Sat-nav needed for the coming weeks as Roadmap is released

Like most of you I have been drifting along on a sea of uncertainty for the past few weeks, unsure if we would be able to get up-and-going at all this year. While we still have to take every day as it comes regarding current guidelines and recommendations it does look like there is light at the end of the tunnel. So I’m officially launching my Flowerhill preparations today, with 3 months to get both myself and the steed back into some semblance of fitness and training…one mustn’t rush these things!

The return of official AIRC activities will take place over a phased basis involving 4 steps, which are due to begin on June 8th, in line with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business.  This approach will allow us all time to assess how we can operate under these new protocols to ensure we create a safe environment for our members, volunteers, and officials.

Activities, however, may resume sooner if the Government lifts the travel restrictions ahead of its published plan.

These measures and protocols are under constant review and will be updated as advice from the government, health authorities and governing bodies evolve in line with the gradual lifting of restrictions.

HQ has published a guide to help clubs and their members tread the road to active club-life. It is available at the following link and is well worth the read, especially pages 8 to 13.

AIRC Pathway for the Resumption of Activities 2020 0518

So what does this mean for us as a club? Well, the first hurdle we have to get over is the fact that we do not have a club base, or venue, where we regularly meet. This has been both a strength and a weakness for us over the years. It ensured we brought club activities to different geographical areas, thereby spreading the necessity to travel a little more evenly over the members and also meant that we did not stagnate in one spot and get stuck doing just one type of activity. Unfortunately it does make it a little more awkward to implement the necessary protocols for resumption of club activities.

Our second issue is of course the distances which we must all travel in order to attend any event. Even with the permitted range of travel extended to 20km a lot of us wouldn’t be able to get to a central point…Letterkenny is 24km from our yard, much the same from Marina’s and a generous 40km from Erica’s. Whilst many of us have already been well over the permitted distances with our horses it will have been to attend a farrier or vet, both considered essential journeys for those with livestock to take care of. Whether it is acceptable to exceed the permitted travel restriction in order to attend a social or sporting event is questionable and as a club we certainly cant be seen to encourage it. Realistically this means that for the time being we are looking at Monday 20th July as being the date from which we can resume activities as this is currently the date when travel restrictions are to be lifted completely and Tier 2 of AIRC activities are permitted. Obviously this is dependent on government actions and guidelines.

In the meantime we can get our club geared up in the admin department, ensuring we have a Covid Officer in place, a system for taking pre-payments and a supply of the necessary PPE ready for all eventualities. As a start to getting back out into the world I have commissioned Gemma Carroll to update our club logo, enabling us to set the wheels in motion for getting new club gear. As soon as Gemma has some prototypes done up I will get everyone’s input and opinions. Till then stay safe, stay healthy and keep horsing around.

 

Congratulations

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Congratulations to Marina…winner of the first Letterkenny Riding Club competition of 2020. Commiserations to Enda and Jade, who probably supplied all the answers!! As you can see in the video (if it uploads) Katie was an independent adjudicator to make sure everything was above board. Marina can now choose one of the three prize bundles put together by Suzanne.

Our next bit of entertainment will involve multiple choice questions and simplex clues!!

I hate autocorrect!

Ok guys, I’ve decided to extend the deadline for the Easter Challenge crossword entries. Let’s say Thursday 16th.
IMPORTANT UPDATE:
The clue for 31 down should read
HSI precursor
Not his precursor. Sorry. Feckin autocorrect sneaked in on me!
If you’ve already sent me your crossword just text/message me with your updated answer for 31 down.

Age before beauty

This truly is a young head on old shoulders. One of our youngest members on what must be our oldest member. Jade and Teldel touring the farm on the old lads 30th birthday. Great to see, and a credit to Marina for keeping him (and Jade!) In such good order.received_208545227149816

Competition time

In the midst of the strange times we are living through I thought we could all do with a little entertainment to keep us occupied while we sit tight and keep safe at home. So how about a little competition and a chance to pick a prize of your choice if you’re the lucky winner? The Letterkenny Riding Club Easter Challenge 2020 is a crossword with a largely equestrian theme (no surprise there, I hear you say) and enough clues to keep everyone entertained for at least ten minutes. The crossword can be downloaded from the attached PDFs. If you are a traditionalist and prefer a hard copy or, like me, you don’t have a printer in your cocoon, I can also post you out a copy. If you would like me to do that just contact me on 086 1617087 with your name and address.

Fill in the crossword and post it back to me for Friday 10th April. Current members of the Letterkenny Riding Club will be allowed one free entry. Non members, or current members who wish to stack the odds in their favour by submitting more than one entry to the draw (!!), will be charged E5.00 per entry. Please enclose payment with the entries. I’d love to tell you we can accept online payment but I’m afraid we’re not quite there yet.

All correct entries will be placed in a draw and the winning entry will be drawn on Saturday 11th April 2020. The draw will be videoed and uploaded onto the Letterkenny Riding Club Facebook page. The lucky winner will have the choice of one of the following prize packages.

