Sunday, April 30, 2006

not quite such a good day ..

apart from the fact that it's so cold I've turned the heating back on this evening ...

Molly wasn't quite the star today that she had been yesterday.

Had to ride on my own .... so went in the arena for about 20 minutes. Then thought I'd try the 20acre on my own, which we haven't done before but regular readers will recall we thought a bout it a couple of weeks ago but were stymied by a gate....

So, set off. She was well up for that, wanted to trot down to the field (not a good plan, it's quite a steep hill!), through the gate, happily open, and trotted on. got to an old field boundary - there's a log placed as a jump, she sidled past that, then trotted on again, but then started stopping. I couldn't see why for a bit, the stopping became more so, then I realised ....

visualise, we are riding round the edge of a field, the River Wear on our right, and straight ahead there's a coppice through which we can see. We are heading to the place where you turn left down the far side of the field, so that the coppice would then be on our right with the wear behind us.

Firstly, she could hear before I could see the fisherman standing in the middle of the Wear casting his line. That wouldn't have been so bad, I don't suppose, but then she spotted through the coppice (which of course is only coming into bud now, given the late spring) white things moving at a hell of a pace. That was a herd of sheep, and they didn't all pass at once, but in bits, So they were scary monsters, little white blobs moving fast ... Then to cap that, she clocked some horses also to be seen through the coppice. She blocked. She did THINK about napping back, but didn't. She gave a couple of very minor bucks (the sort where you think, oh she bucked, rather than b***** h*** can I sit this buck). she moved on couple of paces and blocked again. and stood there. and stood there. and thought about turning round again.

I decided the one thing I didn't want to do was end up where she turned round to go back with me having no say on the subject, that clearly woulnd't be good.

So I decided that if the only way she was going to go forwards was by having a lead, the only lead she was going to get was from me. The trouble with that is, of course, once I'm off, I can't get back on again without someone to hold her, she still won't stand. But that's what I did.

Some would say I shouldn't have done that. But since it was the very first time she'd been asked to go round that field on her own, and to my mind the idea was to get round it, not to go back, I thought and still think it was the right thing to do. It was certainly a much better plan than ending up going back the way we'd come, which would have taught her only that she could get away with not going forwards.

And then when I got back I had to wash her legs & bum again; whilst its nice to have a horse that doesn't insist on stopping for a loo break, if she did, then a wash wouldn't have been needed.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

really good day

in fact, excellent for Molly!

Partner came down with me to walk whilst I rode, so essentially Molly was hacked out without another horse. And she did really well! along the lane - she was still a pain, we had lots of stop turn round, but she was prepared to follow partner eventually, and after that she was really very good altogether. I suppose we were out about an hour - it was all in walk - and I went a route we'd already done several times of course, and was very pleased with her. partner said (apropos of the napping in the lane) is that typical? and of course it is, but this time we were able to move on from it.

The only problem at the finish was that we left partner behind - trot up bank on road because of the traffic, turn into drive, she knows we're nearly home then .... we were NOT waiting for partner!

I was so pleased.

I hope she remembers later that she did manage to get along the first lane on her own, and that we didn't have the usual major argument to get through the first yard, just a very minor one!


i know I get visitors, and I think a lot of you are horsey people. But no-one talks to me, boo hoo. some feedback on some of the potentially problem issues would be helpful ..... the suberpad, the wind up lameness, whatever .....

on the subject of suberpads, someone posted an ad on ebay for 'cork filled saddle pads' - essentially a suberpad. 34 were available, and 31 had gone within a day .... someone checked it out, and they were in fact early suberpads & legit. going for £10 + postage, , we all piled in! for that price, if it isn't right under the saddle it'll be dead easy to sell on to someone who can use it, and if it is right, it's a good spare for when the other one is in the wash ...

Friday, April 28, 2006

out of the barn

good news tonight

I've wanted to get molly out of the barn since she was found to have a dust allergy, it's the last place for her, but had to wait until a stable came up outside.

that will be happening at the end of may, if not before; the lady who sadly had to lose her old horse earlier in the year is giving up her stable, and the YO agrees that, once everyone else has finished playing musical stables, I can move Molly round there.

That'll be MUCH better for her chest & lungs.

So I won't go investing in rubber matting until I know which stable she'll be in.

In the meantime, the wrist is much better tonight, if not perfect, as when partner came home last night the first thing I did was retrieve my magnetic bracelet. And i've had to turn the heating back on in the house, b. freezing!

