Shoes for Success

Despite originally opting for hoof boots for Rupert, and a lot of research later, Rupert’s feet got so sore that I didn’t have time to find the perfect boots for him, so he now has a pair of front shoes!


Rupert’s first pair of shoes

Whether it’s the shoes, the weather or just everything falling into place (I won’t hold my breath!), Rupert has been brilliant recently.


Carrots for a well-behaved Rupert

He has felt beautiful on the flat- happily accepting the contact whilst staying light in the hand, when he normally loves to lean and make me carry his whole head! I’m also starting to be able to get more expression in his paces from him, although this often comes with a lot of sass as he finds it very exciting. The most exciting thing though, on the flatwork-front, is that our progressive canter-walk transitions are now starting to just have a very few strides of trot. Anyone who knows Rupert knows that it can sometimes take half an arena to get him back just to trot from canter if he’s in a mood, so canter-walk transitions are a major step up for us both.


Being hosed-off after working hard

The last jumping lesson I had, about a month ago, Rupert was awful. He was convinced he knew best and then just decided he was not going to jump a fence that he’d been jumping for the rest of the lesson. The following week, I did roughly the same course that we’d done in the lesson the week before to try and get an improvement and wanted to treat it as a bit of a practice for a show. Lots of fillers came out, and we ended up with a large audience poo-picking in the surrounding fields and 4 children running around (well, one was roller-skating in a sumo suit!). He went over almost everything I asked, albeit getting incredibly close so the jump was always very awkward and definitely not pretty.


Making life hard for himself by taking off way too close

In my most recent jumping lesson, we worked on getting Rupert to take off where I wanted him to, not where Rupert thought was best. We first approached in a collected canter to get him close to the fence- where he’s comfortable. I then approached in a working canter to take off from a “normal” take-off point, which felt incredibly weird. I hadn’t realised that I’d got so used to Rupert burying himself under fences. We then came in a medium canter to get him to take off further away. I hadn’t felt nervous jumping for a while, but taking off from a long distance when I’m used to him getting so close definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone.


Enjoying his jumping

By the end of the lesson, we were consistently taking off closer to where we should have been. Hopefully we can keep this up, as I feel like it is a massively important thing to improve that should help us to progress further and make jumping a lot easier for us both.


Not burying himself for once!

Charlotte x



We’re finally getting back in the swing of things after Rupert was very footy for a while. Although he was fine in the school, he was sore walking to and from his field and out hacking. Many farrier visits later, we’re now in the process of finding some hoof boots that are perfect for Rupert’s front feet which have weak soles, so that we can go out hacking again.


Since we’ve not been hacking, we’ve spent a lot of time in the school. Dare I say it, but in the last week, the penny seems to have dropped with Rupert. He’s been giving me some absolutely amazing work, starting to be a bit more expressive in his paces, engaging his hind end more and being more consistent in the contact. The first time it seemed to click, I shouted at Jack to video him quick because I was hoping he’d look as amazing as he felt to me- the video definitely did not disappoint!


Strutting his stuff

We’re far from perfect, but not bad for a little cob! He was so forward that I was struggling to even school him, but he eventually calmed down enough for me to channel his energy and oh my gosh was the struggle worth it. Just a few sessions like that has given me a kick up the bum to get training again properly and maybe we’ll even get to a dressage competition this year (tow bar permitting)!


More engaged hind end and holding himself

With so much work in the school, I’ve been trying to keep it interesting for him by going back to practice some simple lateral work, which I had abandoned as I wasn’t even happy with how our circles were ending up!

He’s also been doing a lot of pole work to get his brain ticking and his body moving. Lots of funny moments while Rupert got his brain working- it took Rupert at least 3 attempts of bouncing the poles (that were set up for trot) to realise trotting was easier!



Maybe it’s his new Le Mieux olive saddlepad that’s making his inner dressage diva come out?!


Pretty boy modelling his new Le Mieux

Charlotte x

A Lucky Escape

So Rupert jumped for the first time since we went out with the Meynell, and our first lesson in what seemed like ages due to the awful weather and uni commitments.

We had 3 poles lined out on the centre line, but they were all on alternating angles. We started by trotting straight down the line, then by turning to create an almost-serepentine. No problem there for Rupert. Popped them into tiny fences and no problems, apart from him being a bit too keen. We put them up again so they were about 95cm/1m tall. Not the tidiest through the first time, but all the poles were still left up.

