Friday, 25 December 2015

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Festive Fun For All

The livery yard had decided that we should have a ride out together at Christmas... & what started as something quite small, ended up being something much bigger!!

Almost all liveries set a date and time to enjoy a ride out (with some tinsel of course!), but why just ride out?!

We decided to ride to the local pub - St Mary's Inn - for a festive tipple. But when I spoke to the manager to make sure he was happy with horses stood outside, he offered to supply us with mulled wine & a mince pie each (so long as we picked up our muck!)

Seemed a fair deal!

Our group rapidly expanded to almost 20 horses & riders, with some on foot also meeting us at the pub.

Most of us managed to stand still to get in the photo in front of St Mary's Inn

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Ariat Customer Service

Gutted! My Ariat Bromont H2O tall boots were no longer wearable...

After spending a lot of hours researching tall riding boots, from fit to leather quality, to rideability and longevity, I came to the decision that the Ariat Bromont H2O boots were for me!

I've had some really good wear of my boots, from taking me back to my first competition in nine years, to my first BE90 at Richmond, and through to moving up to BE100.

Now... I'm quite obsessive when it comes to shiny & clean boots, making sure that they were polished up the night before any competition or lesson, as well as straight after. I even only ever put my boots on as the last thing before my foot went in the stirrup, and came off as soon as the horse's tack was off! Andrew was even requested to baby wipe them while standing still in a warm up, just before going in (even cross country!!)

Thursday, 3 December 2015

E-Dressage First Timer!

I'd come across the concept of E-Dressage a few years ago, but had never really given it a go. I also have transport, so have always taken Louie to dressage competitions. However, balancing a full time job and working around the recent bad weather in the winter, I decided to give it a go.

The concept is fantastic! Not only is it fully available for anyone, but it means you have something to aim for each month, even if the weather gets bad (or work!!). All you need is a 20x40m flat area to ride in and a way to film your test!

Luckily, I didn't need to worry about finding a space to do the test in - we have a lovely indoor arena that is the exact size, complete with letters. However, walking out an area of this size in a bigger arena or in a field is also acceptable.

Filming is simple. Get a friend to film you at 'C', directly in line with 'A', or on a fence post if you're auto filming. The criteria is that the horse must be in full view & in the centre of the screen.

In my typical style, I left mine until the final few days to film it!! Needing to be out of the arena by 5pm, I just had enough time for a walk & trot on each rein before Andrew filmed our test. Overall, it was a bit inconsistent and tense because it was all a bit rushed. But overall, it was a good test & we tried to be as accurate as possible.

Here's the test.

Monday, 30 November 2015

November Round Up

So November seems to have come and gone in a breath! With some great progress in our flatwork, a try at E-Dressage, lots of lunging and hacking, as well as a showjumping lesson, we've definitely been a busy bunch!

So, where to start!?

Firstly, we clipped Louie, expecting huge upheaval & drama, but actually found the clippers sent him to sleep! Handy! & the easiest horse I've ever had to clip! 

Early November, we had a great showjumping lesson with Jay, a young event rider based in Northumberland. Jay's lessons are really good and she's great at giving horse and rider confidence. Pleasingly in this lesson, we jumped out first one stride double, with Louie pulling forward into the second part, really keen to keep jumping!!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Snug as a Bug in a...Premier Equine Rug!

It's been 8 years since I last bought an indoor rug, a combination of Kingshead layer system and Weatherbeeta fleeces. As I looked at Louie stood outside his stable one evening, he looked like he was wearing rags, so I hunted down the best recommendations for a layer system of rugs via #equinehour on Twitter.

By far the most popular was Premier Equine, with many others also in favour of Weatherbeeta. As Weatherbeeta isn't a layering system, I decided to take the plunge with Premier Equine, & thankfully the next morning was 20% off Stable Busters!

So I made my purchases!!
A 100g Stable Buster, 100g liner with hood & a Cellular Zone outdoor.

With this weekend's weather, I'm so glad I did!


Monday, 2 November 2015

Clipping Louie

Louie was getting a bit hairy behind his ears and elbows, and with being out of work a couple of weeks, I noticed it even more when getting back onboard last.

