Sunday, 31 August 2008

The Rain is Back!

Woohoo - got totally drenched today but it was so warm that I didn't even mind. At some point the rain was so strong that I could barely see my rider standing 5 meters away from me. It was her first ever lesson and she is sure to remember it well! ;)) I advised her that she should be grateful to the downpour as it gave her a free pair of very sticky, natural full seat jods ;)

Saturday, 30 August 2008

A bit of a headache

Literally. I don't know whether it's because of the changing weather but I have had a humongous headache all day today. I somehow got through my morning lessons without banging my head against the wall. The pain eased around lunch time but returned again soon afterwards.
A young horse I am involved in schooling had finally understood lunging and we had a fantastic session today. Last week I changed his bit to a loose ring double jointed snaffle (from variety of single jointed he was in previously) and he is 80% quieter in the mouth and steadier in his head carriage. Although he had been backed and worked under saddle for a while he had a mega set back several weeks ago when he reared and fell over backwards. I saw it and think the reason he flipped was that there wasn't anything else he had left to do - he doesn't really buck or bronc and he hated his bit he was in at the time. You could see it coming but the rider was too inexperienced to deal with it. He is a lovely horse to handle and there is no bad bone in his body - can you tell I have a soft spot for him? ;)
His major problem lies in acceptance of the rider's hand so we took him right back to basics and it seemed to have been a good decision. If I am doing him next week I will lunge him in a chambon (he really needs to stretch through the topline and a chambon is my all times favourite to help with this). If that goes well I might hop on him again and see if all the lunging is helping with his ridden work.

My last lesson of the day was a xc for very eager teenagers - all the horses jumped really well and you could tell they liked a little change from 20m circles of arena work.

I am at home now with my headache still here so I think I will just collapse on bed with a nice horsey DVD (my dear mum recorded Global Champions Tour from Valkenswaard,Holland for me) and a slice of apple pie!


Friday, 29 August 2008

Express Eventing International Cup

Hmm, just came across something rather interesting...British Eventing says:

The equestrian sport of eventing is to be showcased as never before with the launch of a fast-paced, glamorous new form of the sport. Express Eventing will condense all the skills and excitement of traditional eventing into just half a day inside an enclosed sporting arena.

For the very first time, spectators will be able to watch all three disciplines – dressage, show jumping and cross-country - from one seat, and follow the progress of every horse and rider at each stage of the competition. Helped by expert commentaries, stadium audio visual technology and a simplified scoring system, they will know exactly what each competitor needs to do to win.

For full article go to: "Revolutionary equestrian event unveiled"


Telegraph coverage: Riders compete for £250,000 in 'Twenty20' express eventing showpiece

For information on tickets and venues go to: Express Eventing Ticket Master

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Olympic Future of Equestrian Sports

There is an article in today's Horse and Hound that really surprised and shocked me. Maybe I am naive but I would never have thought that Olympic Committee was considering dropping Equestrian Events from Olympic schedule!
In the article, Princess Haya, the FEI President, states that even the 2012 Olympics aren't set in stone as far as equestrianism is concerned...
I very much hope this will not happen in my lifetime!


Monday, 25 August 2008

On turning professional - business talent vs riding talent

My dream, aim and goal is to run my own riding establishment for which I have several strong ideas and know what I want it to be but I am also very aware of how little I know about full reality of running a business in the UK. So I try to learn as much as possible.
One good thing about Internet is that you can access variety of information for free and without running around which is great after all days at work where you barely sit down.
I came across this video today where a father of an event rider explains how he goes about running his daughter's riding career and thought someone may find it interesting.

