Wallace The Timid Rider 

6 Equestrian Brands You probably Didn’t know are on Amazon

7 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Could Ride

Copyright of Louise Dando & In Due Horse 2019.

Lifestyle

When It Is Time To Say Goodbye. How to Cope After Losing Your Pet.

Now, the aim of this post is not to upset anyone. I am so sorry if you have experienced this recently.  It’s a horrible subject and can feel like the worst thing in the world when it has just happened.  It’s just I have now had experience of my horse Stanley passing away very unexpectedly in 2003 and now also my beloved dog Ziggy too. I am afraid it is something that as animal owners that we may have to deal with unfortunately and when it happens it is horrible. Although not a nice subject, even if this post makes one other person feel better in a similar situation it was worth writing. As someone who is currently going through this and has experience of this before. I want to remind you and myself that time is a wonderful healer and you won’t always feel this sad.

I wanted to write this post today particularly as my beloved pet dog Ziggy passed away two weeks ago. Although he was old and we knew he had always had a heart condition it still came as a horrible shock that quite frankly we just weren’t prepared for. In 2003 my horse Stanley passed away in his field after suffering from a brain aneurysm, which was completely out of the blue and  I thought by perhaps telling you the things I have struggled with after losing Ziggy and Stanley then perhaps it could help someone else feel better, who has been in this situation too.

The shock. Firstly the shock of both of these events was immense. Yes my dog Ziggy was old but he hadn’t been unwell and he had actually been to the vets 3 weeks before and had a full ‘Old Dog MOT’ which included his heart being checked, his blood taken and his vaccinations and he was fine. Similarly although completely unrelated the death of my horse Stanley was even more of a shock as he had no underlying health conditions at all. In both cases the shock was the hardest part at first. It takes a few days to actually believe it has happened and you secretly hope that you are just having a horrible nightmare that you are going to wake up from. To help with this, do what feels right for you. When Stanley passed away I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t go to work for a few days I was just too upset. However with Ziggy I continued on with my normal routine and I found that helped. It’s weird, just do what suits you and what you feel like doing.

TALK. Again this time around with Ziggy passing, I have been able to talk about it and have done with a lot of my friends. It has definitely made me feel better, as there is no elephant in the room and my friends have had an opportunity to offer their support. However when Stanley passed, I couldn’t talk about it and didn’t really for a long time afterwards. Perhaps it was a little different when Stanley died. It did actually change my life as I had a huge chunk of my life that no longer existed. No more riding or going to the stables everyday. When he died I didn’t get a new horse, so a massive part of my life disappeared with him. I returned to the stables to collect my things, but was so upset no-one could approach me to talk about it and I didn’t even see or hear from some of the girls at the yard again. It’s not their fault I closed myself off and didn’t ever go to the stables to see them again.  I couldn’t even bring myself to ride again for a whole year. I even felt sad driving past the fields where he was kept, so there was no way I would have been able to go visit the stables. I just didn’t want to.

Thinking you could have done something to stop it from happening. Now, I had this with Ziggy. Despite me saying he had a check up 3 weeks earlier, he had seemed a little quiet for the previous few weeks. For the first few days after it happened I kicked myself for not taking him to the vets again. But you what he seemed fine and the test results proved he was fine 3 weeks earlier. We were in the middle of two brutal heatwaves and he just seemed hot. That was it. But I felt responsible like I hadn’t looked after him properly. Which of course is not true at all. He had a long and very happy life with us and was looked after like a fricking king! I just needed to remind myself of that! It was the same with Stanley, as when he passed it was completely out of the blue. I even had an autopsy done and the vet told me there was no way of knowing that this was going to happen. But as the person responisible for these animals that we adore you can’t help but feel that you could have done something, anything to prevent this from happening. Unfortunately though that is just not the case sometimes.

Feeling silly that you are so sad. Both times I have found this hard. But my animals are part of my family and it feels like I have lost family members when they have passed away. You know, I have found that some of my friends really get it, some just don’t. More people understand about Ziggy as all of my friends knew him and what a big part of our lives he was. However with Stanley,  some non- horsey people just didn’t understand. My good friends did, so I surrounded myself with them. But you can’t pretend to be happy all the time if you are sad. Talk to the people that do understand and try and keep busy if you feel like you can.

 Carrying on. Now both times this has been hard. I found being in my apartment without Ziggy very hard. The silence is unbearable. My mind actually played tricks on me too, I kept thinking I could hear him and expected to see him. But it is seemingly better each day. I’m afraid that time is the only thing that will help in this situation. With Stanley, my routine changed completely. I didn’t have to go to the stables everyday and day by day I got used to that. It just took a bit of time.

Missing them. For me this is the hardest part. It is inevitable you are going to miss them terribly. This is normal and it is ok to feel sad. I find getting up and not walking Zig the hardest. But even now a few weeks down the line it is better. Some days are easier than others of course and the last few days have been really good but today for some reason I really miss him. But I’m afraid it will just go like that. Try and think of some happy memories you shared together and I find keeping busy has really helped. I know that I will miss him for a long time but I have to remind myself what a lovely life he had and am actually relieved he didn’t become really ill and suffer before he passed away.

Unfortunately I think time is the best healer. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t feel guilty or silly that you feel sad. Feel the feelings and let them out! I assure you, you will feel better. On the other hand, if you aren’t a big feelings person take my hubby James’ advice – don’t dwell on things. This does really help me when I get in a sad slump, however I think I do prefer to get my feelings out! Which ever way you choose it’s fine. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.

I would like to assure you too, that I now never feel upset when I think about Stanley. So much time has passed and I have healed to the point all I have is very fond memories of our time together that I will never forget. The rawness does fade and eventually you stop missing them. It doesn’t mean you love them any less than you did. It just means you have healed. I am looking forward to that point with Ziggy, as I am not there yet but already I can look back at our time together and am so thank you that we had twelve wonderful years together.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who reached out to me after hearing the bad news about Ziggy. I think nearly everyone I know contacted me, which was very nice and it meant a lot to me and James.

Please make sure you reach out to someone if you are feeling sad and have experienced a loss recently. Please speak to your family and friends and do not try and cope alone.

There are lots of websites available that may help you too. I have listed some I have come across.

https://www.griefandsympathy.com/griefforpets.html

https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/coping-your-pets-death-important-guide

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-we-need-to-take-pet-loss-seriously/

 

Copyright of Louise Dando and In Due Horse 2019.