Well it seems as though summer is here to stay! If only we could now invent some kind of creation that allows us to have hot weather without the presence of flies. I have to say though I do love being back home at this time of year, there’s nothing better then seeing naked ponies out in the fields whilst the sun is setting in the distance (no mud in sight for once!!!). No doubt it won’t be long till we are all complaining that its too hot and having to get up at the crack of dawn just to ride in the cool, but for now I’ll enjoy this happy medium.
After a stressful week of exams and assignment deadlines I’ve finally finished my second year at university. Even with the stress of impending deadlines and revision for exams throughout the year I can confidently say this has been by far the best year yet!!! I’m starting to feel more confident day by day in my abilities and understanding of Equine Therapy and in my riding. This year has been the year for learning both off and on the horse! Cinders is now enjoying a well earned holiday out in the fields at home (stuffing her face with grass!!) before getting out and about over the next couple of months.
After a recent lecture by Jane Hart and Sue Tracey I came away knowing so much more then I’ve ever known about bits and their fitting. It really is an interesting aspect to horse performance, and unfortunately, one that is often underestimated in its effect on both performance and comfort of the horse. I’m the first to admit that i’d never actually looked inside Cinders mouth before that day. Inspiration led me to researching all types of things online when I got back. Now I can confidently say that I’ve found a bit that works for both of us, and most importantly one that fits and is comfortable for Cinders (after a little bit of fiddling with different ones!). Research into the field of bits and their effects is very limited and something I feel that in the future we should pay more attention too.
Cinders has been very fortunate recently to receive some brilliant, and regular, physiotherapy sessions from the 4th year VP students (who are so nearly qualified!). This has been a great part of the academy for both Cinders and I. Also Cinders has been truly spoilt by being able to use the Uni’s FMBS Therapy System rug (just one of the very exciting pieces of kit we have here at Writtle). As a result, Cinders has been going from strength to strength with her training and I’m confident we will have a lot of success out on the circuit this summer. In addition, it’s been a great learning tool for me, picking up the odd muscle insertion and interesting fact along the way. It’s makes me so excited to start practising at the end of my degree at Writtle. Who ever said you couldn’t play ponies and get a degree at the same time obviously had never been to Writtle University College!
Recently, Cinders and I took part in a demo for the final year Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation students at Writtle. They were spending the morning looking at a few different horses in relation to jumping exercises to help with specific aspects of performance before they graduate. Not only is it really exciting to have the opportunity to jump with Jane Hart and in front of others, but it’s really handy to get advice and help with Cinders. I like to think that I am a sponge just absorbing information from other students and lecturers. If there’s anything I’ve learnt from university it is to treat every opportunity as a learning experience… and have some fun at the same time of course!!
Easter Holidays was a much need breaker for both Cinders and I. I got to have a much needed snooze of the alarm in the morning and Cinders got to pig out on grass 24/7. They do say a happy horse makes an happy owner!!! However, this wasn’t all we got up too over the 4 weeks, we had plenty of training with my coach at home and even got to put all our practice into play with a couple of competitions to get us all geared up for a full on summer.
What are the benefits of feeding our horses hay on the floor compared to haynets?
Horses have naturally evolved to forage for food mainly from ground height. Yet when our horses spend longer periods of time in their stables over the miserable winter months we tend to favour our hay-nets. Mainly to slow down hay intake and for tidiness.
However feeding hay from the floor can help with:
- Teeth alignment and mastication (chewing).
- Digestion in the hind-gut.
- Nasal and lung drainage is improved.
- Stretches out the long back muscles and prevent repetitive movements.
All the horses were quite literally suited and booted in all their new kit for the photoshoot, looking like proper horsey models!!
It gives me great pride every time I put this kit on to know that I’m representing not only representing myself, but the amazing Academy at Writtle University College, and Birkett Long Solicitors our incredibly generous sponsors. Here’s just a selection of photos from the day in question.
Yesterday we said the sad goodbye to Grainne who has been terrific at helping us in our fitness training over the year. Without her essential help, constant good humour and perseverance I really don’t know where we’d all be! We’d certainly not be as fit as we are now or as able in the gym. Although the goodbye isn’t for too long we hope as she will hopefully return to help the Academy Team Riders next year (obviously we haven’t put her off too much!!).