So I thought I'd probably better give you all an update...three years on from my last blog! So I am now working as a nurse at Bell Equine Veterinary Clinic in Mereworth, Kent similar to what I've been doing before but just in a bigger environment!

As for my freelance work I'm still living in Hever, Kent and can offer grooming services at the weekends as well as being available for clipping and mane/tail pulling etc! I have been doing some more nutritional plans too so if you are needing advice on what to feed this winter or at any other time then please don't hesitate to contact me.

Finally in my personal life I've got a new horse; Amiga is a polo pony who I've had for two years, she is gorgeous and now in semi-retirement as she'll be 23 years old next year and things are starting to creak a bit!

So, I’ve been in my new job as an equine veterinary assistant at Lingfield Equine Vets for 6 months now and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve learnt so much and every day is different.

I have been able to keep up a small amount of freelance work at the weekends but have now permanently relocated to Lingfield in Surrey so the areas in which I am available to work have changed slightly. Please see my homepage for details or contact me to find out more.

We are firmly into Autumn now and it’s clipping time!! I am available to come out and clip your horse at the weekends or some evenings so please do contact me to make a booking.

Other work I am also taking on at the moment is nutritional advice so if your horse hasn’t come out of the summer as well as you’d like and you’re worried about them dropping weight through the winter. Or if they’ve come out of summer too well and need a bit of a weight loss discussion then contact me for a full ration formulation and diet plan.

I do hope the winter doesn’t treat us too badly this year, fingers crossed!

April has ended up with being a month full of big changes, starting off with the weather…finally some dry, bright and sunny days! It makes such a huge difference for us grooms and really lifts your spirits :)

I also took Jolly out for some more dressage and he excelled himself with our best percentage yet (66.36%) so I was very proud of him and pleased my hard work and training sessions with Liz West were paying off.

Sadly this month, two more of the full liveries in Burwash decided to leave and I had to make a decision on my future continuing on that yard. I came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t financially viable for me to keep on travelling there so I too gave a month’s notice to stop work.

The exciting news is that I have accepted a new job starting in May. It is full-time as a veterinary assistant for Lingfield Equine Vets. The veterinary industry is something I have always had a great interest in and this opportunity was not one to be missed! This sadly means that I have had to end my freelance work and finish for 2 of my favourite clients which was not easy to do. I’m hoping to be able to keep in touch and occasionally carry out some freelance work when time permits whether it is an evening riding or a bit of weekend work.

Finally, I would like to wish all of my clients every happiness and success with their horses. This website will be kept live and updated so please do contact me with any queries that I may be able to help with.

Work picked up again this month; I took on an extra job for 3 weeks checking some polo ponies that were still on their winter holidays! They were based just around the corner from one of my other jobs on a large chicken farm, I just had to go out into the fields once a day and check the ponies still had their rugs on and secure and they were in good health. Unfortunately on a couple of occasions I also had to rescue a drowned chicken out of the horses’ water troughs, all in a days work!!!

This month I also had a car disaster with a flat tyre, with the mileage I do on a day-to-day basis and the state of the roads it is inevitable I will drive in potholes and you can only be lucky so many times! Never mind, it was a case of Dad to the rescue who changed the tyre and I was off on the road again!

I also clipped a horse this month, March is usually the time of last clips before the summer but few horses had been moulting due to the weather staying so cold so I’ve been out with the clippers more than usual in anticipation of some warmer days.

It was my birthday on the 15th too so I took the afternoon off work and spent the evening celebrating with friends and also managed a restful weekend which was a nice break!

February started off as a bit of a quiet month, I saw the first snowdrops on Saturday 9th which for me is always a bit of a milestone indicating the beginning of the end of winter! I have been doing all my usual routine work and also undertook some house-sitting over a long weekend which is something I really enjoy doing.

I have been able to take Jolly to a couple of dressage competitions at the weekends and we brought home a rosette on both occasions which was very satisfying! Jolly proudly wears his ‘sponsored’ Kent and Sussex Equine saddlecloth when I take him out competing.

