New Horse Alert! πŸ˜

On Monday 31st I’m going to be welcoming this big boy into my little clan 😍 

 
His name is DHI Classical Dancer. Danny for short. He is a 10 year old, Dutch Warmblood Gelding. 

He has competed up to Medium level and placed at both Regionals and Nationals. He is trained upto PSG with the ability to do some Grand Prix movements. 

I have been riding him for the last 12 months for his owners and now he is coming to live with me! πŸŽ‰πŸ˜€ literally can not stop smiling! 

We will spend the winter in training as he hasn’t done much in the sense of ‘proper work’ for the last few months, he’s over endulged on summer grass and certainly isn’t at his fittest. We will work on his fitness over winter with regular training and clinics and we should hopefully be out to compete in 2018. We will aim to compete in Elementary Gold as he can’t compete in the lower classes because of his points at National level. Hopefully moving on Medium bronze after a few runs out at Elementary if everything goes okay! πŸ’ͺ 

Last year when the Olympics were on I set myself a big goal: my goal is to ride down the centre line in a Top Hat and Tails (Advanced level) by the time Toyko hold the Olympics in 2020. This has seemed like a very far fetched goal since I’ve set it as I haven’t got a horse that has the potential to compete at that level, certainly not in the 2 1/2 year window that is left. Danny might just be the hidden little gem that makes this dream happen if we work hard πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ 

So excited!!! 

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Thursday’s Little Outing

Thursday 20th July 2017…

On Thursday morning I boxed Frankie up and off we went to the Equestrian centre a few miles down the road. As I don’t have an arena at home Frankie has to get worked in the field – which weather and ground permitting doesn’t help with trying to make her ridden career consistent. Bearing in mind we haven’t done much at all in 2017, she has either been ridden occasionally by my wonderful friends or just ticked over on lunge using a Pessoa. 

Yesterday she came off the trailer her usual happy bubbly self, she stood like a saint to get tacked up and wandered down to the arenas in her own little world. It was her first time inside the indoor arena as usually I hire the large outdoor one. She walked quietly over the big black snake that lines the entrance door (it’s a drain – but having spent 6 years working at this equestrian centre I can assure you not many horses walk straight over this drain without some form of dance, skip or leap of faith!), she walked around the arena, past the scary stuff and not paying attention to any of the sponsorship banners around the sides.

After Frankie’s little wander to familerise her with the new surroundings she went straight to work. Some very green moments (Obviously expected) but she tried her heart out and produced some beautiful work. I literally couldn’t be any more proud. 

So, so, so pleased with her!! Feeling a lot more confident about leaving for camp next Friday evening πŸ˜€ 

We have another arena hire next Friday morning and I’m going to have a little lesson (I say little as it’s going to just be a quick schooling session to make sure I’m happy for the weekend) which I’m actually really excited about…. who knew I’d actually be excitied to ride my own horse again without feeling sick to the bottom of my stomach?! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ must say it feels AMAZINGGGGG!!! 


Anyway, to finish here’s a video of my beautiful girl doing her thing 😍❀️ ​

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Pre Riding Camp Nerves

It’s the 19th July and it is the 10 day countdown to my riding bootcamp weekend away. 

I am so nervous right now it is ridiculous! There are so many reasons why I am so apprehensive right now, just to list the main ones:

– I haven’t had the confidence to get on and actually ride my own horse since October 2016 – 9 months ago!! 

– I have a massive fear of getting hurt – in 2013 I broke my back when a horse at work reared and came down on top of me onto concrete. 

– Frankie is a handful on the ground and quite often rears vertical and strikes out with her front legs – cue my brain having a complete meltdown because I know I have zero chance of sitting to that if she was to do it under saddle and that then brings back bad memories! 

– I’ve only recently found the confidence to travel her in the trailer on my own to a local schooling venue that is less than 5 miles from my yard – camp is 45 minutes away and i’m doing it solo! 

