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Computer problems so sorry if updates not as frequent as usual

13 February

Well after a very positive post about the likelihood of Moreton running from British Eventing I am entered for our fist event in just 3 weeks!! Things are getting a bit serious.

We were bolstered yesterday by a really good schooling session at Tall Trees where although by no means the finished article real progress was evident.  The canter was a lot more up in front and she was doing nice changes.

Busy week ahead with a Ride Smart clinic with Jon Pitts and Abbie Hughes at Bicton on Tuesday and a lesson with Robert Pickles on Thursday. Add into that new shoes on Monday and a massage from Mowenna (Roseland Pets and Equine) on Wednesday and it will be all go.

10 February

Computer is playing up again so will make this brief before we crash again! Good news on the Sarnie front she is confirmed still pregnant and since being predominantly stabled and out the weather she is looking much better. Guess she has got her way and she will be stabled until the weather picks up (she has got her way!)

Posy is ticking over but I am increasingly despondent about her first scheduled BE at Moreton on the 5 March. This weather does really need to start playing ball.

Took her on Sunday to Tall Trees to school working on getting her listening with a simple pole exercise.

The progressed to jumping a few fences focusing on keeping the canter up. We used a drop noseband and snaffle and this seemed to work quite well.

5 February

Sarnie is still in as is her companion Batty so my mucking out has trebled and shavings bill gone through the roof! Sarnie to my mind still quite quiet although eating well. The vet phoned with the results of the blood tests today and they are pretty normal, we are still waiting on the one that checks she is still in foal. Worm count was normal as well which is a relief, would hate to feel it was poor management.

Will wait and see what the final test says and then reassess next week. Definitely Sarnie is milking the TLC!

Forecast for this weekend is terrible. We are meant to be eventing in 4 weeks and I really can’t see Moreton running unless there is a change in the weather soon. I had intended to do dressage tomorrow but luckily Colraine accept entries until Thursday by which time I realised the weather was likely to be rough and wimped out. Don’t get me wrong I am not a fair weather rider but see little point competing when there is a weather warning out - it is meant to be fun after all.

4 February

Posy is very pleased her first wormer from Supplement Solutions was accompanied by some nice treats.

The wormer is to start Posy's worming programme to treat encysted small redworm. Some info that may be useful from Supplement Solutions.

What is Encysted Small Redworm?

Encysted Small Redworms (ESRW) are the most common and harmful worms found in horses with the larval stages of this parasite giving the greatest cause for concern. Small redworm larvae can encyst within the gut wall throughout the year - especially in Autumn and Winter. Without treatment, sudden mass emergence will occur in Spring and can cause diarrhoea and colic (with a 50% mortality rate).

Worm count tests are excellent tools to monitor roundworm and tapeworm burdens, however, ESRW's cannot be detected through a worm count kit as they are encysted in the gut wall.


It is important that you consider the seasonal worming threats when formulating your worm control plan. Every horse at risk should be treated for ESRW in late Autumn or Winter to prevent small redworm larvae from encysting.


Horses should be does accurately, according to their weight. This is important because under-dosing can increase the risk of resistance.

Ensure to treat for encysted small redworm with a moxidectin or fenbendazole based wormer in Winter, when it is cold and frosty. Many owners forget this but this is in fact the most dangerous type of worms found in horses. When it is cold and frosty the redworms burrow into the gut wall. This then causes problems in spring when the weather warms up and they emerge on mass. Treating with a moxidectin or fenbendazole based wormers such as Equest, Equest Pramox or Panacur Equine Guard kills the worms whilst they are in the gut wall meaning they cannot emerge in spring.

Here’s a link to the wormers that treat for ESRW: LINK

1 February

Had been hoping to go to the the International Eventing Forum at Hartpury today. Sadly horses being horses I didn’t make it! Haven’t been too happy with Sarnie over the weekend, she has been a bit quiet and has dropped a little bit of weight so I have brought her in. Had the vet today who has taken a range of bloods to see if there is anything much wrong or just like the rest of us she is struggling to cope with this constant wet weather. Will have results at the end of the week. Meanwhile she is enjoying some tlc and I am finding an extra two in full time quite hard work!