Then we noticed that one of the horses was half through the fencing with his legs either side. We called for him to be freed, so Rupert stood still and walked around for a few minutes. Upon said horse being freed, I got Rupert’s attention back and went to pop the fences as a mini course. Well, a 3 minute break was not okay in Rupert’s book. He started running out, dragging me into fences and bombing off after the fence.

Finally settled him down and went to jump down the centre line, meaning all 3 of the fences were on angles. First time through was rather awkward as I had to trot in to it most of the way as cantering would have ended up quite out of control! However, this meant the striding was a bit difficult and he had to use his brain, but he left all the fences up.

The next time around, Rupert got overly confident and was a bit keen to the first fence.


This left his little brain struggling to decide whether to go long or pop a little stride in. This resulted in a very awkward jump which unbalanced us both and me losing my stirrups.

Rupert then very kindly decided to run out at the last second and bolt off. Not the most ideal situation to be in and came very, very close to hitting the deck!almost fallingoff

I really struggled to settle him down again, meaning I was left complaining about how empty my bank account is thanks to him and he couldn’t even bring himself to pop a little 90cm fence sensibly!

Taking whatever positive I could get from that lesson: his trot is looking rather fabulous!


Fingers crossed he’ll school better this evening, otherwise he’ll be in a lot of trouble!

Charlotte x


Back doing what we love

We had planned to go out with the Quorn on Tuesday 27th, but it turned out I have a presentation to do at uni so I couldn’t really miss it (boo!). I was upset that we couldn’t go as Rupert and I both love going out hunting, and I’m limited to when I can go out as, although I have a trailer, I don’t have a license to tow so I’m always relying when somebody else is available to take us.

After Rupert had jumped so well in our last session at home, Haylie told me that our yard owners and herself were going out with the Meynell on Thursday 22nd, and that Haylie could take Rupert and Benji (Haylie’s ride for the day) in my trailer. I jumped at the chance as Rupert loves hunting and I enjoy taking him out somewhere new so he gets to do different things. I did tell Haylie I’d only go on one condition though: she plaited Rupert for me! Plaiting is really not my forte and I’d rather not embarrass my horse with a poor hair do!


Looking smart

Rupert was bathed and plaited the night before (surprisingly his plaits stayed in!) whilst I ran around like a headless chicken trying to find all of the items I needed, from his brown numnah (his Le Mieux peacock saddlecloth would definitely be frowned upon) to his gag (an absolute essential if I wanted to have any form of brakes!). I spent a while tack cleaning, although Mum wasn’t happy I took it home to clean as it was too cold to stay up at the yard cleaning it all! Of course, the hipflask was filled up- another essential.


Ready to travel

We arrived at the yard and it was a mad rush as I put on my saddle, then a struggle to get on as Rupert had ants in his pants and found standing still far too difficult. After I’d finally got on Rupert, we were straight off down the road to get to the meet. I was offered a glass of port (it would have been rude to say no!) as nibbles were passed around and we were all chatting. This was only Rupert and I’s second time out hunting, with our first time being on Valentine’s Day in 2017 with the Quorn! However, I was much more relaxed this time as I had a rough idea what was going on.

We set off and Rupert and Benji were loving it. Benji is Rupert’s field mate and, although he may have hunted in Ireland, it was his first time for definite that we knew of. He was shaking with excitement, so we guessed he had been before!



Rupert and Benji quickly demonstrated that we were going to have very limited brakes the entire day! But it was lovely to know they were so enthusiastic and loving it. There was a very dedicated (or insane?!) man running alongside us as his young daughter was out in the other group, and he took some photos while we were out.


Jumping back the other way with one less rail!

We had galloped lots, jumped lots and drank lots- a pretty enjoyable day for us!

Charlotte x

Rupert’s mojo returns

So I persuaded the boyfriend to come down to the yard with me one afternoon last weekend to help me do some polework with Rupert, as it’s a lot easier to have a pair of hands on the ground! I very quickly decided that I may put up a tiny crosspole or two to make it a bit more interesting for Rupert and I.

After warming up, the polework turned into a small double with both fences only being about 50cm crosspoles. I have been trialling Rupert in a grackle for jumping as he likes to open his mouth to evade the bit when he decides he knows best! He had his grackle on, but I left him in his snaffle as I thought the fences were only small so it wouldn’t be too exciting for Rupert.


After having no control into the first fence, through the double and after Rupert tanking off after the last fence, I swiftly complained that I needed a gag instead of a snaffle! However, I decided to risk it and kept him in a snaffle to save the faff of swapping his bit over whilst he was already tacked up (another bad choice!).

Despite Rupert feeling very strong, he felt very enthusiastic and never gave the impression that he was going to stop or run out, which he is rather fond of doing, so lots of brownie points for Rupert! Since he was jumping so confidently, I decided to put the fences up a bit.


