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December 2015

It’s hard to believe it is nearly xmas again, and another year gone.
Fortunately the weather is still fairly warm, and the showers are patchy enough most days not to interfere with riding but we are lucky here in the South compared to the floods, snow, cold up north (although Carol did ride in the snowy sleet one day a couple of weeks ago!).

Lexi has had to lose some of her lovely bear-fur to a blanket clip; she gets a lovely fluffy winter coat but unfortunately a bit too hot for working in. Carol has been polishing up Lexi’s ‘bag of tricks’, which includes all the fun things like half-pass, shoulder-in, walk to canter and so forth. They are hoping to be out competing properly again this spring, but will take advantage of the winter dressage events to get into the swing of things.

Carol has also been busy with a lot of dressage judging, with venues now booking her well into next year, along with courses and individual lessons. It is great to see people (and their horses) improve over time, and have fun while they are doing it.
On the down side, it is disappointing to see some very unsteady hands at some of the local competitions, which means that horses are getting a lot of confusing (and painful?) clonks in the mouth. It is very easy to tense up (particularly when you are nervous) and wearing white gloves in dressage makes this more obvious. Watching some riders the other day, this seems to be most common with the outside rein. There is no shame in hooking a few fingers under a neckstrap to keep your outside hand still, and your horse will appreciate it too!

On a more theoretical note, I have had published the third article in a series for the publication Veterinary Practice Today, which is written for veterinary clinic staff. The article is called Pain hurts – but why is it difficult to identify in horses? It highlights the fact that horse’s are a prey species, that have evolved to hide pain, and that pain can be remembered for a long time (even for life). There is also a lot more tech’y stuff on neurological pathways and things, but most people won’t be interested in that.

However, if you are looking for a ‘stockingfiller’ for xmas, particularly for friends far away, what about an Amazon gift card for Equine Behaviour Explained, at £9.31, or From the Other Side of the Saddle , at £1.99, both available from Amazon. Or our booklet on improving your dressage marks, only £3 (+P&P) available through this website (see ebook page for more details).

Hope everyone has a great xmas though, whatever your presents, and that all horses get lots of carrots etc.
Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year

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