So I took the plunge, and decided to clip on Sunday. Despite being the day after a friend's wedding, it is a day when I have plenty of time. 

After his clip & schooling!
Why did I clip? Well, basically, because after riding, Louie was sweating, and when cooling down, he was wet. As I ride at night during the week, it meant I wasn't able to rug him up, as well as leaving him cold for a few hours after riding, until he dried.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

October Round Up

Where to start with summarising October!?

Well... The month started with a fantastic day out at a local dressage competition. Louie is a cheeky chappy, so just going and having a relaxing day was all we were aiming for. We got so much more and came home with a rosette for 2nd place in a huge class of 21!



Read all about it in our previous post: Louie Pulls It Out The Bag!!

Mid October, we had a good (but challenging) lesson with Cathy Burrell. We decided to pick back up on the canter work...Louie had other ideas and clearly thought it was far to much like hardwork, throwing caution to the wind and bucking his way round for the next 10 minutes! After that, he settled into a nice canter, albeit a bit tense.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Pleased to be back onboard

Two happy, smiling faces...

First time back onboard in two weeks, after a kick to his knee in the field

Saturday, 24 October 2015

One Year On...

A year today, my big, beautiful bay Thomas was put to sleep, following the discovery of a large tumour wrapped around his colon during colic surgery. It was very sudden. I was away with work in Greece at the time, and coming home was one of the longest flights - it felt like I was flying to the moon and back...

Together, after completing our first BE100, safe and sound.

Friday, 23 October 2015

A Week of Box Rest

Unfortunately, Louie came in with a rather large front offside knee last Thursday, with fluid and swelling all around the joint, lame and a cut on the inside of it.

From Thursday to Sunday...

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Tip Top with TopSpec

I've always been a fan of TopSpec products, not just because of their product range, but also their feed & nutritional advice is fantastic. Not only do they listen to the needs and requirements of your horse (& you) to make their recommendation, they also aren't wholly biased to just their products... This shows that for them, it's not just about selling to you.

I've been really impressed with how well Louie has done on a basic diet, with standard grazing and good haylage. In the 9 months that I've had Louie, I feel he has developed well, with a combination of a good exercise regime & well balanced diet.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Part 1: Our Journey So Far

As Louie & I have now been together for 9 months, I thought I would start introducing a post every couple of months to better diarise our progress. So this is part one!

Let's start at the beginning... I first met Louie on New Year's Eve morning, down near Yarm, North Yorkshire. In the day or so leading up to going to see him I was convinced that he was too small and would be too thick set/too much bone (& he was grey!)

Arriving on the yard, which all looked very professional - very tidy, I walked over to see Louie, who was stood happily tied in the yard under the heat lamps. Instantly, I loved the look of him!!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

FaceTime with Louie!



A nice surprise to have a FaceTime with Louie in the office this morning! :)

Monday, 5 October 2015

Louie Pulls It Out of the Bag!!

Another dressage update from us this week as we headed off to the dressage on Sunday.

Alarm set at 6am (much to Andrew's displeasure! & even I had a grumble about it...) This isn't an early start, but has now become one for us since no longer eventing throughout the summer. Heading to the yard to feed, have a quick brush, load up the wagon, and get going.

Times were 9.06am and 9.52am - great times given to us by the organisers at Lane Farm Equestrian!!

I much prefer arriving with plenty of time to spare (without being sat around bored for hours before!) so we arrived just after 8am, with a rather jolly looking Louie - fixated on all the horses running around in the fields next to the car park (I think I know where he would have rather been!)

Louie taking everything in during our first warm up

I collected my number, and headed to the horse box to get changed. Leaving Louie in the horsebox with our partition open, off came his magnetic boots, bandages, tail guard and rug. I always go tacked up still, as it's much easier and makes for a relaxed time when we arrive.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Showjumping Lessons

With a busy professional career and competing life of my showjumping coach, it's a rarity that we're able to get a couple of lessons in quick succession, so it was great to be able to get two in three days - one on the Sunday, followed by a lovely afternoon off work on the Wednesday!

Louie is making some great progress, becoming much more confident over coloured poles, really beginning to take me to the fences, and now becoming quick cocky, thinking he knows best.....

