Attn of: Equestrian Photographers developing their portfolios

Aspire Equestrian Riding Academy is looking for:

A very special person to stand behind the lenses during our Intensive Training Camp (18th-20th August at Rosehill Equestrian, Henley on Thames, RG9 3EB) as the lovely Christine Dunnington who usually shoots us beautifully, is away.

chris and mairi cherwell
Christine Dunnington Photography, Gilly and Mairi 

This would suit someone building their photography portfolio rather than an established professional (but all experiences welcome!).

What’s involved?

– Two and a half days of photo – documenting training adventures of 9-10 riders and their horses (flatwork/dressage, jumping, XC training sessions and off horse rider training sessions)


– might need a mix of skills of a wedding photographer/portrait and equine knowledge and ninja expertise 😉
– will be able to be invisible when needed and put riders at ease with your presence
– enjoy capturing precious moments, lightbulb moments, training moments, relationship between horse and rider and the bond they have as they train

What’s in it for you:

– possibility to offer selected photos for sale to the riders taking part
– possibility to pitch own creative photo ideas to me and “use” any willing riders and horses to play with those
– possibility to meet new potential clients and wow them with your photos
– possibility to join our fun BBQ 😉

How will the photos be used:

I will choose selection of photos from the weekend on which you could place your logo and they would be extensively shared on Aspire Equestrian social media and blog offering you an exposure among grassroots sports focused horsey audience.

Please see a photo report from our latest camp here but all creative input more than welcome!…/aspire-equestrian…/

Any questions please message me on here via comments or email
I really hope to meet one of you out there and build some awesome photo memories with your help  

Thank you!

Time to grow the Academy! Don’t miss the new training places available… Place 2 of 3 – with full loan of Gilly on Foundation to Performance Programme.

Earlier this year I decided to open several more places on the Academy programmes and it’s time to invite further 3 riders to join us! Place one of two – with Oscar and place two of three – with Gilly.

Gilly 1
Mairi and Gilly at Cherwell Competition Centre – 8th July 2017

Meet Gilly, 16.3hh, Irish Sports Horse gelding owned by Georgia Reed and currently on full loan to one of the Academy riders, Mairi. Having decided she is ready to buy her own horse, Mairi will be terminating full loan contract on Gilly but Georgia is happy for him to stay with us with another rider. Don’t miss this place as Gilly is one of those hard to find horses that will jump his heart out for you and will work well on the flat too. 


This is a very unique opportunity to join the Academy team with a horse that is already settled within a routine that suits him and who works well with variety of different riders. He would suit both a learner rider and a competent, competitive one who would like to train harder.


As with all horses and riders who are part of the Academy programme, we put emphasis on a thorough education of the rider and wellness focused training of the horse. The place would suit a rider interested in developing their riding and horsemanship skills in a friendly, motivational and fun environment within a grassroots sports team.

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Gilly and Mairi learning Shoulder In in-hand 

Gilly will come into your life with a unique and attractive Aspire coaching livery package including:

  • weekly training and coaching support – fully bespoke and flexible (£160/month)
  • full and very supportive livery care (please see contact details for more information)
  • one or two sharers who ride once a week and contribute substantially to the full livery costs (up to £160),
  • inspirational training vibe that will encourage you to train to your best self
  • access to help & advice around the clock

Location: Northolt, Middlesex/West London (UB5)

Email or call Wiola on 0749 2202 400 for full details. 

Available: from mid August 2017

Gilly 2

If you are a dreamer and hard worker – join us 🙂 

Leo’s Barefoot Transition. Part 2: Two weeks on

By Wiola Grabowska

Read Part 1 here where I explain why I am transitioning Leo to barefoot and how I plan to go about it. 

Conditioning the hooves out and about

The first two weeks without hind shoes have gone well for Leo and his feet are changing already. He is showing no sensitivity to any surfaces at the moment so I started 30-40 minutes hacks out both ridden and in-hand over as many different surfaces as I can find. Here is a little video of his striding over some gravel with no bother (link takes you to my Instagram post and you’ll need to swipe to 3rd position I think, the other two are from the same hack).

I also started schooling for 20 minutes at a time but decided to limit the arena time only to shoulder-in work and some trot work on 20m circles. This is because there is quite a bit of crookedness that is present in Leo’s body and I am curious as to how this improves now.

Jazz trying to invite Leo for a chase play 😉 He’s not impressed!  

I made this video of him in slow motion 1 week into the transition (video here) to observe his landing pattern and it has already improved since then.

He no longer twists his left foot and it has considerably changed shape for the better…it still loads not quite balanced but I want to see if changing his movement under the saddle will help his improve the foot balance further.

From distorted to much more balanced…I am amazed how much his left hoof changed in such a short period of time. I can feel the difference in his movement too as the previous twist was quite distinct. 

The Pro Hoof supplement arrived 10 days ago so he went on it straight away and despite some reviews saying horses fussed with it, Leo eats it without problems. I feed it together with Keyflow Key3Oil at 30ml. I’d just ran out and was going to go for a few weeks without to see how Pro Hoof works on its own but having re-read ingredients and recommendations for supplementation with Pro Hoof, I just ordered another bottle of Key3Oil (it is recommended to feed ProHoof with Linseed exactly for oil content).

Plan for the next 2 weeks: 

  • work 5 days a week
  • hacking up to 40 minutes on varied terrain
  • in-hand hillwork 30min 2 x week
  • schooling 20min at a time,  straightness focus
  • polework for proprioception and coordination

Re-evaluate at the end of 4th week.

I am so tempted to take the fronts off with his next shoeing cycle but I think I will let him go for another one. Decisions, decisions!



Breeding my horse of a lifetime: Nine minutes with Royal Diva – from heartbeat to 6 weeks old [VIDEO]

Diva being a diva
Diva walking Kelly back to her car in style 😉 4th July 2017.

The youngest Academy super star mascot, Royal Diva, is 6 weeks old and growing by day. She shed her first frogs and her foal coat is slowly shedding too leaving her face slightly moth eaten in appearance 😉

She has learnt to lead for short periods of time, pick her feet up, got acquainted with an overnight stabling, learnt to eat grass and come to call 😉 You can watch her giving Kelly a welcome HERE.  Her hooves are changing as her diet is expanding and you can see the deeper rings marking her date of birth now clearly growing down.

For most part, she leads a quiet life interspersed with short moments of human visits couple of times a day.

She’s feisty at times but overall appears to have a nice, inquisitive, confident level temperament, loves people and thrives on scratches 😉 Tilly is a fabulous Mum leaving Diva plenty of space to explore and has lost some of her constant protectiveness she showed at the beginning.


The little filly is oh so alive and such a personality and yet, exactly a year ago, on 5th July 2016, Diva was nothing more than a confirmed heartbeat on the vet’s monitor.

The video below will take you on a nine minutes long emotional journey that might make you want to breed your own little diva! You’ve been warned! 😉