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Tuesday, 17 September 2019

OPINION: British Dressage Equine Influenza Rule

Isn't it great that we participate in a sport that is constantly assessing its rules, guideline and safety measures? I think so... However, I was recently surprised to see the high number of upset members of British Dressage over the introduction of six monthly boosters against Equine Influenza on the Facebook group (By the way, if you're into dressage in anyway, make sure you've joined the British Dressage group on Facebook - it's a really good discussion and support group)

At the start of 2019, there was an exceptionally high number of outbreaks of Equine Influenza, so much so that it made the national press. I had people in my office asking me about it who usually couldn't tell the head from a tail of a horse... It was fairly big news. It broke just before Louie and I were due to go to the Winter Regionals, where we were stabling overnight, surrounding by 100 or so other horses, and in contact with a lot of other people.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Named in Top 3 UK Dressage Blogs!

I'm super proud to announce that Team Tunnah Eventing has been listed at number 3 in Feedspot's Top UK dressage blogs! What a fantastic email to wake up to, having known nothing about the listing, and to see that we are surrounded by amazing equestrian blogging company!

Being featured so highly in a list such as this means a lot to me, as I put a lot of passion into my posts around our training, competitions and general posts about dressage, as well as the efforts that it takes to push my content out into social media. It's very rewarding to be featured and to see that only Horse & Hound and British Dressage were above us makes it even more special...

While we were number 3 in the UK list, we've also been previously added to the top dressage blogs worldwide and feature at number 25! If you really love dressage, then this list has literally the best of the best blogs & websites from around the globe that feature content all about dressage riding, training, industry news and events, so it's well worth heading over to check it out!

Saturday, 14 September 2019

The Six Scales of Dressage Training

Photo credit: Paul Dobson Photography
Do you love dressage? Are you often working hard to improve your dressage peformance? Are you simply new to dressage and looking for a way to understand what it's all about?

Well, the first thing to ask is do you know what the six scales of dressage riding & training are?

I recently took a deep dive into the six scales in an effort to improve our training at home in between sessions with our coach. upon reading several sources and definitions, I realised that the principles to the six scales of training weren't as complex as I anticipated. The more I read, the more sense they made and started to become really natural in my way of thinking towards our own dressage training.

Over the last 8 weeks, I've taken the time to put the six scales of dressage training into my own words, sharing my own understanding of them and have tried to put it in simple words for others to learn about them.

Discover all six scales of dressage riding & training

9 Equestrian Blogs of 2019

Now we're heading into autumn, there's nothing I love more than heading home on a weekend after a busy morning at the yard to get my horsey fix online! Wrapped up in a wool throw, curled up on the sofa, with a pair of fluffy slippers & a hot cup of coffee, I find it a great way to catch up from everything in the horse world from the last week.

In recent years, I used to head to the big horse news publications such as Horse & Hound or Eventing Nation, however with the recent rise of the equestrian blogger in the last couple of years, I'm finding myself spending more & more of this time hearing the latest from a handful of my favourite bloggers! 

So, today I'm going to share 9 of our favourite bloggers from across the globe for you to check out, start following and enjoy their content too! Find your cosy spot, grab that cuppa, sit back and enjoy our top 9 equestrian bloggers of 2019.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

The Six Scales of Dressage Training – Part 6: Collection

Photo credit: Paul Dobson Photography

The final post in our scales of dressage training series covering collection. It’s safe to say that you need to have mastered the previous five scales of training before you can achieve true collection – it is the only one of the scales that is wholly progressive from all the ones prior to it.

In dressage, we want the horse to be the best ride he can be – manoeuvrable, powerful and easy to control. He needs to be able to put his weight onto his engine (the hind legs) in order to balance and effective carry the weight of the ride through the series of movements that we request of him. Very early training will see the horse carry most of the weight through his forehand which will makes it difficult to execute the dressage movements and exercises we will expect of him later. Working through the five scales of training will enable you and your horses to work towards collection.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Summer Round Up

Well, it’s going to be a MEGA summer update coming to you today… I can’t believe I skipped writing a monthly round up for more than ONE THIRD of the year.

