More Progress… :)

July was full of training, it started with a lesson at my trainers place in Burnley. I’ve been training with Jessica Dunn since the start of the year but on this lesson Jess had a sit on Cartier. All I can say is wow, she gave me some very important homework to work on. She couldn’t believe how behind the leg she is and how little respect she has of the aids, this is why I’m struggling so much with lateral work. After Jess riding her I got back on and she felt a lot better. We decided I need to be a lot more strict in my riding and I need to also focus on straightness as she’s quite crooked. Here’s a picture of the difference in us both since training with Jess…


That week I went to a competition and did a novice hoping to get my last petplan score. We had a few mistakes but she felt and went amazing, slight jogging in the walk which is always our weak point. When the scores came out I was over the moon, I’d come a very close 2nd place, if we didn’t have the mess up in the walk we’d have won but nevertheless was so happy.


After a few days of light work for Cartier, I started working on the straightness again and getting her in front of my leg, she’s been working amazing at home and my mediums are really improving in the trot work. I went to Shaw Farm Equestrian in Todmorden at the end of the month for a lesson with Jess, it was good and we both worked hard, but when I watched the video back I realised when I was warming in Cartier was working at 2 mph, I really need to be quicker with feeling when she isn’t going forward.

To start of August we went and did a novice class at Birtle, what I thought was an awful test with no connection and poor riding from myself was actually 71% plus and won my section, I came 2nd overall too so really pleased but annoyed at myself for not riding as good as I could. Here’s my little winner below 🙂


Steph x










Onwards and upwards…

Since last month I have had quite a few ‘light bulb moments’. It’s amazing the difference in Cartier’s way of going when I’m actually riding correctly, I just need to maintain this feeling but it’s hard when I’m not used to it. I was pleased my trainer noticed my position had improved and just mentioned I now need to start working on using my lower leg more and riding from the lower leg with my seat.

As we have qualified for the prelim area festival, I decided it was time to leave prelim and just compete novice. We went to our local venue hoping for a clear round, an area festival score would have been nice but I wasn’t getting my hopes us as we aren’t established in some of the novice movements. Despite several rider errors like a wrong canter lead, few bad transitions, tension in the walk etc we managed to get two qualifying scores which leaves me just needing one more. I was so happy with Cartier as this was my first attempt at trying and the tests were far from perfect! Here we are in action…


The week after I booked half a day of work to go for a lesson with my trainer Jess but at her base instead of where I normally go for them. It was a new venue, spooky arena and she was very vocal to say the least. After getting her neck down and trying to get her relaxed and more supple she gave me a great ride and I didn’t want it to end. Jess had us doing some new exercises and saw an improvement in my riding from the last session which is always nice to hear.

I had two weeks with no outings then back to my local venue for another novice class. The conditions weren’t great for competing, it was nearly 30 degrees and Cartier just didn’t feel herself. We were so close to achieving our last qualifying score but we didn’t quite do enough to get it. Still it was experience at this level…

Steph x

A busy few months…

It’s been 2 months since my last blog which is terrible as I wanted to keep this a monthly thing if not fortnightly so I don’t even know where to start!

 I’ll start with our visit to the vets where Cartier was going to be scoped for stomach ulcers. As my vet had an offer on scoping, I thought it would be worth taking her as I must admit I was 80% sure she had them due to some of her marish ways. Watching the vets do this procedure was so interesting, the camera was right in front of me too so I could see everything that was happening. I got the result I wanted and she was all clear but the vet did say from what I’d told them about Cartier they would have said she’d have them.

 After having a few days with little work, I picked her back up and started preparing for our next lesson with Jess, the lesson went well and I learnt a lot but Cartier didn’t feel her best. A week or so after we had a competition, we got some points and two 4ths but it wasn’t my best riding and Cartier was lacking energy. I then had 10 days off work which I made sure I used to do lots of training with Cartier, we did that and I feel like we turned a corner in them 10 days. I really got to grips with the contact and how important it is. I got so used to being off and spending all my time at the yard I didn’t want to go back to work.