There wasn't anyone riding tonight, they'd all pretty much been and gone, so i just fed her and turned her out again.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

back in 1998

i knacked my right wrist (i'm right handed) in an RTA. consultants said it would get better after a year. it didn't, it got worse (a few years later I discovered it should have had some physio, effectively an untreated soft tissue injury). so now I can't write, can't do anything fiddly for too long - and sometimes the bones in the joint knack..

That's today. It was going yesterday, and went with a vengeance today. Picked a kettle up at lunchtime - ouch!

So I shall have to dig my wrist support out (or buy a new one) and retrieve my magnetic bracelet from partner (oddly, it does in fact help!) and take painkillers.

So Molly got a night off, which was a shame as she's being going really nicely this week, but tbh i did feel the wrist last night, especially when I was taking the saddle off (and it's a really light saddle).

for those who are wondering, how can I type? it's a damn sight less painful and I've set my desk up at home so that it's ergonomically correct for me!

the daft thing is - for a claimant PI solicitor - i believed the consultant, as one does, and settled the claim (it wasn't my fault, someone drove into me from the side!) for a massive undervalue .... ggrrhh. but it informs my advice to clients when they have such injuries!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

still going well

we had another ride out tonight. Round the 20 acre, along a track she's been along before, which ends at a gate. that was mildly traumatic, as we were in front and Molly was disconcerted by the dead end (quite narrow) and we had to get her back behind the other horse so the gate could be opened. But then it's a u turn through another gate - and we opeend this one ourselves!! a much easier gate to open, but it's one that doesn't stay open unless held. But impressive that I got the rope off and the latch opened, even if the gate did swing back again! and then along the bottom of two fields, out back onto the track and over the ford bridge, back along the track to home.

Very good.

Progress is being made again.

I do have a concern still re the suberpad, which is very comfortable but I'm not sure it's long enough. My saddle is the larger version of this saddle, and my feeling is that others who've tried the suber with the cheyenne have the smaller saddle. Normally, you'd want a numnah or pad to be larger than the saddle to avoid any issues of seams etc. under the weight bearing part. now stricly the suber doesn't end under the weight bearing part of the saddle, because it's in fact under the cantle form where I don't sit! but, the may be an issue re weight distribution and I shall have to keep a careful eye on Molly's back there.

But so far so good. I'm pleased with the sweat pattern, looks ok, and Molly's going nicely under it.

And she's having to make friends properly with brookly (and vice versa) - they're the only two mares out overnight at the moment!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

evening ride!

amazing. There was someone to ride out with, and we went a new way - through the park, they call it. A very large field with a track running through it, next to the Wear - gorgeous! a couple of times Molly tried to turn round and go back, but was easily circled back the way we were going. Hadn't been out before with the other horse/rider, so didn't know how they'd get on, but that was fine! Had to contend with cows as well, not very scary - I think she was more disconcerted by the sight of the sheep on the other side of the river.

Very pleased!

and there was another bareback rider tonight - one of the women couldn't find her girth (she'd left it in her car and hadn't realised, and also hadn't spotted my old girth from the old GP hanging up) so rode bareback a good fast hack I hear!

and as planned they are out overnight, so I can have a lie in by about 1/2 hour or so tomorrow, YAY.

Monday, April 24, 2006


forgot to say last night, the suberpad stayed in position much better than it had the first night, i think i must have girthed up better!

going out tomorrow night!


the others have finally decided on 24/7 turnout, starting tomorrow, I am so pleased! I have no doubt molly & brookie will feel hard done by when they get turned out again, but then they'll decide this is good! and then, roll on, I'll be able to stop getting up at 0530 weekdays!

Was supposed to be riding tonight, someone had said they could ride mondays and fridays if nothing else - but said person was too tired. the excuse, for a monday, was that she went to the Take That concert at Newcastle Arena last night. What can I say! (not being a take that fan, not a lot!). and turned out others from the other half of the yard had gone out without me realising .. maybe I spend too long grooming?

Ah well, presumbably people will now start to get a summer sort of routine going ....

Sunday, April 23, 2006

sick people & bad drivers

why do people do this? I really don't understand such sick people at all. And they have to be ill to even think about doing such a thing!

and there was a horrid RTA near Coundon (which is not too far from me, same county anyway!) last week ... quite how someone manages to rear end a horse & trap is beyond me, it was a lovely night that night and two of them take up enough space on the road to be seen, one would have thought. One man and one horse dead, one 14 year old boy in NGH, and the other horse no doubt severely traumatised if not worse. the driver of that car can have no excuse and I hope the police throw the book at her ....