Louie having a whale of a time!
These two lessons, we decided to work a little differently - working on me, & only me! Since getting Louie, we've concentrated on improving Louie so much, that it's been a long time since we worked on me and my position.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Learning to Relax...

Over the summer, Louie has had a little break, with a couple of weeks off, as well as some time spent on ground work.

However, this month we've back out and about (for all those wondering!!!)

Louie warming up

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Dressage for Louie

A short two videos of our latest test - both intro tests. You'll see Louie's strength is beginning to improve, although he is a little tense in both.


A Quick Fire Catch Up

It's been a hectic few months, and unfortunately the Team Tunnah blog has taken a bit of a back seat...but we're back!

So, what's been happening while we've been away? LOADS!

Louie has been making some great progress with his flatwork - his strength is improving day after day which is really starting to pay off in his canter work, and his efforts at working long & low!

We've continued to have our lessons with Cathy & Philippa throughout to make sure we keep on track, make progress and go at the right pace.

Jumping is progressing. Louie is taking more and more confidence from me, although still has his very green days, but overall, we're pleased with his progress.

With the lighter nights has come more & more hacking too! This has really helped boost Louie's confidence and trust in me, and we are now venturing on long rides together without another horse.

The season for all our eventing friends in now well underway, and I've enjoyed taking a back seat to watch, although it does fire me up to be back out sometimes!! We've been to a couple of local ones to watch, as well as more recently going to Bramham - my favourite event on the entire equestrian calendar!

Anyway, here's my promise to you to keep up with us more often - & what a great incentive to see so many blog visitor numbers even while we were away (no excuses now!!)

Monday, 9 March 2015

New FEI Rule - 21 Penalties for Frangible Pins

There's been a lot of recent news coverage of the new rule to come into force - an automatic (& very annoying) 21 penalties added to your cross country run if break the frangible pin, irrespective as to whether the pin prevented a fall.

There was initially a petition to sign, open only to FEI riders however now it has been opened up to the wider audience, so I thought it would be a good time to bring some attention to it also.

So why is there such an uproar about this new rule?

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Even more Showjumping Progress

Louie's been a busy boy recently, going out and about with lots of lessons. But has made some great progress with his showjumping.

Louie started off as green as the grass with poles, not confident to even step over a pole on the ground without someone on the ground stepping over with him. From our first showjumping lesson with Philippa taking the majority of a lesson to encourage Louie to trot over the world's smallest cross pole, to yesterday's second lesson with Philippa where we were cantering over oxers confidently.

If you've been keeping up to date with our lessons, you'll know we've been working hard both at home and within our lessons with Barbara in between. It's a great feeling to know that the hard work has paid off. & while it might seem like something so small to some, it's very positive that Louie is now growing in confidence and starting to take me to the fences.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Horseware Ice Vibe Boots

With the 2015 British Eventing season start this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to post a quick review of the Horseware Ice Vibe boots.

I first bought these when I started eventing Thomas back in 2012. At first, I was sceptical and was only really bothered for them if I'd run him hard or on hard ground. However, after noticing that Thomas' cannon bone would be slightly puffy just above the fetlock, I decided to use these after cross country every time and see the difference. (This puffiness was most likely not noticeable to the eye of someone who didn't look at Thomas' legs everyday).


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Flatwork progress with Louie

On Monday, Louie had his third flatwork lesson, with the fantastic Cathy Burrell. In between working on our poles and jumping, we've been working hard on keeping consistency in our flatwork. All the hard work is proving to be paying off.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Weatherbeeta Thermo-Cell Cooler

I've had my Weatherbeeta Thermo-Cell cooler for about seven years now, but it's had little use until recently. With working Louie on a night indoors, it can become a bit hot, and although fully clipped before I got him, Louie has sweat patches on his neck, girth and saddle area. This is where this rug really comes in use.



After riding, I pop this on him, it keeps him warm, but wicks away the sweat. After 10-15 minutes, Louie is dry and ready to put his normal stable rugs on.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Showjumping Lesson for Louie

Despite today's rather grim weather up in Northumberland, we headed to our showjumping lesson. & we are so glad we did!

Louie is as green as grass over showjumps, and we've been working really hard on increasing his confidence and taking trust from me.

