Joanna Thurman-Baker’s dressage blog: counting and changing and staying straight and counting again is so hard

  • Hello all and welcome to my sixth blog. Why is spring talking so long to spring up? I think the dull weather is dampening the horses’ attitudes and they, like us, can’t wait for some sun.

    The new Spanish stallions, Duque FF and Habil XX have settled in and are both proving loads of fun to ride. I’m a sucker for a long mane and Duque could put all the L’Oréal models out of business with his luscious locks (pictured above)! Both are complete sweeties and you’d hardly know they were stallions. They already love hacking and passers by stop to stare at them — they probably think we’re exercising horses from The Game Of Thrones set.

    Onto something different that I love, Pilates. I’m very fortunate to have a cousin who is a Pilates instructor, who has a studio next to the yard. Because of my hip complications, keeping the muscles surrounding the tear loose yet strong is now vital for me and regular Pilates is helping this massively.

    Happy hacking

    I love doing Pilates with Lauren, (Lauren Fois) she’s an excellent teacher and is a perfectionist so will never let me settle for second best. It’s a perfect opportunity to switch off the mind for an hour and entirely focus on what she says and how my body feels. However, when I do the group session in the local village hall and there’s 10+ people on mats, lying with hands in the air holding onto Pilates rings, I do have to stop myself going into uncontrollably giggles thinking about what an outer space visitor would think of Earth if this was the first thing they saw. Regardless of the giggles, Pilates is really fantastic and I recommend it to everyone.

    Doing Pilates with Lauren

    As the premier league season has begun, it’s time for me and Apollo to get our butts firmly in competition mode. We haven’t competed since the summer nationals last September, so we are a bit ring rusty to say the least.

    Apollo and I at Bury Farm

    We ventured to Bury Farm to run through the Inter II test, and I was really glad we did as it showed us that while our training at home is going well, I need to transfer all that into the arena. If only it was a simple as that! Our one time tempi-changes are getting so much easier at home, but once again I forgot how to dressage and mucked them up. Honestly, counting and changing and staying straight and counting again is sooooo hard! Hats off to whoever can nail it in the arena. The day I get them in the test environment, I think I’ll have to crack open the bubbles as it will be such a milestone for me. But until then, I will keep struggling on. Apollo was happy to be out and now we have two weeks to go before our first premier league, so fingers crossed we’ve got over being ring rusty by then.

    Continued below…

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    On a completely unrelated note, I’m loving Gousto boxes. I love cooking (it must be the Baker in me!) and I’ve got a huge stack of recipe books, mainly Mary Berry ones.

    Recently I decided to get a recipe box with ingredients delivered, so we can have four meals a week that are already planned and prepared. There’s nothing worse than finishing a busy day of working and riding, to realise there is nothing to eat for dinner. I get majorly grumpy when I don’t eat, so Gousto boxes are definitely a positive all-round. Plus, Sprout loves playing in the boxes. I do actually like to keep ‘emergency food’ at the yard so I have something to grab. ‘Emergency Mini Cheddars’ are top of my emergency list. I love trying new foods and this is really teaching me new ways to cook. My favourite thing to make so far has been beef enchiladas — I could eat them all day everyday. Like my dad says, I live to eat, not eat to live. Thankfully I work all day, otherwise I’d be the size of a house.

    Sprout playing in a Gousto box

    In the past few weeks I’ve also suffered from a nasty virus, that sucked all the energy from me and left me with huge glands. Working horses and doing the yard while feeling like all your limbs have turned to marshmallows isn’t it ideal. We need some sun! If we all band together and do a sun dance it might make an appearance? Well I’m off to go give it a go with the pups, so I’ll catch up with you all next time.
    Joanna x

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