Making light work of 1.20m, so speedy the camera couldn’t catch him!

Long story short, we ended up jumping 1.20m, which I was very happy with since Rupert hasn’t jumped that height in a long time due to him being so naughty jumping. Even better, he chose to save us when he took off early at the first part of the double, meaning we were even further away from the 1.20m fence and he put the extra effort in to get us over it, when he normally would have ducked out of it. He definitely loved his jumping that day; he loved it so much that we didn’t realise the fence was 1.20m until we got off and measured as he didn’t feel like he even had to try!

Lots of cuddles and treats for Rupert after that session; I’m really hoping it continues!

Charlotte x

The Ginger Missile Returns

After having 3 weeks off jumping (mainly due to my exams), the ‘Ginger Missile’ has returned.

As I was warming up, my instructor, Emma, asked me what I wanted to work on this week. Rupert prefers to get very close to fences, so I said I wanted to focus on getting more control so that I could choose the take-off point, instead of Rupert deciding race to the fence then bury himself under the jump!

We started with two sets of canter poles on either side of the arena- one lot was set up for a short, collected canter and the other was for a larger canter. Rupert usually struggles with the longer horse strides as he’s only short at 15.1hh, but not this time. Rupert was very lively, to say that we were only doing some poles on the ground. This meant that the longer set of poles were incredibly easy for him as he raced at them, and the shorter set were almost impossible!

Eventually, Rupert listened enough to go through the shorter set, but it wasn’t a pretty sight! Initially, I was planning on doing a grid that encouraged Rupert to stretch and take off further away, but I’d be giving myself a death wish if I did that exercise with the mood he was in.

Instead, we did a shorter grid with lots of placing poles to make him sit up and back and listen to me and think about where he was putting his feet, instead of galloping towards a fence.

This resulted in Rupert really using himself, and me struggling to sit to his jump, particularly when he was so tidy with his back-end for once! The fence in the photo below is only approx. 3 foot, but the short stride length really made him use himself throughout the grid at this height.

rupert jumping

Popping 3ft through a grid

I really finished the lesson beaming, with Rupert not running out or feeling like he wanted to run out once. It was nice to be able to trust him to take me over a fence for once, as I’m always ready and waiting for a run out now!

Charlotte x

Rupert’s Christmas

When people ask me what I’d like for Christmas, I always think of what Rupert would like for Christmas. This time, as well as a lot of carrots, Rupert kindly asked for a Le Mieux Peacock ProSport CC Numnah (he had his eye on it for a while and thought it was time to update his wardrobe!), a new headcollar and a rug to keep him toasty over winter after his new hair do.



Rupert all clipped out

Rupert looked lovely and shiny, and then he had his brand new rug put on to keep him toasty and clean.

new rug

Rupert modelling his new heavyweight turnout rug

Needless to say, the rug did not stay clean for more than 0.2 seconds. And neither did Rupert.

muddy new rug

A muddy Rupert even on a frosty morning

As Rupert had a last-minute clip before Christmas (thank you, Haylie!), we booked Tanglewood Arena to go jumping on 27th December and meet a friend from our old yard there. The morning of the 27th, I woke up and started getting ready for my friend and the arena to report inches of snow, despite me seeing green fields!

We re-scheduled for New Year’s Eve, which luckily gave me some time to ride Rupert and get rid of some energy after him having a few days off over Christmas. I was very excited as it finally gave me an excuse to use my new saddlecloth that I’ve fallen in love with!


Modelling his Le Mieux Peacock saddle cloth and head collar

I popped the warm up fence and immediately dismounted. In my previous few jumping lessons, despite being strong, Rupert worked nicely in a snaffle. When out jumping though, it was a different story! I swapped his bit and, although he was very strong, I had a tad bit more control. I was very pleased with him since he didn’t look at any of the jump wings or fillers, and he only ran out once. We kept the fences small as I wanted to focus on jumping the course in a calm and controlled manner and have a positive session, rather than putting the fences up and inviting him to run out. The main highlight of our session was that he actually started letting me adjust him a bit more. It was a struggle to get him to sit back, collect his canter and wait but when he did listen, the jump was lovely, on the right stride and the pole stayed up.


Baby fences at Tanglewood Arena

Hope you all and your horses had a lovely Christmas!

Charlotte x

What I’ve Learned at Uni so far

Besides the typical uni life lessons such as ‘vegetables are actually quite important’ and ‘3 for £6 jagerbombs are killers’, I’ve also learned that polo is brilliant fun.

