Through Instagram I’ve been incredibly fortunate to meet an incredible group of equestrians, one such person is Maddie Bricken. You can’t help but be drawn in by her gorgeous bright bay Leah and Maddie’s warmth, honesty and passion for all things equestrian. Maddie is prehaps […]
A few lessons with coach Danielle Keogh was just what the dressage gods ordered to kick of our 2018 season. Excitingly we were able to progress our work on both the short steps and the flying changes as well as further the developing the ‘pirouette […]
The 11th day of January may seem like an odd and late time to be sharing with you all what my plan for the month, however there is a reason. Towards the end of last year I took Nonie’s shoes off. This has been another learning curve for me. I have a lot left to learn about horse management.
My farrier left town and I was unsure who to turn to. There were no clear recommendations at this time and what’s more there was no-one who lived and worked in Mackay 100% of the time. With these factors in mind I decided that I would try to transition Nonie to be barefoot. She initially handled this really well. I was working her about five days per week and she was sound. Of course she was tip toeing around rocks and gravel, but that was to be expected.
Upon my return from holidays at the end of 2017 I was excited to get back into it and start working towards my 2018 goals. Unfortunately, Nonie was foot sore at anything more than a walk. Looking back she was probably getting a bit tender in the lead up to my holidays, but as we all know horses are incredibly stoic and she soldiered on for me. I wasn’t able to get shoes put on her until this week. She is now back to her fabulous self and I am now more pumped than ever to kick some goals! In reflection I should have noticed sooner that Nonie was not handling being barefoot. Lesson learned. This mare needs shoes.
I have three lessons lined up this weekend with coach Dani Keogh. I am excited for these although less excited about the 4am starts that will be needed to make my 6.20am lesson slots! Nothing like watching the sun rise to kick off your day though right?!?
Between General Christmas craziness, holidays at the end of December last year and Nonie being foot sore when I returned I wasn’t able to compete in the December Equimind competition. I’m feeling excited to get back into it and improve upon my October scores. For the elementary tests this would mean cracking the 70% mark. To do this we’ll need to improve the lengthened trot and canter. In the medium tests my goal for this month is to score higher than 62%. The feedback from our last test was that we needed more displacement in the lateral work. This was also something that we worked on during our last lessons.
Equine Body Work
Nonie is over due for a session with Penny her favourite equine body worker, so I certainly plan to get her booked in. Penny uses a combination of massage, laser and red light on acupuncture points. She spends a good hour and a half working her way around Nonie’s body. I know that Nonie enjoys her sessions as she start yawning almost as soon as she see’s Penny drive in. She also feels incredibly loose and swingy after her session.
Nonie is also due to have her teeth done, we have an equine dentist visiting in the next month so it will be great to get all of these things sorted before the year starts proper.
At the begining of Febuary there is a local hack day. I did a few a of these last year and thoroughly enjoyed them, so I am consdering taking her to this one to kick off the show season.
Have you made a plan to kick start your year?
I have now been a blogger for a little over a year, and its been something I have thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve learnt a lot along the way and I’m sure there are many more lessons still to be had. My top learnings as a blogger […]
2017 was a whirlwind of changes to in my career and a different focus in my riding. A promotion at work saw my professional life ramp up. With Nonie and I being between elementary and medium level, competing took a back seat and the focus was squarely on learning. And I completed my first 12 months as a blogger!
My first year as an equestrian blogger.
In my first year as a blogger I wrote and published 52posts which had just over 7000 views and I ‘met’ and got to work with some fabulous bloggers. Some of my favourite and most popular posts have been:
My most popular post was all about embracing imperfection or ‘daring to suck’ as riders. I talked about how my tendency towards perfectionism has held me back in my riding in the past and the strategies I’ve used to overcome this.
The Featured Rider series was sparked from my desire to share my friend Emily’s journey to The National Dressage Pony Cup. Emily shared about the challenging journey taking her Appaloosa pony Goosebumps from a rescue to Breed Champion at pony cup. From there the series was born. Her advice to other riders was simple but poignant – have patience.
My second featured rider story focused on Bailey Notle – a rider I have admired for quite some time. In the two part series we covered a variety of topics from how Bailey got into riding, to what she loved about dressage and of course we got to learn more about her mare Fair Joy.
Bailey also had some pretty fantastic advice for readers:
– Not comparing our personal journey to someone else’s
– Staying true to the purpose of dressage that is improving the horses way of going
– Fashion over function
– Never stop learning
I had been pondering the issue of motivation and figured I would go to the brains trust (aka my fellow Equestrian bloggers) to find out more about motivation. I asked what motivation is, what causes it to suffer and how we can improve it. A few themes emerged including the importance of setting goals, managing the pressure we place upon ourselves and knowing when to take a step back from riding.
Highlights of 2017
Looking back at the year that was 2017 there were a few clear highlights for me.
Lessons with Brett Parbey
Over the Easter long weekend we traveled down to The Sunshine Coast to attend lessons with Australian Based International dressage rider Brett Parbey. I was struck by his simple yet effective approach to training horses.
In June I had the opportunity to join the EquiMind team as a sponsored rider. Since July we’ve competed every month (with the exception of December) in thier online dressage competitions. This has beena great learning tool for me and has helped me to get back into the ring and ride through dressage tests and receive feedback on them.The Summer Championships were held in September and Nonie and I managed to finish as the Dressage Champions!
My one and only competition for the year took place in July in the warm and dry Townsville. Mum made the flight up to Mackay to help me travel up and share this moment with me.
The tests were certainly not our best work and arguably we were a little green at that level to have made our debut. Nonetheless, I am glad we took the plunge as getting out into the competition arena at this new level served to highlight our weaknesses.
About a month ago, I finally took the plunge and rode Nonie without a bridle. It was something that I had been wanting to do for the longest time and Nonie took to it like a duck to water. I’m looking forward to doing more of this in 2018 and improving my ability to ride off my seat and legs.
Lessons on a Pegasus
The final highlight of the year would have to be my lessons on super coach Dani Keogh’s Remi Pegasus (aka Nemo). This was such an invaluable experience which has given me a clearer feeling of collection in the canter and canter pirouettes. I felt how I can use my seat and core to help the collection and keep the hind end active with my legs.
Similarly in the medium trot I got a better feeling of sitting myself in the saddle to help maintain the balance in Nemo’s body as he lengthened.
It was also really cool to see how elements of the warm I do on Nonie (training elementary/medium) were the same as what Dani does with Nemo (training Prix St George) and served as a good reminder of the importance of having the horse quick off your aids and being precise with your aids. For me this means keeping my legs in the correct position.
What were the highlights of your 2017?
As long as you’re having fun, that’s all that matters. We’ve all heard it before. And yet somewhere along the way our ambition takes over and the fun can easily take a back seat. Regular readers will know that I love dressage and I genuinely take pleasure […]
Is there a meaning behind the name ‘Alta Mira Horsemanship’?
How did you first make your way into the equestrian world?
What is your horsemanship philosophy?
Has there been a particular horse that had a significant impact upon you as a horse person?
What inspires you to continue to grow as a horse person?
What are you hoping to achieve through your blog?
When I think ambition, I am almost instantly transported back to my Grade 11 English class and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. I loved English, Macbeth not so much but I was very excited when the November Blog Hop topic was revealed as Ambition. The evolution of my ambition […]