Sadly, at the end of the month one of the liveries at the yard in Burwash decided to move her horse closer to home, he was a real gentleman of a horse to look after so I was sad to see him go but it does open up a vacancy if anyone is looking for full, part or assisted livery in the Burwash/Etchingham area. The yard has got fantastic facilities and can cater for all types of horses and their individual requirements.

This month I was also very busy completing my equine nutrition course. As this was all done online, each week I had to watch a video lecture and make my own notes from the accompanying lecture slides. Then at the end of each week was a test to complete, I’m very happy to report that I received 100% in all my tests and also in the overall test at the end of the course.

Equine nutrition is my favourite part of horse care, I could study it all day every day as there is always something new to learn and research is progressing rapidly within clinical nutrition allowing us a much deeper understanding for the management of conditions such as obesity, laminitis, ‘tying-up’ and the requirements of competition horses as well as leisure and breeding. If you or anyone you know is struggling to find a feed that suits their horse please do not hesitate to contact me for advice, I can produce a ration formulation for your horse and I specialise in horses requiring condition without excess energy!

I’ve been self-employed for over a year now and thought it was time to take the next step and embrace social media. This means a monthly blog from me, joining Twitter and also making a business page on Facebook!

2013 is considered unlucky by some, the number 13 has never had any influence on me but if it does for you why not think of it as the 14th year since the millennium…glass half full and all that :)

So, an insight into the life of a freelance groom begins with working solidly throughout Christmas and New Year. This isn’t something that bothers me but I did make sure to take the following weekend off and have a break. Since then I have been working my current permanent jobs, this involves starting the day on a livery yard where I offer assistance to the DIY-ers who want their horses turning out or bringing in and I also do a full livery service for a couple of people, it’s a great yard with fantastic facilities and the horses are easy to do. From here I go on to my next job for 10am, a private family yard with a retired pony, a novice event horse and a lovely horse called Jolly who I am lucky enough to have on loan. Jolly is 16 and having previously evented with the family’s youngest daughter is now having a quieter life hacking and competing in dressage with me. On 2 days a week I go straight from here to another private yard where I either muck out 4 boxes or I hack out a rather cheeky but cute Fell pony! I’ve worked this job for a long time on and off since university and it came about through word of mouth which has been invaluable for promoting my business. On the other 3 weekdays I am able to fit in riding Jolly. After this it’s a quick break for lunch, sometimes just a sandwich on the run, other times I’m able to get back home and have a sit-down! I then go back to the livery yard where I start my day as all the horses need to be brought in by 2:30pm; this keeps the fields from getting too muddy due to the awful wet weather. Once I’m finished here it’s home time unless I have any extra work on, sometimes this is working for an event rider (Emily Baldwin) finishing off her yard of 6 and putting them to bed.

At the moment I am trying to take weekends off as it’s important to maintain a good work-life balance but I also use this time to fit in extra jobs like clipping and helping out on the event yard if needed and if I feel I want to earn some extra money!

I’ve spent the second half of this month house-sitting, this is something I really enjoy doing, I’m currently still living at home so it’s great to be able to get away somewhere else for a while! I’ve been looking after 3 horses, 5 dogs, 1 cat, 5 alpacas and 8 chickens…it is fun to be involved with other animals as I spend day-in, day-out with horses and I love dogs! Unfortunately, whilst house-sitting the snow struck, I am not a fan of the snow at all as I find it makes outdoor life so much more difficult. I had to rely on my Dad to drive me around for a couple of days and think snow tyres are definitely going on the list to invest in for next winter! Luckily, the white stuff only lasted for a week and then things were able to resume as normal, fingers crossed we won’t get any more now!

I have also just begun a 5-week online ‘Equine Nutrition’ course from the University of Edinburgh, as I already offer nutritional advice to my clients this is serving as a bit of a refresher and to see what is new on the research side too.

This is my new blog which I will be updating monthly, please check back again very soon!

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