I signed myself up for a polo taster session so off I went on Wednesday afternoon walking through campus in my jodhpurs, boots and chaps with no idea how to find the place we were meeting at. Luckily, I met another girl on the way who was going to polo (not sure whether it was just a lucky guess or the breeches that gave her away!) and we got chatting about horses, unsurprisingly.

When we all met, we piled into two cars and our poor driver, Tom, got the task of answering our questions. And there were a lot.
Most of the girls had tried polocrosse before with The Pony Club but nobody had actually done polo before. Turns out there are quite a lot of rules too. Either way, we were all there to have some fun and try out a new sport.


My polo pony for the session

My pony was lovely, but definitely wanted to get going as she was fidgeting while we were learning how to hold our reins, where to hold them and how to hold and swing the mallet!

We started by wandering around the arena practising getting out of the saddle to give us a good stroke to hit the ball well and just getting used to turning purely by moving our hands and applying some leg if we really wanted them to whip around. This resulted in lots of giggles and “sorry” being shouted many times as balls went flying here, there and everywhere!


As we all got more confident, we picked up the pace and started a little game to finish our taster session. It was very competitive and also messy, but I managed to score the first goal, meaning our team won.

Watch out Rupert- we might have to be trying polo and horseball soon!

Charlotte x

Did the Red Bull work?

I was up at 5am this morning to get Rupert ready to go on a show jumping outing before coming into the shop this morning! We went out to Tanglewood Farm, a completely new venue for both of us. Our first time going out since mid-August on our hound exercise, and I couldn’t even tell you the last time we jumped a full course (maybe when I went to Willoughby?!). So I was fully expecting the ginger missile to be unleashed.

I was wrong. Kind of.

red bull fence

The jump wings were so cool! I loved the Red Bull double, although Rupert didn’t!

To start with, I just had a little course of about 70cm up as I was expecting real problems with there being fillers under every fence and strange jump wings. Instead, Rupert was an angel. He barely looked at the fillers- a little bit of extra leg and he asked no questions. He was nice and steady (hallelujah!!!) the entire way around the course. Cue a very proud mum!

orange fence.jpg

Orange fence for an orange horse! Our little course

The issues arose when we put the course up to around 1m. He started to bury himself under the fences (as he always does) which gave us some very dodgy strides and some awkward moments when I tried to ask him to take off in a ‘normal’ place. However, he was very honest and still jumped most of the fences, even if it wasn’t very fashionable!

He had no trouble with the wide 1m spread ‘stable’ fence- who said cobs can’t jump?!

We went with friends from the yard; one who took Rupert and I in her lorry along with her horse and another who kindly came as jump steward/instructor. Rupert and I took another break while our friend was jumping the course. After having a couple of run outs when we went round the course the previous time (my fault for not having enough leg and control of his wayward shoulders), I wanted to pop through some of the doubles nicely before we left.

red bull.jpg

Rupert decided he didn’t want Red Bull to give him wings!

Rupert decided this was not going to happen. He started running out and stopping at the fences before jumping from a stand-still, just because he was feeling naughty and tired. In the end, I settled for going over the fences I asked and called it a upright.jpg

So, today I’ve learned I must be doing something right as, previously, he would have never gone over all of those fillers, especially not first time with no questions asked. Rupert has also reminded me of how honest he can actually be- he definitely saved me a few times today! I know Rupert has the ability to jump a 1m course easily but there were issues today, which I’ve pinpointed to mainly a lack of control over his shoulders which allows him to run out and drift as well as striding, meaning I need to have a more adjustable canter.

Plenty of positives to take back from today, but lots too work on too!

Charlotte x

P.S. The Red Bull worked for Rupert. It clearly didn’t give me wings as I got out-jumped!

Dare I say I might want to try dressage?!

So I decided on Monday night I was going to jump Rupert in a new bit (a Neue Schule Elevator) that my instructor let me borrow and pop over the little barriers that Rupert had an issue with in his lesson last Wednesday.  He’s not scared of them as he’s jumped them several times before and they’re only about 60cm maximum- he’s just choosing to be a pain in the bum.

Rupert  blocks.jpg

Long story short, he was a real pain in the bum to jump.  However, he’s shown me (whilst I was trying to jump) that he can move beautifully with a rider on his back, so I’m definitely going to start pushing for more on the flat!

Excuse my position as he was being rather strong and pulling me arms off as he was quite forward!  But he can be fancy when he wants to be apparently!

If I can get some movement like this during our flatwork sessions, I may be willing to try some dressage…

Charlotte x