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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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!! 😂❤️