There's been too many drivers being hurt/killed by cars/lorries over the last few years - they are transport, folks, that's what horsepower means!

She's winding me up

Molly, that is.

We decided that today.

Went out for a short hack with Gaynor - that was funny - she'd brought her partners car so didn't have the keys for her locker, so no saddle/bridle/hat. she borrowed my bareback pad and bitless bridle and my spare hat (which fits her) and came out like that. I think she was bricking it a bit, to use her phrase, as she was convinced she would have no control at all bitless, so we just walked round the 20 acre and back along the track and then into the arena.

All went very well till charlie saw the cows (which he's terrified of) but happily got led through and was fine (probably that did him the world of good!).

We realised half way round that I'd got Molly's martingale in a twist - - there was me thinking she was just chilled, in fact she couldn't get her head up at all = that's cos gaynor rushed me (that's my excuse and i'm sticking to it ..... ;-), she being very early as a change from her usual very late!)

and then we went into the arena. Molly essentially was pretending to be lame as an evasion when asked to do some work; if I didn't put pressure on her to ask for the contact, she didn't but if I did, she did. And gaynor got some nice trot & canter out of charlie, complete with control of direction, I think she was surprised! and charlie showed no signs of doing anything untoward despite not having a bit in his mouth ....

I was pleased that gaynor watched - actually she was going to go back to the barn but i asked her to stick around a bit and watch molly - and I think now agrees with me that moll's just stubborn as opposed to having anything fundamentally wrong with her!

So whilst we didn't go far, I was pleased.

And the suberpad stayed put this time as well. Mind, I agree with all those who've reported that the saddle don't shift with a suberpad - it didn't! and I wished it had, as I decided I hadn't in fact put in on quite as square as I thought! But, all to the good, as previously it had been slipping slightly.

So essentially I need to do lots more hacking out; hopefully people will start turing up and riding nights! it don't get dark now until about 8 so I don't really understand why people aren't ....

Saturday, April 22, 2006


it was comfortable though and molly seemed quite happy in it as well...

suberpad first trial

Well, that was interesting.

I'll come to the suberpad later (with pictures) but Molly was good. Firstly, there was no one to ride with. I thought, I'll try to go round the 20acre by myself, see how we do, because she's been leading the way down there no bother.

So we went down the hill from the barn no problem whatsoever - but my heart sank, the gate through into the field, which is normally always open, was very firmly shut and it is VERY difficult to open mounted even on a horse that will do gates no problem. The catch is on the field side, i.e. the other side from where Molly & I were, and behind the fence post. So unless your horse will get right up to the gate at exactly the right spot, it can't be done. So after various attempts to do it, Molly getting more and more uptight the more I turned her back to it, I had to give up (bear in mind, she still won't stand to be mounted and in any event there wasn't anything to stand on if I had got off).

So we cantered back up the hill, which was good and she was sound. I decided I had no option but go through the yard. Got her through, she trotted through the yard along past the house and part up the drive.

Went back to the barn and then turned round and did it again; and again, and a fourth time. The second time we went past the geldings field, through the coppice and back, and the fourth time we got up the grassy track up the side of the geldings field, she went past the bogey log (which in the past has been a 'block' for her, and would have got to the top but she clocked a landrover coming down the drive the other side of the hedge and I found myself doing a trot u-turn. At least it wasn't a canter u-turn, they're not so easy to sit!

Oh, and I had gaynor watch her trot a few times, and she was sound - in a straight line. not in the arena though, I tried her once. Think she might just be telling me she's sick of the arena!

So, the suberpad.

At first I thought it wasn't long enough.

like this:

as you can see, the pad doesn't look as though it is right at the back of the saddle, it seemed too short.

but it was fine at the front; it's meant to have an inch showing at the front.

but when I got off - as you see, it had slipped to the left at the back.

And I certainly felt as though the saddle itself had slipped to the right.

I expect it'll be a little while until it beds down properly; apparently, they shape themselves to the horses back and take on its shape.

I wasn't totally convinced I'd loosened all the innards (cork granules) up properly before I put it on, but we'll see. And there's no means of fixing it at the back, which i think is a lack - seems to me there should be straps to fix it to the back D's on the saddle.

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how it pans out.

One things for sure, there was no sign of a rub.

And thinking about that, I think it was the sheepskin on the grandeur that was causing the rub, rather than the grandeur itself, if you see what I mean - i think possibly the same pad without the sheepskin wouldn't have had the same effect.

Anyway, hopefully we'll get round the 20 acre tomorrow, in the lead if I'm not on my own, and with no arguments about going down the hill.

