The Horse Physio - Delivering care with expertise since 1992

15.10.2022 Sam and Rabbit

A Guest Blog by Sam Ireson

Good morning guys, hope you are all well? It feels like Autumn has well and truly hit us now. Rabbit is being a good boy and not getting too fluffy, so I’m able to hold off clipping him for a bit longer.

It’s been quite a quiet month this month. All in all, we have been bashing away at home working on the training, especially working on the canter to get it more collected and more active and for me to stop collecting him too much in the half passes which means he loses his impulsion.

As I mentioned in the last blog, we went out and did two tests last week, at Stourport Riding Centre. I wasn’t aiming for anything massive in these tests, I just wanted to get over 60% to get our Medium Area Festival qualification secured. It’s been such a long time since I’ve done any form of test riding, that I knew we would be rusty, and it would definitely need some form of improvement.

The first test was an interesting test. It felt like we warmed up well and Rabbit was feeling good. Unfortunately, the second I trotted down the centre line, I appeared to apply the handbrake and proceeded to do the slowest trot you have probably ever seen. Thankfully, the rest of the test wasn’t too bad, everything was performed in the correct place for the correct amount of time, LOL. After this test Leonie only proceeded to make me ride round the warmup in the most forwards trot I can manage which showed me just how much more I need to do on my fitness as I was exhausted.

I went into the second test with my new forward motivation, thankfully this time the trot was a normal collected trot. We did, however, have a few communication issues in this test which resulted in a few mistakes. Even with these mistakes we still managed to score 65%, so I was very pleased as I know there is definitely room to improve on things that I know we can do.

I was very pleased to note that in both tests we got 7s and 7.5s for our collected walk and extended walk. This was always Rabbit’s worst pace, and we used to only get 6s for this, so it is nice to know that we have managed to improve this pace so much. Unfortunately, the things like the half passes which we used to do very well seem to have gone a bit wobbly around the edges. It just shows that nothing improves at the same pace.

We did manage to achieve our qualifications for both tests, so I now have my Medium Area Festival qualification in the bag. Doing these tests did make me realise however that I am very ring rusty and I need to get out and about and competing more. I think I am going to try to do at least one outing, possibly two if I can manage it every month from now on, just to help me improve when I’m in the ring. I might even be brave and go out on my own again.

Keep an eye out for my next book, ‘Recognising Pain in Ridden Horses: Performance, Partnership and Potential’, co-authored with Dr Sue Dyson, published by J A Allen, due 2023. Sign up at to be kept up to date with new information as it comes available. Watch a FREE 30-minute documentary on recognising pain in ridden horses here.

Here’s a FREE 30-minute presentation by Sue Palmer on how to recognise pain in your horse.

Other books by Sue Palmer M.Sc. MCSP:

‘Horse Massage for Horse Owners’

‘Understanding Horse Performance: Brain, Pain or Training?’

© Sue Palmer, The Horse Physio, 2022

October 15, 2022
Sue Palmer