School Still Comes First
A belated merry Christmas to everyone. I hope you had fun with your horses despite sometimes challenging weather. Since my last blog i’ve been learning how to juggle riding Merlin and keep on top of my A-level studies. This is proving to be a lot harder than expected, so it was a relief to reach the Christmas holidays and be able at last to focus completely on Merlin.
I started September off with the intention of riding Merlin five times a week, as I did throughout the summer. However I quickly discovered that with the level of work I had to do this was not going to be possible. I now ride two days during the school week and then both days at the weekend and I fit in school work and revision around my horsey schedule (including competitions). This is working well and is enough to keep Merlin’s fitness up ready for next season.
With the ever-changing British weather, I've been struggling with when to clip, what clip to do and how many rugs to layer up with. We originally had Merlin clipped, with a hunter clip, at the beginning of November but his coat has re grown completely within a few weeks. As a result we forked out on a heavy weight stable and turn out rug, got him re-clipped and layered his rugs up to keep him warm. I’ve recently found that a few thin rugs layered with a thicker rug is a lot more effective than one thick rug. The layers allow you to adapt to your horse’s needs from day to day depending on the temperature and what suits your horse best.
As far as riding goes, In the past few months we’ve been working on Merlin’s dressage with the intention of doing some competitions over winter before the eventing season starts. I’ve been doing lots of trot and canter work and encouraging him to bring his hocks underneath him so he can use his back. He’s really starting to carry himself now, and we are now working on our medium trot and canter along with counter canter ready to do some more Novice tests.
In terms of competition results Merlin and I haven’t been up to much recently due to having a quiet few months after a busy first season together. However, we did complete our first Novice dressage test the other day to see if the dressage work has been paying off, and sure enough it has. Merlin produced his best test to date, to win the class with 60.25%. Not the best score on paper, but a massive improvement from Merlin (you may remember from a previous blog that we were eliminated in our first test together!). In the spirit of Olympia we also did our own puissance at the yard and to my amazement merlin flew 1.30m!
What I’m wearing
My favourite product recently has to be my Vellow women’s long-sleeved top. It is super soft, stylish and comfortable. It is great for layering up under another top to stay warm in the evenings while I ride, and the high neck keeps my neck toasty without the need for a scarf.