The authors of the video say: "This intruiging interview highlights the predicament facing many young riders, namely the transition from what Georgie Spence’s Dad calls “a serious family hobby to a business”. Finding and managing owners, marketing Georgie’s talent and creating the right backup are all challenges Georgie and her family face. Georgie and Russell Spence talk to Fiona Price, March 08." []


Saturday, 23 August 2008

E-BOOK: "Special Report on Diseases of the Horse"

Download this ebook for free (The Project Gutenberg eBooks):


Another Day in the Office ;)

I don't normally take hacks out as most of my work is arenas based but had a chance to peak outside the fencing this week. On the first day I managed to take the wrong route which resulted in quite a lot of roadworks ;) However, today (no pics) I went straight into the woods. It was such a fabulous morning, sunny, fresh and full of vibrant nature choir.


Friday, 22 August 2008

Intermediate Teaching Test - should I?

It was brought to my attention yesterday that I don't actually need my Stage IV to be able to take the Intermediate Teaching (IT) Test exam. In this case I am now considering taking both the IT Test and Stage IV Horse Knowledge & Care this year.
The IT Test syllabus doesn't have any teaching elements that I haven't done so far. The Test requires candidates to give:

Dressage Lesson
Jump Lesson
Class Lesson
Lunge Lesson

And to discuss:

Equitation Theory
Business and Yard Management

I would definitely need to read up on the elements in Business & Yard Management section.
The decision needs to be made quickly as the dates fill up really quickly and the bookings have to be made at least a couple of months in advance. I am thinking of either October date at Trent Park or November at Warwickshire College.
Now I just need to budget myself and see if it is doable.

Eventing the Percheron!

Dear All, if you haven't already, you just have to meet Daun and El Brego De Orro. They are one remarkable combinations and their blog - The Eventing Percheron - is one not to be missed. Have a look - it will be time well spent :)

To give you a taster, below is a video from their first USEFA recognised three day event (they came 3rd!):

Kingsbury Hill Show from Eventing Percheron on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

My Stage III results arrived tonight and guess what...

I passed!! Both Riding and Horse Knowledge & Care sections with only one X out of all blooming elements. I am over the moon!
So now I need to send the BHS my Log Book with all the teaching hours logged in (which was just waiting for my Stage III results), copies of my certificates (Equine First Aid, The Child Protection Cert and Stages') and await the arrival of my AI Certificate.

Very happy me would like to thank everybody who contributed to my teaching quest so far. The Thank You Award goes to:
  • P. for making the taking of the exam possible
  • all my clients for challenging me every day,
  • friends at work for English lessons (;-0) and support,
  • friends who let me ride and compete their lovely horses so I am not too rusty,
  • all the readers of my blog of course for sharing all the ups and downs
  • and Ricky as always for all his help and for patience when dealing with my horsey obsession :)
Next step (exam wise) for this year will be to book my Stage IV Horse Knowledge & Care on the 1st of December. Stage IV Riding (click and scroll down the pdf for syllabus for Riding section) will have to wait for next year as I need to arrange for more hours in the saddle!

Monday, 18 August 2008

I've been asked to do an interview for an equine podcast Radio!

Stable Scoop Radio Show wrote to me today asking whether I would like to give an interview for their 'Blog of the Week' podcast. I am not sure if it goes through as the phone call to the US would cost me a small fortune but if it somehow does go forward I shall let you all know.
Here is a part of the email in question:

"Hi Wiola,
We have recently added your blog to our blog listing at We are a new podcast by some veteran podcasters - the first for The Horse Radio Network. Stop over and take a look and listen.
We have a segment on our show every week called "Blog of the Week". I really like your blog and how well you have kept up with it. We would like to have you on one of our upcoming episodes for an interview. We can record the interview over the phone, would you be interested?"


Beijing Olympics behind the curtains and through judges' eyes


Adventures with fresh food!

Due to volatile nature of equine soundness, other client's car troubles and a change in vet's appointments I found myself having a day off.
It happened that today was the day when our first online food shopping was scheduled to arrive - rather exciting! Especially for someone for whom food shopping is as close to an idea of fun as a day out in an elevator for an agoraphobic.

Since Ricky was feeling organic when clicking most of the food arrived hmm raw and we had to come up with some recipes if we wanted to consume anything. I love fresh food but I am not a big fan of whirling around the kitchen for hours.