  1. A super cooler. Size 6’6″
  2. A set of 4 fleece bandages and 4 fibregee pads
  3. A bottle of ShowSheen and two haynets

The prize will be posted or delivered according to current restrictions. Be sure to include a name and contact number with your entry!

Letterkenny Riding Club Easter Challenge 2020

LRC Easter Challenge 2020 Across

LRC Easter Challenge Down 2021

A very happy St. Patrick’s day

I can confidently state that none of us envisaged the St. Patrick’s day we would be having this year. The weather is more or less traditional fare I admit, but the lack of a parade to attend or a pub to visit is pretty remarkable.

Myself and Libby spent an enjoyable, albeit very wet, hour out on Fenway and Merlin. With Libby just back from Moscow I was careful to stay upwind of her I can tell you! We will all be facing challenges over the coming days, weeks and, I fear, months. As horse owners we have the advantage of having livestock that are totally dependent on us and whilst this can be a drag on a day to day basis it is also a marvelous way to get head space away from the constant corona related news.  Initially I found I lost what little bit of motivation I had for riding, given that there aren’t likely to be any events to attend in the foreseeable future, but I’ve decided that every cloud has a silver lining and, with working hours severely reduced, I now have time to spend on all the little jobs around the stables that have been put on a long finger for a long time (including actually grooming Merlin).

Why not use this time to do the flat-work you’ve been avoiding, to give your tack the love and care it has been crying out for, to really thoroughly groom your horse on a regular basis (and make yourself use both your hands if you’re like me and tend to do all brushing with your right hand), to mend the fence around the arena, to take up pilates or yoga and build up those core muscles that you know are lurking in there somewhere? My most recent bit of learning was the rulebook of the AIRC…an enlightening read!

For the time being we are free to travel, and obviously riding your horse is a fairly solitary occupation that poses no risk to the general population so hacking and schooling are great ways to spend time. If a travel ban comes into effect anyone without their own arena or land to ride on could be in a spot of bother, though on the plus side a travel ban will leave the roads a lot safer for riding. According to some of the equestrian forums I follow on social media the countries that have gone into total lock-down have prohibited riding. The reason for this is that riding is considered a high-risk sport and if you did happen to take a fall you may need emergency medical attention which would pull staff from dealing with less foolhardy people. If this was implemented here it means we would be limited to lunging, long-reining or using walkers for exercising our four legged friends. It might be good to brush up on your skills in these areas, or learn them for the first time if needs be.

The down side of reduced working hours is the inevitable drop in income. This is a harsh reality for a huge number of people now. Anyone involved in the hospitality industry is definitely looking at having a lot of free time, and lets face it…Donegal relies heavily on tourism. Panic buying for me consisted of sourcing forage. Remember that horses are designed to live on forage, not hard feed. If you run out of hard feed the horses will be just fine but run out of forage and you’ll be looking at any number of potential problems. I also made sure to get another bag of hen feed. My hens were marching about with placards, campaigning for better conditions, which to be honest I can understand cause their run is a quagmire at the moment, but I explained that I was just as happy to eat chicken sandwiches as egg sandwiches and hey presto eggs are back on the menu! Smart ladies.

The one thing to remember is that THIS WILL END. The world will return to normal eventually. It may be a slightly different version of normal but we will get back out to club gatherings and competitions at some stage. We have the huge advantage now of technology that allows us to learn new skills and also to communicate across the world at the touch of a button, but we also know people who rely on the good old-fashioned telephone for communications. Let’s stay in touch with everyone and make sure we’re all getting through this time as well as possible.

Keep well, mind your mind, and enjoy your horses without the pressure of feeling that you have to be competing. Oh, almost forgot, Happy Paddy’s Day.

It wasn’t meant to be.

If ever a league was doomed from the start it was the North West Riding Clubs spring league 2020! First three legs lost to storms and now the final falls foul of the Corona virus. Templemore Equestrian Centre has taken the responsible approach of cancelling any shows in the near future. I give up.

SHOWS POSTPONED

We as a Team at Templemore Equestrian Centre has taken the difficult decision to Postpone our ST PATRICKS DAY PONY SHOW ( Sunday 15th) and the ST PATRICKS DAY HORSE SHOW ( Tuesday 17th) to a further date which is yet be confirmed.

We feel under the current circumstances of CORONA VIRUS it is safer for our customers, our livery clients and our staff not to gather for this special event.

We extend our apologies for any disappointment or inconvenience. We will get a new date secured in the coming weeks when we, as a community, are in a safer position.

 

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HW Equine PhysiotherapyLike Page

One of the things which frequently amazes me is that riders expect their horses to cope with sudden spats of intense exercise without feeling any the worse for the wear whilst the rider in question is as stiff as a plank two days later and has to think carefully about which leg hurts less to stand on when they’re getting out of bed in the morning! Thanks to Kyle, of Aldertree Equine, for sharing this excellent article. Please, for your horses sake and your own, read it.

A majorly overlooked physiological occurrence in the equine field- WHY is it not being discussed!