 The following week, we went to a BYRDs training session with Harry Payne. It was a long drive but she worked in the best she’s ever gone. Harry gave us a few tips to work on and discussed what’s expected of the B squad riders/horses. Here’s a few pictures of the session.



We then had three weeks till our next outing which was a lesson with Jess Dunn. I was really looking forward to the lesson but as soon as I got on I knew Cartier wasn’t feeling right. I struggled to make her work and I just knew this wasn’t her normal behaviour, so I decided not to push her and force her to do anything.

I had the dentist coming for Cartier which I was hoping would solve her issue for being quite against my hand on one rein. Her teeth were well over due and he did quite a bit of work on her, it’s another thing ticked of Cartier’s health checklist J

I then got some amazing news that The Mounting Mate would like me to be a brand ambassador for them, this is super exciting as their product is awesome. If you would like to know more about what they offer have a look on they are also on Facebook and twitter (link on my page). I was lucky to receive their mounting block in the post and a lovely jacket.

I’m ending this blog update on the BYRDs championships, it was held at Somerford Park in Cheshire and was a great day. It was long, but Cartier behaved amazing, I was so pleased with her and we got just over 80% in the rider test which is our personal best. We finished around half way in a class of 30+ so I was extremely happy as none of the tests were perfect, here’s a few pictures.



I will continue in a few days of the rest of our outings and productive training 🙂

Steph x

Don’t regret the past, just learn from it…

It’s been just over a whole month since my last blog and we’ve been out competing and training quite a bit since then.

Our first training session was at home with one of my trainers called Peter, we managed to get him to come at very short notice so I was excited about this, it was valentines day when he came so my boyfriend treated me to the lesson, much better than flowers!! We worked a lot on her neck frame and her outline, we got some great canter work and did some novice test movements. She felt very balanced on the left rein which is her weak side so I was please. Here’s a few pictures, we wore our new blue matchy set for the first time!



The weekend after we was competing at our local venue again, I was praying for a wind free day but it didn’t work. I was doing two tests and I was hoping for some points towards our summer regional qualification. As soon as I entered the arena, the wind picked up so I decided to ride the test for mainly relaxation – I got the relaxation but didn’t have a great connection. We didn’t have much forwardness which resulted in us loosing some roundness. I still got over 66% and 3rd in my section so we got some regional points. I was determined to do better in the next test, I gave her a good walk round the warm up before picking her back up, she was going quite well so I was fairly positive we would beat our first score. I rode the test better and felt I did more, but we had some costly spooks and jogging in the walk. We still got over 66% and 2nd in my section so I was really pleased as we are now over half way qualified for the summer regionals in only 2 outings. Here we our on the dull windy day we had.


After a few days off, we got back focused as we had a lesson with Jessica Dunn coming up. I was really excited for this lesson as I’ve been following Jess for a few years now and I was looking forward to seeing what she made of Cartier. When I went in the indoor, Jess’s first words were ‘ok she looks fresh’. After Jess telling me to be stricter with a warm up plan, Cartier worked amazing, I had some great canter work and I felt my core strength had really improved. I got some really good tips from Jess to work on at home until our next lesson together. Here’s some pictures of us training at Shaw Farm Equestrian with Jess.


Our next blog will be about our visit to the vet for stomach ulcers, 2nd lesson with Jess Dunn, BYRDs Symposium and our latest competition update!

Steph x

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you…

Last month my competition was cancelled due to the horrendous wind so in February the venue are having two competitions instead of one. So at weekend I went to the first one of the month and the wind was still terrible, but I just thought to myself I’ve paid and I’m here so lets try our best and use it as training to try and get her to work the best I can in the windy conditions, it doesn’t help she is tense the best of times. I did two classes, as I’m trying to get my qualification complete for the summer regionals. We managed a good score in my first class considering the walk was ruined by jogging and tension but the second test was she was very ‘hot’.


Last month in training we was working a lot on elementary moves and although I still bring these into my training sessions, I have also been working very hard on my riding. Last week some of my training sessions I only focused on myself, sometimes I get so tied up on Cartier and her way of going I forget about myself. I am really trying to strengthen up my core and make sure I am not using my hands too much. My aim is to have independent hands, I have got much better and my legs and seat have improved massively. Here we are after schooling one night in the miserable weather, she was not impressed!!


