I got Packenham (Paddy for short) - an ex point-to-pointer in May of 2012, after having a break from riding of about 20 years. There have been some ups and downs (mostly downs) over the past 18 months & this is our journey together from Paddy being a racehorse to hopefully eventually a riding horse!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Last ditch attempt at calmers

Paddy's behaviour out on hacks has not been getting any better, he's spooking at absolutely everything even things that aren't there!! 

Now, he never used to be a spooky horse & when he was in full work in 2012 he was a joy to hack, he never used to spook and only jumped at things like birds flying out etc so I can only guess at what has changed. He's is fairly fit due to all the walking he has done, he's feeling much better since his back has been operated on and he's no longer in pain from his feet. This has left me with a horse that is a a complete numpty to hack out. 

So far I have tried a number of calmers, none of which have worked. I have also used valerian (not convinced this made a difference) and at times sedalin (1/2 - 1ml) - neither of which are competition legal and I don't want to continue with. So I contacted the people at Equifeast, who went through what I am feeding him and recommended cool calm & collected magnesium free, which I duely ordered and it arrived yesterday. 

He has to have a loading dose for the first month or so and then a maintenance dose thereafter. He had his first dose yesterday which I split over 2 feeds as it's quite a lot of powder and he ate it without thinking I was poisoning him. It may need some tweaking over time in order to get the calcium & magnesium levels correct, but I have seen some good reviews about this product and know other people who have found it has made a marked difference to their spooky horses.

I am hoping that this will work as I need to be able to hack him to stimulate his feet, and would like to be able to do it without fearing for my life every time. Currently hacking is NOT enjoyable!!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Endurance - the day after

I was really worried about doing the first training ride on Paddy as it was the first time he had ever hacked off the farm, the furthest he had been and it was over the toughest surfaces he had been on since his shoes came off a year ago. I was also ultra careful whilst we were on the ride and was very anxious about checking on him the next day, thinking that he would be lame. Luckily my fears were unfounded as he was sound and had no swelling in his legs. 

This time I was less worried, but it was again with some trepidation that I checked his legs & movement today, but again he's sound and looking well. 

I am so relieved, as there have been so many low points over the past 18 months, with one lot of vets saying that he was unlikely to come sound again because of his hoof pain, and another lot saying that even if the foot rehab worked, the best I could hope for was to be able to lightly hack him because of his back. 

After all the time, money, effort & tears, it is lovely for something to go right for once!!

Paddy & Legs at the end of the ride yesterday. 

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Endurance training ride take 2

After the awful weather last night, I thought that we were in for a nasty day, but this morning was lovely and sunny, though there was a very chilly wind, so off we toddled to Abington again this morning for our second endurance training ride.

Paddy was more chilled this time and behaved himself in the first vetting. His heart rate was 32 bpm (had to poke him to make sure he was actually alive!). Once this was done we tacked up & off we went. We managed to trot & canter all along the Roman Road going out, but had to walk on the road and through Chilford Hall which slowed us down a lot. Once we were back on the Roman road we again managed to canter & trot all the way back with a fairly short walk right at the end to get the heart rate down. At the final vetting his heart rate was 40bpm and we managed 8km per hour, which is the lower limit allowable in the riding club competitive rides.

We need to be able to increase our speed, but as our horses are barefoot and paddy is just coming back into ridden work after having 15 months off for lameness and kissing spines, we can't trot on Tarmac just yet and they find stony tracks really tough. Hopefully the competitive rides won't have so much of these!!

Paddy behaved himself for the most part - he was still spooky and nappy at times but a lot better than last Sunday, though he did take great offence at the stone horse eating lion statues on the driveway to Chilford hall!!

I was thrilled with how he went today.....onwards & upwards!!!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Good lesson today

Had a lesson on Paddy today with Sarah and other than a couple of spooks, he behaved himself & once I had him working he started to concentrate, which is no mean feat on the nosiest horse on the planet!

Things I need to remember are;
To use my outside rein & leg to stop him falling out through the shoulder.
Get him spiraling in and out on circles in order to get him stepping through with his inside hind leg.
When doing canter transitions use half halts to get his back end underneath him, then pop him up into canter & not shoot my inside lower leg forward. 
To keep my chin up - remember that I don't actually need to look at paddy to know what he's doing - I don't have a problem in canter but it's another story in trot!!

Have another lesson booked for next week just before our first dressage outing in 18 months!!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


I have now got blogger on my phone, so I might actually be able to keep up with the posts!!