Throughout the summer, we’ve enjoyed plenty of highs, but also some lows. We’ve headed out hacking, got a few more competitions under our belt, took part in many training sessions, and completed two Area Festivals. We’ve been had cross country fun in the sun, using a new GoPro to capture it all from in the saddle, discovered the amazing improvement from equine sports massage, invested in a brand dressage Voltaire dressage saddle, and transformed the way we’re riding to find new success.

We’ve had a blast this summer, with never a quiet moment & plenty of happy times with friends & family! That’s right, sit back, relax and enjoy a read through all we’ve been up to from May through to the end of August!

Friday, 30 August 2019

The Ultimate Tips Guide to Clipping Your Horse

It's getting to that time of the year again, well at least for me, where I'm trying to balance the final few sunny days in the field with keeping Louie's coat as fine as possible to avoid clipping too early into the autumn season. Why don't I like clipping earlier? One - because I like him to live out for as long as possible. Two - I like to give him a good couple of weeks off in October and don't like to clip before.

But it's August, how can you be thinking of clipping? Well, Louie has a lot of Irish Draught bloodline - all of his sire lines and all of the sires in his dame lines - so as soon as the temperatures falls or we get cooler winds, his coat begins to build. A lot of people who have irish sport horses, won't have so much Irish Draught running through their breeding, so won't experience the hair thickening and growing in the same way.

In this post, we'll look at the top tips to make winter horse clipping easy, straight forward and something that nobody dreads.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

The Six Scales of Dressage Training – Part 5: Straightness

Photo credit: Paul Dobson Photography

How many of us are right handed? How many of us are left handed? Well, horses can be similar and find one side much easier to co-ordinate and work than the other. If this is coupled with a rider’s strength/weakness on one side, the end result in your dressage training can be a case of crookedness.

How do you know if you’re a rider that’s compounding the lack of straightness – just consider if you tend to sit to one side or keep a stronger contact in one rein or uses one leg aid stronger than the other. But crookedness doesn’t only affect this scale of dressage training – straightness – it also makes it increasingly more difficult for him to keep his balance and develop impulsion.

Twitter's BEST Equestrian Hashtags

Twitter is a community that many say is difficult to crack and create success through, however through the years that I’ve had my blog, I’ve found it the reverse to that. It was where I first discovered that there was an equestrian community of all interests, experiences and locations (some across the world!) that all enjoyed chatting about one thing in common – horses and the equestrian lifestyle.

Twitter is all about chatting and conversation. It’s not only a platform that you can sit back and push content out onto. You need to join in too – talking & replying to other, sharing content, creating original tweets, following profiles. You can find my top 12 tips for equestrian twitter success in a post we created previously.

Over the years that I’ve been active on Twitter, I’ve grown a reasonably sized, relevant equestrian audience who all seem to enjoy my content but who also continue to be active themselves, making for interesting conversation around the world on one common topic – equestrianism.

So if you’re just getting started, or want to give your Twitter efforts a little bit more of a boost, take look at where the equestrian conversations are happening… And there is literally one for every night of the week and almost always at 8pm!

Friday, 23 August 2019

Team Tunnah's Top Ten of Instagram 2019 So Far!

At the start of 2019, I set myself the goal to grow our Instagram account to 1,500 followers, and recently we blitzed that by DOUBLE, reaching a whopping 3,000!! But what has been the best featured photos on our feed so far in 2019...

Thursday, 22 August 2019

The Rise of The Equestrian Blogger

October 2012, Team Tunnah Eventing was born…and it looked VERY different to what it does today, physically and in terms of the content published. In fact, here’s our first ever post – how about that for a throwback on a Thursday!