This weekend we are going to be training quite abit then we are back out competing next Sunday. Fingers crossed for no wind and lots of summer regional points. The week after we are going for a lesson with the amazing Jess Dunn so my next blog will be all about it 🙂

Steph x

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going…

My last blog was shortly after Christmas, since then I’ve been doing lots of training and working a lot on various elementary movements. I’ve had some of my best rides over the past two weeks and one of the worst, it didn’t even last 15 minutes due to me making the decision I should quit before me and Cartier have a war.

For Christmas, I was bought this amazing bridle which is supposed to be for competitions only but I’ve been using it everyday! My aim is to try and get the exact same bridle so I can have one for everyday and one for competitions. You can see their amazing stuff on their facebook page here Ultimatebling. This is our amazing bridle 🙂

Due to weather conditions, are competition was cancelled last weekend, so we’ve not had many outings this month as I don’t have any competitions till the first weekend in February now. I am going to take this chance to get lots of extra schooling sessions in and work on some new movements. Next month is going to be busy as we have a few competitions and hopefully a training session with our BYRDs trainer which we haven’t seen in a while. Fingers crossed I can get someone to come with me and they can take lots of pictures on my camera.

Look out for my next review which will come out soon on 2 Gallop, have a look at their Facebook  2Gallop or their twitter account @2GallopOfficial.

Here we are training at Birtle RC – we decided to hire an indoor for an hour’s dry ride!


Steph x


To the end & to the start… 

So towards the end of 2015 we had some great training sessions, including one of our best rides yet. We have finally got onto the lateral work but with more consistency as sometimes we would do it ok one week but not great the next, now it’s involved in all my schooling sessions. We struggled with leg yield and shoulder in due to her shoulder as she was a bugger for just going out through her shoulder and I was never quick enough to correct it but now we’re doing lots more of it, it’s becoming a lot better. We also started to learn picking up the lead for counter canter from walk. This was harder than I thought but we managed to learn the aids and we will keep practising it till we get it more fluently.

We’ve been competing in prelim all season with the odd novice. But I felt she wasn’t really ready for novice when doing them. So at the end of 2015 I did our last competition competing in novice. Cartier was great to warm in and I felt it was one of the best warm ups we’ve had, the test I felt went rather good, all though we had a break in canter, tension in the walk and not much extension in the medium trots – it just felt enjoyable rather than the next movement was coming up really fast. So I was super pleased with Cartier on this day. Our aim for 2016 is to compete at the petplan area festival in novice and qualify for the summer regionals at prelim. Hopefully we can achieve both of these early on in the year so we can take the pressure of us at competitions. All in all our start to 2016 has been great and I’m super excited for the year.

Steph x

Has the penny dropped?

So, since my last blog we have had some great training sessions. I have gone back to basics a little as Cartier was not accepting my inside leg, so we have been working lots on this. I have been working hard myself on my legs as I’m weaker on my left side and it causes a few problems on the left rein. At the weekend, my improvements were great and I could feel the difference massively. It was something simple, but so important, maybe the penny dropped at weekend and from now on we might just get a few more better rides rather than the odd one. As she was going so well, I took the chance to work on my leg yield and it felt a lot better than last time, it was great to be able to throw this in when I wanted too, so fingers crossed this is something we will keep improving.

I was lucky enough to get a £10 off discount voucher from the amazing eGloves, so I decided to treat myself as I needed some new competition gloves. These are great as you can access your phone without having to take on your gloves, I know most people don’t need to use their phones whilst riding, but at competitions I give my phone to someone so they can record my test and its a pain sometimes when I need to access it but never can with my gloves on. I am competing in my new gloves this weekend for the first time, I’m excited to finally have clean competition gloves again. You can buy your own egloves here at

This week, 2gallop posted a product review based on a calmer from animalife that I use at competitions on Cartier. The review is online and a great read for anyone who struggles a little with excitable or tense/spooky horses. Have a read and grab the buy one get one free offer from animalife whilst you can 🙂

Merry Christmas