All too often I hear “he’s had his back checked, all OK so it’s not that”- especially now spring is on the horizon. People are riding more and pushing their horses ready for competing all summer. Especially since a lot of us in the UK have had to use our wheelbarrows as boats to do our horses recently- we are really catching up on lost time! But, following on from my post about why horse’s cant fake pain, there is something that I am still not seeing being put out there when there are behavioural shifts in a horse’s work mentality.
First, let me give you a scenario:
Day 1- horse is generally happy and does his best and you are very pleased.
Day 2- Horse has cracked it today and you are a very happy rider.
Day 3- Horse wasn’t too keen on being ridden today so he got a stern telling and told to get on because he was a tad behind the leg.
Day 4- Horse WILL NOT do as he is told and you end up getting off annoyed and a bit confused.
Day 5- Horse is given a 2-3 day break
Day 7 – Horse is ridden and back to being OK again

This happens repeatedly until you end up concerned.

So what could it be? Firstly, we need to know how muscles are made.

The muscular system is composed of specialised cells called muscle fibres. They encompass every muscle in the body, from the tiny ones responsible for ear movement, to the biggest muscle in the body (gluteus maximus), they ALL are made up the same way. Their predominant function (for skeletal muscles) is contractility. Muscles, attached to bones or internal organs and blood vessels, are responsible for movement. Nearly all movement in the body is the result of muscle contraction; other than a few focused exceptions of course. The integrated action of joints, bones, and skeletal muscles produce obvious movements such as walking and running. They are live and have nerve endings, they can break, and they are extremely sensitive to exercise- ESPECIALLY in a new athletic regime.

For this reason, delayed onset muscle soreness (D.O.M.S) is so immensely overlooked in the working horse in 2020.

D.O.M.S is that feeling that most of us have experienced usually 24-48 hours after a hard workout and usually lasts for up to 2-4 days. It’s that feeling of acute aching pain, tenderness, and stiffness. The severity of the soreness that we experience is a direct result of a number of factors, including familiarity with the exercises used during a workout, the intensity of exercise, loading of the muscles, how much a muscle has been stretched under resistance, preparation/ warming up and the angle of muscle contraction. It is caused by a number of small myofibril tears (what muscle fibres are made of!). The micro trauma results in an inflammatory response with intramuscular fluid and electrolyte shifts (also known as lactic acid build up, a by-product of muscular contractions). When not acknowledged and treated accordingly, the DOMS can continue to grow and more tears occur creating more pain and stiffness and the muscle becomes susceptible to genuine injury. DOMS should be treated initially with active rest (light work) and anti-inflammatory measures such as ice.. Gentle massage (this is where i come in!) and pressure garments have been shown in research studies to provide a reduction in the duration and severity of DOMS. However, deep tissue massage should be avoided during the first 24 hours. Excessive muscle stretching in this early phase should also be avoided due to ease of furthering muscle ruptures.

This is the key to this post, though-
You should avoid aggressive exercise during the recovery phase. This is due to muscles reduced capacity to cope with shock absorption, coordination, altered muscle recruitment patterns, reduced strength balance and contraction intensity. (Zainuddin et al 2005) In less words, when suffering the DOMS, your horse will struggle to perform basic tasks he was doing the day before because he could well potentially be aching from his nose to his toes! Therefore, he is not naughty, he is not confused, he is aching and cannot perform what is being asked.
So-
1. Take it slow and gradually build up the amount of exercise you do in your program – remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
2. Be aware of the amount of high intensity exercises you are including in your rides without breaks between to allow the muscles to relax.
3. Ensure you do a thorough cool down following your workout – many of us would have seen sportspeople doing gentle running and cool down drills after their games – this is one of the reasons why.

Photo to show muscle fibres under microscope which really highlights the delicacy of this tissue!

(Black et al 2008, Cleak et al 1992, Bleakley et al 2012, MacIntyre et al 2001, Cheung et al 2003, Valle et al 2014, Hill et al 2013, Nelson N. 2014, Dutto and Braun 2004, Paschalis 2007).

NWRC Spring League – week 1 results and points table

Not often do we have a points table with just two legs to include…I’m thinking it may produce a somewhat wobbly table. Megan Coxford was on photography duty on the day so I’ll upload the link to her albums as soon as I get it. Do try to support a local young business woman with her endeavors.

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It’s good to get out

The one recurring comment at Greenacres today was “Isn’t it great to get back out again?” Everyone was delighted to get the season up and going again, though for some of us the long interval between this show and our last time over coloured poles exacted a penalty. Letterkenny was represented by Rachel, Francis, Cliff and Marina, with Jenny and Enda supporting on the sidelines and capturing valuable video footage of some interesting riding techniques. Full results will follow but as a synopsis I can tell you that Cliff rode Shyla into second place in the advanced intermediate, beating Rachel and Merlin but having to bow to Stephen Greene’s superiority on the day as he clinched first spot for Tirconaill. In the intermediate class Francis and Bonzo were very unlucky to have the final fence down in the first round, denying them a spot in a very competitive jump-off. Marina made up for many weeks out of the saddle by clinching third spot on London Jen. With two weeks to the league final, and double points available on the day, the whole league table will be completely open for the taking.

Watch Rachel, Marina and Francis jumping in the following videos. Sorry Cliff…no video evidence available of your super jump-off on Shyla.