– I have never taken any of my own horses away to stay at an overnight camp/ show before so i’m not 100% sure on protocol and Frankie hasn’t stayed anywhere other than home in the 2 years of owning her.

– When Frankie was injured several people made comments about me not being good enough for her, how she would be wasted if she stayed with me, that I would never be able to produce her into anything much, I won’t be able to cope with her big personality and hot mature. – at the time these comments were made I laughed them off, I knew what we were capable of, I knew what her personality and nature was like and wasn’t fazed. However, since I’ve started doubting my own ability and my confidence has well and truly hit an all time low their words have plagued my head daily, chipping away at what hope I did have. 

– I have also set myself goals that are quite high – so I guess the fear of failing is looming.

However, I won’t get anywhere if I let negative Nancy talk her way in. So I am turning my nervousness into that of exΓ§itement.


Tomorrow (Thursday 20th July 2017) I am taking Frankie out first thing in the morning to the Equestrian Centre down the road. I am meeting my friend (who lives there) she has kindly offered to jump on Frankie first just to reassure me that she is settled and then I am getting on for a ‘lesson’!

– Frankie and I have overcome her ground issues and we trust each other completely on that level and we have formed quite the partnership. I need to keep repeating to myself that she isn’t out to hurt me, she doesn’t have a malice bone in body, she has never attempted to or ever done anything that is likely to make anybody fall off. – I have realised I am using her as an excuse for my own issues – not cool!! 

– As an ex racehorse Frankie is well traveled. She loads perfectly first time, every time. She travels absolutely beautifully, so quietly you forget she’s in the trailer. She stands quietly on the trailer in traffic and when at a venue – even with things going on around her. – I know faultless right?!

– Again as an ex racehorse she is also very experienced at going somewhere new, coming off the lorry/ trailer, going into a new stable, standing to be plaited and tack up, being lead around a parade ring with a roudy crowd and other hyped up horses knowing she was there to do a job. Going to stay away for the weekend at a very quiet private dressage yard is going to be a walk in the park for her. 

– Okay, I haven’t stayed away with a horse before but what a great first event and a great first experience this is going to be. I will embrace it because I am very very lucky to have been selected for this camp in the first place. 

 I do know what my own abilities are and I have a good record of riding and producing horses to a high standard, as soon as I get on and ride away these doubts in my head won’t have a leg to stand on. This weekend camp is also with my dressage coach, Olivia Towers, a international dressage rider who has competed to Grand Prix level. Olivia is also passionate about one to one coaching with riders mindset, confidence, fears and frustrstions and goal setting etc. All of these one to one coaching sessions are included along with 2 x 1 hour riding lessons with Olivia. – Olivia is the best of the best at what she does, I will be in exactly the right place with the right support and help to overcome my fears.

– I have set some high – off the scale at the moment goals! But hey we all have to dream! Although as well as setting these high goals I have also set smaller, stepping stone goals, achievement markers and daily/ weekly goals. They are definitely well within my reach if I work hard plugging away at the stepping stone goals I will reach my milestone goals. 

I have also learnt to embrace failure. Making mistakes makes me look at what I am doing wrong, think about how I can do it better and make me work harder to achieve it. So now I welcome failure and use it as a reason to lesrn. 


So yeah, to round off this evening I have a mixed bag of emotions but I generally do feel more excited of this fantastic opportunity than anxiousness.

Anyway it’s now mid-night, I have an early start in the morning so I need to get some rest.  Albeit, I definitely feel alot better for writing this down. 

Will check in to update soon.

Injury, Confidence Issues and all inbetween! A little introduction to us…Β 

Well as this is my first blog post on this site I think it is only fair to start with an introduction. 

