Sad news.

  
Two weeks ago, the unthinkable happened. One of the youngsters had a severe colic, had surgery and unfortunately did not make it.

Colic is my biggest fear when it comes to horses and their health. Why? Because it can happen at any time, even when you meticulously look after horses. You feed them the same stuff every day, at the same time, give them daily turn out etc. yet, they still can get colic. In this case, nothing had changed in his daily routine. Initially we thought that he had been badly spooked by hunters shooting all day In a nearby forest, but once Scolini was not improving, we ruled Out that thought. We did all the usual, walked him, took away his feed and gave him Colosan. But still no improvement. The vet came and gave him an injection, we walked him and although he was passing droppings, he still wasn’t getting better. After a few hours, he still was in the same condition. So we took him to a special colic clinic. 

There, they did several tests and an ultrasound. It wasn’t looking good. He was prepared for surgery. My boss and I waited. Momentarily looking into the surgery room, his gut looked good. It was pink and looked to us healthy. So we were hopeful. Half way through the surgery the vet came out and told us he had a 30% chance. My stomach sank. He was a young horse, only six, who had overcome previous illnesses, so my boss said to continue the surgery. It was at this point that we decided to head home as they would be at least another three hours working (we had also been up the whole night). The drive home was around two hours, and the worst two hours of my life. 

Later that day, I got The news from my boss that scolini didn’t make it. Even though he had woken Up after the operation , it wasn’t looking optimistic for him and he couldn’t even stand up. He had almost 2 meters of his gut removed.  I never knew I could cry so much over a horse  until that day. He was my favorite horse out of all of them, and he had so many quirks which made him so cute and funny. He was a gentle giant who had so much potential, potential which will never be fulfilled. Poor baby boy. ❤️

  

Fancy pants 

This horse is 21, and every single time I groom him he knows I have sugar in my pocket. He has a special trick, where he stretches down behind his forelegs. He will continue to do this until I give him a sugar cube!! Show off 😛 He’s a sweet boy though because, his legs are quite shakey when he does it  even though he’s not very old, but every horse differs I guess!

  
Till next time my fellow equines,

Chloë x

Dressage journey continued…

First of all, sorry for the lack of posts/decent posts! As the days are getting shorter I tend to come in from work, eat my dinner and sleep!

I’ve been in Germany now for almost five months. I’ve been riding 5/6 days a week for around 40 mins each time. A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my frustration with my dressage journey. I was always on the same horse and was envious of a work experience student who came and rode several different horses. What I have now learned and didn’t realize then, is that this is my dressage journey and it’s not a race. I am starting from the very beginning of dressage and it will take years and years of blood, sweat and tears. And I’m ok with that. There’s no point comparing your journey to someone else’s.

Last week I began riding a different horse as well as the horse I usually ride. To say there is a huge difference is an understatement! Inti (the usual one) is quite a tubby horse who is easy to get going, but difficult to get round. Montini (new horse) has a completely different conformation. He’s much more slight, so I don’t feel like I’m doing the splits anymore. However, the minute you get on him you have to get him going and maintain that, otherwise he basically refuses to work. On the other hand though, he makes himself round and very little work has to be done from me in that area! I’m very happy that I can ride both of these horses now because it tells me that I am improving.

So I was pretty happy with that progress, but then today something amazing happened! I had tacked up my bosses horse, who is a seven year old dream horse. Every show we go to people come up and ask if she’s for sale! She is a dressage superstar in the making! She floats across the arena and is one of the most beautiful horses I’ve ever seen. She looks black but in fact actually is chestnut! Pretty cool. She also has the prettiest little face which is very fitting for her name, Babydoll! Anywho, so my boss was walking down the yard and was like, can you get up on baby and walk her around the arena? To which I replied “wait, me?”. So I got up and began to walk. At this moment I was in heaven just walking around haha! My boss then came in and asked if I would like to trot her..which then lead to cantering on her. Uh, so amazing. She has a really uphill movement so it was really different cantering her but very cool all the same! I had a lesson on her then! What I found really cool was  when my boss  told me to do something on her, like make her round or use certain leg aids etc and then she responded correctly. That’s how I know I’ve improved! 

I hope I get to ride her again at some point!

Till next time my fellow equines,

Chloë x

Review: HKM Lauria Garrelli Breeches

During the week my “good” pair of breeches started to get a hole in the crotch. It can be easily sown but I often find with breeches, once there’s a hole in the crotch it’s basically the end of those breeches. Numerous times I have sown torn jods and breeches as best I could but it seems the minute I put my foot in the stirrup I hear that awful ripping sound. RIP good jods.

So I took a trip to the local horse shop here. It’s quite a small shop but it literally has everything you would need for yourself and also for the horse. I had endless breeches to choose from and ended up trying on around ten pairs! I initially went in thinking I would buy a pair around 50-60 euro, as I usually go for this price range. But then I saw all the beautiful breeches, with sparkles and crests etc. So I decided to go for a pair in the 100 euro range. Something I never once have done. I never before really had the money to splash out on a really good quality pair of breeches but I figured, if all my cheap ones keep loosing their shape and tearing, I may aswell spend a little extra (or a lot extra!) and get a really good pair. So I chose a navy pair of HKM Lauria Garrelli breeches. My god are they beautiful. They are so comfy and make me feel like a proper dressage superstar! 

  
From the above picture you can see that the details really make them gorgeous. I love the bit detail. The champagne belt also was with the breeches, bonus!

And for the back of the breeches, well they’re just so fancy and dressagy! (Is that a word?!)

   
 
What I also love about them is that at the bottom of the leg there is no Velcro strap. I really hate those Velcro straps cause I always find when I have socks over them they end up digging into me and become not so comfy! The bottom of the leg is also made of a thinner type of material so it’s not too tight and also when socks are over the leg it won’t interfere when trying to put your boots on over.