29 January - Pontispool Arena XC schooling

Managed to pick the one nice day of the week and took a trip to the lovely arena cross country facilities at Pontisppol.

It was great to jump some cross country fences again and I was really pleased with how Posy has matured. She was bold and confident throughout and the problem was occasionally her habit of setting herself and running through my hand. I did have to sharply pull her up a few times after the fence  (or try to as often I wasn’t able to!).

There were a variety of triple brushes and we introduced these carefully using poles to guide her in on the first occasion, she gave me no hesitation and jumped them like everything else confidently.

Really looking forward to the season just hope it stops raining so we get a season!

27 January

We jumped at Tall Trees on Sunday and it was one of those days that was good on paper but less so in reality! No videos I’m afraid as I refuse to upload them! Whilst I always say Shoestring chronicles the ups and downs there are times that even I can’t bear to show a video. Too be honest maybe it wasn’t that bad but sometimes when I fall so short of my own expectations then I struggle to cope and certainly to share.

We actually came 3rd in the 1m class and had 4 faults in the 1.05. However the canter was poor, I didn’t really get her forward enough leaving us having silly strides and there was no connection to the bridle. Posy’s jump meant the result was good the performance needed a lot of improvement.

Anyway taking advice and putting that behind us. Looking forward to tomorrow visiting Pontispool for their arena cross country.

23 January

Had a really good lesson today with Andrew Lovell. It has been 4 or 5 months since he last saw Posy and he thought she had improved hugely. It was great to get a few new exercises to work on.

We worked on developing the shoulder in, something to date Posy has struggled with. I was given a new exercise that I have not used before but was quite effective in starting the shoulder in off. We used a bit of a turn about the forehand in walk and really pushed the inside hind across towards a shoulder in position as she reached the correct position pushed her forward to trot and kept the position for a few strides.  This really got her using herself.

The canter was starting to sit more and we started to focus in trot and canter on asking her to carry herself more. Andrew asked me to think of allowing the hind legs through, slowing the front end and then allowing with the hand. Almost self preservation will make the horse start to take the weight behind and carry herself. We had a couple of strides where she really did sit.

Anyway a few clips from the lesson.

Really pleased with how we are progressing and great to have a few exercises to work on.

21 January

Exciting news I have been selected by Supplement Solutions to be their ‘Strategic Worming Ambassador” for 2016. I am excited about the opportunity but also keen to get my worming regime in order, I have to admit at best it is a little hit and miss and has no scientific basis!

A link to Supplement Solutions worming programme is here. The programme simplifies the process by sending out everything you need for the year at the appropriate time; Encysted Small Redworm Treatment, 2 x Tapeworm Tests and 3 x Faecal Egg Counts plus any wormers that may be needed following testing. It will certainly bring my worming regime up to date and ensure I am worming appropriately and more importantly not pumping chemicals in when they are not needed.

I will be updating on here and a separate page the process and the results over the next year.

17 January

Sometimes things click into place and I started to see evidence of that yesterday when having a lesson with Zoe. Suddenly we have flying changes from right to left which should help our jumping enormously. This has come from hours of hard work meaning that she can now sit better in the canter and do the change. At the moment we only have right to left as this was the more important side and hopefully the other change will now come too. Then probably I will have to go back and establish counter canter!


Posy still tires quickly when asked to hold the more balanced canter. It is hard sometimes to judge when to finish a session as I don’t want to push tired muscles but also she does need to get stronger so she can do more.

We finished off by working over a small triple bar and then used wings to make a slightly narrower area to jump through. Just putting in place some building blocks after our trouble with the triple brush last week.

15 January

Hacked out today (a quick lunchtime ride) and took this photo when I got back. Really pleased how she is looking at this time of year. She is getting quite a lot of high calorie food (Alpha A oil, Baileys no.4, speedibeat and pre cooked linseed) but reckon she is just about how I want her for this time of year.

11 January - Bicton Arena Eventing

It was lovely to do something a bit different yesterday and go to Bicton for their super arena eventing competition. Posy can still be a bit green and I did wonder whether cross country jumps in an arena would worry her. We were actually lucky the competition went ahead as the day before’s extreme rain had evidently put the arena under water, luckily a 7am inspection was passed and it was all systems go.