My names Jo Elliott, I’m 26 years old and I am very lucky to live in a very beautiful part of the Gloucestershire Countryside. I have been around, ridden and owned horses my whole life. Over the years I have worked with many horses ranging from happy hackers through to Grand Prix Dressage horses (this is where my love for dressage stemed from). I also spent several years working on a Thoroughbred Stud breeding mostly flat race horses for Qatar Bloodstock. This is where my love for Thoroughbred’s grew, I learnt how versatile they can be and how they just love to have a job. They may not be easiest to re- train but they always want to learn, they may not always understand but they always try. Admittedly some harder than others but broadly speaking 90% of TB’s I’ve worked with just want to give you their all. Most of which are also able to turn their hoof to just about any discipline after racing. 

So then this brings me to Frankie…

The 1st July 2015; Two years ago I purchased my horse Frankie (Franchesca’s Gold), a beautiful 9 year old Thoroughbred mare off the track. She is a very sweet and affectionate little horse but also has a naturally sharp, hot nature. We have had a complete rollercoaster journey throughout the last 2 years and we really haven’t had a very easy time of it. 

It’s a long story, just bear with me!.. 

The day after Frankie arrived, I tacked up and off we went for a hack on our own. She stood perfectly to be mounted from the block, she walked quietly around the bridlepaths on the buckle end of the reins admiring her new surroundings, very chilled. All was going well!… too well!! Cue half way around the hack me totally relaxing, admiring the countrywide as you do, thinking about the beautiful weather and what I was going to do with myself that afternoon. When bam! Frankie decided it was time for a canter! It was a beautiful one, a very powerful working canter with her working into the bridle – just like she would of done in training. It wasn’t what I asked for but it felt good and we were in a safe place so I let her run with the idea and pulled her up easily after a good canter. She jogged all the way back home, during this time I came to the decision that it was only fair to her if I gave her some time out in the field to have a little break before starting our new life and career together. 

The plan was to give her 2 months holiday in the field until end of September and then bring her back into work before the winter. 

BUT, those of us with horses know that plans never go ‘to plan’ and that was definitely the case this time! After a month out in the field Frankie had a freak accident and managed to get caught up in fencing resulting in her slicing through her tendon sheath just under her fetlock aswell as sustaining numerous other cuts and swellings over her body. It was so important that she didn’t get an infection into the open wound around her tendon sheath – if she did it would of resulted in her being PTS. Thank fully I have the most fantastic vet that was on site straight away to flush the wound, clean her and bandage her up. Sending off bloods to make sure no infection was present – it was a long painful 12 hour wait on a Sunday (yes they ran her bloods on a Sunday! Fantastic vets!!) to find out if she was going to be okay. 7.30pm Sunday night and I get a phone call to say the bloods are clear! πŸŽ‰ I was over the moon! Frankie had 10 weeks box rest, IV fluids and pain relief delivered daily and a clean bandage change from our wonderful vet. Everything went well and the cuts were healing really well. The last few weeks of box rest Frankie had issues with both of her stifles locking, resulting in her falling over in the stable whilst trying to take a step forward. It was one of the most horrible things I have ever had to watch. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see my girl struggling. The vet agreed she could do postage stamp paddock rest to finish off her box rest period and we could gradullay increase the size of paddock slowly but bring her in on wet, muddy days (we were well into the middle of winter by this point and we have clay fields). It took us until May 2016 before she was deemed fit to start work again, she required a lot of lunge work to help rebuild the muscle she had lost and a lot of raised poles to help stop her stifles from locking. 

End of June 2016 – 10 months later! We were back on board! I cried my eyes out! It was one of the hardest and longest 10 months of my life! 

