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Monday, 31 December 2018

2018: A Year in Review

2018 has given us a year of everything... We've had weathers of all extremes, a hugely successful first year affiliated to British Dressage, a change of yards, a serious injury to treat, manage and rehab on both Louie & Andrew! We've become a brand ambassador for Boudica Equestrian, two category nomination for the UK Blog Awards, as well as having LOADS of fun along the way!

So here it is, our year in a month by month quick fire review. Sit back, enjoy...and maybe bring a cup of hot chocolate to enjoy along the way!


Nobody likes January... But we used it to work on our showjumping homework. Louie had been going very nicely over jumps, being confident with fillers, planks and mini ladders. We took the gamble to enter a 70cm class, but things didn't quite end up as we'd hoped. It was back to training & exercises to get Louie out & about to see more.


It was FREEZING all month long, and by the end of the month, we had over a foot of snow in what was termed 'The Beast from the East'... It even stopped me making it home from Copenhagen!! 

It wasn't a good month for the weather, but it also wasn't a top month for Andrew, who managed to catch a rare strain on flu, causing him to blackout in the bathroom and use only his nose to break his fall. Three breaks later, along with a few more blackouts, a short stay in hospital and over 24 hours where he didn't recall his own date of birth, Andrew was back home and on the road to recovery. That road lasted several months to be back to being full Andrew!


One of our biggest changes was due on 2nd March... A move to a new yard! But thanks to the snow, we had to delay by a week - it was barely possible to even get into the yard, let alone bring a horsebox across it!!

Here's Louie having a play in the snow while I mucked out a few days after the dreaded white stuff started to thaw... 

The week after, we packed every inch of space in the horsebox with everything that we have and loaded Louie to head to our new yard. It has been one of the best decisions I have made, and although it wasn't easy in the beginning, Louie is very settled & I'm enjoying my time with him much more now.

Here's his little cheeky face checking the new place out over his stable wall...It took him days to realise it was easier just to look over the door...!


After settling into our new yard, we started heading back out to a couple of dressage competitions. The first one was on Louie's birthday, & what better way to celebrate by bringing two lovely red ribbons home with you! 

Back at home, it was all about finding our way out & about on some local hacks. There are loads of routes that you can do around the new yard, most of which are almost entirely on tracks and in fields, with only the occasional road to cross. And, of course, the yard backs onto the beach... 


May started off fantastically - we discovered that we'd qualified for PetPlan Area Festivals, giving us plenty of motivation to get going over the next few months before heading to our local venue to compete for Finals qualification.

At the first May bank holiday, we headed out to enjoy an afternoon in the VERY warm sunshine doing some cross country training. Louie felt confident and really seemed to enjoy himself! Our new yard has its own cross country course, so we spent much of the back end of summer playing on that on a sunny evening...

We'd been working on our showjumping over April and into May so went to small local competition, which the first class went excellently, but the second wasn't quite to plan, with Louie's phobia of planks taking over on possibly the most simple plank of the whole course!

But then....DISASTER struck!!!

Louie came in from the field with what I can only describe as a hole in his shoulder. On inspection, the vet found a bone fragment, and when he was X-rayed, it turned out that he had a fractured humerus.

Six to eight weeks of box rest was about to start...

After five days staying at the vets, Louie came home, and within a few days we were permitted to walk him out in hand for ten minutes in the morning & evening, but only in the arena, and if he started to get excited, it was restricted back to the box to ensure that the fracture could heal properly.


At the start of June, we headed to a local event - Belsay Horse Trials - where we were treated to a behind the scenes Access All Areas tour! It helped to take my mind off Louie's injury as well as gave me an insight into just what it takes to run an event of this size.

By the middle of June, Louie started to get excited about his arena time, so the vets decided it would be less risky to the rehab of the fracture to walk around in the saddle. It made my day to be able to get back onboard but I was also terrified with every step that I would make the fracture crack right through.

By the end of June & almost six weeks into rehabbing Louie, this happened....my heart was in my mouth watching!


By the middle of July, the vets had given the all clear for trot work, and asked that we started cantering in the arena. We did this, gladly, and was super pleased with the results.

On my birthday, I got the best news EVER!! It was nine weeks since Louie's accident, and we had a check up with the vets... HE GOT THE ALL CLEAR! Back to hacking out, back to pony parties and best of all, we'd got through it all!!

By the end of the month, we had re-entered an Area Festival at Northallerton, as well as our first competition back in action where we just did one test due to Louie's fitness.


August was BUSY! 

It was all about getting back into our showjumping...

It was all about dressage & qualifying for the PetPlan Finals!

Andrew started to join us out hacking... & saw us playing over some small cross country jumps!

...and we even started a few days with a ride along the beach!


We worked a lot on our showjumping...with some training sessions with Philippa, as well as hiring venues on our own.

We also had a competition at the same venue as we did in January and made a great comparison video to show our progress over the year so far.

It was also the month that we were welcomed onboard as a brand ambassador for Boudica Equestrian! It's great to be a part of this brand and company, and to be able to support Laura (its founder) in growing her business.


This was definitely our dressage month!!

A trip to Morris Equestrian Centre in Glasgow for the PetPlan finals...coming home with 3rd place and just missing out on Championship qualification by 0.28%!

And a competition practice run even got our most favourite photo of us yet, thanks to the fabulous Stevie Purves.

Louie enjoyed the last 16 days on a well deserved holiday!


Clipping and dark rides were here again...

Beautiful morning and afternoon views while out hacking...

Keeping warm at all cost...

Our usual dressage & showjumping training sessions continued, with qualification for Winter Regionals at Prelim Silver and PetPlan Area Festivals at Novice Bronze. But we were also nominated for a UK Blog Award in TWO categories!


December was all about our homework throughout the first two weeks on an evening... But it was also a month of downtime on a weekend, enjoying hacking out around the fields and tracks that surround us...

Plus a week of downtime for me just before Christmas.

And what better was to finish the year than with a hop, skip and a jump around a few showjumps...!

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