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Life with Rebel

What happens next?

September 27, 2018

It’s always such a downer when the events are over and the season is finished. I normally plan one week ahead, knowing what to do every single day. If I compete on a Saturday the week would usually look like this:

Saturday – Competition.
Sunday – Off, leave him out in the field for as long as possible.
Monday – Lunging using a bungy. Make him stretch and go forward.
Tuesday – Grid work.
Wednesday – Hack or a trip to the beach.
Thursday – Flatwork.
Friday – Off or light forward work.

I’m trying not to ride in the arena, doing the same thing, two days in a row. Every day is different and every week includes days off, lunging, flatwork, grid work, and a hack or a beach trip. I very rarely jump a course at home, and never ever to the height I’m competing at. I think I did that only once since April. I much prefer grid work with bounces, raised trotting poles or just canter poles. Rebel needs to respect the poles a little bit more, and I feel this is very helpful for us, as he is looking where he’s going and can now canter over poles without having a complete meltdown. There are endless exercises out there for both trot and canter. Most horses know how to jump, but it’s our job to make the ‘in between’ work. When they are mid-air it’s just too late.

Rebel has, since I bought him, always lost his head when jumping. He would never listen to me, we would just run to the jump and hope for the best. He rarely stops, and I trust him with all my heart, but he needs to relax more. So small jumps and pole work is just what he needs. Every single week. Just to normalize the jumps and make it less exciting.

My previous plan for the winter was to affiliate him in show jumping, but I’ve changed my mind. I will save that £138 and put it towards lessons instead. Meaning I will compete less and learn more. I currently have 5 flatwork instructors I love, however, with more chefs comes more mess, so I have decided to stick with just two, both equally great but who teach very differently.

However, I do need to find a good jumping instructor, which is so difficult. I don’t want to jump at home, but I don’t want to travel far either. So looking for someone near me, who is available in the evenings or weekends, with a great arena and jumps, who most importantly: wants us to do well. I need someone who can push me, shout at me in between jumps and tell me when I ride rotten. How else can I get any better? And I want to be really really good.

Travel

Santorini

September 26, 2018

What a week
What a holiday
What a wedding

We are so lucky to know someone who wanted to get married in Santorini. I have never been before, and it´s been years since I was in Greece. I have missed the food, weather and its beauty. I was not disappointed with this breathtaking small island. Every hotel, house and resort has been built into or onto cliffs, offering the most amazing views. They say this is a place you need to see, and I second that.

We stayed at Ampelonas Apartment in Imerovigli. From there it was only a 30 minute walk to the Capital Fira, and a two hour walk to Oia – both places are a must see. Fira is so vibrant and colourful while Oia is very high end. We walked to Oia twice, the second time during sunset, and it was just so beautiful.


But let´s not get carried away with these photos. The reason for us all being there was of course the wedding of Lauren and Jacob, who must have put their heart and soul into this very special wedding day. The ceremony was held at a vineyard, on a cliff top, with the most amazing panorama’s, whilst the reception/party was at a secluded private beach bar. It was all so very very cool.

I was dancing until the bus driver literally had to pick me up from the dance floor. Any song – no rhythm kind of night. I just never wanted it to end and thought I was God’s gift to dancing. I woke up the next day with a very sore head and a bit of regret for all my moves. But dancing queen over here just can´t sit still…

Life with Rebel

Alnwick Ford Event

September 24, 2018

It was so exciting (and so sad )to finish our last event for the season. We have been fortunate with a lot of runs, since the weather has been dry. We decided to finish on a high and traveled all the way to Northumberland on Friday after work. We arrived at the barn very late, and tucked the horses in for the night. With their pyjamas on, and hay and dinner on the menu, they were both happy and settled for the night. Vicky, super groom Leah and myself checked in to a B&B, ordered two pizzas and passed out. We had to be well rested for the big day.

Vicky has moved up to Novice (approx 110 cm) while I´m still at 100 cm.

My aim was to move up a level this year but with a never improving dressage, and always a pole down in the show jumping, I decided to wait.