We used what was left of summer 16 to crack on with lessons and start some sort of new career. It all started so well, she was lovely to ride, willing to learn and most importantly she showed no signs of lameness on her injured leg… or any other for that matter!! Come September, we were having one of our weekly lessons when she kept trying to bronc me off.. very out of character. Changed the rein to the right rein – no broncs. Changed back to the left – broncs again. Not something she had done before, so we called it quits on the lesson. We were lucky as there was a sports therapist/ McTimmony on the yard at the time, they had seen her reaction under Saddle and gave her a check up. Hour later, it turned out Frankie had quite a considerable swelling all around her left cheek bone under/ around the nose band (she is ridden in a simple loose cavesson noseband and loose ring snaffle). I monitored this swelling for a few weeks and it went down quite quickly but if you applied any pressure to this part of her face she reacted badly. So I called out the vet. Turns out Frankie has issues with the nerves on the left side of her face (possibly caused by the use of a chain over her nose – I guess from her racing days as she is/ can be a complete handful on the ground!). She had another couple of months off in the field as I don’t have an arena and we were sadly back into winter so it was difficult to get her out enough to be able to bring her back into work. During this time I purchased a rather expensive anatomical cavesson bridle for her to relieve the pressure off her face (this has been a godsend and made a massive difference!). 

I told you this was a long story.. I hope you’re hanging on in there with me – I promise I’m nearly done!

February 2017 she came back into work again. I have some amazing friends that have always jumped back on her and ridden her first for me. Problem is – I’ve now lost my confidence massively! Not on any other horse.. annoyingly just on her. 😩

In 2013 I broke my back because a horse at work reared and came down on top of me on concrete. Frankie has an awful habit of rearing and striking her front feet when on the ground. All this time that she has had off work has meant my brain has been on complete overthinking over drive! I have envisioned all of the worst case scenerios I possibly could of! I have convinced myself of things that will probably never even happen! I’ve petrified myself from getting back on when poor Frankie has never given me any reason under Saddle to doubt her. 😩 I’m very, very annoyed with myself for allowing this to happen 😭 

For the last few months I have been having schoolmaster lessons to improve my confidence.. but I get there and get on and have no confidence issues that need to be fixed 😀 the issues I have are in my head.. regarding my own horse.. stemed only from my negative thinking and convincing myself of all the horrible things that could potentially happen but probably never will! πŸ™„ 

So this brings me to now! 

July 2017; Frankie has been back in work since Feb. I have literally sat on her once, in walk for about 5 minutes. Before I got on I felt physically sick and the colour literally drained from me! Although I felt safe when I was on. My amazing friends have done a fab job of riding her once a week and I lunge her with a Pessoa once/ twice a week which has kept her ticking over nicely and in fab condition. 

Anyway, I’ve decided the time is right for me now to get some help. Some proper help! I need get over this once and for all and sort my issues out or at least learn to look my fears head on and find away around them! It was time to book a riding lesson with the wonderfully amazing Olivia Towers. Olivia is an International Dressage rider that has ridden to Grand Prix level who also specialises in riding mindset, positivity and equine sports psychology – I know amazing right! 

Olivia has been training my sister and I just love her alround approach to teaching with the added concept of mindset coaching. Olivia generally just wants to help you succeed in all sapphires. So who better to help me with my issues than Olivia?! 

So I go to book my lesson and suggest some dates that I’m free. The first dates I gave to Olivia are for the weekend of the 29th/ 30th July. Turns out Olivia is unable to do those dates as she is holding a 2 day riding confidence building camp that weekend with one to one coaching through mindset, fears and Frustrations and goal setting. Olivia suggested I should take the last space in her camp and convinced me it will be just what I need. Which I agree it is! Albeit the thought of it right now makes me physically sick! I have a 100 what ifs running though my head about how this weekend could potentially go! 

So, with a little persuasion; okay maybe quite a lot! This was a lot bigger step than I thought it was going to be for my first! BUT… I have agreed to go! I leave in 10 days time… so the camp is the weekend of the 29th and 30th July. I will fill you all in with how it goes and if Olivia is able to work her magic on my negative nancy mindset. I have faith.. if anybody can sort this it is Olivia!! 

To close I will finish with her words… “Just chill, WE HAVE GOT THIS!”