However, sometimes I can awake some adventurous pleasure in finding out whether I am actually capable of making a meal that does not come partially prepared ;)

The result was delicious and well worth the effort!


Sunday, 17 August 2008

Going to Olympics

I thought, if I just found a sponsor right now who would want to buy me a string of horses, pay for my training for the next 10 years and if I just train hard every day for several hours a day, I might be with a chance for a shot at 2020...;))))
Did I mention I am a talented day dreamer?

Reading This Week

I am actually reading a...non-horsey book! It must have been at least a few months since I read anything that dared not to speak about equine anatomy and physiology, stable management and the likes and I am pleased to announce I am reading THIS. A gift from Ricky :) I am close to read all the books by the author, my favourite being The Tenth Circle often described as a metaphorical journey through Dante's Inferno. Quite an extraordinary novel.

Friday, 15 August 2008

No Final

I got my official feedback from the BHS today and although it's positive I am not going to the final - I knew that really but I guess you shouldn't stop hoping for the best until the end ;)
I will still be able to apply next year so who knows, might get better results then :)

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Where has the summer gone???!!!

All the stress of the last couple of weeks is really hitting me now. My throat is going and I am feeling pretty run down. My day off on Friday is now very eagerly awaited (although technically I will have to spend it on 'spring' cleaning my house which is now in a state of complete and utter mess).
On top of that it's absolutely miserable with lots of rain, strong winds and no sunshine!
I can't wait for the results of the BHS Young Instructor of The Year and my Stage III to come through, did I say I am not very good at waiting for things??

Fingers crossed tomorrow for Laura Bechtolsheimer!

The youngest member of British Dressage Beijing Olympic team is due to compete tomorrow. Having seen her at Olympia in December I thought what a fantastic rider she was and I will certainly keep my fingers crossed for her performance tomorrow!

Have a read about Laura's Olympic experience on her blog (excellent insight into the Olympic life :):

Who is Laura Bechtolsheimer? Click on the image below to find out:


Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Stage III Exam - Report


I arrived at Trent Park at 8.15 for 8.30 briefing only to find out that we supposed to have had walked both show jumping and xc courses before briefing! Ran to walk the courses; thought the SJ was up to hight with BSJA distances in a quite a narrow arena. In fairness the jumps were only 1m high (3'3) but as I barely jump now they seemed quite imposing. Lost of fillers, style, two angled approaches, planks, red wall. Looked good.
I was so stupidly nervous at first that rode my both flatwork horses like a numpty! However, another rider told me it looked great so I don't know whether it was simply one of those moments when everything feels much worse than it looks.
Then onto the jumping and I had a fab round on a little dark bay mare. I hope they won't fail me for going fast though ;) I felt her stride wasn't up to the job in her own little rhythm she preferred so pushed her into a more forward canter. It seemed to have worked as we had a great stride to all the fences (apart from one to which she got a bit close but not too bad).
XC - smaller than Intro, more like a schooling round and the grey horse I rode loved it!

Theory went well, I feel. Practical theory not too bad either. I even managed not to get entangled into all the double bridle straps ;)

I really, really hope I passed. My only worry is the flatwork section as I feel I let myself down on it. We have to wait 2 weeks for results now.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

On auto-pilot...or sort of...

The last week or so has been quite a trial for me! I am a very talented day-dreamer which puts me in all sort of situations...My day-dreaming gets much worse if I am stressed, nervous or just involved in lots of thinking and although I wouldn't say I completely loose my head I certainly seem to be in my own world ;)
Today for example, I walked up to what I thought was my train while thinking myself through what I need to say at my exam on spasmotic colic, only to realise I was on the train to Newquey! Thankfully, it also stopped at my station...
I also tried to eat my soup with a teaspoon and brought myself three sachets of brown sugar to it...not good!
From what I remember it was a good day though, some interesting lessons and a bit of fun too ;) I am now planning to sit down with a can of RedBull and revise some more. It probably isn't very healthy for me to take all those exams. I am too much of a perfectionist and absolutely hate failing.