I think we are both ready to tackle the cross country but eventing is more than just wooden obstacles. I want to move up when I know we are ready – which did not happen as soon as I hoped for.


I warmed up for 40 minutes before the dressage and was happy with Rebel. I have learned one very important thing about eventing (and competitions in general) and that is to NEVER look at other people warm up. It´s heart breaking as there are so many amazing riders there and I always think I look like a fud. Concentrate about myself and my horse – nothing else. During the test he still felt great, and semi relaxed. We did our second canter on the left rein and I was so pleased with how he was going, until I panicked, thinking I have been cantering for too long. I took him down to trot for a split second, only to realise I should still be cantering. Very expensive, and I was given a 5 for that canter. What an utter shame. The rest of the test was great until he cantered in a corner while I was meant to trot and I was given another 5.

Apart from those two mistakes we got 3 seven´s on in our test, with some nice comments on the sheet and a total score of 67% – giving us 37 penalties. I have not been under 40 since last year so was over the moon with that result.


We jumped a lovely clear round in both the show jumping and in the cross country. With no faults to be added we finished on our dressage score of 37 and climbed up the leader board. It was a very successful day for both me and Vicky. Now we just have to get over this winter depressions before it even start, and work even harder over the winter for a better result next year. Who knows, maybe I will do a novice class next year?

Life with Rebel

An evening at the yard

September 7, 2018

Kayleigh was riding Jordan yesterday and although I was so tempted to give Rebel a day off, I was persuaded into thinking riding was a good idea. I’ve been doing flatwork for days now so agreed to ride in the field with her and Jordan. We wanted them to stretch their legs, while we chatted about important things in life – such as fitness. However, Mr. R had other plans… I honestly think that this horse is cross country damaged and everything grass related means full speed and jumps. Lord, he wanted to have fun that horse, and our relaxed little “hack” went out of the window. He was going sideways, snorting like a stallion and really ready to go. It wasn’t very safe so we took them back in the stable to calm him down. I have said this before, but if I ever was to sell that horse, I would have problems. He’s too much to handle for a beginner, and too small for an adult. Ideally he would suit a teenager, but I don’t think it would be easy to find the right match, hence why I don’t think I will ever sell him. Also, I love him to the bones and don’t think I could ever let him go, even though I want to pull out my teeth now and then.

Look at our glamourous lifestyle here at Castleview. The downside with having this massive field has to be the poo-picking. To make it more interesting we have a competition on to see who can collect the most, and I think I may be in the lead with the most barrow loads! All for a chance of winning a bottle of wine :p

Wedding

Our ceremony

September 6, 2018

I wonder how many blog posts this wedding will cover… It would be way too long if I wrote one single post, so I hope you all can bear with me.


After I rode down the gravel path I jumped off and landed on both feet. I honestly think this was the scariest part of the whole day and I was so so happy when nothing went wrong. Andrea looked at me with pride and said – well done. I walked in to the marquee entrance and up the aisle where everyone was waiting. Looking back I wish I’d walked a bit slower, but I was on my own and had already ridden down, so I felt people had been waiting forever. I remember I didn’t look left or right to see any faces, just forward straight at Howie. When I was up with him I was relieved, happy and nervous. I wanted to turn around and wave at all my guests and say hello. It was strange as there were people there who I hadn´t seen for months.

There were never differences or arguments about our ceremony. We both wanted it non-religious, with the focus on the two of us as a couple. Nothing less, nothing more, which was exactly what we achieved. Our lovely celebrant Maggie was talking about love, our journey together, time apart and how we ended up where we are today. We had written down our journey together, which I believe made people laugh and cry.

One of my very good friends from Norway, Marit and her husband Ola, kindly agreed to perform during the ceremony. She chose the song, “Make You Feel My Love”, by Adele, but sang it half in English and half in Norwegian. I can cry just thinking about it – it was just so beautiful and perfect. I don’t think anyone expected her to be THAT good, but the crowd gasped when she sang. I felt so proud to be her friend and to show everyone how incredible she is. We then changed rings, kissed and signed the papers. I was already confused what my name was but luckily I got some help and managed to sign it with no further confusion… It was official – we were married. What an incredible feeling.