The weather was kind and we actually saw that strange yellow thing in the sky! We had entered 2 classes the first class was the 90 cm and involved a course of 8 numbered show jumps followed by 9 numbered cross county combinations. In the 90 the corner caused a few problems as did a fairly big double of houses

I took Posy out early for a mooch in hand and to watch to see if I could show her that there were cross country jumps in the arena. She was more interested in the grass and the only time I did get her to raise her head and watch the person they promptly stopped! That didn’t work very well then!

I have been working on Posy’s canter a lot and you will see in the video we are starting to get some right to left changes! The disadvantage of this is she is getting pretty fit! I wanted spurs on in case I needed a bit extra leg in the ring but warming up it was a case of making sure I didn’t touch her with them otherwise I could have been off!

In the ring she was super quite forward and still needs to be more together but bold and forward just how I wanted her. She attacked the cross country jumps but certainly also gave them a fair bit of air (see pic).

We had a double clear but were 3 seconds over the optimum time which put us out of the placing's.

I was really pleased with the round. We were also entered in the 100 and that was a good step up again. There was a decent corner, narrow yellow roll top and the final fence was a triple brush (pictured right). I felt it was a tough ask as I have seen very few like it in proper BE100s and often then there may be a tree either side to guide horses in. Posy is still quite inexperienced and this was going to be a big ask.

She lost a bit of sparkle in this round but never the less jumped superbly well. She was clean and clear in the raised show jumping round and ate up the cross country making it feel easy. Sadly when we got to the triple brush she didn’t understand the question so we didn’t complete. Very frustrating and hindsight is a wonderful thing. Knowing how little she has seen or done like that I should have stopped at the fence before or not competed at all. She is an out and out tryer but she just didn’t get this. I did ask if we could go in afterwards and Bicton as accommodating as ever were more than happy for us to do so (we weren’t the only ones that had problems)! However when I really thought about I decided to wait for another day, this wasn’t the friendliest triple brush and I know Pontispool have a wider and lower one so we can introduce it more carefully. At the end of the day it wasn’t a huge issue but if I had gone in afterwards and even with poles she had still not understood I could have made an issue. So something to work on for another day. Anyway the video.

So overall despite the hiccup I felt the day was very positive. I must admit though I did shed a selfish tear on the way home as it is the days things don’t go right I so miss the support of friend and mentor Caroline Creighton who passed away last year. However as Mum said she has left me with so many tools and the knowledge to know how to put things right. Sadly though I can’t pick the phone up and hear her say it, because whenever she told me it would be ok I knew it would be.

7 January

Working hard with Posy at home trying to improve her canter. Although it seems slow progress there is progress which is encouraging. Doing lots of transitions in and out of the pace, bringing the circle in and out, lengthening and shortening as well as using pole work. She easily falls out through her right side in canter so I am trying to use my right leg to bring her round rather than be tempted to pull with my left hand!

The other issue that is a struggle is taking off and landing on the left leg, she always changes to the right. There is no physical reason for this although my weight may influence her if with my old injuries I am putting more weight down one side.

You can see in this video clip of working at home how she struggles. I do remember a really good 4* horse that did this but at least he would change within a stride, Posy still struggles to change as well. You can see from the video that I really had to simplify it to get a result.

Very much a work in progress and things won’t change overnight.

5 January

Well the mud and rain is still causing problems but thanks to a very generous Shoestring follower I hope the computer problems are gradually moving behind me.

So still catching up with what was missed when I was inactive. We went show jumping on 28th December at Colraine. A day of my lasts! (No we weren’t last in each class) Posy jumped her last Discovery as she has been out on points for quite a while but remained eligible as 5 year old and I used my Gatehouse Conquest hat for the last time as it no longer complies with the new standards.

The classes were single phase and in the Discovery we jumped a double clear with a round that really pleased me.

