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We had the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships on all last week at Hartpury and our yard felt like a little oasis in the middle of a dressage metropolis. Despite how busy it was, we had a rite of passage through the chaos and so were still able to ride and ground-school our horses in the school next to the main warm up arena.

There was an amazing atmosphere all week — you could just feel that all of the competitors were so happy to be there. The dressage champs are different to any other show that we have here at Hartpury as there’s a massive buzz around the place, but in a very hushed way…!

Both my team and our horses were loving working to the range of medleys coming over the tannoy during the music freestyles. At the end of the week we had 2 tied at the top for our votes: one sampled the musical highlights of “Rocky”; the other was a genius who remixed a whole host of Disney classics!

I’d like to say a big thank you to all of the officials and volunteers at the show who have helped us carry on as normal at such a manic time; from the lovely steward who helped us negotiate our way to the school with each horse every day, to gate keeper at the end of the drive who allowed our clients to come and go without any trouble at all.

Extreme makeover

On Thursday last week we said goodbye to the little thoroughbred who came to us following stifle surgery after staying with us for 4 weeks. What a transformation in her!

On arrival

On arrival after stifle surgery

Her owners commented straight away on the fact that she was walking much better on the way out to the trailer when they came to pick her up, having barely wanted to move at all when she first came. She was so much stronger and more comfortable; in fact her entire posture had changed.

Before going home after 4 weeks at the clinic

On admission she held herself in a very extended way (top picture); her spine was fixed and unable to flex upwards, and her hind legs were stuck out behind her rather that standing underneath herself as she should. This meant she was really weak in her ability to use her hindlegs and quarters for propulsion, using her front to pull herself along instead.

With the direction of Liz (Launder), guidance from vet Becky Wall MRCVS and the talents of farrier Alan Bailey we were able to really help her and give the owners a horse that hopefully will continue to progress really well and go back to leading an active life. A great result all round.

A new dawn

Last week saw a breaking dawn for me: I finally put the Equine Therapy Centre on twitter. We’ve had a really successful Facebook page for some time now which is brilliant for keeping in touch with our students, but Twitter was like a whole different language to me.

However I’d been well advised that one’s social media presence is key to success in business these days and so I’m embracing the hashtags, retweets and twitpics… and I think I’m starting to get the hang of it?!

I’m hoping that @EqTherapyCentre takes off — my friends would tell you that twittering has always been one of my great strengths, so fingers crossed this ability translates!

A final good luck…

This week sees our favourite equine superstar Valegro heading to the World Cup Finals in Lyon. From all of us here, I’d like to wish Charlotte, Carl, Alan and the whole of team Valegro a massive good luck. Ee’re sure you’ll take them by storm and we’ll be cheering you the whole way. Go Blueberry go!!

Fizz