On the way out we got Prosecco and I wish I could just turn back time to that moment. Andrea stood there waiting for us with the biggest smile, and I felt nothing but happiness. We walked out of the marquee where people gave us lots of hugs, kisses and laughter. I actually don´t think that was part of the Georgina’s plan, as we had to throw the confetti before the rain started. The confetti and the rain held off, and we managed to speak to every single guest before we walked out into confetti heaven <3 My hair was covered but I could not of cared in the slightest.

My friend Kayleigh was a star, bringing Mumford to the venue. I was so excited to see him, and him us, and we were only inches away from very mucky paws making my wedding dress very mucky 😉 We took some lovely photos with our family, my Maid of Honor and Howie´s Best Men. The weather forecast said it would rain the whole day, but it held off long enough for us to get some lovely photo´s, before we could go back in and mingle. Howie and I just looked at each other and said something like; see you at dinner at 4pm Haha! So I finally got to see and speak with all my friends which was just so very nice. I will never ever experience this again – to have everyone you care about in the same garden. Bah, makes it so sad to think about, but I am so lucky to know them.


Hillhouse Country House | Unbridaled Boutique | Georgina Harrison Photography | Elizabeth Wallace Bridal | Jay McLoughlan Make-Up Artist | Rootz Hair Salon | Paper White Floral Design |

Travel

We are going to Vietnam

September 5, 2018

The most difficult thing with the whole wedding malarky was deciding on our honeymoon. I think we have “been to” New York, Jamaica, all around Europe, Maldives, Seychelles, Bali, Cambodia, and of course – Vietnam. We wanted five things: Go somewhere completely new, eat lovely food, feel the culture, lie on the beach and travel around. Which meant most of the countries above were a no-no…. They ticked most of the boxes but Vietnam ticked all five of them.

Howie, Mumford and myself will drive to Colchester for Christmas and leave just a few days later. Here is our plan so far (which can (will) change).

1st Destination – Hanoi

We fly out of Heathrow early December 27th – arriving in Hanoi after an 13 hour long flight. We are staying here one night, and exploring this amazing capital. The traffic here is a must see, which after all, is hard to miss. Although I am confident driver I will leave my drivers license at home and walk a few metres instead.


2nd Destination – Halong Bay

After staying in Hanoi for one night only we will drive to Halong Bay for a 2 night on a cruise. Our cabin has its own balcony and the view will be nothing but breath taking. This is what a think of when I hear Vietnam and I can not wait to be there in person. Is there anything more beautiful?


3rd destination – Hoi An

It’s time to head south and we are aiming for Hoi An, a city on the coast, in the middle of Vietnam. This city is a world heritage site, with beautiful architecture and canals. During the full moon there are light lanterns floating on the river, which we will miss completely as its nearly new moon whilst we are there. But the city is colourful and vibrant and is a must see, according to our friends who have been all over Vietnam. Hoi An has no airport or train station, but we will somehow manage to get there after flying in to Da Nang.


4th destination – Phu Quoc

We have been talking for hours whether or not to go to Cambodia to see the temples at Angkor, but have eventually decided to give it a miss this time around. That was not an easy decision to make, as they are meant to be spectacular, and everyone has recommended we go, however, it means even more traveling and flying, which we are already doing heaps of. We decided to spend less time at airports and more time on the beach. Cambodia will be there forever, meaning we have to go there another time – what a shame. Out trip ends in Phu Quoc where we will stay for 8 days, hopefully in a bungalow, where chill time is on the menu. I have never heard of this place before we booked it, but it looks like i will get a piece of the Maldives after all, just look how beautiful it is.


I am 100% confident we have chosen the right destination for us. We get to explore city life, travel and relax on the beach – all within the 16 days we are away. A part of me was upset we didn’t go straight after the wedding, but we do have something to look forward to now.

Life with Rebel

Riding lesson with Ailsa

September 4, 2018

I have not had a lesson with Ailsa since 2015, mainly because she is so difficult to get. She teaches at Muirmill and Morris but during working hours. So with my lack of leave (or the skillset of using it all up) I can’t afford to take days off for riding lessons. So I have spent the last 3 years envious of my friends who actually can. BUT… then we have Jackie, one of the liveries at my yard, who’s had lessons with Ailsa since forever. Yesterday, she kindly agreed to come to our yard in the evening, so that we could have a lesson after work.


