Sophie's Winter Blog

"Winter is well and truly here! The days are getting shorter, which means cramming working horses and a full time job into a few short days of sunlight!

Since my last update we've finally finished our outdoor arena. This has been over three years in the planning (and saving!). It's been absolutely life-changing and has meant I can now school the horses in a safe environment before work in the mornings.  We built the arena by hand with the help and support of lots of friends along the way, it's been areal learning curve and my hands are still recovering from blisters from spreading. I'd really like to thank my wonderful neighbours, Mike and Midge Hoyes, (guardians of JT and Ballywatt) without their support this would never have been possible. It has truly been a game-changer!

The horses are all going nicely at the moment with dressage on the agenda for best part of winter. Brian is going from strength to strength and is really starting to change shape. We went along to the Dressage Championships of GB back on October where once again, he did me proud winning his warm up classes and getting placed in all his championship classes. He then had a couple of weeks off and just enjoyed some light hacking to tick him over. He's now back in full work and has even had a go at some affiliated British Dressage events.  In true Brian style he went out and won both his classes, gaining points for the summer regionals. He's also doing well in the Retraining of Racehorses Regional League and is currently in 6th position across the whole of the Wales & Severn region. The final scores will be released in April, so fingers crossed we can climb up a few more spaces before  they come out. He also won the winter dressage league at our local dressage venue last month which was an unexpected surprise!

Little Twinx has been out of work for almost 5 months now following a small tear to her Deep Digital Flexor Tendon (DDFT) just under her navicular bone. It looks us a long time to get to the bottom of the problem but after a few months off work, and some careful rehab, she is expected to make a full return to work by Christmas Day. She's just started her in-hand walking and is loving having something to do again as she loves her work and has been bored whilst she's been on rest. Really looking forward to getting out and about with her over the summer months once she's back to full fitness!

Silmi....I have no words for this strange little firecracker! He will be 17 years old in January and after an incredibly long career in racing, he is still as keen an eager as he was when he was a five year old! I've taken the pressure off him slightly this winter as although his brain wants to continue being a five year old, his body sometimes struggles to keep up! He has chronic arthritis in his TMJ joint and a list as long as my arm of other ailments, but he remains happy and sound which is what's important! He has a range of supplements to keep him going, all of which come from Hilton Herbs, The Apple Cider vinegar is fantastic for coat condition and joint support. He's also been having the Turmeric & Black Pepper tincture which certainly seems to be supporting him mobility-wise. As I type this I can hear him careering round the field and doing cartwheels - so something must be working.

We have a busy summer to look ahead to, and only a few more weeks of really dark nights. I'm just in the process of filling up my summer diary with various competition dates. I hope no friends decide to get married this summer as I only have about three weekends spare at the moment!

I'd like to use this time as an opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a fantastic New Year. I'd also like to thank everyone at Hilton Herbs for their ongoing support. My horses look and feel great heading in to 2020!

I'll look forward to sharing another update with you all early on in the New Year."