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!!).
Academy members this year are very proudly, and kindly, sponsored by Birkett Long Solicitors. Therefore last week we had the arrival of some very exciting team kit. I can safely say that both Cinders and I will be wearing it with pride over the upcoming Easter Holidays as we get out to some competitions again. Let’s hope it also brings loads of luck with it!!
In regards to our ongoing rider fitness we’re very fortunate to have some expert help from a Cycling Performance Student at the University. She’s definitely put us all through our paces, not only with strength training, but also with our cardiovascular fitness on the spin bikes. Since we’ve been doing this weekly I’ve noticed an increase in both my abilities in the gym (and confidence!) and also in my riding. It’s very easy to concentrate on our own horse’s fitness and strength without taking much notice of our own. But by making time for my own fitness it’s really opened my eyes into how pivotal to success we are in the saddle, because at the end of the day horse riding is about a partnership. Therefore, it’s not so crazy to think that if we are more balanced in the saddle, for example through increased core strength, that our horses can be more balanced underneath us.
Cinders and I, alongside other members of the Academy, have taken part in several open days over the year. This is not only a great opportunity for extra training, but gives potential student a real insight into what the Academy is all about. Obviously I’m slightly biased but it really has been an amazing experience so far for both Cinders and I!
Cinders is an extremely lucky girly having having recently been seen by the 4th year Veterinary Physiotherapy students for a session. This is a great example of how the Academy really intergrates nicely into the University! Because not only does my horse receive a really good session to keep her in tip top condition, but it also allows students who are (extremely) close to qualifying get invaluable experience at working with ‘clients’. Not to mention exposing them to a greater range of performance horses.
Its safe to say that Cinders really enjoyed her session, which included a range of treatments from massage to laser. In addition to tape which was applied over her lumbosacral region and then left on for me to ride with. They also gave me loads of helpful exercises to try with her, that will hopefully specifically target her individual weaknesses. All of which shes been doing like a A+ student, so I’m really looking forward to them looking at her again to see whether there are any noticeable improvements!!