It started as on online diary for me to find motivation as we headed into the winter. I would typically lose motivation to improve our training over the winter months, opting to stay dry and warm, and leaving any training until the spring time. However, in May 2012, I bought Thomas to get me started with Eventing. We had an OK few runs at BE90 in the second half of the 2012 eventing season, but there was PLENTY to work on. Winter time was perfect for this so I started off with a couple of blog posts about the Events we’d done, what we’d scored and what could be improved on over the coming months.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

The Six Scales of Dressage Training – Part 4: Impulsion

Photo credit: Paul Dobson Photography

This is the first scale that becomes separate to the scales prior to it – impulsion. In your dressage training, you must have established rhythm, suppleness and contact in order to effectively work on & achieve impulsion.

A forward thinking horse that will react from your aids is ready to take on impulsion training. Premature training towards impulsion could cause negative effects on the previous scales of training as pushing your horse to create impulsion when he isn’t ready will essentially put him off balance. The way he will counteract this is through stiffening (losing his rhythm & suppleness) and coming against the hand (losing a full cycle of contact).

Friday, 16 August 2019

PetPlan Area Festivals at Northallerton Equestrian Centre

With the PetPlan Area Festivals in full swing, it was a great feeling to have another go at qualifying for the Final, this time at Northallerton Equestrian Centre in North Yorkshire. It's a really great venue, as they put a lot of effort into their competition - regular shows as well as championship dates. The warm ups are correct stewarded, their arenas are well maintained throughout the day, and they accommodate competitors to help them have the best possible day. It really is a lovely place to enjoy giving dressage a go.

Anyway, we seem to have hit the curse of the "midnight" spots when it comes to competing in the Area Festivals - last year I was on at 8.15pm, this year at Alnwick Ford at 8pm, and this time at 7.15pm. So at least I guess they are getting steadily earlier... I actually don't mind the later time as it gives me plenty of time to get Louie all bathed & plaited, especially is we have a longer drive time to a venue. However, one thing I'm learning I really don't like is a relaxing morning at home on a competition day...

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

The Six Scales of Dressage Training – Part 3: Contact

Photo credit: Paul Dobson Photography

Here we are, almost half way through the six scales of dressage training and in this part I’ll take a zoom into contact. The first thing to note which is very important is that you cannot achieve a true contact between you and your horse without establishing correct rhythm and ensuring that your horse is showing true suppleness.

Actually, that’s a very key point to all six scales of dressage training – none are as isolated as independents as this post series would make out. They are all connected and interlinked, and crucially they must be balanced for you and your horse to progress through the scales and advance your dressage training.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

The Six Scales of Dressage Training – Part 2: Suppleness

Photo credit: Paul Dobson Photography

Suppleness is the second scale in dressage training, but is heavily interlinked to the first scale, rhythm. The more supple you can have your horse, the more you can develop the established rhythm. But equally, you can’t have true suppleness without establishing a correct rhythm.

What does suppleness mean when it comes to training your horse to be correct in the dressage discipline?

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

The Six Scales of Dressage Training – Part 1: Rhythm

Photo credit: Paul Dobson Photography

How many of us understand the word rhythm and what it really means? Because without understand something, it becomes very difficult to learn about it and improve your own skills, right?

Well, just in case, put very simply, rhythm is a regular pattern of movements, sounds or words, according to the Cambridge dictionary. Yes, of course, most of us understood that basic definition, but what does rhythm mean when we talk about horse, and especially when how it plays a part in dressage training.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

PetPlan Equine Area Festivals at Alnwick Ford

It's that time of year again... the PetPlan Area Festivals are running, and everyone who's qualified is excited to take part and see what this year's competition holds for them.

We've been fortunate again this year in that our hard work over the winter gave us three qualification codes. I started off by thinking I wouldn't use the three, instead just head to Northallerton in August, but a small part of me thought that perhaps we can use the other two for something a little bit different.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

What helped me to choose a Voltaire Design dressage saddle

I think it’s every dressage rider’s dream to have a beautifully designed saddle, that correctly supports the rider while also providing optimum comfort for the horse.

There are literally hundreds of dressage saddles on the market - made to measure, custom design, brand new off the shelf, second hands. And while this makes it fantastic for having a wide variety to test & try, it also makes it a nightmare to whittle down and figure out which one is best for you, which is best for the horse and which you can afford!

