Can you believe it, the year has absolutely flown by and we can finally say Merry Christmas!! Dare I say it I am yet to see any festive snow but the Hall household is certainly feeling ready for Father Christmas. We have been busy decorating, the lights are up outside, the trees are well and truly packed with decs and even the horses have their own tinsel in the barn. Even at 24 years old my amazing mum still buys me an advent calendar which I LOVE and am a firm believer that no one can ever be too old to have one. However, I think I was even more excited to see the horses’ advent calendars arrived and finally be able to share them with them.
This year we ordered them once again from Equilibrium products who had a great 3 for £10 deal on – just perfect for our 3 boys. The treats are nutritious and tasty and the boys absolutely love them. It is never too late to go and grab one if you haven’t already.
November and December are always a quiet time for the horses. They work so hard all year round we like to give the boys a chance to just ‘be horses’ when there really is no pressure! Gus has continued his remedial shoeing treatment with the fantastic Jim Blurton and seems to get better and better as he progresses through each stage. We were finally allowed to jump this month too and he was certainly feeling fabulous when he saw those coloured poles (!) The first few fences I would describe as a ‘strap yourself in and enjoy the ride’ experience but in all honesty I had a little giggle to myself and was so pleased to see how much he really does love his jumping.
Gorgeous George has continued to enjoy primarily lots of hacking on the weekends. I would have been happy to let him have more time unridden but every time he sees me tack the others up he gives me that look as if to say “don’t you dare leave me out mum”! He loves his exercise and at 21 it does keep him nice and suppled up.
Baby Freddie has, similar to the older horses, been enjoying a low pressure working regime. When he is ridden I like to keep it varied with a mix of hacking and schooling exercises to keep him happy and positive. We have been working on more cavaletti exercises to help engage his tummy muscles and give him that ‘bums, tums and guns’ type of workout we need to slowly build his topline. He has been picking things up really quickly and seems to really enjoy himself! I have to say a HUGE thank you to my dad as he has been fantastic handling Freddie whilst I am at work. He has taken lots of time to work with him on the ground, making sure he learns the correct manners when he’s being turned out, groomed etc. and also learning to work more obediently on the lunge. Horses really are a family affair in our house and I couldn’t do it without my dad!
As Christmas is just around the corner I decided it was a good excuse to treat Freddie (and myself) to a new saddle. So far we have been working with my warmblood Gus’ event saddle which really is not ideal, nor suited to his shape at all. Lauren from Polished Saddles came out to our yard and showed us several beautiful saddles, giving us the most choice I have ever experienced with a saddle fitter. She did a fantastic job of feeling through Freddie’s back to assess any tension points and then explain the best options for his shape and also my confirmation as a rider. We ended with a beautiful Amerigo monoflap close contact jump saddle which fits both Freddie and my awkwardly long legs beautifully. I am so grateful to Lauren for all her support and advice and so excited to now be able to really get going preparing for our 2019 event season feeling confident Freddie is comfortable.
I hope everyone has the most amazing Christmas holidays with your families and horses. We are looking forward to a quiet one this year before I head off to Belgium for the World Finals Championships with the GB Student Riders team over New Year. So before we next speak in 2019 I’d like to finish by saying an enormous thank you to Shearwater for all their support and giving me the most amazing 2018 year as a rider. I would never have had such a special year without them being a part of it – thank you thank you thank you!