My journey with Abbey & other horsey bits 'n' bobs

LPT: fly spray

The flies are still going strong here in the UK and they seem as vicious and tenacious as ever!

There’s a massive range of fly repellents on the market but at over £8 a bottle it’s a bit pricey, especially when it’s easy to make your own.

Here’s my recipe:

  • white vinegar and water for the base
  • Avon skin so soft
  • citronella oil
  • lavender oil
  • eucalyptus oil

I also had garlic to Abbey’s feed during the summer months.

LPT: money saving tips

@horsebloggers recently suggested us bloggers share our best money saving tips, so after nearly a decade of horse ownership, here are my pearls of wisdom:

1) Buy quality

Cheap is often a false economy. There are some things that it’s just worth spending more on in the first instance. Rugs are a great example. Having bought lots of rugs over the years I’ve found Rambo are the best. They fit well with plenty of room round the shoulders and last for decades.

Buying quality doesn’t always mean buying the most expensive though…my Dublin Pinnacle boots have done 2 years whereas the more expensive brand disintegrated in just one. (It does say not to muck out in them, but who has the time to do 3 footwear changes in one yard visit?!)

Continue reading “LPT: money saving tips”

Abbey knows how to bend to the left…

…it’s just a shame I don’t!  For a while now I’ve been struggling with inside bend on the left rein and quite frankly I’ve been more or less ignoring it.

A little while ago (after a particularly bad schooling session where I tried to wrestle Abbey into left bend!) I decided enough was enough.  So Abbey’s been having regular treatments (with Lisa Bartley) and so have I (with Jess Shemmans).  I am also getting fitter (HIIT pilates and running) and we’ve started having lessons with a lady called Leonie Alldrick, who is an Equipilates Affiliated Instructor and Biomechanics Coach.

Continue reading “Abbey knows how to bend to the left…”

Showjumping lesson

Over the passed week Abbey’s not shown any signs of being ‘poorly’ and the lump has continued to decrease in size so yesterday we went for a jumping lesson with a new teacher.

Abbey loaded but was trembling from the moment she got on the box. Not sure why – perhaps I was tense or anxious or perhaps she was just in one of those moods.

It was no surprise that when we got there Abbey was rather wound up. 

She was tense as we warmed up and the teacher advised that I let her have a good look and give her the time to see everything. She also said to concentrate on forward rather than round.

We’re still struggling with bend on the left rein and this teachers advice was to give more with my outside rein while opening the inside hand and using my inside leg.  It worked and the canter on that rein improved as a result.

We didn’t have one refusal but we did have some hestitations. When I get these the RI suggested opening both hands to channel Abbey towards the fence.

We also worked on keeping my shoulders up going into a fence and keeping my reins (I often let them slip) as I ride a course.

The take home message was to work on maintaining the rythym all the way to the fence, not letting Abbey rush or firing her into fences.

Plans and ponies

I’ve booked a week off work and had a diary packed full of pony-fun – from a biomechanics and showjumping lessons to cross country schooling.  And then the Sunday before the fun begins….Abbey comes in with an egg on her face.

The swelling was hard but not particularly warm and while she’s been a little quiet, Abbey’s eating and drinking normally.

I’ve spoken with the vet. After lots of questions about where she’s been and other horses she’s been in contact with, the vets advice was to monitor closely (taking her temp twice a day) and if it’s not gone in 7-10 days (or if I am worried at all) to call her out. She suggested that it might be a bite, hawthorne or swollen glands – all of which can sort themselves out.

It’s now Wednesday and the lump is still there.  It’s moved further under her jawline and I think it’s gone down a little. On Monday Abbey seems to be her normal self again and yesterday I took her for a mooch around the fields yesterday (still trying to keep her weight under control).

Fingers crossed it continues to improve and we can get back to having fun very soon.

Result at the first showjumping of the year

Last Tuesday we competed in the 70cm and 80cm evening showjumping at Solihull Riding Club.

I’m delighted to report that Abbey was an angel.  She was cool and calm travelling, quickly relaxed at the horsebox and put up with a rather busy warm up.

The first round was good – we jumped clear.  I dropped my left hand on one turn which let Abbey drift out and cost us some time but other than that it was a good round.  Abbey took me to all the fences, which is a big change from the beginning of last year when every new fence was a potential dragon.

In the 80cm,we had one fence down.  We got a bit close to the fences in the 70cm so I let her run on to the second fence but she clipped it.  After that I returned to getting the more powerful canter that I’d asked for in the first round.


Don’t think we’ll be going to that show on Sunday….

….because of Abbeys new “hair cut”. I intending on just tidying up and taking off half an inch or so but it all went horribly horribly wrong.

Even considered turning her out in a snuggy hood so that the other horses don’t laugh at her. 

Abbey the angel

Abbey and I have had a throroughly lovely day at Solihull Riding Club.

We did the boundary ride and then took to the members field to pop a few of xc fences (not too many as she was tired!)

The boundary ride is beautiful and includes  lots of river crossings (which Abbey now goes through on her own), woodland (with scary logs!) and lots of fields to have a canter in. There is a train line and a motorway parallel to the some of fields but neither Abbey now her friend didn’t batter an eye lit at.

In the xc field she popped all but one of the fences first time – including a ditch. We also did a big step (for us) up out of the water. The one fence she refused, she jumped second time around.

All in all it’s been a fabulous day and Abbey gained some valuable experience xc.

Continue reading “Abbey the angel”

Abbey’s hooves 😍

It’s not just me and her trimmer that adore Abbey’s hooves.

Blog at

Up ↑