Monday, 6 May 2019

April Round Up

Well, where exactly have I been? I know, I can hear you all asking... My last post is our March round up, which definitely had a different spin on it and really showed just where & what & why we'd been up to what we had during March.

Well, I'm very pleased to say that throughout April, we've been in a much better headspace and although silent on the blog and a little quiet across our social media, we'd been back to our usual "behind the scenes". If fact, with a crazy life right now, I'm appreciating my down time in the saddle more and more... I love not even thinking about everything that's going on and for a short period of time, not even looking at a phone screen. Looking through my camera roll, I haven't even got as many photos of us out hacking as I used to.

Downtime is great for the mind, so I'm glad I'm managing to find it one way or another. So sit back and relax as we talk you through all we've been up to this month...

Saturday, 6 April 2019

March Round Up (with a difference)

I think it says it all that I'm sitting down a whole week late to write up my March round up post... It's been a funny old month, with a few set backs but turning corners & I'm leaving the month feeling positive. So sit back and hopefully enjoy what is going to be a VERY honest monthly round up...

Saturday, 23 March 2019

"Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection"

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

12 Top Tips for Twitter Success

Twitter is NOT Dead...You Get Out What You Put In!

I often read posts online that make reference to the glitz and glamour of Instagram and Pinterest for bloggers gaining traction in their reach and traffic, and that Twitter is a dying platform. I also see many comments in the groups I'm a member of on Facebook making the same statements. However, I have to say, I disagree to some extent, & here's why...

Team Tunnah Eventing Listed in Top 20 Equestrian Blogs by Sparpedia

I am super proud to announce that we've been listed in the Sparpedia top 20 equestrian blogs...& we're in amongst some pretty good company with another 19 blogs from around the globe! If you want to discover a few more bloggers to start following, head over and take a look at Sparpedia's top 20 equestrian bloggers.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Thursday, 28 February 2019

February Round Up

February seems to have taken AAAAGES to get through... I'm not sure if it was all the excitement and anticipation of the Regionals at the end of the month, but I think it is the first time I have ever sat down to write a monthly update post where I haven't seen the month flash by in a heartbeat...

So what did we get up to? Well, still lots actually.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

British Dressage Winter Regionals 2019

OK, so for all of you that follow us & keep up to date with us across our social media will probably be more than aware we've been pretty excited about heading up to Morris Equestrian Centre to compete in the Winter Regionals after qualifying back in November.

Well the weekend finally came around...honestly, it seems absolutely years ago that we entered, let alone since we qualified! I'd had a competition & training schedule for the start of the year to help get us nicely prepared and feeling confident. Unfortunately, and as always, it didn't all fall into place, it didn't work out how we had quite hoped, but we made the Regionals, did our test, didn't disgrace ourselves and had a fantastic weekend too!

So, sit back and enjoy our journey to the Winter Regionals!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Flatwork Training Update - 11.02.19

Each month, we attend a flatwork training clinic with Cathy Burrell where we spruce up on our dressage skills. Unfortunately, due to the winter flu, January's clinic was cancelled, so I was even more looking forward to our February session!

It didn't disappoint either, it was a super productive and fun session. We worked on lots of different aspects, starting off with straightening up our canter. I hadn't realised how Louie's hin was drifting inward but with an arena with a few mirrors at the end of the long side, I'd no excuses not to spot it!

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Equine Gastric Ulcers

For those of you who don't follow us on Instagram, you'll have missed our Thursday vlog story with a bit of an update. It was only a minute or so long, so I've decided to give a much more in detail update on the blog as I'm also really interested in showcasing our story and the progress along the way. So, sit back, whether with a lovely hot cuppa or a glass of chilled wine (depending on the time of the day!), and I hope you enjoy the insight from our experience in this post.