The 1.05 we had 2 fences down. The first at fence 2 when I asked her to change onto her unfavoured left leg over the jump and she promptly forgot her hind legs. Then in the related distance she had backed off the white fence in the first round and I used a fair bit of leg to prevent this happening again. Although the distance was fine I then struggled to sit her back in the bridle and we ran into the bottom of a subsequent fence.  Funnily enough in a lot of ways I was very pleased as she is starting to listen a bit more and jump in a better rhythm.

Posy has finished 2015 having won over 300 points and nearly £500. Very impressive.

1 January

Happy new year! Apologies still struggling with the computers and I admit a bit of motivation as the endless rain and mud is getting me down!

So what has been happening? Thought I had found a new Shoestring equine member but sadly found a slight issue that I wasn’t prepared to risk so it is back to square 1. Writing this though on a wet, windy and miserable day maybe it is not such a disaster.

The week before Christmas we attended a BE training event at Bicton College. I had an excellent lesson on Bobby with Eric Smiley a couple of years ago and was very keen to take Posy. He always starts off by asking the age of the horse and tell him two positive things about your horse and one thing you want to improve. He is very focused on focusing on the good aspects and makes everything very seem very simple. The lesson was quite simple as was his philosophy, the rider controls the engine and direction the horse jumps. If the engine has the correct revs then seeing a stride is immaterial.  

We worked on very simple exercises and never jumped bigger than 2’3”. We started by maintaining a line through some poles and then progressed to jumping a small jump on a 20 meter circle. He wanted people to be able to shut their eyes and not hear any change in the footfalls.

We then worked on some simple lines and changing legs over the fence which Posy finds difficult. Encouragingly he didn’t think it was my position that was causing the problems. He wanted me to focus on stepping forward into my left stirrup and giving a good boot with the right leg. Although there wasn’t immediate success she was changing after the jump so progress was made.

It was very pleasing that Eric really liked Posy and thought she had a great jump. However we need to get the basics right to really allow her to flourish.


15 December

Apologies for the long time since my last update, my main excuse is continuing computer problems. I have now got a new Mac computer but as I suspected it is taking me a while to get to grips with it and transferring the website to it may be a little way off!

In the meantime the horse hunting has started in earnest. Saw a couple of nice horses on Saturday but neither were totally right for me. Then on Monday drove 4 hours to a dealers yard with a good reputation. It was a frustrating trip as there was nothing anywhere near what I was looking for and after ¾ hr we were headed home again. Trouble is if you don’t go you don’t know.

Delighted to say Posy won the Area 51 British Showjumping award for best Discovery horse this season. She won the lovely framed photo with the engraved plate which was presented at the Area 51 ball. I have to say not owning any posh clothes I wimped out of attending the ball and collected my prize after the event. Great reflection on how well Posy has done this year.

She continued her good form at Tall Trees last weekend. We were double clear in both the Discovery and 1.05 placed 3rd and 4th. The canter is improving although the balance on the left rein and the ability to land on the left lead is still causing us problems. I suspect the problem may be more me than her perhaps putting too much weight into one stirrup. I am aware with my hip issues that I sometimes collapse slightly to the left. The video below is the 1.05 jump off and I believe one of our better rounds.

Eric Smiley lesson this weekend to look forward to. Hopefully some homework to help address the issues.

Meanwhile the broodmares are now roughly half way through their pregnancy. I think Batty is about a month ahead of Sarnie and pleased both are looking well.

3 December

Where has this year gone? It is already December and just under 3 weeks until the evenings draw out again (being positive!). Posy has had a quiet week, as with little light if I have to work late there is no hope time to ride. I have been keeping a close eye on the weather and as tomorrow is looking reasonable have grabbed the day off to catch up with some Christmas preparations, give Posy a jump and wade through the mud for some poo picking. It is hard to remember that this is a hobby I do for pleasure and spend all my money on when it is wet, muddy and dark!

Always good to have something different to look forward to and I have just booked a lesson through BE at Bicton College with Eric Smiley. I had a lesson with him a few years back with Dribble and I was so impressed, excited to be having another one. Can’t wait to see what he makes of Posy. That is the 19th of December.

29 November - TWRC dressage show

Much as I love the jumping sadly the flatwork equally needs the practice. A good opportunity today with the local riding club dressage show just down the road. I pushed ourselves a little and entered two novice standard tests. The riding club D10 and Novice 30 which I knew would be a little bit of a push for her.

