Monday, 3 February 2014

The ongoing saga - are we in or out?!

This is just a brief update, the rain has kept coming so Nickel has been confined to barracks for some time. It is a hardship but necessary, from a paddock management point of view, if you have to graze a field for 12 months of the year, you do need to bring the horses off it when they are doing more damage than good. Now some people do not like to have horses stood in, whether that is from a cost point of view or horse point of view, sometimes we just have to suck it up and get on. I have enriched Nickel's stable time by giving him alternative forms of forage, like Readigrass and I have ridden him or taking him for a hand graze every day. He is quite happy with this, although he has got rather fresh and squeaky to ride but that is understandable. I'd rather he was in than out with his leg problems and in all honesty when he is allowed out he will graze for about an hour or so and then he stands and cries at the edge of the mud begging to come in.

One good thing about the weather this year is that we have not had to stop riding due to ice or snow, this is not a bad thing really and means that since I started fittening Nickel, he has not had any breaks in his regime. Next week he is being clipped, so I will have an even sparkier horse, but he will look a lot smarter! Slowly we are working on finding him competitions, so now we have hunting on Feb 22nd, then dressage on March 1st and the ODE on March 9th, as well as a jumping lesson somewhere in there. So it's go go go......

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Wet, wet, wet

Nickel has been an absolute star in the last week or so. The wild Nickel of a few weeks back is gone and now we are managing 4 times a week hacking out without draw reins. I am using the MapMyRun app to monitor the length and speed of our rides which is really useful. It's been a really useful tool and I was shocked to see how far our 'quick' rides are. Round the block is over a mile, the longer block is 3 miles. So we are covering some distance.

I have decided though to scratch our plan to go to Keysoe on February 9th, I am yet to start sitting up on foal watch and can't get the work needed into him. Also my friend who clips him has broken her collarbone so it's all a bit up in the air. Plus the weather is pants! I've ridden in lightening, thunder, hail, freezing rain and high winds. Thank God I've got my lovely hacking ponio back.

I am looking at the new BD schedules so we should be going out soon with that, plus have a jumping lesson with Phil Spivey soon to brush up on our showjumping which is a bit pants.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Not a great start.....small steps

Nickel got his shoes back on last Monday and I was desperate to get on him straight away. The lack of light was stopping us a little but worse still was how fresh he had got from being stabled due to the flooded fields. I got back on in the semi dark on Tuesday, a swifty round the block, this was not pleasant but not too scary. He did canter up the road, shaking his head and snatching the reins at a point where we usually trot and then was very strong on the way back. Needless to say I was not looking forward to the next day.
Wednesday was even worse, I went in the school and this just seemed to rev him up even more. He squealed and I got off, walked him round for a bit then got back on had a trot, he bolted, leapt and squealed. I was so upset, but its not his fault, he is just really fresh poor boy.
So discretion being the better part of valour, I gave up riding until I could get a buddy to go with and go for a decent ride, he also was finally allowed to be turned out and this helped immensely. I had the most lovely ride out today with the YM, not a foot was put out of place by either horse. Onwards to getting fit for Keysoe in just under a month!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year - 2014 Year Of The Horse

Well firstly apologies for not having been about for nearly two years and what a two years it has been. Since my last blog, Nickel has become a BD star, appearing in Horse and Hound after his first outing as he won both his classes at Prelim level. I was over the moon, being interviewed was so exciting, so Nickel had fulfilled one of my main bucket list items. He continued this fabulous form for the rest of the year, qualifying for the Petplan Area Festival, sadly I couldn't go due to work commitments but ho hum.

In 2013, he had a mixed year. I had changed job and it was such a time vampire. Nickel was put on the back burner. In spite of this he still won 3 times, including his first ever win at Novice affiliated and was never placed below 3rd. He qualified for the RC Championships and was 3rd in the Finals. However it was jumping that I concentrated on, I had been very guarded on how much jumping we would be able to do but my wish to do at least one ODE is too strong. So I changed job again in September and it made a massive difference, I had Nickel out nearly every weekend for the next six weeks. I took him for a ride round at Isleham before competing at Brent Pelham, he was amazing there, loved it and went round clear. Next we went to Horseheath to the site of his first Hunter Trial with me. This time he was so much easier and even though I did fall off him for the first time since I'd owned him and about the first time in 4 years, I felt vindicated in allowing him to jump again. We finished the season by going BS Club at Fenning Farm his first ever showjumping outing with me, I rode like a plum but he went really well when my friend rode him in the bigger class, proving fast and careful.

So aims for 2014 - More BD, hopefully trying to get to that elusive Petplan Festival at Prelim level and a few more BD points wouldn't go amiss, get my showjumping sorted out so we can have a go at a few ODEs and finally the first challenge, get us both fit enough to enter Keysoe Arena Eventing in February!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Woooo April is here

Sitting up is really dragging on and there has been a total lack of Nickel updates for a while. He is now back to normal which is a relief. I've been working on our stressage in preparation for next week, I've been a bit down about it all but those that have seen him seem impressed so maybe I am being a bit harsh on us.
I have broken up the boring schooling with some lovely long rides. The weather has been so nice, Nickel has been naked out in his field. I also introduced Nickel to the joys of the Pub! I have Tweeted proof of this on Twitter so please go and look.
There is also a link on there for Steph Greaves' beautiful painting of Nickel that she did this weekend. It is simply stunning, she is so talented.
So the preparations for the dressage competition at Worlington Riding Club are now in motion, I've entered, got the tests, got together all the gear needed. The main thing I need to do between now and then is to get Nickel clean, so that'll be washing him Friday and Saturday and a touch up Sunday morning!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Apologies - been a long time

Well I've been a bit pants at posting again. Lots has gone on recently, firstly Nickel had his photo shoot which was amazing and I will post the pictures on here very soon! Then we kicked on with the recovery. Nickel's behaviour had been getting worse and worse as he got fitter and fresher. Ho hum, so in the end after getting the all clear and Nickel being signed off by the vets as sound, he was then turned out. I finally got my lovely sane boy back!
So it was on with getting his shoes, back, vaccs and teeth sorted. All this went well apart from his vaccination. I have seen horses with swollen necks etc from having the flu vacc. done but Nickel, in true Nickel style went to town. He was fine the day after it was done, a bit quiet but nothing too much to worry about. However the next day he was clearly upset in the morning and could not put his head down to eat his breakfast, it looked like he had tied up. Cue a visit from the vet to give him some drugs to get him more comfortable and a few days of bute.
Next on the priority is the preparation for our first ever dressage together. That is now just 3 weeks away!

Thursday, 23 February 2012


It's been nearly two weeks since my last blog and a lot has been going on. Mainly boring stuff, not really blogworthy. Nickel has been ridden nearly every day since the snow has gone. This has been with a variety different friends with a variety of differing success on staying in walk. Overall Nickel's best mate Harry Beau (as picture here at Racheal Upton's) is the best option as he walks at the same speed and is quiet. Harry is the most amazing pony, he is a jumping pro and the horse that convinced me not to give up riding. We are hoping to do hunter trial pairs at the end of this year. I've also had to resort to using draw reins to control the excitement and explosiveness. Not ideal but it is working.
Tomorrow, Nickel is having his feet done by the talent Will O'Shaunessy, he has really helped get Nickel's feet normal and we never lose a shoe. Then on Sunday, Nickel shall be full clipped including his legs so will have to smarten him up for a photo session.