After we came back from a dressage competition at Richmond Equestrian Centre at the end of January, Louie seemed fine. Still into chewing the bobble on your hat, getting hold of all the toggles on your jackets & into every pocket looking for sweeties. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, and the key to this, is that nothing ever did. Louie enjoyed the next night off, as did I, and as I happily walked up to his stable on the Tuesday, he was in his usual place, snoozing after a day out in the field. He didn't come to the door of the stable, which was odd, but I didn't think too much of it, and popped my saddle on the rack outside his door, open my cupboard and grabbed a couple of sweets. Still no Louie... That is weird, I thought.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Silvermoor Ambassador Search

I am THRILLED to have made it into the final 10 in Silvermoor's search for their latest ambassador! But now we really need your help to secure as many votes as possible to help us become the latest member of their team! So please, if you can spare two minutes, please head over to the link below and give us your vote!

🌐 Vote here
✅ Scroll to find our name and photo
✅ Click the photo
✅ Scroll to the bottom and hit 'Send'

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Horsey Duvet Days

It's that time of the year again where the snow and ice are putting pause to all of fun & games with our horses... Where I'm stabled, we've actually been quite lucky in that we haven't really got much snow, and you can just about negotiate your way around & out of the yard without looking like a bad impression of Torvil & Dean! That said, the overnight hard frosts mean that the grass is rock solid and not an ideal delicacy for any horses stomach, so Louie hasn't been to play out for a few days now!

Friday, 1 February 2019

January Round Up

I am very pleased to say that I have very much started 2019 as I mean to go on... We've done everything we could possibly have wanted! Enjoyed beautiful early morning and late afternoon rides around the local Northumberland countryside, been to two dressage competitions, worked on our showjumping and flatwork at home, and had two MEGA showjumping sessions.

Sounds busy? It has been!!

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Style & Protection with HKM Faux Fur Protection Boots

Combining a stylish boot for the dressage warm up with full leg & overreach protection

Louie wears brushing & overreach boots for all his flatwork, but also when he is out hacking, as well as being booted up with tendon and fetlock boots when he jumps. 

Why? Well, you just never know when accidents happen, but also, you only need to look at the pads of my brushing boots, the backs of my overreaches or the scratches between the tendon and fetlock boots to know he catches his own legs.

Showjumping Training Update - 26.01.19

Last weekend, three weeks after we had a supersonic showjumping training session to kick start 2019, we headed back to Will2Win to take our next step forward in our showjumping training. I was really looking forward to it, not only because we hadn’t jumped for a few weeks, but to prove that the the hard work and ways of riding since our last session was paying off.

The sessions didn't disappoint.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Dressage Competition Report - 27.01.2019

Yesterday, we ventured a little further afield to Richmond Equestrian Centre to compete in two British Dressage Novice test in the Bronze section. Although it's a bit further for us to go, it's only about a 90 minute drive over 65 miles, which sometimes I forget some people here in the North and Scotland need to do as a regular occurrence to compete at British Dressage...

Sunday morning wasn't too early a start... My alarm was set for the same time as it would be if I wanted to go out for an early sunrise ride, 7am. I arrived at the yard around 8.15am with only needing to feed, plait, do a bit of stain removing and give Louie a good overall brush. It makes a big difference having Andrew on hand so I don't have to think about getting the horsebox packed and sorted, plus he even gave me a hand plaiting, passing me the spray, brush and bands.

We left right on time - 9.40am. My dressage time wasn't until 1.05pm, so I needed to be in the warm up by 12.30pm. When travelling a bit further, I like to give Louie some chill time when we arrive, rather than just arriving to tack up and get on, so I was aiming to be there for 11.30am.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Changes to the Rules in Eventing for 2019

Entries are now open for the first British Eventing date on the 2019 calendar!

That's right folks, Aston-le-Walls & Epworth are now taking entries for their first events that run on 2nd March! I've seen many MANY social media posts of sheer elation that competitors are only six weeks from the start of the eventing season...well, almost just five by the time this post is published!!

Each year, British Eventing tweaks their rules & guidelines whether it is with safety and wellbeing in mind, or to enable the sport to become increasingly more accessible and encouraging new participants. 

