Wednesday, 27 June 2012


Just a quick post really as I am swamped with work. I was away for a few days last week and while I was gone Echo managed to pull one of her front shoes off. She had only just had them on! And with my farrier being on holiday, I had to get another farrier who was visiting the yard to put it back on again, as I didn't want to cause more problems by having her walking unlevel for a couple of weeks. It cost me £20! I was horrified - just to put a shoe back on! We had even found the shoe, so all he had to do was nail it back on.
Anyway. Also while I was away, Echo had physio, and Ella rang me afterwards and said that Echo was pretty sore on the left side of her back under the saddle area. She also had a bit of soreness at the back of the saddle on the right. She treated it and it loosened off well, but I really don't know what to do now.
I'm still not happy with this saddle. It just doesn't seem to sit right on her back and it pulls over to the right so easily. I rang the saddler, considering it's only been less than a month since she came out before, but she can't come and look at it for at least a week yet. I asked the physio if I should avoid riding her in it and she said it probably wouldn't hurt her too much to ride a couple of times, if the saddler can't come out straight away. So I have long-reined her mostly for the last few days and then yesterday took her out for a 25 minute hack. She was very stressy (and the tension won't have helped her back), although she hasn't been ridden for a week and a half, but once she calmed down she seemed ok. It's tough, riding in a saddle that I know is hurting her, but I don't know what to do. it doesn't seem like any saddle will ever fit her. We are now onto our 6th saddler, and it looks like she hasn't been able to make something fit either. It drives me mad!
One thing I do wonder about, is whether this soreness might just be normal. She hasn't had a saddle on consistently for nearly 18 months now and I reckon if I hadn't exercised for 18 months and then was expected to start again, I would be a bit sore. Perhaps I am asking her to work under saddle for too long at a time - we were just building up to 35 minutes of walk. Another suggestion from someone at the yard was to start trotting her under saddle too - as this will relieve the constant pressure that walking with a rider creates. I just don't know!
So tonight I did her yoga exercises and long-reined her. We are now up to 50 minutes, with between four and six stretches of trot, probably of about 30 seconds each. It's getting me pretty fit! I even put my cardio trainer app on my phone on today, to measure how far we go, and in 50 minutes, we walked 5.1km at an average speed of 6km per hour. I was going to go for a run afterwards, and decided I needn't bother! 50 minutes is quite a long time to be walking round a field, but with all the trotting and reining back, as well as going over poles, it doesn't get too boring. It was really hot and muggy tonight though, so she was a little lazy towards the end.
And so our circular issues go on. The physio spoke to my vet after treating Echo last week (it's very convenient that he also treats her horses and she sees him quite a lot). He said not to worry too much about the soreness in her back and to just try to sort the saddle issues (Ha!) but not think too much about whether the back pain could be linked to the suspensories. He will be coming to assess her again at the beginning of August and I really want to be up to an hour of ridden work by then, but I just can't see it happening. We will at least be up to an hour of long-reining with lots of trotting, so hopefully he will be able to see some improvement.

Friday, 15 June 2012


I long-reined Echo yesterday, as she had had a couple of days off after being shod. She looked great, although she was very lively! The temperature dropped by about 10 degrees really suddenly and the wind got up, making the trees sway and creak at the far end of the field we long-rein in. I decided to do the trot work fairly early on in the session, to try and tire her out a bit (and tire me out too - trotting on long-reins is exhausting!) which worked well - she was surprisingly calm in trot. Except one time, as we trotted away from the scary Echo-eating trees, she decided she would rather canter. I can't run that fast! She was fine, and I think she had thought that was what she was meant to do, as she came back to trot very willingly!

I think part of what made her a bit wound up was that the section of field at the far end has been fenced off since it was fertilised and now it's open again, the grass is really long and inviting. I had to keep whacking her on the quarters with the long-reins, to make her stop eating and walk on! Greedy pony! She was making me laugh a lot though, which is good. There was a time a few months ago, where her behaving like that would have scared me a bit. But because she is back to her old self in her temperament, the odd silly moment now just seems quite funny.

She's having a day off today because I'm super busy and it's blowing a gale outside. Looking at the forecast, I think I will long-rein her again tomorrow, then ride on Sunday. I'm happier long-reining when it's really windy, as I don't like her getting too tense under saddle - not because I think she'll do anything, but because I don't want her to get sore in her back, which she is quite susceptible to doing.

As I don't really have any more to report, I thought I would take an idea from Twitter for today. I don't use Twitter in a horsey capacity, but I really like the idea of the Follow Friday - so thought I would just share a couple of my favourite blogs that I think you should follow, if you don't already.

One of them is Cat's blog called A Young Horse's Tale, and is all about her young horse Wolfie, who reminds me a lot of Echo. I really identify with how she is training Wolfie and it's great fun to see them progress.

The other blog I have been reading a lot recently is One Friesian Sporthorse, One Percheron and One Donkey. Achieve One Dream, as she is know in the blogging world is training her young horse Chrome  using clicker training. This isn't something I have ever tried, but I love the way she documents her journey with Chrome and I thoroughly recommend you pop over and take a look.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Loving the hacking!

Echo enjoying a snack after her ride today. I think she thought she was in heaven!

Just a quick post, but couldn't resist telling you what a lovely ride I had this morning. The farrier was here and I wanted to ride before she was shod, as she was ever so slightly uncomfortable for a few hours afterwards last time. However, the really good thing about the farrier being here was that Rocky, the horse who terrorises us when we're out hacking, was up at the yard to be trimmed - so we could hack past their field in peace!

I went a little bit further today - probably more like 30-35 minutes and it includes really quite a steep hill. I have to admit, she really struggled to walk up the hill - there was one point she nearly stopped, as if to say 'I just can't do it!' It's clear she has absolutely no strength in her back end at all at the moment. But hopefully, if we keep doing it every couple of days or so, she should build up some strength soon.

The thing which pleases me most is how much she seems to be enjoying hacking out - we 've been going out alone, as I am super busy at the moment, so not really able to coordinate with someone in advance to hack together, but she seems to be loving it. She's relaxed and calm going out of the yard and today she didn't even mind when the pigs started leaping about, making a bizarre noise and trying to mount each other! She's fascinated, but there's no tension in her body.

The farrier was pleased too - said her shoes have worn evenly, and he had to do even less than last time to get the balance right today. So all good news!

Long may it all continue!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Anyone for a quiet hack!?

Things have been going pretty well. We are now up to 45 minutes long-reining (which is boring, but we are now doing some trot, rein-back and pole work on the long-reins, so it's not too bad) and 20 minutes ridden hacking.

Echo has been a bit spooky, but thankfully she is back to her old self in terms of how she spooks - when she was lame, she started spinning around or taking off, which I found scary because that wasn't like her at all. She still shies at things, but she just jumps, or stops dead - much more manageable!

I know I always moan about the hacking where we are - I know it looks beautiful, but it is full of scary Echo-eating monsters and so I thought I would make a little video on our hack tonight, to show you what I mean. Bear in mind it was 7.30pm on a Saturday evening, so usually there would be farm machinery all over the place too. Please excuse my rambling on...might not be very interesting, but I got quite carried away chatting to myself and the camera!

But I am pleased with how she is coming on. The physio is happy that she is getting more even in her muscles, although still some tension through her back which she works on every time she comes out. Long may the improvements continue!

Daily adventures while training my young horse.