(and the late hour - we've been putting our bedroom back together (it now has been painted, has wardrobes, and finally has a carpet, so we rebuilt the bed tonight, a nightmare, we always make a meal of it and have to re-do bits!))

Friday, April 21, 2006


next week they are going to start fertilising the fields, in preparation for which the one next to my barn has been halved with some electric fencing. next week the geldings go in. the week after, our mares go in - which puts them next to the geldings that are normally in that field. I think I might ahve mentioned this the other night. just to keep us further entertained, we in the barn have to take the horses all the way round the outside of the barn to go in the gate at the other end - rather than straight out through the gate next to the barn entrance. there no doubt is an explanation for that ....

I'd like to think they'll be out by then anyway, but it's not looking hopeful .... people keep saying its cold, and granted tonight's a bit nippy for me, but ....

and granted the grass is not fully through, but it's enough for the few mares using the mares field! (especially, of course, as Molly is carrying overweight).

Anyway, I'll get back on her tomorrow, with the new suberpad, and see how she goes. HOpe i don't have to have the vet again, and hope I'll have some company ....

Thursday, April 20, 2006


of the light brigade going out this morning. She trotted down to the field gate and blasted across the field.

But wanted to be in tonight.

Whilst we were mucking out this morning (this was from about 0630!) someone was harrowing the field - I thought the mares would be charging round, but they seemed quite unconcerned!

Apropos of that photo I posted of Molly's back the other day - there is still a definite mark there. so I've done the right thing in terms of not using the pad that came with the saddle any more. Hopefully the suberpad does the trick when I get back on.

Gaynor agrees that I should get Molly fully vetted. I still don't see the point.

I think everyone thinks I should be seeing rapid improvements. may be if I'd been working her every day, that would be right, but since i haven't been, she's lucky if she gets worked at the weekend, then I can't expect rapid anything.

And still there's very few riding after work ....

Hopefully she'll be sound at the weekend. And I'll be sound at the weekend as well!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I know I said yesterday Molly's ready to be out, which she is, but she also wants to be in - she didn't stop grazing until about 5 seconds before i got her in, and then fell on the haylage as if she hadn't eaten all day .... mind, it is good haylage!

won't be going out until at least next thursday; the horse that normally would have also been turned out by now isn't as it has to go to the vet monday for three days or so! so her owner's a bit to take away in consequence. and everyone else thinks it's still too cold overnight.

Apparently our field is going to be fertilized soon - so the other field is split in half with electric fencing and the mares go in one half. that'll be fun, not! They'll all start flirting, and riots will be had.

The suberpad arrived this morning (mega service from bettersaddles, as usual!) at the office, and I don't know what I was expecting, in the cloth, so to speak, it doesn't look as large as you'd think it would be from the pictures! Anyway, will try it on saturday after she's had her week off, and we'll see what happens. But I won't be going in the arena, I don't think!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

ready to be out

Molly is well ready to be out, but I need someone else to be out with her at the same time.

Had a long conversation with Caroline at the yard tonight about Molly's lameness. She wonderered if I should have Molly thoroughly vetted. I didn't when i got her as I knew what accidents she had, what injuries she had, and that she wouldn't pass the vet in consequence, therefore saw no point in spending money on a vetting that she'd fail - the more so as I didn't have to pay for her of course.

Caroline thinks there may be something amiss that Molly can't tell me that would account for her behaviours; she didn't have the faintest idea which side the problem was though, no more than I do. Someone else thought that trotting small circles (which I wasn't, particularly, 20m circles) would make a horse lame .... no. It would only go lame trotting small circles if there was something wrong that meant it coulnd't cope with small circles surely?

I incline to the view that she is so much better than she was ( as previous readers will recall, when I started my blog I couldn't get a bit in her mouth and when I did she wasn't safe to ride!) that the current problem is more likely to be of recent gestation and linked possibly to being kicked in the field, possibly (and highly likely, in fact) to her habit of bouncing from her pile of haylage to the door because she's frightened she might be missing something.

Also I think there is a lot to be said for getting the physio out to to her for a check over that way (and I know a very good one who gets referrals from vets of whom I was talking to t'other day)

I think I did the right thing not persisting with the pad that came with the saddle, when I looked at her back tonight, but think I've caught that one in time.

It may be that there's something about my riding as well; and thinking about it, maybe i should take the form out of the pommel and stuff it with something interesting like dead tights ....

Having said all that, it is a 'ridden' issue I think; turned her out this morning and she blasted across to the other side of the field in a fast canter ..... will need to spend some time watching her in the field at the weekend i think, and may be take some video so as to get second opinions ...