I've been taking a look at some of the changes for 2019 that affect the grassroots level throughout to right at the top of the sport. And there lies one of the changes...

Monday, 21 January 2019

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Make Boudica Equestrian Your One Stop Shop for Breeches!

First up, I am a very tricky customer when it comes to me buying breeches...I'm every equestrian shop's nightmare customer. I try on hundreds of pairs of breeches, in many MANY shades and different style, only to walk away saying I don't like any of them. About eight or nine years ago, I found a pair of everyday breeches that I loved and I've stuck to them ever since. Competition wise it's similar, I found a pair a long time ago, and never needed to replace them... Until recently!

Boudica Equestrian is the place to head! Laura, CEO, takes the time to ask every which question you can possibly think about connected to breeches.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Dressage Competition Report - 16.01.2019

Earlier this week, we took a day out of the office and headed to our first competition of 2019. As you'll have seen, we've spent A LOT of our arena time over Christmas and in January trying to work on our showjumping, including riding a totally different way. I've felt, even at home and on hack, that Louie isn't enjoying the new way, but does respond positively to it when the jumps are in front of him. As such, I've felt him become a little resistant to the contact, slightly less supple and willingness to bend, and overall just waiting for me to really get a hold of him. Even at home in the arena, this has led to him feeling much more tense and less willing to reach forward and through his frame.

A few days before, I went back to our old way of schooling on the flat, and all of the above symptoms started to disappear, but I could still feel hints of them, ready and waiting to rear their heads! I finished our last schooling session a few days before we headed out, and it became more harmonious as it went on and felt just like before Christmas, but I knew at the competition, I'd have more tension at play...

Competition Day

A lovely luxury time of 11.17am for our first test. Great news! I could plait on the morning and leave the yard after any possibility of rush hour traffic. I even got an hour's lie in compared to a working day... It's all about the small wins!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

International Eventing Forum 2019

Time is galloping on to the 2019 International Eventing Forum!

As we’re nearly mid-way through January, do you have a plan in place to ensure you have your best eventing season yet? A great way to start is with the annual International Eventing Forum, which has become an essential date in the calendar of riders of all levels of skill and ambition.

What's on the agenda? 

Friday, 11 January 2019

A story of making progress in showjumping

While browsing Twitter over the first weekend of January, after a busy few days back in the office, I came across a tweet that just for some reason really resonated well with me... It showed a dark bay horse jumping a small cross pole and plank, contrasted with a less calom looking photo from 6 months earlier after going over a pole on the ground.

I read the tweet and found out that the rider had managed to jump her horse over some small jumps without a dramatic scene on the landing side. For anyone who has followed min and Louie's journey, or even just taken a flick through our 2019 goals, will know that our showjumping is a work in progress. Perhaps that's why seeing progress like this struck me so much more than usual.

Here's the tweet I'm talking about...

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Top Tips for Winter Stabling

Let’s face it, no equestrian puts winter as their favourite season! There’s definitely positives to the winter season such as winter training opportunities, but the dark nights, cold temperatures and distinct increase in mud, leave most of us pretty glum for these months of the year.

We’re welcoming Emily Davis onto Team Tunnah this morning to bring some of the top tips for if you’re considering whether or not to stable your horses. Keep reading on to enjoy four of Emily’s top tips

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Training Report - 06.01.19

Starting our showjumping as we mean to go on...

Well...the title says it all really... Only a few days ago, I published our 2019 goals, in which we were very open about our showjumping and we needed to get over the issues we've got with planks, fillers and water trays.

In fact, this actually just boils down to Louie going where I ask him to and when I ask him to. He needs to trust me and have the confidence that I'm not going to put him anywhere near danger.

Anyway, today we started on that road.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

2019 Goals

So, here we are in 2019...who'd have thought it. It only seems seconds since I was sitting thinking the same thing 12 months ago... But this year, I'm sitting what do I really want to achieve over the next 12 months? There's none of this "new year, new me" stuff, but I've got some big ambitions for both my blog and for Louie & I.

Let's start off with what I'd like to achieve with Louie.
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