Rebel is a funny horse. He’s probably the most difficult horse I have ever ridden in my whole entire life, and does not give you a stride for free. Some days it is so frustrating you want to pull your teeth out, other days I have patience to the moon and back, and we do eventually get there in the end. Apparently, it is all on his terms, and he is hesitating before he actually understands the questions I am asking. Yesterday we worked on leg yields and getting him to move away from my leg – which eventually worked… If I go back one year I can remember Rebel not listening to my legs one bit, he only went faster – which is very disobedient. To get some nice work using only my legs was such a treat. I took loads from the lesson and will practice later this week.

Wedding

Riding to the ceremony

September 2, 2018

Ida and I were ready before 1pm, and I knew Rebel would arrive soon. We made sure everything was sorted and it was time to go. There is a beautiful spiral staircase on the way down and we agreed to take some photos there before heading out. All on time, all planned. I was walking down, Ida was waiting for me at the top. I looked out of the window and could see Chelsea´s horse box pulling up. I started crying. It was so special for me at that moment. I waved at Nikki and Chelsea, who could see me from the outside. Rebel walked out, looking absolutely stunning. My very good friend Louise spent hours in the morning plaiting him up and he looked like a million dollars – just so handsome.

I honestly have the best friends, who have helped me out like there was no tomorrow. He was all ready for the big day and I knew this was going to be very very special. I had this idea months ago, but never told a single person apart from Howie. Andrea at Hillhouse, who was so supportive and accommodating for all our ideas, also thought it sounded brilliant, so we had the green light- I was going to ride down the gravel path to the marquee – for everyone to see. Just the entrance I have been dreaming about since forever. On a horse, that has made my life in Scotland ten times better.

This boy just does not know how important he is to me. It was time to shine – for both of us.

Here we are waiting for everyone to take their seats. Ida was walking in first, just when Una Mattina by Ludovico Einaudi started playing. I waited patiently for my turn, 50 seconds into the song. I really had to listen carefully as I could barely hear it from where I was standing, and it was SO difficult not to ride in earlier. I felt like I waited for minutes. When I eventually rode in I was certain everyone knew I was riding, as I took forever, and Rebel could not stand still for a second. But believe you me, the reaction I got was out of this world. You had to be there to understand and I will remember that moment for as long as I am alive. The whole marquee nearly lifted and people where screaming and shouting out loud. Rebel did not put a foot wrong, walking down like a true gentleman ♥

I always thought I would jump off straight away, but after hearing the crowd I decided to stay on him a little bit longer. Georgina took some lovely photos and it was all very special. I was so nervous how I would dismount him with my dress and high heels, as I never got to practice for obvious reasons, but I managed to do it fairly gracefully and landed on both feet. What a result, what a moment.


I honestly need to dedicate this post to Chelsea, Nikki and Louise for making this happen. Thank you so much for all your help.


Hillhouse Country House | Unbridaled Boutique | Georgina Harrison Photography | Elizabeth Wallace Bridal | Jay McLoughlan Make-Up Artist | Rootz Hair Salon | Paper White Floral Design |

Lifestyle

Laurens´ Hen Do

September 2, 2018

Our beloved Lauren are getting married in Santorini in September, and yesterday was her hen do. We all took the train from Prestwick around midday, heading to Hummingbird in Glasgow for a Cocktail Masterclass.

The location was lovely and we had our own room with our own bartender. We made a few cocktails ourselves before we passed on the shakers to someone who knew what they were doing 🙂

We sat there for hours, playing games and getting to know new people who are going to the wedding. We later headed out to Wagamama for dinner and more beer, before we ended the night in the champagne bar at Glasgow Central.

It was a lovely night but we didn´t stay out very late. I woke up fairly early this morning and just getting my stuff together to head to the yard,  then out for lunch/dinner with the girls again tonight. But before all that we serious need to book our honeymoon…