We've been together six weeks tomorrow, and have now worked up to jumping bigger cross poles with fillers in from the side. Louie is even pulling me into the jumps now!


Saturday, 21 February 2015

Horseware Hypocare

Whether your horse is injury prone or not, this is a must have for any tack box. Not only does it kill 99.99% of pathogens, it also supports natural healing and promote the regrowth of hair. It's also completely safe if your horse decides to have a lick/chew at the wound.

I first discovered Horseware Hypocare when eventing Thomas in 2013. He would strike into his front heel bulbs nearly every event, leaving a sliced split looking wound. These proved difficult to keep clean, and due to the movement of the foot, would sometimes easily open back up. Initially, I did use Savlon anticeptic spray on the wound, which help to keep infection out as well as drying the wound out. However, after two-three days, it needed something to help it heal and close up. Hypocare did just this.


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Shires Stretch Hood with Full Face

Following all the cleaning that we'd done in preparation for Louie's first dressage competition, I didn't want his to decide to use his poop in his stable as a pillow & so invested in a Shires Stretch Hood with Full Face.

I'd read mixed reviews about this type of product in regards to it slipping, and whether the stain just soaked through. Both were put to bed - it did not slip nor did the stains soak through (& there were plenty of marks on it to prove I was right to use it!)



Louie's First Party

If you've been reading our recent posts, you'll know that we've been taking Louie out most weekends to lots of different arena for lots of lessons. But the one thing that you don't get from lessons is working in different places while in amongst lots of other horses. Plus, I wanted Louie to meet the white dressage boards ready for when we really do want to compete.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Mark Todd Bright White De Staining Shampoo

Having used Lynn Russell whitening shampoo on white socks for a number of years now, I was reluctant to change product. However, there doesn't seem to be many stockists that now offer this product.

Andrew bought Mark Todd Bright White De Staining Shampoo from The Black Horse Shop as I'd finally run out of my usual.

At first, I was not convinced - it came out of the bottle very running, and almost lavender purple, rather than the deep blue I was used to seeing. However, after a wash (or two!) it seemed to bring out the whiteness to Louie's socks, as well as helping to clean the mud stains from the bottom of his tail.

It doesn't foam up too much, and goes quite far. It isn't difficult to wash out - I used a bucket of warm water and a sponge. I'd left it on for a few minutes, before washing off.

We'll see how we go on with it, but first time use was good & a nice surprise from a product I was fairly loyal to.


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Louie: Four Weeks On

So we've done a lot with Louie in the four weeks that he has been with us, taking into account the freezing weather conditions and dark nights.

Unfortunately, not many photos for this post...


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Carr & Day & Martin Stain Remover

This is a great product, with reasonable results and is very easy to use. It's also reasonably priced in comparison to its competitors, although is not the cheapest out there.

With a young horse, one of the most helpful features is the much quieter spray trigger. It's almost silent, but also produces a mist, so the horse doesn't get a shock.

With one or two quick sprays on the stain, leave the product one for a minute or two, before washing it off with a warm wet cloth. It's been great for head & body stains, although I've found tough mud stains on the lower legs do require a wash prior to application to get better results.

It's easy to replace as most equine or farm stores stock this brand & the Carr & Day & Martin Stain Remover seems to be in the main product set.


Horses with White Bits

I have quickly remembered the OCD that kicks in when you have a horse with lots of white - dirt, mud and poo stains become the enemy very fast!

White legs are bound to get dirty through the winter, as is a white tail, but it doesn't make the cleaning any easier! Coupled with Louie having an excellent target eye for hitting his legs with poop & using that poop as a pillow overnight in the stable, I had my hands full with cleaning...

Take a look at some of my product review posts to see which products I'm using and how well I think that they work.

Recent product reviews:

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Introducing Louie

Since losing Thomas, I've been up and down emotionally, wondering whether I would ever get through the loss of such a great horse.

I'm pleased to say that the back end of 2014 my head found the right space, and I was able to get serious about a search for a new horse.

On New Year's Eve, I met Louie. A rising four year old, fresh over the water from Ireland. Before going to see him, I wasn't convinced after seeing a bout of 'not-for-me' horses. I was completely surprised, and from seeing him, thought 'he's the one for me!'