She warmed up well outside but slightly switched off indoors. The medium trot is no where near established but otherwise in the D10 test she made a very good stab.

I was delighted with 71% to win the class. Very fair and accurate comments from the judge recognising she needs to sit a little more to improve her marks.

The novice 30 was a harder test again and Posy tried very hard but just isn’t able yet to produce the work to make us competitive. I added spurs for a little bit more impulsion but instead of impulsion I created some resentment.

We were unplaced in a strong class but I wasn’t upset with a mark of 67% which shows the training is on the right lines. I think I know what needs working on and that will take time and strength which won’t happen overnight. All in all a very positive day.

I did have to laugh though as I felt a bit out of place warming up in jumping boots, riding in a jumping saddle and not really fitting in with the dressage image!

27 November

I am sure soon I will be complaining how cold it is and that it is too icy to get any work done but currently I just want it to stop raining. I don’t know about everyone else but the mud is getting me down. Even Smartie can’t cross the field without cutting it up!

I think the above has affected my enthusiasm for horse hunting. Whilst clearly my budget is limiting the horses that match my criteria there is a part of me that is quite glad with the short evenings and constant rain that we haven’t quickly found something to replace Bobby. However realistically I also know that now is the best time to buy as I am likely to get the best value. To date though I haven’t found something that has inspired me enough to view. There is also a clear relationship with the amount of inspiration needed in relation to the distance to travel. I have seen one I rather like but at 6 hours each way I just don’t like it quite enough! Never mind will continue to scour the sales sites and hopefully that hidden gem will pop up.

Posy meanwhile doesn’t seem too worried about the weather with her servant (me) running around after her making sure she has a clean dry stable, dry rugs and plenty of grub. She even had the pleasure last week of a massage from top sponsor Morwenna from Roseland Pets and Equine. As you can see she rather enjoyed it.

Have been focusing her work at home on improving the canter and in particular the ability to carry herself. At the moment it seems to be me carrying her and can be quite frustrating. Yesterday I used some poles (4 on a 20m circle one on each quarter) which brightened up the work a bit got me riding more accurately and gave her an interest. It is difficult when time is limited and I am on my own to do much in the way of pole exercises particularly when the school is not mine so can’t plan ahead and put exercises out before I ride.

Hacking is doing her the world of good but with light failing so early this is limited at the moment. This weekend we have entered a riding club dressage show on Sunday so be nice to get a good measure of how we are progressing. Have entered her in her first novice tests which will be interesting particularly as we don’t yet have much of a medium trot! We were due a lesson with Stef tomorrow but sadly the weather put the kibosh on that!

22 November

Yesterday we went show jumping at a new venue for Posy - Duchy College. We nearly didn’t go high winds, driving rain and hail as well as a substantial drop in temperature made staying home seem far more attractive. I have to say though the further we drove the more the weather improved and it stayed dry at least.

Posy was feeling bright and a bit hormonal! To be honest she is better when she is on Regumate to control her seasons, usually by now the colder weather stops mares cycling but with it being mild she has continued coming into season. I quickly removed the spurs and warmed up in a quiet time between classes.  

In the Discovery she jumped a good clear round although added an extra stride between 6 and 7 when she backed off the black and white fence.

Sadly at this point the video gave up (Someone forgot to charge it - whoops). So you don’t get the pleasure of the disaster that was the jump off! We had the second fence down behind and then the next fence in front as she just ran onto her forehand a bit. The black and white was off a tight turn back and we were on half a stride, I went for the long one she backed off put down and stopped. At this point she had a pat but on turning round I rode her strongly gave her a tap and we launched literally into orbit over it. Very proud I didn’t come out and have a confidence meltdown as can be my habit!

We were also entered in the 1.05 Amateur class. Decided this would be a good opportunity to put matters right. She jumped a nice first round clear although I had to really ride at the black and white jump which again we gave an extra few feet! In the jump off I rode sensibly kept my lines tight but not really cutting corners and jumped another clear which was good enough for second. All in all an educational day and one that we both came away from having learnt some valuable lessons.