So it's a bit of stress, a bit of excitement and part of me loves it really; managed to ride in the pouring rein today, got soaked to the bones but it felt good :)

Bring on Monday!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Young Instructor of the Year South East Qualifier - Report!

Just a quick line for now to say it was a fab day, I got some great feedback on my teaching and fantastic boost of confidence too! Although of course there was also some (constructive) criticisms it was a really good feeling to know my methods and way of teaching get thumbs up :)
Proper report will be put in place of this post very soon but now I have to revise to my exam on Monday !!
Results will be posted to us by post; only 1 person per qualifier (out of 8 at each qualifier) gets nominated to the final at Stoneleigh Park so I won't hold my breath...

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Eek! Panic starts to hit ! ;)

The Young Instructor of The Year qualifier starts at 9.30am at Wildwoods Riding Centre tomorrow and I think I am starting to feel really nervous and wondering if I am going to make a total idiot of myself!
I know I am letting myself down if I am nervous especially that I seem to all of a sudden forget the easiest English words on the planet

I am also trying to drum into my head all the names for muscles and ligaments for my Stage III exam on Monday and even enlisted some help at work today so I could actually HEAR some words being said as it's not like you say everyday: "Give your horse a pat at his brachiocephalic and make sure the saddle lies well on latissumus dorsi" !! I should have paid more attention at my latin classes at school!

I wish it was 12th August now and I had both those days behind me I am sure I will enjoy them once I am there, I love the adrenaline and I love the challenge, but I cannot stand the waiting game!

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Some Fun ;)

It was drizzling and raining and just pouring all other sorts of rein you get in England all morning. Then, the afternoon was so hot and sunny that you might have thought you flew from one part of the globe to another in a single day.
I mostly had some really nice and challenging private lessons today which are so much more enjoyable and of quality than group lessons.
At lunch I had an absolute laugh-attack (you know when you just cannot stop laughing? that's it!) while making up stories on one of our laziest horses with colleague at work. We pretended he was a racehorse and made specific fuss about it being held properly and ridden very sensitively (this horse's idea of sensitivity is non existent by the way). Yes, I do know it doesn't really sounds funny when you write it down and yes, it was mega childish but gosh, was it a laugh ;)

My stomach is having to endure more laugh attacks thanks to some totally hilarious international students riding with us throughout the summer. It took all my mental strength to remain professionally upright rather than end up rolling on the ground from laughter.

Another reason to smile is that I now have a new SIM card to my phone AND I get to keep my number (phew!) - it should be active within the next 24 hours. What a relief, I've been feeling like without a hand without my mobile!

Friday, 1 August 2008

Vittoria Panizzon's Olympic Games - get ready for a fab read!

Vittoria is a 24 year old, Italian Three Day Event rider who has qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics with her top horse, Rock Model. Have a look at her Blog at - VITTORIA'S BLOG (Daily reports + lots of pictures from Olympic preparations, quarantine and... Olympic Village! True insight into what really goes on behind the scenes. Good laugh too;)

Vittoria's holding website:

Vittoria's Profile at (click image to go to full description):


Hamlet is sound and doing well :)

I went to Kent for a little round around the fields on Hamlet today. He looks VERY well (cue: too many grass cookies ;), has obviously lost a lot of fitness due to prolonged rest and slow come back to full work but he still is his cheeky old self :)
Shame my mobile/camera was stolen (!) as I would have taken some pictures of the big bellied boy ;)
He is not going to be back affiliated eventing any time soon but will have fun doing little events, hacking and doing a bit of schooling.
It was great to see him sound again, he is such a positive, energetic horse and a true cantering machine :)
I will definitely try to make some time to see him again maybe in a few weeks time.

Gallop on Treadmill in Slow - Motion

University of Minnesota Equine Center
Horse on Treadmill
Motion Imaging and Analysis
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