  
I’m super excited to wear these for my lesson tomorrow, I’ll finally feel fancy and put together! Did I mention that these were €98? Pretty good methinks.

Till next time my fellow equines,

Chloë x

Early bird..

  
The weather in the past two weeks has changed quite drastically. The minute it was September, the temperature dropped quickly. We no longer have plus 30 degree heat but instead had a full week of none stop rain and around ~15 degrees every day. This week again is completely different. The mornings are so so cold. I often forget what the cold is like after the summer here. But during the day the temperature can be anywhere from 19-25 degrees. 

The horses are still being turned out early enough, which means I’m still getting up at 5.30. My friends who aren’t into horses always think I’m crazy getting up at that hour to feed horses etc. but it’s strange how you can adapt to it quite quickly. Of course when my alarm goes off i’d much rather have another three or so hours to sleep but hay, that’s life! (See what I did there 😉 *cringe). Once I’m up, I’m up. I actually quite enjoy going into the stall, turning on the radio and just mucking! One thing that I love about that hour of the morning is seeing the sunrise. Around here is quite rural and the landscape is really gorgeous. I took this photo yesterday morning. The best thing about early starts!

  
Till next time my fellow equines,

Chloë x

Dressage training: update

Sorry I haven’t posted In a little bit! I was home for a week and since being back in Germany I have been super busy working in the yard. 

Yesterday I had a very different type of lesson. I got to gallop around the arena for around fifteen minutes. Ok, so maybe not galloping ALL the time but going at a very  fast canter! I had to ride with a light seat and learn to use my leg aids. It really isn’t as easy as it looks. I felt like I was really clinging onto the reins to help me stand upright. Because I was standing and cantering I presumed I would take the same stance as a jockey, slightly leaning more forward. But I actually had to take the stance of a jumper over a jump. Butt kinda sticking out and my upper body slightly more upright. Boy did my legs hurt the next day!!

The second part of my lesson was trot work. My trainer taught me a very simple but effective tip/cheat. I had to make a bridge with the reins. I’m not sure if this has a specific name? But anywho, it basically made Inti automatically go on the bit and stay round. It was so amazing haha. It felt so effortless. The point of bridging the reins is to ensure that there is a constant connection from the reins to the mouth. When I ride my hands sometimes move too much and cause loops in the reins, which isn’t nice for the horse. But this technique completely prevented this from happening. 

I really enjoyed the lesson and had a lot of fun because I felt a lot of progress was made. I’m hoping that after using this technique for a while that my hands will automatically know the feeling of constant connection and I won’t need to bridge the reins anymore. Has anyone else uses this technique and if so what did you think of it?

Till next time my fellow equines,

Chloë x

Graduation!

  
The day has come, I officially am an equine scientist!! After four years of hard work (and plenty of partying) I got my honours bachelor degree. Four years ago I remember walking up the steps to the agriculture building to meet my fellow classmates. I was beyond nervous. Were they going to be nice or snobs? According to previous years in the equine science degree, the equines were labelled the “equine snobs”. They got this title because they kept to themselves and never made much of an effort to talk to the people in the other agriculture degrees. 

I used to be super shy and quiet. I’m one of those people that takes a while to get to know people. So at first I was shy but I pushed myself to make an effort and get to know my classmates. Four years later and we are inseparable. We were a small class of seventeen and out of these I have a close knit group of five friends. I fully believe that these five will be my friends for life (cliché saying but it’s true!). To graduate with them was bittersweet. We had some of the best and funniest times in college and now it’s over. But maybe we can all do a masters together?! 😉 

  
I look forward to pursuing my equine career.

  
Till next time my fellow equines,

Chloë x

Downtime 

  
I’m currently home in Ireland for a week. It’s so nice to have some downtime and see my friends and family, but it’s such a different life here. Nobody in my family is horsey, so when I’m home I rarely ever see horses or do anything related to horses. It’s been 24 hours and I already am missing the horses in Germany haha. Thankfully I will be going back to them next week, but for now it’s time to eat, sleep and party 😛

Till next time my fellow equines,

Chloë x

A step in the right direction.

  
A few weeks ago I was feeling frustrated with my dressage journey. I had hit a wall and every time I rode I became more and more frustrated.

For me I found getting the horse on the bit and keeping him on the bit very difficult. Before I started dressage I was taught to ride a little with my legs but mostly with the reins (turning etc.) and most definitely never once was i taught how to get the horse on the bit. So for the last few months I’ve been working on breaking old habits and basically re-learning everything…! Not so easy. 

Last week while my trainer was away at Aachen I was told to ride by myself. This is something that I don’t enjoy because I always feel like I’m getting nothing out of it and I’m always unsure of whether I am riding correctly or not. I really got frustrated when I was riding by myself. I tried to focus on getting my horse on the bit far too much. In the last week it only clicked with me that if I just get the horse moving forward consistently, he naturally will accept the bit. 

Unfortunately I was one of those riders that seesawed the reins and believed that he was on the bit. Uh it makes me cringe even thinking about how terrible that is (and how it looks). So today I had a lesson and for the first time in weeks I firstly really enjoyed it and secondly, felt like progress was made. I concentrated on keeping Inti moving forward and gently squeezing my outside rein for a few seconds and then releasing. And then repeating driving him forward and gathering him back. I only used my inside rein if necessary. And just like that, inti tucked in his pretty little head, his back came up and It felt effortless. Success!! However it will take time to maintain this feeling etc!!

Anyone else find this one of the most difficult things to learn?

Till next time my fellow equines,

Chloë x