Monday, April 17, 2006

change title

I'm going to have to change the title - Molly is in fact wearing a bit again now, and has been for a couple of months, although i still have the bitless bridle and anticipate using it on occasion. But the current title is at least snappy (ish) and was once true .... and the BB certainly helped the retraining!

suber pad

now ordered and paid for. the thing with paypal - advantage, yo don't have to go find your card; disadvantage, you can go too too mad. i try not to, but still.

edited to add: this is WHY i've ordered the suberpad

As you can see, there's rubbing under the back of the sadle, and if I don't change now I will end up with a seriously unhappy horse I think ....

Up till now she hasn't been ridden THAT often, what with everything, but we're getting there and with the light nights there'll be people about to ride with and therefore she'll be ridden more, sweating more, etc.

Very odd really, as the pad I was using is sold with the saddle; but then, it's different strokes for different folks, and thus different pads for different horses, I suppose.

lame - ? shoulder

well, Molly is lame.

Working in the arena again tonight - no sign of anyone going out for a hack of any sort.

walking fine, trot - not. Kangaroo hopping was what it felt like half the time, interspersed with odd bits of nice steps.

Trotted to the barn to get someone to come have a look, and of course she was fine (a straight line); trotted back to the arena, still fine in a straight line. A few circles either way, seemed ok save for a couple of moments when I felt her wrong but the others couldn't see it.

Caroline (there's too many Caroline's in my life, this is clearly not caroline of smartie's diary or caroline my sister!) offered to get on so that I could see. Molly was hopping, and caroline felt it as I and the others saw it. Off fore.

My feeling is it's in her shoulder. She may have been kicked at some point and nothing to show so I wouldn't know, who knows.

I had thought she was choppy on saturday, right rein worse than left, and there was still the same difference today.

So, she gets the week off, next weekend straight lines and we'll see how we go. Also, I buy a suberpad, even if the endurance subernumnah isn't available yet. I'm not happy with the grandeur pad at all and showing photos to friend's partner (a vet, who'd just been on a course about backs and saddles .... !) took the same view as me, something not right. So that's more money, but I should be able to sell the grandeur pad on ebay (anyone want one? for sale ....)

on a more positive note, my friend took the old GP to try on her horse, whose old saddle doesn't now fit her, so that'll be good if they buy that!

And finally, welcome all who've followed me (there, delusions of grandeur, me!) from 20six and any and all who might start reading this now.

for the history, see the link to molly & the bitless bridle ...
eh that video link was clever, I was expecting just a link .....
in a previous post in previous incarnation of this blog, i posted a link to some video. here it is again ....

Sunday, April 16, 2006

mmm well

i think i've forgotten how to ride ... well, not really, but MUST have a couple of lessons. I can't crack the canter aid at all at the moment, which isn't helpful. I think this is partly because Molly isn't working through properly and fighting the contact, and also because I ain't riding right. Mind, we weren't helped today - three mares with their heads over the fence, and they ahve to be avoided at all costs in case of them biting/molly trying to kick them. After that I took her up the lane again, we're getting better at getting through the yard and into the lane, and then into the copse and back round by the geldings field. Then i insisted she go back into the arena and I worked on walk and contact.

I can't make my mind up whether to ride shorter or longer. I want to do dressage, so longer is what i should be.

But I HAVE made my mind up to buy a suberpad for under the saddle; if the western suber numnah isn't available, then the western suber without numnah will be bought ... the current grandeur pad just ain't right on her.

Gaynor was going for a blast round the gallops, so I cried off that one - and she fell off, as Charlie shied at a hurdle fence he wasn't being asked to jump.

And then I went to the saddlers (there's one not too far away open until 7every night!) for fly repellent - and came away with some nice
ariat riding trainers
, they were in the sale, and I shouldn't have, but they are comfy and can be ridden in .. and I love Ariat footwear. I was really annoyed with myself yesterday, there was a pair of paddock boots on ebay i meant to bid for, they went for £26!!!!!!! retail they're about £70. so that'll teach me to forget stuff .... very annoyed really.

linking success

I have at long last managed to put links in this succesfully. don't know why it didn't work before, but there we go.

Now i only need to make the final move ....

Saturday, April 15, 2006

barefoot 2

these are her back feet - this is the off hind

but this the near

and this the off hind

and this the near hind inside view


Here's a post for the barefoot aficionados

pair of front feet

near fore

near fore (or is it? i think i've labelled that wrongly ...i think that's in fact the off hind ...)

off fore