Still struggling on the biting front. Probably 80% of the running forward and down onto the hand is a schooling issue but at the same time be nice to find a bit that could just help her listen so she can start to sit back on her hocks. The myler combination has not been the magic solution I hoped.

Today she has had a nice hack as I do try and keep some variety and think hacking is a key part of any event horses education (even the getting very wet bit!).

16 November

It was good to get out competing again yesterday after a 6 week break. We dropped back a level as it was our first show indoors and the first competition trying the combination bit. We headed to Tall Trees which although an hour and a half away offers good courses and is somewhere I always seem to do quite well (a definite factor).

We did the 95cm amateur class and jumped a nice double clear to finish 2nd. We then jumped the Discovery and produced another double clear for 4th place. (Was really pleased with last turn).

Only one video due to temperamental computer but you would probably be bored with all 4, they are on my Youtube page if you feel like you are missing out - here.

The combination bit certainly gave me more control almost too much in an indoor setting needed to make sure the revs were kept up. Usual issues raised their head of a lack of balance and struggling to land on or change to the correct lead. That is what we have the winter to work on. Can’t complain with no poles down all day.

14th November

Still having computer problems hence the less frequent updates. I am sourcing a new computer but hanging on now to see if any bargains around on Black Friday. The current laptop may be thrown out the window before then so if all goes silent you know why!

Mum’s wrist may need an operation waiting for the consultant to decide this week. Really don’t need her to try and keep up with me on the pins and operation front.

Yesterday had a day away and headed up to the Countryside Raceday at Cheltenham with my good friend Gwendra. Needless to say I didn’t pick a winner but a good day was had by all. Great to get up close to the racing and see the cross country race (no idea how they remember the course). There was also a fun session early on where Charlotte Dujardin gave McCoy a dressage lesson. There was some really good banter between the two and McCoy actually sat amazingly well for someone who found the horse,saddle and position very foreign. Steering was an issue and Charlotte used her horse to keep him going in the right direction it was great fun.

Tomorrow we have our first competition for 6 weeks so feeling a bit rusty. Off to Tall Trees for some show jumping. Hope we remember what to do. Full report (computer allowing) to follow.

7th November

It has certainly been a roller coaster week. On the positive front Sarnie’s blood test was positive so she is still pregnant.

Bobby was viewed last Saturday by a young rider who loved him and he went very sweetly for, he was vetted on Tuesday and left for his new home on Friday. Very mixed feelings as I was very fond of him and if space and finance was not an issue he would have stayed. I certainly shed a tear when he left the yard and you always have that thought of have I done the absolute best for him.

On Thursday Mum managed to slip over on the way to the dustbin of all things and break her wrist. So the boot was on the other foot in A&E for once. Poor Mum is already very frustrated with the limitations and restrictions this imposes. Have immediately started use of the ArcEquine so hopefully this will speed up the heeling.

I gave Posy her first jump today when we had a lesson with Rob Stevens. Mum’s reminder that I had better stay on as we can’t afford two of us injured was promptly ignored as Posy deposited me warming up. She was struggling with sitting a bit more in the canter and I clearly asked just a bit much and next minute I was sitting on the floor.

Rob was very impressed with Posy although as you can see she never quite lost the sparkle!

She found the jumping so easy but as Rob said it is now a question of her sitting in the canter and bringing her front end up.

We finished by working on a simple exercise of changing legs over a small jump which she did well.

A good session even if I am now off for a hot bath for the aching shoulder and hip!

1st November

Apologies if updates are not as frequent as usual I have some laptop issues. My aging laptop now has a keyboard that doesn’t work as well as a mouse pad that is not reliable. I only have one USB port that works which means I have to plug the keyboard in then change to the mouse when needed! It is slow and frustrating, researching the best value for money replacements currently or see if I get the current model refurbished. Annoying when I am told my laptop is ancient yet only 4 years old.

Had a super lesson with Stef Eardley yesterday. Worked mainly on getting Posy in front of the leg and actually going forward off taking the leg off. Quite a difficult one to get the head around but very effective.

Sarnie has been blood tested to check she is still in foal results this week. She looks pregnant but it could be she is just fat!

October blog click here

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